Baraga County has not only a wealth of undeveloped land and existing trail systems but also an enthusiastic group of people working to expand them. There is currently a major economic development planning effort underway in the county, and both the county and L’Anse Township, Village, and Area Schools have recently developed new recreation plans. It is hoped that recreation can play a significant role in economic development. Non-motorized and motorized trails are among the highest-priority recreation projects identified. Snowmobile trails lack formalized connectivity to the north, and this is a particular impediment to economic development. The ORV network is receiving growing use and faces its own landownership issues. However, a recent trend has been toward non-motorized trails that produce a relatively high cost-benefit return for low-impact users.
Trails in Baraga County are listed and described below. Most of these are trails over land; water trails are denoted with .
- Point Abbaye County Park: The County Park is the location of one 0.4 -mile minimally developed Tip Trail, a two-rut pathway from a parking area at the trailhead to the tip of the peninsula, which is the northernmost point in Baraga County. Tent camping often takes place along and at the end of this trail. The trail can become muddy after periods of rain. Two additional unsigned primitive hiking trails, the Bay Trail and Woods Trail, are 0.3 and 0.6 miles in length respectively. All trails are poorly defined and not regularly maintained, but are mapped at the trailhead. Plans are in the works for future trail improvements, including development of an accessible pathway to the point, development of loop trails extending from this path, and spurs leading to primitive campsites. These plans are proposed for implementation from 2013 to 2016.
- Baraga Plains Trails: Located northwest of the junction of Highways U.S. 41 and U.S. 141/M-28, this Department of Natural Resources-owned 28-mile loop trail is off-road vehicle (ORV)-oriented and minimally suitable for mountain biking; it is inappropriate for most other non-motorized recreation.
- Baraga School Forest Trail is 0.5 miles long with another 0.5-mile loop and is located in the community of Pelkie in the far northwest of the county.
- Pelkie Creek Hunter Walking Trail is located along Pelkie Creek near the Sturgeon River south of the community of Pelkie. (Map via U.S. Forest Service)
Baraga and Covington Townships
- Net River: See Hematite Township in Iron County.
- Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness: Congressionally designated wilderness area contains four established trails that permit non-motorized use only, and most are suited only to hiking. The wilderness straddles the border of Baraga and Houghton Counties. (Map via U.S. Forest Service)
- Bears Den Overlook is located on F.R. 2200 about 0.25 miles south of the junction with F.R. 2270. It has a very short (0.15-mile) trail from a parking area to the overlook.
- North Country Trail enters Baraga County to wrap around the east side of the wilderness for about 8 miles. A spur to F.R. 2270 creates a connection close to the Sturgeon Falls Trail (see below).
- Pine Bluff Trail is located west of the junction of F.R.s 2200 and 2240 on the eastern border of the wilderness. The hiking trail runs 0.8 miles on even ground within the wilderness to the edge of the gorge. It is possible but not recommended to continue down into the deep gorge.
- Sidnaw Creek Trail is 7.5 miles long with trailheads on F.R. 2224 on the eastern border of the wilderness and at the end of F.R. 2217 on the western border.
- Sturgeon Falls Trail begins across from a parking area on F.R. 2270 about 1 mile north of the junction with F.R. 2200. The trail is a fairly rugged 1-mile hike down to the named waterfall within the gorge.
- Sturgeon River offers 27 miles of challenging kayaking and whitewater canoeing for advanced paddlers during spring runoff (April-May). Many sections are also passable for more leisurely trips, especially during lower flow periods. This river is accessible at Highways U.S. 41, M-28, and M-38; Sturgeon Gorge Road; Plains Road; and many other points.
- Sturgeon River downstream of Prickett Dam offers several miles of quiet water (relative to the Wilderness section). Access can be had at the dam’s public access site and at numerous smaller roads downstream.
- Baraga State Park Nature Trail: Hiking and cross-country ski trail 0.75 miles in length is part of the State Park just off U.S. 41 at the south end of the Village of Baraga. A state park permit or Recreation Passport is required for access by motor vehicle.
- Canyon Falls Roadside Park: Located on U.S. 41 3 miles north of the junction of U.S. 41 and M-28, a trail leading to the named Sturgeon River waterfall runs through 10 acres of state-owned land. The maintained trail is an easy hike of about ten minutes, but it continues for about another mile as an undesignated, somewhat difficult path which overlooks granite canyon walls and an upper waterfall. The designated trail is handicapped-accessible.The trail is informally used by snowshoers in winter, though the parking lot is unplowed. Restrooms, water, and a picnic area are available while the popular park is open – spring through fall, weather permitting. Canyon Falls can also be reached from a 1.5-mile trail leading from the historic Ford Center in Alberta, which is slightly over one mile to the south. The wildlife-rich Baraga Plains Waterfowl Management Area is located four miles west of the roadside park.
- L’Anse Township Park Trails: L’Anse Township Park, on Skanee Road just north of the Village of L’Anse, is the location of 3 miles of intertwining trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing which may eventually be connected to Village-area trails. The Township has tentative plans to expand the trail system in 2016.
- Pinery Lake Ski Trail: This 3-loop, 5-kilometer groomed cross-country ski trail provides for all skill levels. The trail connects to the L’Anse Area Schools Village Park Nature Trail.
- Falls River Trail is a short footpath beginning near the L’Anse Waterfront Park leads to a fishing area and series of small waterfalls on the Falls River.
- L’Anse Area Schools Village Park Nature Trail is a newly constructed 2.1-mile paved non-motorized trail extending out from the park at the L’Anse Area Schools building. Plans are underway for possible connection to other trails in the area.
- Craig Lake State Park: With 6,900 acres of land, this park is the most remote in the State Parks system. It is located off U.S. 41 near the eastern border of the county. The park is maintained in a mostly primitive state but has two established trails for hiking or (ungroomed) cross-country skiing. Several campsites are located along the trails. (Map via Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
- The Main Trail is 8 miles long and allows for hiking and (ungroomed) cross-country skiing. The trail is very scenic and loops around the east and north sides of Craig Lake.
- A 7.5-mile segment of the North Country Trail is quite rugged in places. It passes along the east side of Craig Lake and then runs east through the north end of the forest, continuing into Marquette County. The segment is one of only two short certified lengths of this long-distance trail in the county.
Click here or on the map below for a printable PDF map and land-based trail information table.
Due to the small scale and level of detail in the map, we recommend using Adobe Reader version X (10) or higher to print in tile format or to print a selected area of the map.