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High Country Pathway

Difficult
 3.5 (2)

Michigan's longest loop trail, crossing through three counties and covering varied terrain.


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Map Key

78.3

Miles

126.1

KM

Point to Point

1,205' 367 m

High

770' 235 m

Low

3,592' 1,095 m

Up

3,435' 1,047 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Description

From beautiful hill top vistas to dark, cool cedar swamps and pine plantations, the High Country Pathway (HCP) provides the full Michigan woods experience. Home to the largest free range elk herd this side of the Mississippi, the HCP crosses through three counties with very little sign of civilization. This 80-mile loop is perfect for a multi-day adventure for those that enjoy rugged, unimproved trails. You'll have the opportunity to see elk, deer, bear, beaver and more along the way.

The official trailheads are in Vanderbilt on Sturgeon Valley Road and next to the forest headquarters. However, the trail crosses many roads and other campgrounds which can also serve as access points. Pump wells and artesian wells are located at campgrounds along the way, but there are no towns or food sources to access. Be sure to self-support for worst case scenarios with food and supplies.

Waterproof maps are availablehere, and are highly recommended.

Contacts

Shared By:

glen ruczynski

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#23508

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#356

in Michigan

#23,508

Overall
46 Views Last Month
3,952 Since Jul 6, 2017
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Photos

An early summer morning view of Grass Lake.
Jul 17, 2021 near Gaylord, MI
An interesting tree - with absolutely no foliage.
Jul 17, 2021 near Gaylord, MI
Rest area HCP style
Jun 24, 2021 near Atlanta, MI
Highest point on trail
Apr 16, 2021 near Indian…, MI
Drawing water from Grass Lake
Apr 16, 2021 near Gaylord, MI
View off the boardwalk
Aug 22, 2018 near Gaylord, MI

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Check-Ins

Jun 24, 2021
Chris Janes
Finally got to finish this trail from Clear Lk. to Black River rd. Trail is mostly in poor condition on this side. 25.3mi — 19h 00m
Oct 15, 2019
Chris Janes
This time I hiked clockwise the south, west & north side. All I have to do to finish is everything east of M33. Planning on doing that mid May 2020. 60.6mi
Sep 14, 2018
Chris Janes
Hiked the North and West sides of the trail. Blowdowns and faded blazes kept me busy. Can't wait to get out there and finish it. 50mi — 25h 00m