Okay hikers, listen up. For some of the most fun, invigorating, interesting hiking experiences anywhere around, the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan has you covered.

The Petoskey Area includes the very cool, very friendly resort towns of Petoskey (makes sense), Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, and Boyne City. And while there are tons of great restaurants and shops in each of them, the real bonanza for hikers is the surrounding wooded, rolling hills, crystal clear lakes, and glistening rivers and streams.

For starters, the Petoskey Area is home to more than 125 nature preserves in the Little Traverse Conservancy. It encompasses a total of well over 7,500 acres that are dedicated to preserving the natural diversity and beauty of northern Michigan. The preserves are perfect for exploring creeks looking for wildlife, and strolling along sandy beaches — all in peaceful, undisturbed settings.

For absolutely spectacular views, head for the Avalanche Mountain Preserve in Boyne City. You’ll love hiking through the wooded trails, then climbing the 462 steps to the top. Believe me, the views of Lake Charlevoix (named by USA Today as #2 in the country for America’s Best Lake – 2012) are well worth the effort.

For a break from hiking, the Bear River Valley Recreation Area features whitewater kayaking to go along with nature trails that follow the river. And the Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center lets you watch fish through the glass of a stream viewing chamber when you’re not on its gorgeous hiking/nature trails.

Ready for a hike that lets you go and go ‘til your heart’s content? The North Country Trail is the longest scenic trail in the United States, passing through seven states and bisecting the Petoskey Area.

So grab your favorite hiking boots, a comfortable backpack, and maybe some binoculars. Believe me, the memories you’ll have of hiking in the Petoskey Area will provide you with stories to share for years to come.

Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.


Updated: May 2, 2023