5 Best Midwest Hikes Reviewed in 2018
Last Updated by Ricky Holzer on Thursday, December 27th, 2018View other years: 2016 2017 2019
Unlike the previous two years, I did much more exploring in Midwest states other than Minnesota where I live, adding new hikes to the website in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. As a result, this list is much more diverse ecologically than other years, including the waterfall strewn paradise of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the boreal landscape of Minnesota's Boundary Waters, the badlands of North and South Dakota, and the highest point in the entire Midwest in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I will warn you, the best hikes on this list are on the longer side, which goes to show you really have to earn the most beautiful scenery despite there being plenty of drive-up overlooks and quick, easy hikes in the Midwest.
5. Door Trail, Badlands National Park, South Dakota Badlands National Park, this is the hike to do!
4. Cascade Falls Loop, Ottawa National Forest, Michigan Agate Falls or Bond Falls. This is more than your standard waterfall hike though, and a short but steep climb before the falls will reward you with distant views of deep green forest and rolling hills, most of which is part of the Ottawa National Forest. As a less traveled trail that is occasionally overgrown, the entire experience also feels much more adventurous than your average hike. Once you finish, you'll likely be able to enjoy the waterfall by yourself, cooling off in its refreshing waters while relaxing to the sounds of nature's white noise machine.
3. Caribou Rock Trail to Rose Falls, Superior National Forest, Minnesota Eagle Mountain (Minnesota's highest point) on the previous day, and let me tell you, this hike is much harder despite being a similar length. Even though you'll emerge from the forest tired, sweat-drenched, scratched, and thoroughly devoured by mosquitoes, I promise the joys of this hike will persevere over the pain in your memories.
2. Black Elk Peak Loop (South Dakota State Highpoint), Custer State Park, South Dakota
1. Lone Tree Loop to Petrified Forest, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt National Park. On this 12 mile trek, I saw absolutely everything the park has to offer: stunning badlands rock formations, endless flat prairie grasslands, the oddity that is the petrified forest, and wildlife big and small from prairie dogs to wild horses to bison. The hike starts intensely with an unassisted crossing of the Little Missouri River, which depending on the season and rainfall can be anywhere from a chilly inconvenience to a dangerous hazard forcing you to reroute. The remainder of the journey treks through untouched wilderness where you'll have an unparalleled chance to view wildlife and landscapes most visitors to the park will never see. The loop ends with a triumphant gradual downslope on the Big Plateau Trail where adorable prairie dogs will attempt to distract you from some of the greatest views in the park.
Hopefully reading about these hikes will help you through the cold, dark winter months -- start planning your trips for 2019 now! What were your favorite hikes this past year? Let me know by commenting below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram to share all your adventures!