Pictured Rocks Hiking: Chapel and Mosquito Loop Guide

Welcome to the Pictured Rocks National Seashore. A scenic playground for your next Northern Michigan vacation or Upper Peninsula road trip. Positioned in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks is one of the BEST places to visit in Michigan. Pictured Rocks has a plethora of hiking routes but now will be focused on the Pictured Rocks hiking guide to Chapel Loop

Where is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore?

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the major cities near Pictured Rocks is Munising. Munising is one of the most visit cities in the Upper Peninsula loaded with activities galore and as a great base for UP north travel.

Munising to Chapel Falls Directions

The driving time from Munising to Chapel Falls is about 35 minutes. Follow H58 for about 15 miles as you wind through a Munising two way backroad. As you get deeper into the heavily densed back roads, you will have to venture onto a dirt road for about 4 miles. The road is very doable in a non 4×4 but with bad conditions be weary.

Chapel Loop Parking and Trailhead

The Chapel Loop parking lot is limited but not terribly small. On popular weekends and summer months, expect it to be full with overflow parking trickling up the road coming in. Get here early if you don’t want to add extra steps to your hike.

The Chapel Loop and Mosquito Loop trail head are marked very well. If you are doing the mosquito loop, go left. If you are only doing Chapel, go right. 

Pictured Rocks Hiking

The beginning of the Chapel Loop trail is absolutely gorgeous. You meander through a flat section of trail where you are engulfed by gorgeous trees and varieties of different fauna. For a great stretch of the trail is an abundance of fern and fungi. Lots of fungi.

Before arriving to Chapel Falls, you have the option to hike .6 miles to the Chapel Lake overlook. 

Chapel Falls Viewing Platforms

Hopefully your arrival to Chapel Falls will be a greeting of mass water flowing over it’s ridge. The first lookout gives you a much closer and memorable view as the second one is a bit distanced and engulfed by trees. This is the Perfect time for using a telephoto lens!

pictured rocks hiking

Bridge Crossing to Chapel Falls Lookout

The bridge crossing is shortly after the first lookout point. This bridge links you to the next part of the trail and to the Chapel Falls viewing platform. At this point you will come to the fork in the road where you can go directly to Chapel Beach or to Chapel Beach Overlook. Take the overlook to the right as it’s very close and a better hike in.

chapel falls hike

Fork to Chapel Beach Lookout

The trail from here to the lookout over Chapel Beach is once again, very easy. The scenery is beautiful and hopefully when you visit, dry. Our hike was VERY wet in this section but doable. I could see this being even more agitating if it had just rained or was raining. When you get closer to the lookout, the trail casually slopes down but nothing overwhelmingly steep or challenging.

Chapel Beach Lookout Point to Beach

The glorious lookout that everyone made this hike for! Take your picture, revel in the beauty and get on to the beach. Although short, about 5 minutes, this was one of my favorite parts of the hike. You get the scenery of the roots of the tree, gorgeous ridge walk, cross over a river, and eventually arrive to pristine shores of Lake Superior

Chapel Beach

This beach is gorgeous. I could spend a day here or at least an afternoon soaking in the scenery and relaxing. To your right you get your views of a rushing river into the lake and to your left a pristine view of Pictured Rocks Seashore. The beach is loaded with rocks, so if you’re looking for a keeper take a peek below.

pictured rocks hiking

Chapel Beach to Mosquito Beach or Chapel Loop Return *

Chapel Beach Only

For those who aren’t doing the full loop (Chapel Falls and Mosquito Falls and Beach) take the same route back as you did in OR take another path behind the beach that will eventually lead you too the Chapel Falls overlook. From there take it back to the parking lot

Chapel to Mosquito Loop

I HIGHLY encourage everyone to do the full Chapel to Mosquito Beach loop. The hike is about 10.2 miles in total but the scenery going to Mosquito Beach is unforgettable. An endless amount of Lake Superior Shoreline vistas and and shaded hiking, make this second section AMAZING! 

Pictured Rocks Hiking Round UP

Chapel Beach Only

  • Length: 7 Miles RT
  • Time: 3 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Crowds: Busy
  • Weather: Depending on season, bring good shoes as trail gets wet
  • Gear: Solid shoes, if you don’t mind wet socks/shoes. Water. Snacks

Chapel to Mosquito Loop

  • Length: 10.2 Miles RT
  • Time: Expect the Chapel to Mosquito Loop to take about 4- 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard (length, Not much elevation change)
  • Crowds: Busy during peak times 
  • Weather: Bring good shoes as trail can stay wet especailly after rains
  • Gear: Solid Shoes, Nikon Camera, Water, Trail Snacks

Post Pictured Rocks Hiking

Have you done this hike? I would regard this as one of my favorites in the region and highly highly recommend you do it. I haven’t met or done it during the winter but i’m sure snowshoeing it would be a blast.

Are you looking for any other hiking trails near Munising ? Here are some Upper Peninsula attractions to consider:

Marquette’s Best Hike? Sugarloaf Mountain

Marquette Hiking Guide

The Upper Peninsula has provided me with so many wonderful memories. Have you done any Pictured Rocks hiking yet? If you could, where would you go on your next Pictured Rocks hiking trip? Wheres your favorite place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?

Hiking Gear for You

Wondering how your hiking boots should fit? Read Here 

Follow these Hiking Tips and Hiking Gear Guides if you’re looking for:

Best Men’s winter hiking boots

Best Hiking Boots under $100

Hiking boots for wide feet

How to Break in Hiking Boots

11 thoughts on “Amazing Pictured Rocks Hiking: Chapel Loop Guide(Photos)

  1. The pictures are beyond beautiful! We explored most of the lower peninsula this year. 2020 will be the year to check out the upper peninsula and we will definitely make Pictured Rocks on the agenda. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Love it here and I hope you will. I still have so much too see but for what I have, truly spectacular. Thanks for reading !

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