Nestled in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Hiawatha National Forest offers breathtaking scenery, pristine wilderness, and an array of outdoor recreational opportunities. One of the highlights of this vast forest is its extensive network of horse trails. Whether you're a seasoned equestrian or a novice looking for an unforgettable horseback riding experience, Hiawatha National Forest has something for everyone. Here are some of the best horse trails in the area.
1. Haywire Grade Trail: Located in the Munising District, the Haywire Grade Trail is a 21-mile loop that takes riders through towering forests, rolling hills, and scenic waterways. The trail offers a moderate level of difficulty, with some challenging sections that will test your horsemanship skills. As you ride, keep an eye out for wildlife like deer, owls, and maybe even a black bear.
2. Kingston Lake Trail: Situated in the Rapid River District, the Kingston Lake Trail is a 12-mile loop that meanders through diverse terrain, including lush meadows, dense forests, and serene lakes. This moderate trail is suitable for riders of all skill levels and offers several picturesque spots for a picnic or a rest. Don't forget to bring your camera, as the views are nothing short of breathtaking.
3. Big Island Lake Wilderness: For an immersive horseback riding experience, head to the Big Island Lake Wilderness in the Rapid River District. This pristine area offers a network of trails that wind through remote forests, around beautiful lakes, and up to scenic overlooks. With over 20 miles of trails to explore, horse enthusiasts can spend an entire day or more traversing this remarkable wilderness.
4. Blueberry Ridge Trail: Located in the Rapid River District, the Blueberry Ridge Trail is a 10-mile loop that offers a scenic adventure through dense forests and rolling hills. As the name suggests, this trail is known for its abundant blueberry bushes, so be sure to plan your ride during the peak blueberry season and indulge in some delicious foraged treats along the way.
5. Little Indian Trail: Situated in the Munising District, the Little Indian Trail is a 16-mile loop that offers a mix of open meadows interspersed with shady sections through thick forests. This trail showcases the area's natural beauty, with opportunities to see wildflowers, spot a variety of birds, and maybe even catch a glimpse of deer or foxes. The trail is suitable for riders of all levels, making it a family-friendly choice.
Before embarking on a horseback riding adventure at Hiawatha National Forest, it's essential to remember a few key points. Obtain a trail map and become familiar with the area, pack plenty of water for both you and your horse, and don't forget sunscreen and bug spray. Also, be respectful of the environment by following leave-no-trace principles and staying on designated trails.
Whether you choose the Haywire Grade Trail, Kingston Lake Trail, Big Island Lake Wilderness, Blueberry Ridge Trail, or the Little Indian Trail, horseback riding in Hiawatha National Forest guarantees an unforgettable experience. So saddle up, explore the stunning vistas, and create cherished memories in this rustic paradise.