Six Great Hiking Trails of the Midwest

The Midwest region of the United States has some fantastic hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are a few popular ones:

1. The North Country Trail (or simply know as the NCT) – This long-distance trail stretches from New York to North Dakota, passing through several states in the Midwest, including Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota, thus stretching over 4,800 miles. The NCT connects more than 160 public land units, including parks, forests, scenic attractions, wildlife refuges, game areas, and historic sites.

The trail passes by Wren Falls in Iron County, Wisconsin
The North Country Trail in the Manistee National Forest, Michigan

2. The Ozark Trail – This trail system in Missouri offers over 350 miles of scenic hiking, with diverse landscapes ranging from rocky bluffs to rolling hills. The trail is currently composed of thirteen sections, most of which are joined to other sections, though some gaps exist. 

View of the Taum Sauk section of the trail on Goggins Mountain

3. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail – This trail in Wisconsin follows the terminal moraine of the last ice age and offers stunning views of glacial landscapes. Stretching 1,200 miles, the trail passes through 30 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, from the northwestern part of the state to the Lake Michigan shoreline in the east. The western end of the trail is at Interstate State Park along the St. Croix River, which is the border between northwestern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. The eastern terminus of the Ice Age Trail lies at Potawatomi State Park, along Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula off of Sturgeon Bay.

The Ice Age Trail’s Wood Lake segment in Taylor County

4. The Superior Hiking Trail (also know as the SHT) – This trail in Minnesota runs along the ridgeline of the Sawtooth Mountains, offering panoramic views of Lake Superior and the surrounding wilderness. This 310 miles trail travels through forests of birch, aspen, pine, fir, and cedar. Hikers enjoy views of boreal forests, the Sawtooth Mountains, babbling brooks, rushing waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.

Temperance River State Park Bridge

5. The Shawnee National Forest – This forest in southern Illinois has several hiking trails, including the River to River Trail, Garden of the Gods, and the Pine Hills Nature Trail. It consists of approximately 280,000 acres with seven designated wilderness areas.

Rock formations near hiking trail
Scenic view

6. The Badlands National Park – South Dakota’s Badlands National Park offers several hiking trails with unique geological formations and abundant wildlife. located in southwestern South Dakota. The park protects 242,756 acres  of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. 

The Badlands National Park

These are just a few of the many wonderful hiking trails available in the Midwest region of the United States. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, there’s something for everyone! eGift Card
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