The Schoolcraft County Environmental Laboratory is a system of trails located on 80 acres of wooded land located approximately 4 miles east of Manistique. The Environmental Lab is used to provide hiking opportunities, as well as nature appreciation and environmental education for students and the general public.
Indian Lake Pathway
Located 9 Miles north of Thompson in Schoolcraft County on M-149, the Indian Lake Pathway has a total trail distance of 8.5 miles. It has three loops that can be navigated separately or together as one longer trail. It is a groomed ski trail that winds through gorgeous mixed hardwoods and pine plantation cover. As you traverse throughout the trail system make sure to keep your eyes open for many different species of birds and other animals. The trail is mostly flat to rolling/hilly and suited for novice to intermediate skiers.
Ashford Lake Pathway
Located 16 Miles North of the City of Manistique, on M-94 in Schoolcraft County, the Ashford Lake Pathway has a total trail distance of 18 miles. It is comprised of 3 hiking loops; one 3 miles, one 6 miles, and one 9 miles. It lies on the north side of Ashford Lake, a nice camping and fishing lake that can be enjoyed by families and adventurers alike. Ashford Lake has a public boat launch. The trails are well-marked and maintained by the MI-DNR. Hike Ashford Lake Pathway in the fall and experience the beauty of Schoolcraft County, or snowshoe in the winter and appreciate our northern wilderness.
Rainey Wildlife Area
The ¼-mile trail & boardwalk, winds through stands of maple, yellow birch, & mixed conifers and ends at an elevated observation platform with an outstanding view of the beauty near Smith Creek, Smith's Slough, and Indian Lake. Many different species of birds are plentiful in this 100-acre parcel. There is a possibility you can see bald eagles and ospreys from the observation platform, which would surely add to your hike. This site has no facilities. Portions of this area are even open to public hunting. If you want to take a short hike with the family or search for unique Upper Peninsula wildlife, Rainey Wildlife Area is perfect for your next hiking adventure!
Fox River Pathway
Located 5 Miles NW of the Village of Seney, the Fox River Pathway has a total trail distance of 27.5 miles. The Fox River Pathway takes you through "Hemingway country" near the Fox River where Ernest Hemingway based his "Big Two Hearted River" two-part short story chronicling his adventures along this classic Upper Peninsula trout stream. The Fox River Pathway follows the Fox River and later the Little Fox River. Please be cautioned that this is not an easy hike, and is certainly not recommended for novice hikers. The pathway ends just 4 miles short of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. While you are hiking stop a while and enjoy some world class trout fishing in the Fox and Little Fox rivers, numerous historic sites, and a plethora of wildlife. Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and experience all the Fox River Pathway has to offer!
The Pine Marten Run trail system is comprised of 26 miles of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails in the Ironjaw Lake semi-primitive area of the Hiawatha National Forest. The trail system consists of five different loops as well as access trails from three different trailheads. Parking large enough to accommodate horse trailers is available at each trailhead. Camping is allowed without permit for up to sixteen days at the trailheads. There are numerous rustic camping sites throughout the system including three Adirondack shelters located at Rim Lake, Rumble Lake and along the Indian River.
The Colwell Lake Trail is a two mile loop along the edge of Colwell Lake in the Hiawatha National Forest. This trail is accessible from the Colwell Lake Campground as well as from the trailhead located on M-94. A unique feature of the Colwell Lake Trail is that its surface is made up of compacted gravel which makes it totally accessible to people with mobility issues. There are also frequent benches for resting or for simply taking in the view of beautiful Colwell Lake. Along with the trail being accessible, the campground also meets most ADA guidelines.The trail affords easy access to the entire lake making it easy to fish from the shore at all areas. The trail is in snow country which makes it great for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing (though it is not a groomed trail).