Epic Forests At Hartwick Pines

Full of majestic White Pines and Hemlock trees, Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, Michigan, is one of the largest state parks in the Lower Peninsula. Here you can experience the magic of wandering through an old growth forest, one of the few remaining in Michigan. Additionally, several educational exhibits share insights on the history of the logging industry in the state. Truly a gem of a Michigan State Park!

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan


Visitor Center/Main Parking Lot
3612 State Park Dr.
Grayling, MI 49738

Hartwick Pines Highlights

  • 21 miles of trails – great for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing
  • 1.25 mile paved and accessible Old Growth Forest Trail
  • Bright & Glory Lakes – two small catch and release fishing lakes
  • Visitor Center with educational exhibits
  • Historical Logging Museum
  • Modern campground

Hartwick Pines Trail Map

Old Growth Forest Trail

From the parking lot by the Visitor Center, follow the wooden boardwalk to the Old Growth Forest Trailhead. At the start of the boardwalk, you will find this plaque honoring Edward E. Hartwick, for whom the park is named.

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

“This remnant of primeval pine forests which he loved is given by his wife Karen B. Hartwick…”

Wander Through Towering Trees

As a paved and relatively flat 1.25 mile path, the Old Growth Forest Trail is great path for adventurers of all ages and abilities. Definitely a family friendly favorite hiking trail!

There is something so magical and peaceful about strolling through the woods, especially when the trees are hundreds of years old. Along the Old Growth Forest Trail, many of these pines are estimated to be between 350 and 375 years old. The largest trees are up to 160 feet tall and up to 4 feet in diameter.

With 49 acres of old growth forest in Hartwick Pines, catch a glimpse of what Northern Michigan looked like before the logging boom of the 1800s.

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

Throughout the trail, there are several informational boards about the history and ecology of the forest. Very interesting to read!

Old growth forest: An ecological condition where forest vegetation is dominated by trees in the mature stages of their life cycle

If you love learning about forests, check out 5 Amazing Benefits of Old Growth Forests.

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

Chapel in the Woods

Along the Old Growth Forest Trail, you will come across the rustic Chapel in the Woods. Built in 1953, the chapel provides a place for spiritual reflection and meditation.

Interestingly, the chapel can be reserved for weddings as well. What a beautiful location for a wedding ceremony!

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

Logging Museum

In this section of Hartwick Pines, take a self guided tour of a replica 19th century logging camp. Explore the logging museum buildings and outdoor logging equipment to see what daily life looked like during Michigan’s logging boom.

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

Throughout the summer months, various educational events are held near the Logging Museum. On the day we visited, blacksmith and saw repair reenactors demonstrated their skilled trades for visitors.

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

Bright & Glory Lakes Trail

For another beautiful and kid friendly hike, check out the 1/2 mile out and back Bright & Glory Lakes Trail.

To access the trailhead, park in the campground area over by the playground. The trailhead begins between site 15 & 16.

After walking along the narrow wooded path, take in the beautiful lake views of Bright Lake and Glory Lake. Both lakes have docks that are perfect spots for some catch and release fishing.

Other Old Growth Forests In Michigan

To see more beautiful mature forests in Michigan, check out these parks:

Happy Exploring!

Exploring Hartwick Pines State Park In Grayling, Michigan

Have you visited Hartwick Pines or any of the other old growth forests in Michigan? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Related: 16 Hiking & Camping Activities: Fun Times Ahead! & Easy Kid Friendly Camping Meals

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *