The North Country Trail, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore; 42 miles, point to point
The North Country Trail stretches for 40-odd miles on the south shore of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and you'll need four days to trek it. The payoff is Caribbean-blue water along Northwoods forests lit up by red and yellow maple trees. From the shore town of Grand Marais, the trail crosses 12 miles of white-sand beaches, then skirts the edge of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with sandstone cliffs dropping 200 feet to the lake. Fourteen designated backcountry campsites line the route, so finding a spot is easy. "Definitely camp at Mosquito Beach," says Bill Thompson, co-owner of Downwind Sports, in nearby Marquette. "It's incredibly pretty and faces west, so you can watch the sun drop into Lake Superior."
How To Do It: To hike it point to point, use the Alger County Transit's backpacker shuttle, which will pick you up at the trail's end, at the Munising Falls Interpretive Center, and drop you off at the start ($20; altranbus.com).