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Hiking Porcupine Mountains

By Diane Spicer

Hiking Porcupine Mountains...good times!

Every hiker has a favorite memory of first hiking experiences.

For me, it was hiking Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula.

I had no idea back in 1972 what a special place the Porkies were.

Now that I'm an older, much wiser hiker, I realize how privileged I was to cut my hiking teeth in such a fantastic place.

Admittedly, now that I live in Washington State, the word "Mountains" is probably a stretch.

But in the eyes of a just-turned-thirteen year old first time hiker who grew up at sea level, those were indeed challenging mountains!

  • The elevation gains and losses tested my muscles, and then tightened them up and made me crave more adventures.
  • The solitude in those hills made an indelible impression on me. I've never stopped craving hiking solitude, thanks to the immense quiet and vast stretches of woods I found in the "Porkies" at such an early age.

To see a photo of that young hiker in the Porkies, go here.

Hiking Porcupine Mountains ...  
  Where are they??

What? You've never heard of this place?

Porcupine Mountains (the Porkies) refers to 60,000 acres in a wilderness state park.

It's very far north in the state of Michigan, USA, so maybe that's why it has escaped your notice.

And I'm not talking about northern lower Michigan. I mean the northernmost area of the Upper Peninsula!

  • True north, you know what I'm sayin'?
  • Yooper country!

This hiking destination is not a "big ticket item" on a hiker's list, because it doesn't feature spectacular glaciers, wind carved rock formations, jaw dropping vertical cliffs, or huge waterfalls.

But that's not an excuse to not visit!

There's plenty to keep a hiker busy... and there's always the shoreline of Lake Superior as an added exploration bonus.

If you've never dug your toes into the cold rocky beaches of Lake Superior and felt the wind roaring through your hair, you've missed the splendor and power of the far north!

Not to mention the quiet beauty of the forests (especially in autumn and spring).

Close up of brilliant red vine maple leavesHiking Porcupine Mountains in the autumn rewards you with a spectacular color display (and less bugs).

How to plan a "Porkies" hiking trip

If you'd like to explore this little known but rewarding hiking destination, start here with your trip planning: porkies.org.

To get you started thinking about your hiking options:

Prepare for solitude, silence, and plenty of encounters with wild life.

Expect rain, mosquitoes and biting flies, mud holes, and dripping wet vegetation. That's code for "pack your waterproof rain gear".

If you come with no expectations, you are bound to leave whole hearted and filled with Nature's majesty.

Hiking Porcupine Mountains comes highly recommended from this genetic U.P.'er! (pronounced "yoo-per" with a French Canadian accent)

Hiking the Porkies -
just do it, eh!

You're not going to find a wilder, more unspoiled place in all of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, so get your boots on and get going.

The hiking trails winding through the Porkies are just begging for your boots.

And be sure to eat a pastie (pasty) when you get off the trail.
No clue what that is?

Let this be a little mystery for you to clear up. Email me after you've eaten one ;)

I'll want to know: "ketchup" or "gravy"!

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Hiking Porcupine Mountains