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High Country Pathway

Difficult

Trail

78.3 mile 126.0 kilometer point to point
99% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,722' 1,134 m
Descent: -3,607' -1,099 m
High: 1,207' 368 m
Low: 769' 234 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)

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Trail shared by glen ruczynski

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Minor Issues 22 days ago See History

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

glen ruczynski

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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.

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Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#17808

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#241

in Michigan

#17,808

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21 Views Last Month
1,660 Since Jul 6, 2017
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Photos

View off the boardwalk
Aug 22, 2018 near Gaylord, MI
The final stretch of the trail is a 1/4 mile boardwalk through the marsh.
Jan 19, 2017 near Gaylord, MI
Wood plank bridges elevate a portion of the trail to keep off mossy undergrowth.
Jan 3, 2019 near Gaylord, MI
Some of the boardwalk is in need of repair.
Dec 26, 2019 near Atlanta, MI
Pigeon River where the trail goes over the bridge by the Pine Grove campground.
Sep 19, 2018 near Indian…, MI
A creek flowing into Grass Lake.
Jan 3, 2019 near Gaylord, MI

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