The Best Upper Peninsula Michigan Hikes For Families

A young girl and her mom sit on a rock formation while hiking in Michigan, one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.
Photo Courtesy: Antonia Grant

If you’re planning an Upper Peninsula Michigan vacation with kids, add one or more of these hiking trails to your itinerary! Travelers will love hiking in Michigan with kids. In fact, there are more than 300 waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, making it a gorgeous place to seek out some of the best hikes in Michigan for families. Additionally, much of the terrain in the UP is untouched, diverse, and offers striking views. Here, families will find everything from stunning views from the Porcupine Mountains to a picturesque turquoise lake to sand dunes and beaches. From the Wisconsin border to the shores of Lake Michigan, families can appreciate a variety of hiking trails for all ages. Whether you are looking for a scenic stroll or a moderate hike, there is something on this list for everyone. Keep reading for the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families!

Best Upper Peninsula Michigan Hikes for Families Under 1.5 Miles

No matter where you are coming from, you’ll want to add at least one quick stroll or hike to your Upper Peninsula Michigan vacation with kids. Whether you are looking for great lake views, unique hikes, or waterfalls, you’ll find some of the best hikes in Michigan for families are under 1.5 miles. Here are a few of our favorites, in order of trail length to help you plan!

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Kitch-iti-kipi

.2 miles | Easy

Kitch-iti-kipi is hands-down one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families! From the parking lot, it is a very short distance through a wooded area to the iconic spring. At the end of the trail, there is a dock and a small raft. Kids will delight in riding the raft and trying their hand at the manually-propelled wheel, moving the raft out and back. On the raft, marvel at the beautifully clear, turquoise waters. In the center of the raft, families can also peer down to the bottom of the spring. Challenge kids to count the fish and find the areas where water bubbles up to form the spring. Information boards on the raft share more about the area and the importance of the springs. Located in Palms Book State Park, this is one of the best hikes in Michigan with kids!

Pro Tip: This hike requires the Michigan Recreation Passport for vehicle entry (plan ahead, an annual pass may be more cost-effective than a daily rate if you are planning multiple hikes). If paying a daily rate of $9.00, have cash on hand in case the park isn’t staffed.

Book a cabin through VRBO near Palms Book State Park here!

Munising Falls

.4 miles | Easy

Looking for a quick waterfall stroll? One of the best hikes in Michigan for families, Munising Falls, is a great option for families with tiny trekkers or older adults in tow. This out and back trail is just outside of Munising’s downtown area. The paved 800-foot trail leads you right to a stunning 50-foot waterfall. If you have extra time, climb one of the two sets of stairs that lead to viewing platforms for a different perspective of the falls. In the summer, families will be greeted by a beautiful array of wildflowers. Alternatively, winter visitors will witness a truly impressive ice formation over the falls. Adventurous families exploring the Upper Peninsula with kids can also use this as the starting point for the scenic North Country Trail, a longer hike option for advanced trekkers. From here, families can also find public beach access for visiting Lake Superior.

Research stays near Munising Falls through VRBO now!

Miners Castle Trail

.5 miles | Easy

One of the most iconic landmarks in the Upper Peninsula, Miners Castle Trail is a must-stop for families. Located along the Pictured Rocks shoreline, this easy trail is a great way to get the best of the UP. You’ll get Lake Superior views, as well as a chance to see wildlife. Once parked, walk to the overlook to get your first view of Miners Castle. Help kids notice the unique color of the water – it’s green! Then, find the out and back trail leading to the rock formation. Be prepared for stairs (ice cleats may help in the winter). This will lead you to the backside of the rock formation for another great view. Afterward, this location puts you close to a beach area, as well as other hikes with the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Certainly, this is one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.

Pro Tip: If visiting in the winter, be prepared for seasonal road closures to certain areas of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Bathrooms are only open seasonally.

Looking for a stay near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore? Try VRBO!

Sable Falls and Grand Sable Dunes Hike

.6 Miles | Easy

If you’re still wondering what to do in the Upper Peninsula with kids, add this hike to your list! Located near Grand Marais, Sable Falls is an out-and-back hike that features a lovely 75-foot waterfall. The jaunt from the parking lot to the trail is quick. Then, to get the best view, descend almost 170 stairs and marvel at its sheer beauty. Afterward, head down the trail a bit further to glimpse a view of Lake Superior and the infamous sand dunes. Here, Sable Creek also flows into Lake Superior. Head back up to the parking lot to find the Dune Trail for an additional short trek. This trail leads you through a magical wooded area to the top of the dunes. From this height, take in an expansive view of Lake Superior. You’ll quickly learn why this is one of the best hikes in Michigan for families!

Look for your stay with VRBO in Grand Marais here!

Bond Falls Loop

1.0 mile | Easy

A view of Bond Falls, frozen in the winter.
Photo Courtesy: Stefan Anderson via Wikimedia Commons

Located near Bruce Crossing, Bond Falls Loop ranks among the best hikes in Michigan with kids due to its views, opportunities for bird watching, and more! Not to mention, this is one of the most popular Upper Peninsula waterfalls for locals and visitors alike. To reach the main falls, take the concrete stairs to the bottom viewing area. We recommend taking the boardwalk all the way around to get all the best views of the falls. Here, kids will delight in feeling the spray of these powerful falls! After viewing the falls, there are two options. Firstly, you can retrace your steps back to the parking lot. Or, continue the loop around the river. Outside of Bond Falls, you’ll also find a variety of other falls within this hiking trail. With so many dazzling waterfalls, you’ll see why this is one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.

Pro Tip: This hike requires the Michigan Recreation Passport for vehicle entry (plan ahead, an annual pass may be more cost-effective than a daily rate if you are planning multiple hikes). If paying a daily rate of $9.00, have cash on hand in case the park isn’t staffed.

Book a rustic cottage near Bond Falls here on VRBO!

Miners Falls 

1.2 miles | Easy 

Also located within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Miners Falls offers a lovely waterfall hike for families. If you stopped at Miners Castle first, you’ll want to move your car to the closer parking lot (depending on crowd levels and ease of re-parking). From the parking lot, you’ll find an out and back hike that is possible for families with kids of all ages. The wide trail takes you through a wooded area that will delight nature-loving kids. The trail leads to two viewing platforms that will give you a great look at Miners Falls. Expect stairs to access the lower viewing platform. During the winter months, be prepared for ice on the lower platform as the waterfall spray can reach it and freeze easily. 

Estivant Pines Loop

1.5 miles | Moderate

A sign reading "Estivant Pines Wilderness Nature Sanctuary".
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Located within Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary, near Copper Harbor, Estivant Pines Loop is a moderate hike and the perfect addition to an Upper Peninsula Michigan vacation for families. Very popular for locals and travelers alike, the Estivant Pines Loop is excellent for hiking or snowshoeing. This trail consists of 2 loops (the Memorial and the Cathedral). Not to mention, some of the largest trees in the UP! In fact, some trees are so round that two people cannot touch their hands when making a circle around them. Kids will adore searching for one of these trees to try their luck! While this is one of the best hikes in Michigan for families, expect it to be hilly in some areas, as well as having large roots to navigate around. Finally, this is a great trail for kids who are working on their mushroom identification! 

Reserve your stay now near Copper Harbor through VRBO!

Tahquamenon Falls Upper Falls

1.5 miles | Easy

A mom holds her young daughter as they look at the Upper Falls at Tahquamenon State Park, one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.
Photo Courtesy: Antonia Grant

For a truly impressive sight, add Tahquamenon Falls State Park to your itinerary for exploring the Upper Peninsula with kids. Here, hike a paved trail to the Upper Falls of Tahquamenon Falls. Also called Root Beer Falls for its unique coloring, it is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. More than 200-feet across, this 50-foot waterfall is sure to amaze everyone in your family. At the top of the falls, take a series of steps down to a large viewing platform. The noise of the falls is incredible. Seasonally, there is also a visitor’s center and restrooms available from the parking lot. Additionally, Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers some uniquely accessible features, including a track chair, which helps visitors explore areas of the park where traditional wheelchairs may not reach.

If you’re up for more trekking, get back into your car and head four miles downstream to the Lower Falls. From here, you can embark on a moderate 2.6-mile loop hike to witness a series of five smaller falls cascading around a charming island. In the summer, you can even rent a rowboat to take you out to the island. Kids will love this special excursion to explore the island! If you’re looking for some of the best hikes in Michigan with kids, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a great place to get started! Finally, this state park is located near the town of Paradise.

Pro Tip: This hike requires the Michigan Recreation Passport for vehicle entry (plan ahead, an annual pass may be more cost-effective than a daily rate if you are planning multiple hikes). If paying a daily rate of $9.00, have cash on hand in case the park isn’t staffed.

Look for your stay near Paradise here through VRBO!

Best Upper Peninsula Michigan Hikes for Families Under 2.5 Miles

If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, add these Upper Peninsula hiking trails with kids to your itinerary. All between 1.8 and 3 miles, these trails are great options for families who are interested in spending most of the morning or afternoon exploring the Michigan wilderness.

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Lake of the Clouds 

1.8 miles | Easy

A mom and her son smile after hiking to the top of an overlook, with a view of the Lake of the Clouds behind them, one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.
Photo Courtesy: Laura Finley

Families curious about what to do in the Upper Peninsula with kids should add exploring Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park to their itinerary! Here, embark on the Lake of the Clouds out and back hike, which offers some of the best views in the UP. Expect the trail to be steep in some areas, but it is still very accessible for families. At the top, take in the views of the lake and surrounding wilderness from the overlook. Then, follow the trail down to the lake. Kids of all ages will enjoy hiking this wooded trail. It feels like sheer magic as you leave the trees and see a full view of Mirror Lake for the first time. Summer visitors are advised to come prepared with bug spray for mosquitos and black flies. Even so, this is still one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families!

Pro Tip: This hike requires the Michigan Recreation Passport for vehicle entry (plan ahead, an annual pass may be more cost-effective than a daily rate if you are planning multiple hikes). If paying a daily rate of $9.00, have cash on hand in case the park isn’t staffed.

Reserve your cabin near Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park here through VRBO!

Sand Point Marsh Trail

1.9 miles | Easy

A boardwalk extends into a marshy area, then a wooded area.
Photo Courtesy: National Park Service

Families looking for a lovely boardwalk hike will adore Sand Point Marsh Trail. As one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families, this out and back trail near Munising is a great option for all families. Due to its year-round accessibility, this is a fantastic trail for those traveling with strollers, family members with disabilities, or those traveling with multi-generational groups. In fact, there are benches and picnic tables throughout the hike, ideal for resting, picnics, or quick snack breaks. Please note, there are still a few sections that are steep (no more than a 3% grade) or have a few steps. As you walk through the trail, have kids keep their eyes out for birds, frogs, turtles, and other small animals. During the summer months, those exploring the Upper Peninsula with kids will also find a nice beach area with calm waters. 

Look for your retreat near Munising through VRBO now!

Eben Ice Caves (Winter Only)

About 2 miles | Moderate/Difficult Depending on Ice Conditions

About 15 miles from Marquette, adventurous families have to put Eben Ice Caves (alternatively, the Rock River Canyon Ice Caves) on their winter itinerary for their Upper Peninsula of Michigan vacation with kids! Starting in December, the water that flows over the cave starts to freeze into giant icicles that descend over the cave. The hike is about 2-miles out and back. The first stretch leads through a flat, farm field. The farm is not public land and it is important to stay on the provided path. The rest of the trail leads through the woods and along a creek, which can be steep and icy in some areas. The trail takes you below the caves. Here, a rope is provided to assist in climbing up the icy slope to the cave. Once you arrive, kids will be in awe of the caves and their success in reaching them!

Note: Ice cleats are strongly recommended. Without them, you may not be able to reach the caves as the ice can be very smooth and slick. We do not recommend attempting this hike if you aren’t prepared to walk on ice or with kids who are new to winter/ice hiking.

Pro Tip: Show your appreciation to the landowner’s who offer free parking and the path through their farmland by visiting their concession stand or leaving a tip. Without them, The Even Ice Caves would be inaccessible for most people.

Look for your vacation home in Marquette through VRBO here!

Two Hearted River

2.3 miles | Moderate

A view of a beach near a lake, mirroring the line of trees sporting fall colors, at Two Hearted River, one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.
Photo Courtesy: Jim Sorbie

Those looking for a bit of a challenge when hiking in Michigan with kids, will appreciate the rustic beauty of Two Hearted River. Located near Newberry, this out and back trail begins at the Two Hearted River State Forest Campground. Families will find the trail well-marked, diverse, and less crowded than other hikes on this list. Through the trail, head down the sandy slope to stroll along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Families looking for a nice picnic area will love trekking lunch down to the beach. While adults set up lunch, kids can wade in the water, search for driftwood, or play in the sand. Families looking for a quiet afternoon of family fun will certainly find Two Hearted River to be one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for kids!

Note: To reach Two Hearted River, you will need to drive on 13 miles of dirt roads to reach the trailhead. 

Pro Tip: This hike requires the Michigan Recreation Passport for vehicle entry (plan ahead, an annual pass may be more cost-effective than a daily rate if you are planning multiple hikes). If paying a daily rate of $9.00, have cash on hand in case the park isn’t staffed.

Presque Isle Park Loop

2.3 miles | Easy

Located just outside Marquette, Presque Isle Park offers one of the best hikes in Michigan for families. This popular loop hike is on a stretch of land lovingly referred to as “almost an island”, which means beauty abounds on all sides. Good for all seasons, families will also find a variety of activities and well-maintained facilities here. Not to mention, fantastic opportunities for lake views, wildlife spottings, and wildflower identification. A paved route goes around the peninsula park, while rustic paths crisscross in the center of the park. Trails in the center offer the best chance to see the park’s rare white-tailed deer population. Families can’t miss the iconic black rocks either. Kids will love exploring the unique rock formations, or heading down to the nearby inlet for a quick swim. If you’re wondering what to do in the Upper Peninsula with kids, Presque Isle Park is a must!

Book your stay in Marquette through VRBO here!

Best Upper Peninsula Michigan Hikes for Families Under 4 Miles 

Those up for a longer trek can add this fantastic Upper Peninsula hiking trail for families to their itinerary. From chances to glimpse wildlife to amazing views, you’ll quickly learn why this hike made our list!

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 Exciting Midwest State Parks For Families

The Manistique Boardwalk and River Walk

3.7 miles | Easy

A red lighthouse with a rocky walk at Manistique Boardwalk, one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.
Photo Courtesy: ksblack99

Families looking for a longer hiking trail in Michigan with kids can add The Manistique Boardwalk and River Walk to their itinerary. Located near Manistique, this out and back trail follows a boardwalk along the shore of Lake Michigan. In addition to great views of the Manistique Lighthouse and Lake Michigan, families may even get a glimpse of local wildlife. Plus, you can walk out to the lighthouse. A small walkway, flanked by water on both sides, leads out to the iconic red lighthouse. Kids will love playing follow the leader around the lighthouse. Then, extend your stay by walking down to the sandy shoreline to enjoy a rest and a snack. Once on the beach, be sure to stick your toes in the water too! If you’re searching for Upper Peninsula hiking trails for adventurous families, add this one to your list!

Note: Some travelers have noted that parts of the boardwalk are in disrepair (early 2021). Families can anticipate spotty areas or needing to climb over large rocks to complete the hike.

Book early for the best cabins near Manistique through VRBO here!

Happy Travels!

A mom and her daughter sit in front of ice flows at the Eben Ice Caves, one of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families.
Photo Courtesy: Antonia Grant

If you’re looking for the best hikes in Michigan for families, we are sure you found a great option or two for your upcoming trip on this list! From winter phenomena like ice caves to wildlife spottings and waterfalls, there is a lot to love about hiking on your Upper Peninsula of Michigan vacation with kids. With that said, please keep in mind that that cellphone reception in the UP can be spotty in many areas (regardless of the carrier). We recommend having a paper map or written directions available should you lose service. Additionally, expect to encounter dirt roads when visiting many of the best Upper Peninsula Michigan hikes for families. We hope you have a great time hiking and making memories in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with your kids!

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 Weekend Getaways Near Chicago Families Will Love

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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Antonia Grant

Antonia Grant Writer Antonia Grant is a life-long learner and avid traveler. She loves equipping families with the tools and confidence they need to travel together. That is a major reason she is part of our fantastic team at Families Love Travel! Antonia is also a strong believer in the beauty of multigenerational travel. Her main travel buddies are her husband and young daughter. They have been traveling as a family since her daughter was 7 months old, and internationally since 13 months old! She’s always seeking new adventures to write about and share.