Hiking the Harlow Lake Trails

Hiking the Harlow Lake Trails

Spring has finally sprung so I decided to hike the Harlow Lake trails north of Marquette this afternoon. I hadn’t hiked these trails yet so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I started at the trailhead on 550 about five miles north of Marquette and followed the trail that led along Potluck Creek. It’s approximately 1.4 miles from the parking lot to the south end of Harlow Lake and the hike is rather pleasant. There is only a minor change in grade and a few small mud holes do contend with. Well that and the giant swarms of Mosquitoes, but those are everywhere this year.

Note: If you haven’t been to Harlow Lake, it is quite beautiful. It is relatively small and there are several rock outcrops along the East shoreline. There are also five DNR cabins on the lake for those who wish to spend a little extra time in the area. The lake contains Sunfish, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass, and Northern Pike so bring a fishing pole.

I navigated down the road on the north side of the lake until I picked up the trail trailhead leading south along the East shore of the lake. The trail starts at the back of a rock out crop and progresses through the timber. The next rock outcrop begins your hike upward. Or should I say your climb upward. It requires that you be part mountain goat! From this point on the trail is poorly marked, but there are several cairns to guide you along your way. If you don’t know what a “cairn” is, don’t feel bad I didn’t either. They are stacks of rocks that people leave to guide you along the trail. It’s a kind gesture if you ask me.

As you climb the rock outcrops, the vistas get better and better. The view is absolutely amazing. You can literally see for miles. The climb down the backside of the rock outcrop is relatively uneventful. From there you enter in a dark forest of large Hemlocks and about a half mile later you are back at the parking lot.

There are two more trails in the Harlow Lake area that I have yet to hike. They look relatively mild in comparison on the topos so maybe I’ll hike those during the coming week.

If you get a chance to hike the trails they are easily accessed from MC550. I’ve included a Google map of the parking lot and I’ve also attached a downloadable trail map for your convenience.

As always, be careful and carry a compass and plenty of water…..be safe!

Harlow Lake Trails Map

Download Trail Map

Map of Harlow Lake Trailhead


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