Five Dog Friendly Hikes in Northern Michigan

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Hiking and Travel Tips

Want to bring your dog on a hike in the UP or at the top of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula? We share five dog friendly hikes in Northern Michigan that are approved for you and your pooch!

Atop the dog friendly mountain summit of Hogback Mountain in Michigan.
Cotopaxi at the summit of Hogback Mountain in Michigan’s UP.

Michigan’s Great Lakes offer endless adventures on the water. However what goes overlooked in the Great Lakes State is the plethora of dog friendly hiking trails! From the towns of the Upper Peninsula along Lake Superior to the trails in the “Upper Lower Peninsula” near Lake Michigan you can find dog friendly hiking options galore!

My dog with his favorite Aunt and Uncle hiking in Northern Michigan.
Cotopaxi enjoying Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve hiking with our friends!

First things first…

It’s a privilege to bring your dog hiking on public lands. Please leash them if the area requests it, clean up after them, and be attentive. And while we are at it…Leave No Trace and Pack Your 10 Essentials :)!
Cotopaxi is a B.A.R.K. Ranger and if you choose to bring the best companions in the world on hiking trails please consider the same.

Now onto the fun stuff…

Five Dog Friendly Hikes in Northern Michigan

  1. Hogback Mountain, Marquette Michigan, Upper Peninsula.
  2. Grand Island, Munising Michigan, Upper Peninsula.
  3. Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve, Frankfort Michigan, Lower Peninsula.
  4. Lost Lake Pathway, Interlochen Michigan, Lower Peninsula.
  5. Arcadia Dunes CS Mott Nature Preserve, Arcadia Michigan, Lower Peninsula.

    Note: Sleeping Bear Dunes was omitted from this list because it appeared in a different article HERE on the website! It’s VERY dog friendly!
A happy dog after a happy hike on Grand Island in the UP of Michigan.

Hogback Mountain.
We went camping in Marquette Michigan and this was a great dog friendly day hike just outside of town. A nice combination of elevation, flat grades, and on a clear day gorgeous views of Lake Superior.
There are a few intersections with mountain bike trails so make sure you know your turns and are following the Hogback Trail. The final push can get a bit steep and rocky. I gave Cotopaxi a few boosts and hoists to reach the summit when needed.
If the rocky terrain isn’t your thing then consider the nearby North Country Trail that is a 4,000 mile plus National Scenic Trail. It runs into the funky and fun art sculpture park of Lakanenland. Or try out the paved path along Lake Superior with multiple outlets down to the water. You can’t go wrong with your adventure choice in Marquette in the summer. The whole town is SUPER dog friendly!

Off the ferry on Lake Superior, time to head to our cabin in Grand Island Michigan.

Grand Island.
Located just off the shore of Munising is Grand Island on Lake Superior. A ten minute dog friendly ferry ride lands you on the island. You can hike the whole island or weave through the interior of it. We stayed in a primitive cabin available through the National Parks HERE. There are a ton of day trippers but if you have the chance to spend the night you’ll be just a few amongst a massive and quiet island. If your doggo isn’t into boats this one is probably still fine. Our pooch didn’t even flinch, and the ferry ride is quick! We brought a bicycle with panniers because the cabin was two miles away from the dock. It’s all pack in and pack out so pack light but bring the essentials!

Hiking along Lake Michigan on one of its several dog friendly trails.

Let’s head to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan for more dog friendly hiking options!

Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve.
Located along the famous M-22 Road near the town of Frankfort is Green Point Dunes. Majestic vistas of Lake Michigan, dog friendly trails, and enough ascent to break a sweat of a warm summer day.
This was a favorite of ours when we were heading to one of the tasty eateries in Franklin (we lived in Interlochen Michigan nearby.)
There’s a variety of nature preserve protected and run by the Grand Traverse and Leelanau Conservancy’s and almost all that we encountered were dog friendly.

Cotopaxi is all smiles hiking the dog friendly Lost Lake in Interlochen Michigan.
Trail Running the Lost Lake Pathway in Interlochen Michigan.

Lost Lake Pathway.
This trail was in the national forest just around the corner from where we lived in Interlochen. It was buggy and flat when we went in the summer. As a result of that it was a trail run for us. Honestly if you aren’t near Interlochen I don’t think you need to go out of your way for this one. BUT if you are it’s great! No crowds, 6.5 mile loop, and a flat enough grade that is perfect for running.
Cotopaxi earned his trail legs at a young age on Lost Lake and I’ll never forget his high energy levels here!

Hiking the dog friendly Arcadia Dunes with Lake Michigan in the background.

Arcadia Dunes.
A quieter alternative to the immensely popular dune trails in Sleeping Bear. This one you’ll have mainly to yourself and get as gorgeous views of Lake Michigan as I have seen during my two summers spent in Michigan. The trails offer several lengths and degree of difficulty options as well, just make sure you capture that stunning blue in your head when you see it. The Great Lakes can make quite an impact on you, if you are open to the beauty and power of nature!

Hiking along Lake Michigan with sand in our noses :).

Encourage well being (with sand on your nose!)

Looking back on these trails and photos make me so grateful for our time in Northern Michigan. We had (I hope) one of the most difficult family experiences that summer one could ever go through. And Cotopaxi and these trails guided my partner and I through it all. Our well being was a priority just like Happy People Hike hopes. He encouraged well being by forcing us out on these dog friendly hikes in Northern Michigan day after day after day. That’s why it’s more than just a hike and dogs are the BEST. Hiking is a tool to dance in the thunderstorms and come out after the storm alive and well. We did and I hope anyone else going through tough times knows they also will.

Northern Michigan is SUPER dog friendly.

As I reside in the desert during this writing it makes me shocked with just how MANY hiking options we had. It’s all dog friendly it seems in Northern Michigan!

He hiked, ate, kayaked, ran, played, and basically did anything he wanted with us. Pure Michigan Baby!

Mike Rudd, Jessica Care Moore, and Tim Allen. LOL.

When you are ready for a dog friendly hiking adventure in the US make sure you put Northern Michigan at the top of your list!

Happy Trails and Happy Hiking to you and your Pups!
Thanks for reading and supporting Happy People Hike, comment below with any questions or your favorite dog friendly hikes in Northern Michigan.

Mike R

Mike Rudd

Mike Rudd

Nomad, Dood Dad, Planet Lover. Hashtag59 & Happy People Hike Lead Intern. Freelance Writer and Content Creator. Health and Wellness Curator.

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