3 - 4 day backpacking trip ideas

Rx88

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
Looking to take a trip late may or June and looking for some ideas on where to go.

I’m in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and looking to drive about 7-8 hours max in any direction for this trip since it is a shorter one.

I initially was thinking drive the 5 hours and spend the trip in Shawnee National forest. They don’t charge any fees for backcountry camping which is a bonus. But then started thinking that there is a pretty good amount of places I can go other than that.

I also considered voyager NP or boundary waters in MN but they are slightly farther than I would want to drive at 9 hours. I am still tossing this idea around though any one been to these?

Or any one from the northern Illinois southern Wisconsin area have suggestions on places that I haven’t mentioned. My main interest is better hiking areas and do some backcountry camping.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
263
I'm not sure of mileage, but it might be closer than the Boundary Waters to go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I used to live in the area, and can say it is gorgeous. May might be kind of cold, and June might be buggy (black flies). In the same vacinity is Grand Island, which is in Munising Bay (within a 10 minute drive to Pictured Rocks' and Hiawatha National Forest's Visitor Center--it's combined). How long of a drive to go to the Smokys? How about the Ozark Trail in Missouri, or the Ouachita Trail? Is there a section of the Ice Age Trail that interests you?
 

Wanderlust073

Member
.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
799
Used to live in the nw burbs. Red River Gorge area of KY and Smoky Moutain NP are both reachable in that amount of time and worth driving to.
 

MVS

Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2015
Messages
51
Mammoth Cave National Park is within that distance, and it is worth a trip. I have never been to Cuyahoga Valley National Park but is within your travel distance. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan there is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and if you go to the U.P. make sure that you eat a pasty. Wisconsin has an array of state parks that you could check out.
 

wsp_scott

Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
842
I just looked on google maps and it appears you can get to most/all of the Daniel Boone NF in ~7 hours of driving, this includes RRG. I would not do a 3-4 day trip in RRG, instead I would check out Big South Fork in southern KY/northern TN. Happy to provide suggestions if you like.
 

Rx88

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
I'm not sure of mileage, but it might be closer than the Boundary Waters to go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I used to live in the area, and can say it is gorgeous. May might be kind of cold, and June might be buggy (black flies). In the same vacinity is Grand Island, which is in Munising Bay (within a 10 minute drive to Pictured Rocks' and Hiawatha National Forest's Visitor Center--it's combined). How long of a drive to go to the Smokys? How about the Ozark Trail in Missouri, or the Ouachita Trail? Is there a section of the Ice Age Trail that interests you?

I am about 8-9 hrs from the smokys but we have gone there frequently over the last few years nothing wrong with it one on my favorites but want to try something different.

Pictured rocks looks nice how are the trails? It’s only about 6.5 hours from me

Ouachita trail is nice I’ve been to the park before but it is kinda out of distance it’s about 12 hrs from me

I have been looking at ice age and have gone a few sections like kettle moraine and devils staircase


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Rx88

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
Used to live in the nw burbs. Red River Gorge area of KY and Smoky Moutain NP are both reachable in that amount of time and worth driving to.

Totally forgot about red river gorge and it is in my distance. Any areas there you would recommend


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,472
how about the Ozarks Highlands Trail? I forget exactly how far it is from you; it's right at the edge of your acceptable range.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,472
Otherwise pick out a nice section of the North Country or Ice Age trails in northern MI or Wisconsin. Or even a section of the Superior Hiking Trail
 

Rx88

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
No I’m considering extending my distance and maybe doing 2 days at badlands ad another 2 at black hills anyone been there?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

AKay09

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
94
The closest backpacking trip I have done near Chicago is the Manistee River Loop trail in Michigan. I want to say it was a little over 20miles and about a 5 hour drive. Can get pretty crowded though but there are some decent sites on the river. I personally think it would be worth it though to drive further to some place a bit more remote.

I have always wanted to check out the Badlands though but if you're willing to drive out to the Black Hills, Colorado isn't much further of a drive really. But would probably need to make it a two day drive. We are in a rough spot when it comes to nice backpacking locations.
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
263
You asked about Pictured Rocks... the trails are generally well maintained. Every once in a while they get wind storms and trees are down, but they usually take care of that quickly. The Lakeshore Trail is 43 miles long, and goes from Munising to Grand Marais. There are only a few climbs of maybe 200 feet at a crack, so it's not a climbing workout. There is a shuttle (contact the visitor center or web page for information) that will pick you up at one end and drop you off at the other. Since I moved, the road has been improved and I believe they will drop you off in between, as well. The backcountry campsites can be reserved. I recommend starting at the Grand Marais end and going west, but that's only because if you take the shuttle, you'll get dropped off at the East end earlier. From the East, you hike along a beautiful little lake, in the northern woods for a few miles, and eventually come out atop a 200 foot high dune overlooking Lake Superior. You drop off of the dune and hike past a lighthouse. The next dozen or so miles is along a beach. Sometimes you're beside it, and sometimes you're in the woods. The woods include red maples, birch, beech, hemlocks, and white pines. You pass through a couple of drive in campgrounds... you look at them, and they look at you. You can get water at them, and use an outhouse (oh boy!). Once you get past the beach section, you climb onto some rocks. They're the Pictured Rocks, of the park's name, and they are about 200 feet high. You'll have wonderful views of Lake Superior-which you had from the beach, too. Oh, and you rarely walk on soft beach sand, instead, you're on the bench above the water. Once you get on the rocks, you're close to the water, but actually getting to the water requires a problematic first step. There are a few campgrounds at spots where you are again at lake level-Chapel Beach and Mosquito Beach. There are also campsites above the water-Potato Patch annd Cliffs. There are nice campsites spread out the length of the trail. They all have their special traits. The two really busy sites are Mosquito and Chapel. Both are worth stopping at, and you can make a loop hike that goes from a parking area out to one of those sites, and then hike between the sites, and then go back to the parking lot. It's a special loop. It's really all very special, though.

Grand Island is just off Munising, in Lake Superior. To get to it, you either take the ferry (a pontoon boat, about $15 per person) or you maybe paddle your canoe/kayak over. It's part of Hiawatha National Forest. I usually left from the ferry dock and headed west-ish. There are campsites scattered around the island. Most are beautiful. Some are just off beaches, a few are perched atop cliffs. There's a 21 or 22 mile trail around the island. Some of it can be done on bicycles--probably all of it could be done on a mountain bike. The island also features maples, birch, beech, and white pines. There are 300 foot high cliffs and some dunes. There is at least one bay with incredible campsites. It's a special place.

Got questions? Ask. I live near Yellowstone and the Bighorns and Beartooths now, but I lived by Pictured Rocks for almost 20 years. As someone else said, if you go to the UP, have a pasty. In Munising, stop at Muldoons for a pasty.

Pringles
 

Rx88

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
The closest backpacking trip I have done near Chicago is the Manistee River Loop trail in Michigan. I want to say it was a little over 20miles and about a 5 hour drive. Can get pretty crowded though but there are some decent sites on the river. I personally think it would be worth it though to drive further to some place a bit more remote.

I have always wanted to check out the Badlands though but if you're willing to drive out to the Black Hills, Colorado isn't much further of a drive really. But would probably need to make it a two day drive. We are in a rough spot when it comes to nice backpacking locations.

Yea I agree that’s why I changed my mind. Colorado is still a little farther than I want to go though it’s about 17 hrs from me badlands is 12 then 2 from badlands to black hills. In the end I would like to have more time out there then driving to and from


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
forest dweller Seeking advice for a 5 or 6 night Banff or Jasper backpacking trip for a married couple with different ideas of what awesome is!!! Trip Planning 7
mtthwlw 25 mile backpacking trip ideas needed Trip Planning 8
D Advice for short backpacking trip in Robbers Roost Trip Planning 2
M Suggestions for a 10 day backpacking trip in early June Trip Planning 8
R Invite Yellowstone Backpacking Trip 7/29-8/3 Meet Up (Members Only) 2
Yvonne first backpacking trip in the Beartooths, early August Trip Planning 13
D Need suggestions for a backpacking trip with a base camp Trip Planning 10
Eugene Suggestions for mid-Nov backpacking trip Trip Planning 2
Eugene Rawah Wilderness Backpacking Trip Backpacking 0
WasatchWill Grove Creek: A Father-Daughter Backpacking Trip Backpacking 8
NorthwestWanderer 6 Day backpacking trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness (3 days of off trail route) Backpacking 9
R First overnight backpacking trip in Utah in the next coupke of weeks Trip Planning 3
Strawsome Favorite 2-3 day backpacking trip. Trip Planning 8
NorthwestWanderer Backcountrypost Washington Backpacking trip Meet Up (Members Only) 5
DuneElliot Trip Report: Backpacking the Uinta Highline Trail, July 2018 Backpacking 6
uintafly Kid Uinta backpacking trip Trip Planning 7
MurrMan81 Help Planning Utah Backpacking Trip Trip Planning 9
N Caltopo map scale for backpacking trip Resource Discussions 7
D April backpacking/car-camping trip Trip Planning 16
Mountain Wanderer First backpacking trip into Orgeon Backpacking 0
r3biker Backpacking trip to Clyde lake in Uintas Backpacking 8
tomcat32 Late May suggestions for 100ish mile backpacking trip Trip Planning 1
Sjhat Wallowa Mountain backpacking trip Trip Planning 1
Shirt357 March 3-4 day backpacking trip? Trip Planning 8
Brian Skibbe 8+ day backpacking trip in the Teton wilderness in May/June. Hunting(small game)/fishing possible? Trip Planning 29
B Yellowstone --- backpacking trip to Shelf Lake Backpacking 6
BryanG Early Season Backpacking Trip into the Uintas Trip Planning 2
Jimmy 3-Day Backpacking Trip w/in 2-3 Hours of Denver? Trip Planning 8
Blake Merrell 1 Year Old's Birthday Backpacking Trip Backpacking 22
J One night backpacking trip with swimming Trip Planning 11
J ISO Partner / Group for Winter Backpacking Trip / Suggestions Trip Planning 0
liam loftus Planning a wilderness area backpacking trip. Trip Planning 5
Kyle P Yellowstone Backpacking Trip Trip Planning 5
steve Invite Salt Creek Backpacking Trip May 22-26 Meet Up (Members Only) 4
Dave B. Spring Backpacking Trip Trip Planning 6
A Memorial Day Weekend 2015 Backpacking Trip - Southern Utah Trip Planning 0
steve Invite Trans-Zion Backpacking Trip April 17-19 Meet Up (Members Only) 5
Parma Dumbest thing taken on a backpacking trip? General Discussion 57
J History Teacher here planning a backpacking trip for my students to Death Hollow...... Trip Planning 14
E yellowstone Backpacking trip in 2015 Trip Planning 3
steve Tibble Fork to Forest Lake Backpacking Trip Backpacking 18
Cara Not Really Backpacking: Car Camping Trip in virginia. Trip Planning 1
Laura May Kolob backpacking trip w/pixie & Steve Trip Planning 14
Brett 3-Day Backpacking Trip Trip Planning 8
R backpacking trip suggestions Trip Planning 1
Nick My First Backpacking Trip - Escalante '04 Backpacking 11
HomerJ Yellowstone Bikepacking/Backpacking Trip - Sept 2012 Backpacking 14
backpack First northern-Utah backpacking trip...this week! Trip Planning 8
Tyler Coyote Gulch, Escalante Utah - 5 year anniversary backpacking trip Backpacking 6
fiber Off-trail backpacking partners Meet Up (Members Only) 5

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top