Sugarloaf Mountain: A Short Hike to an Amazing View

Michigan is home to hundreds of great hiking trails to explore – many of which offer spectacular views to enjoy along the way. Today, native “Yooper” Jesse Land takes us on a journey through Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette, which he thinks rewards hikers with one of the best views in Michigan.

Marquette is full of excellent hikes and beautiful views. One shining example is Sugarloaf Mountain. The trailhead for Sugarloaf is just a few miles from downtown Marquette, the turnoff from county road 550 is well marked, and it’s a relatively quick hike to the top where you’re rewarded with one of the best views in the Upper Peninsula.

The Hike to the Top

On a recent hike, my first time to Sugarloaf Mountain, two friends and I took the “difficult” route and made it up in about fifteen minutes. There’s an optional “easy” route with a tamer grade that takes a little longer, but both paths up the mountain do require a extra care as rocks and roots stick out of the ground along much of the path.

Most people come to Sugarloaf for the view, but the forest canopy that envelops the trails is worth mentioning. With century old trees and ancient rock outcroppings, this trail reminds me of a few of the better hikes I’ve done in the rainforests of Australia. It really is a gorgeous area.

As we approached the top, the dirt trail switched to a series of wooden stairs that brought us up to the viewing area. At the top we were rewarded with a stunning view of Lake Superior, Marquette, Presque Isle Park and Little Presque Isle as well as Hogsback Mountain and the large swath of forest between Marquette and Big Bay.

Photo courtesy of Crag Grabhorn @ Chalet Press

The Stone Monument

Also at the summit is a stone obelisk erected long ago by Boy Scout Troop 1 to commemorate their assistant scoutmaster Bartlett King. King had helped to establish the local troop, which is one of the claimants of first Boy Scout Troop in the U.S. He later fought and died in World War I and his troop members wanted to construct a memorial that his mother could see from her home on Marquette’s arch street.

Three Observation Decks

As we stood there, about 1,000 feet above sea level, I was impressed with how much work has been put into this viewing area. Three viewing platforms situated atop Sugarloaf Mountain offer three slightly different vantage points. The first observation deck faces southward toward Marquette and offers a view of the Superior Dome, the Upper Ore Dock and Presque Isle Park. The second deck faces northward toward Wetmore Landing and Little Presque Isle island. And the third platform faces westward and offers a great view of Hogsback Mountain.

After the Hike

After our hike we opted for a late lunch in downtown Marquette, but deciding where to eat was no easy task as Marquette County is filled with excellent dining options, not to mention being home to four of the thirteen Upper Peninsula Breweries.

Getting There

Sugarloaf Mountain is located about six miles north of downtown Marquette on CR 550. Get there by taking Washington Street to Fourth Avenue. Turn north onto Fourth Ave., which becomes Presque Isle Ave and drive .4 miles to Hawley Street. At Hawley Street, turn west (left). Hawley becomes CR 550. Drive about 4.0 miles on Hawley Street/CR-550 to the parking area. A sign that reads “Sugarloaf Mountain” marks the parking area and is easily visible from CR 550.

Have you been to Sugarloaf Mountain? What did you think?

This blog post was written by Jesse Land on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan. Marquette County is home to some of the best hiking, biking, motorcycling, beaches, breweries and restaurants in the Upper Peninsula. Learn more about beautiful Marquette County at

5 Urban Bike Trails You Need to Ride in Michigan

Did you know Michigan boasts more than 1,300 miles of winding bike trails across the state? While many might think of bike trails as back-woods, there are some that aren’t far from popular urban destinations! Read more on five trails found near bustling cities to check out this summer and how to get there.

1. Flint River Trail – Flint

A ride on this asphalt-paved trail is a must for anyone on the east side of the state. On this trail, you’ll pass through neighborhoods and city parks while learning about Flint’s heritage via historical signs. The Friends of the Flint River Trail lead bike rides every Sunday May through October starting at 2 p.m. from the Flint Farmer’s Market.

A point-of-view shot of the Flint River Trail

Photo Courtesy of the Flint Corridor Alliance

2. Port Huron Bridge to Bay Trail – Port Huron

While spending time on Michigan’s sunrise coast, don’t miss riding the Bridge to Bay Trail. This trail begins near the iconic Blue Water Bridge and stretches along the St. Clair River. You’ll head over the Black River drawbridge and then through downtown Port Huron and the Blue Water River Walk, ending just past the Coast Guard Cutter Bramble Museum and a tunnel under Military Street in New Baltimore. If driving isn’t your style, you can take the Amtrak Blue Water train and stow your bike!

3. Dequindre Cut – Detroit

The Dequindre Cut Greenway is a recreational bike path that opened in 2009 after being a Grand Trunk Railroad line for many years.. This 1.6-mile stretch offers a pedestrian link between the Detroit Riverfront, Eastern Market and many of the residential neighborhoods in between.

An inviting path in Detroit

Bike paths in Detroit offer unique vantage points

4. Grand River Edge – Grand Rapids

Head to the west side of Michigan and explore the Grand River Edges Trail system. These trails guide you along the banks of the Grand River while connecting downtown Grand Rapids to Kent Trails and Millennium Park. The trail includes 2.2 miles of paved path in Riverside Park that connects to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park.

A bike resting in at the Frederik Meijer Gardens

The Grand River Edge Trail offers beautiful scenery

5. Marquette City Multi Use Path – Marquette

Ride an Upper Peninsula network comprised of 17 miles of paved trails that takes you through some of the most scenic vistas and historic landmarks in the area. The most popular stretch of the trail spans about five miles along the Lake Superior shoreline from the MDOT Welcome Center in Harvey to Presque Isle Park.

What are your favorite trails around Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

This Musical Journey Through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Will Leave You Mesmerized, Guaranteed!

Do you have five minutes? Trust us. You’ll be blown away by this new music video produced by Marquette, Michigan based visual artist Shawn Malone. 

“As the World Falls Away” is set to the new music of North American Ambient Electronic recording artist David Helpling, and features captivating scenes of Michigan landscape and night sky, interwoven with NASA ISS flyover scenes, courtesy the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center.

This wonderful juxtaposition of spectacular scenes from Earth and Space take the viewer on an immersive audio and visual journey from the edge of the Earth to the depths of the sea and leaving the viewer completely mesmerized.

Check out the video filmed entirely in Michigan. Then, see where it all took place with Shawn’s notes on the video and scene-by-scene breakdown below!

As The World Falls Away – David Helpling from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

Notes on video from visual artist Shawn Malone:

Living on the south shore of Lake Superior, summer is very special as both sunrise and sunset occur right over the lake. With this past harsh winter, the cold water of the lake produced surreal opportunities with fog, one of those scenes with the massive fog bank completely blotting out the sunset made the cut.

Upper Michigan has amazing dark skies, and is a high enough latitude to catch the aurora every now and then. Simply living here provides endless inspiration for the the subject matter of my art, beautiful country. As a matter of fact, about 15 years ago, with no jobs lined up we made the move from a very urban metropolitan area and chose to live in the Upper Peninsula, in awe of the beauty and solitude of the Lake Superior region.

My video approach actually starts with the music, something that is inspiring and will fit with whatever content I am producing. I then work to tie similar visual elements found in completely different scenes together through sequence order and sometimes the use of color while creating a visual flow that reflects what is happening in the music at the time, with a final result having emotion and impact. I first learned of David Helpling’s music when working on “North Country Dreamland,” another time-lapse video that exclusively features the night sky of Upper Michigan. I had approached the team of David Helpling and Jon Jenkins and asked if they would agree to let me use a gorgeous track from their trilogy, and they agreed. That video went on to win a Smithsonian video award in 2013 and now has over 250k views on Vimeo.

Scene Sequence:

- Morning dew on beach grass, Lake Superior, Marquette
- Lake Superior summer sunsets from the south shore of Lake Superior, Marquette
- Crescent moon rises through pastel colored sky and smoky waves from western forest fires
- Multicolored storm cloud sequences(one pink, one with golden mammatus clouds from the same storm)
- Sunsets from the south shore of Lake Superior
- Marquette
- Grand Island blue ice curtains, filmed under a bright moon while frozen Lake Superior creaked and rumbled under foot

Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Photo

Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Photo

International Space Station fly over scenes:
- Milky Way and red aurora
- Full moon setting behind earth
- A large bright comet rising
- From North to South America in 15 seconds
- Intense isolated lightning storm over Lake Superior Marquette
- Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior Marquette
- Aurora substorm reflecting in Tobin Harbor, Isle Royale, late September 2014
- Winter aurora over frozen Lake Superior with green, red, purple curtains, bright moon illuminating the snow
- ISS fly over of auroras with similar colors as seen from space
- Grand Island shipwreck of 1870, the Bermuda- rays of light shining down on the wreck

- The great auroras from Oct 2011, photographed in Marquette, this scene constructed from a few random stills in the sequence they were photographed, sequence showing light of the aurora forming what look to be angels descending and ascending
- One of those rare sunsets after an intense thunderstorm, lighting still going off behind me, rainbows to my right, and this massively epic sunset to the left. Pink cloud scene immediately following is from same storm
- Subtle auroras over ice mounds of Lake Superior showing how versatile in color the aurora can be, this time magenta and yellowish green hues
- Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse with it’s lantern room pointing directly to Polaris the north star, as the constellations rotate around it- lighthouse illuminated from the light of Munising (it was a very dark moonless night)
- The Milky Way sweeping over the foundation of the company store, Fayette ghost town
- Milky Way reflecting off an inland lake in the central Upper Peninsula
- Very strong fog bank sweeping in off Lake Superior completely blocking out the sunset as it passed
- All sky view of the most colorful aurora I’ve ever seen, as viewed from the south shore of Lake Superior,  with a red arc ending the video straight through the center of the frame

What did you think of the video? 

David Helpling is on the Spotted Peccary label and his music is available on CD and available for download. Follow David Helpling on Facebook.

Shawn Malone is a visual artist based in Marquette, Michigan a and runs a photography gallery at 211 S. Front St. in downtown Marquette of her landscape photography work. Her art is available for purchase and can be contacted there also for time-lapse/video projects. Follow LakeSuperiorPhoto on Facebook.