Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 46.98025°N / 88.59375°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Sport Climbing, Toprope, Bouldering, Ice Climbing, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 1979 ft / 603 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Hello all,

This page is far from perfect and far from being as comprehensive as I would like it to be, so please have mercy. I have tried my best to link all of the information regarding the Upper Peninsula on Summitpost into one place, and add some new stuff as well.
The UP, as those of us who have spent time there know well, is an amazing and beautiful place. There are plenty of Summitpost-worthy things to do there, and I hope to help people make their way up there by making information available. If you have any additional ideas/places to go please let me know, I am more than willing to cooperate and make the UP more available to everyone!


Welcome to the UP!

Da UP, eh?

Michigan's Upper Peninsula--where do I begin? The UP is the northern half of the great state of Michigan, and a whole world apart from the southern half. Characterized by northern boreal forests and woodland, along with miles and miles of of both rugged and calm Great Lake shoreline, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a natural wonderland. Hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, canoeing--you name it, it can be done in the UP. And done with style! The UP rivals any other place you can come up with in terms of outdoors activities, in both quality and quantity. It is worth the trip, no matter where you originate from, so go ahead and make the drive. The northwoods beckons...


'Mountain' Ranges of the Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula is home to several 'mountain' ranges. To most folks these ranges would barely classify as hills, but in the Upper Midwest, we take what we can get and represent our 'mountains' with pride!

The most popular is the Porcupine Mountain range. Located in the western end of the peninsula, the 'Porkies' are made of the same basaltic lava flows that formed the rugged Keweenaw Peninsula, the Trap Hills and Isle Royale and rise dramatically from the shores of Lake Superior about 10 miles west of Ontonagon, MI. Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park encompasses the entire range, and is a favorite place for backpacking. Please see the Porcupine Mountain page for more information.

The other popular range is the Huron Range. These hills, located generally northwest of Marquette, MI are the highest some of the most rugged in the state and contain Mt. Arvon, Michigan's highpoint. This area is very undeveloped and access to most of it is only by logging roads. Unfortunately most of it is on private land as well. Please see the Huron Mountain page for more information.

Another, lesser known, area of vertical relief is the Trap Hills. These hills, located in the UP's west end, are seldom visited and a worthy place to get lost.

Rock Climbing in the Upper Peninsula

the cliffs

In my limited experience, I have climbed outdoors in two different locations in the UP. These areas are The Cliffs, in the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the Silver Mountain area, west of Baraga, MI. I wish I knew more at this point regarding routes, more locations and seasonality, but I don't. The Michigan Tech Ridge Roamers is a student organization devoted to climbing of all types. Contact them (climb@mtu.edu) with questions regarding climbing areas in the UP, especially in the western half. If anyone has ideas or places in mind, please let me know. I would like to give this its own section too, but lack the information to do so. If you want to know what I know about The Cliffs, see the Keweenaw section. Thanks for understanding!

Ice Climbing in the Upper Peninsula

Another picture of me heading...
Ice climbing is most popular in the Pictured Rocks area.

As with rock climbing, I do not know as much I would like to about ice climbing in the UP. I know that it is done, and is not a rarity. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is home to much of the ice climbing in the UP. Each winter there is a popular event in Munising called Ice Fest. People can go to learn how to ice climb, to hone their skills or just hang out with other climbers. Please see the page on Munising Falls for more information on ice climbing in the Munising area. Another place I know people ice climb is Hungarian Falls, in the Keweenaw Peninsula. As with rock climbing, contact the MTU Ridge Roamers if seriously looking for places to climb in the UP.


The Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale

Located in the far north of the Upper Peninsula, The Keweenaw Peninsula is an outdoor playground all to itself. Home to hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking and canoeing hotspots, it is an outdoor lover's dream come true. Isle Royale National Park, a wilderness paradise situated in Lake Superior, is headquartered in the Keweenaw. The Keweenaw is also home to The Cliffs, one of the best areas in all of the UP for sport and toprope climbing. All in all, the Keweenaw is a must-see for anyone who will be in the area.

Winter in the Keweenaw means one thing: guaranteed 250+ inches of snow!

Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a unique area along the southern shore of Lake Superior, east of Munising, MI. It is home to steep, rugged cliffs that plunge right into Lake Superior and miles and miles of trail to be explored. It is a true backpacker or kayaker's paradise!

Wilderness Areas of the UP

Much of the Upper Peninsula is remote National Forest Land, but apart from the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park there are only three designated wilderness areas: Sylvania, McCormick and Sturgeon River Gorge. The McCormick Wilderness is the least known of these and is also the least accessible of the three.

The Sturgeon River Gorge is located roughly 15 miles west of Baraga, MI. It is known for its large (believe it or not) gorge and waterfall. The gorge is a sight to behold: a veritable canyon of sorts right here in the Midwest, over 300 feet deep in spots and roughly 1/2 to 1 mile wide all along its length.

Sylvania is the best known and most visited of the wilderness areas in the UP. Access is from Watersmeet, MI (home to those oh-so-famous Nimrods). Sylvania, full of lakes and old growth woodlands, has primitive campsites available throughout the wilderness and is a very popular canoeing area, with designated portages and canoe trails throughout.

All three of the wilderness areas are discussed to some degree here.



The Upper Peninsula is home to many beautiful waterfalls. dwhike has created a wonderful tribute page to them. There is also a page dedicated to waterfalls in the Keweenaw.


Upper Peninsula Travel Information
Exploring the North
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan State Parks
The National Park Service

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Alpinist - Sep 13, 2007 9:18 am - Voted 10/10

Wilderness Areas

You covered state parks and the national park service nicely. Michigan also has land designated as federal wilderness areas. Here's a link to the USFS Wilderness Area page that covers the Sylvania Wilderness, McCormick Wilderness, and Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness areas. Supposedly, this area is the largest roadless area in the state.

Viewing: 1-1 of 1



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Lake SuperiorAreas & Ranges