Get outside and enjoy these gorgeous hikes in Northern Michigan along curving bluffs and sandy shores.

Misty Acres
The Borwell Preserve straddles the Benzie-Manistee County line and includes The Misty Acres Trail. The 1-mile trail loop offers views of the Bestie River and the John J. Helstrom Quiet Area (trail map).

Get there: 11818-11998 N. Manistee County Line Rd. in Thompsonville

Empire Bluff Trail
Roundtrip, this trail is a hilly 1.5-mile trek leading to a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and South Bar Lake. On clear days, South Manitou Island is visible (trail map).

Get there: 1/2 mile down Wilco Road off of M22 about 2 miles south of downtown Empire

Grand Traverse Commons
Behind the Grand Traverse Commons is a network of trails with of a mix of forested hills and valleys. There are several routes you can take, depending on how far you want to hike. Start on Gray Drive, which is located off Cottageview Drive. The trailhead is at the bend in the road.

Get there: Gray Drive behind ELF (located at 1371 Gray Dr.) in Traverse City

Grass River Natural Area
Seven miles of easy walking trails wind through the natural area in several loops. View Finch Creek from the Woodland Loop or take advantage of the wildlife viewing areas along the Grass River on the Sedge Meadow Loop (trail map).

Get there: 6500 Alden Hwy. (Co. Road 618) in Bellaire

Alligator Hill Trail
The 9-mile trail is divided into several loops allowing hikers to choose a distance. The trails are divided into easy, intermediate, and advanced loops (trail map).

Get there: Stocking Road near the corner of Day Farm Road in Empire

If you are in the woods during firearm deer season, November 15–30, wear hunter orange and avoid brown or white clothing.


Hiker’s Granola Recipe

Fuel up for an afternoon outside on the trails with this healthy, kid-friendly recipe for Hiker’s Granola. Make it in bulk so the whole family can enjoy it, or for an everyday snack, cut the recipe in half.

Yield: 64 cups
Portion size: 1/4 cups, 256 servings per batch


  • 40 cups rolled oats
  • 3 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 3 3/4 cups honey
  • 12 cups raisins
  • 6 cups slivered almonds
  • 9 cups shredded coconut

Combine all of the ingredients and mix.

More Northern Michigan Fitness Ideas


Photo(s) by Kelly Hofman