MARQUETTE - Marquette has some of the best hiking, biking and climbing in Michigan and a great many of the trails are just a short drive from downtown Marquette.
Here are 10 hikes that are within 10 miles of the city, in no particular order.
The Tourist Park trail head which is part of the Noquemanon Trail Network offers great hiking all over the Marquette Area. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Marquette area, with its easy accessibility and well maintained trails. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
A beautiful view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain just before sunset is pictured. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Sugarloaf Mountain provides some of the most accessible and accommodating trails in Marquette County. About four miles north of the city, the Sugarloaf parking lot is located on the right side of Marquette County Road 550.
From there, two different footpaths - clearly marked expert and intermediate trails - lead to the summit. The trails include wooden steps and railings for all hiking abilities.
The complete loop is only a half a mile and the average hiker can complete the hike in right around 20 minutes.
Once at the top, hikers can enjoy a 360-degree view of the topography of northern Marquette County. Three viewing platforms dot the top of Sugarloaf, providing clear views in all directions. Lake Superior, Hogback and downtown Market are all in sight.
LITTLE GARLIC TRAILHEAD
The Little Garlic Trailhead is slightly farther than 10 miles from town, but it's a trail worth mentioning.
Located on Marquette County Road 550, about 15 miles from Big Bay, Little Garlic offers a secluded hike along a winding single-track path of moderate difficulty. Obvious blue markings on the trees guide hikers in the correct direction.
The trail doesn't loop, as it is a part of a the 4,600-mile North Country Trail, which runs from New York to North Dakota.
Hikers will enjoy walks along the river, with moderate rises and falls in elevation. Slightly more than two miles miles down the trail, hikers will find Little Garlic Falls.
And if you are looking for waterfalls, you would be remiss to skip a trip to Dead River Falls, some of the most unique falls in Marquette County.
About a half mile from the intersection with U.S. 41, Forestville Road heads north from Wright Street. If you follow Forestville, the road will end in a parking lot adjacent to a trail that follows a portion of the Dead River.
While hiking in the area, you should expect steep grades and varied terrain. Though it isn't marked very well, the trail offers ample opportunities to stop and take a dip in the river. And if you are looking for more of a thrill, there are also many areas that allow for cliff jumping.
ECHO LAKE NATURE
Similar views can be found in the Echo Lake Nature Preserve, which includes a small inland lake with bedrock cliffs to the south and vast wetlands to the north. Walk-in, non-motorized boating is allowed, as is catch-and-release fishing. Pets are not allowed.
The footpath - narrow and with exposed roots - follows the shore of the lake. From the highest point along the south side, views of Little Presque Isle, Hogback and Lake Superior. The fall colors clash beautiful with calm waters of Echo Lake.
Follow Marquette County Road 550 North about 8 miles toward Big Bay. Turn left on the dirt two track follow the signs to Echo Lake.
Other rewarding hikes can be found throughout the Marquette area. For an entertaining day outdoors, be sure to check out some of the following trips, as well.
Follow Marquette County Road 550 north six miles. Once you pass the Sugar Loaf there will be a dirt road about a half mile on your left.
Distance: Eight miles
Directions: Follow Marquette County raod 550 north toward Big Bay for 5 miles it will be on your right wetmore Trail head.
Distance: Five miles
Directions: Follow South front street US 41 toward Harvey. Turn right on Cliff Power Rd then turn right onto Mount Marquette Road.
Presque Isle Park
Distance: Two miles
Directions: Follow Lakeshore West and it will dead end into Presque Isle Park.
Iron Ore Heritage Trail
The trail runs through Negaune.
Tourist Park Trailhead
Distance: Two miles.
Directions: Follow Marquette County Road 550 north, just pass Sugar Loaf Avenue on the left side of the road.
Editor's note: Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 243.