It’s easy to see why the Jordan River Pathway is one of the most pupular hikes on the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Tucked away in the Mackinaw State Forest, this trail dips into valleys and climbs to pawsome overlooks. Thick forests and the sweeping vistas of the Jordan River Valley give this trail four paws up when it comes to scenery.
The trail meanders alongside the Jordan River, Michigan’s First National Wild and Scenic River. The groves of hardwood trees and riparian habitat are not only lovely to look at, they are also home to beavers, raccoons, mink, and otters. Mosquitoes and deer flies are also abundant, so be sure to pack some bug spray. During the fall, the bright autumn colors take this trail to a whole other dimension.
Most folks take two days to complete the trail, but that’s with almost 10 miles of hiking per day. If you and your pooch plan to take it slower, tack on another day or two. One section of the trail is particularly tough. If you want to get this challenging segment out of the way first, hike the loop clockwise. Pinney Bridge State Campground is located around the trail’s midpoint. While you don’t have to camp here for the night, it does have primitive restrooms, water pump, trash cans, and picnic tables. Sites are $13.00 a night.
A Michigan Recreation Pass is required to use this trail. Residents can purchase the annual pass for $11.00 when renewing their driver’s license. Non-residents can get a daily pass for $9.00 or an annual pass for $32.00 at Michigan state parks or online.
While there are access to several overlooks along the trail, the main trailhead and parking is located at Deadman’s Hill. By the time you make it back to your care, your doggo will be exhausted, but they’ll also feel like a champion!