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High Country Pathway - IMBA Epic

 3.3 (4)
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Map Key

82.0 Miles 132.0 Kilometers


4,615' 1,407 m


-4,614' -1,406 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (21°)

1,221' 372 m


766' 233 m


Shared By glen ruczynski



Getting forecast...

Michigan's longest loop trail crossing through three counties and covering varied terrain.

glen ruczynski

Dogs Leashed

Features -none-


From beautiful hill top vistas to dark, cool cedar swamps and pine plantations, the High Country Pathway (HCP) provides the full Michigan woods experience. Home to the largest free range elk herd this side of the Mississippi, the HCP crosses through three counties with very little sign of civilization. This 80-mile loop is perfect for an all day, or two-day adventure for those that enjoy rugged, unimproved trails. You'll have the opportunity to see elk, deer, bear, beaver and more along the way.

The official trailheads are in Vanderbilt on Sturgeon Valley Road and next to the forest headquarters. However, the trail crosses many roads and other campgrounds which can also serve as access points. Pump wells and artesian wells are located at campgrounds along the way, but there are no towns or food sources to access. Be sure to self-support for worst case scenarios with repair parts and food. This trail has humbled some very strong riders who walk back in or are running single speed upon return.

Waterproof maps are available here, and are highly recommended.


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  3.3 from 4 votes


  3.3 from 4 votes
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in Michigan


263 Views Last Month
14,260 Since Jul 2, 2015
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Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
Want to see NO ONE , this is an excellent trail for the soul, body and mind. I saw no one for 7 days.. Not even a car. Be prepared, the store and gas station on m-33 just north of clear lake is CLOSED, but the restaurant and bar is OPEN, Stock up on goodies at FREDDIES in Atlanta.. I have been going up here for almost 30 years .Please keep it clean. pack out your trash. The trails are beautiful , let the next generation enjoy them as well. tks. have a blast. Apr 6, 2016
Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
I purchased a map from the PRC in an effort to plan a 2 day/overnight bikepacking trip but I was looking for assistance on the current state of the trails (i.e., how defined/clear are they), when is the best time to go to avoid mosquito/bugs and from what you stated above...., theres probably no issue with camping. Thanks. Jul 26, 2016
Glen Ruczynski
Traverse City, MI
Glen Ruczynski   Traverse City, MI
The northeast corner is in pretty rough shape, lots of log crossings and trees down. The rest is typicaly HCP riding, slow, slippery board walks, occasional trees, etc. Late May to early June and then again in mid to late septmeber are the best times since the ferns are lower and it's easier to navigate the trail. Enjoy! Jul 29, 2016

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