Skegemog Swamp Pathway

Skegemog Swamp Pathway

Address: 44.810781,-85.283496
Countie(s) trail is located in: Kalkaska
Trail Type(s): Cross Country Skiing <> Hiking <> Leashed Dogs Allowed <> Snowshoe
Trail Measurement: Trail: 1.8 Miles & Area: 2,700 Acres
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An extensive wooden boardwalk winds through a beautiful cedar swamp and crosses a small creek as it makes its way to the wild and scenic east end of Skegemog Lake. The boardwalk leads to an observation tower that provides a beautiful view of Skegemog Lake and its surrounding wetlands.

The 2,700-acre Skegemog Swamp Wildlife Area, located in Kalkaska County, has been called “One of the finest, most ecologically significant areas in the Lower Peninsula”. Another partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Skegemog Swamp is home to herons, egrets, swamp songbirds, mink, otters, beavers, the secretive Massasauga rattlesnake, and other wetland wildlife. Seven miles of shoreline on Skegemog Lake and Torch River provide critical habitat for many species of wildlife. A boardwalk provides visitors a chance to walk through a swamp without getting their feet wet. Two viewing platforms have been built to give visitors a better view of the area.

Wildlife Viewing

The boardwalk at this site provides a unique opportunity for visitors to walk into the heart of a lush, wet cedar swamp without needing boots or waders. The abandoned railroad grade that leads to the boardwalk is a favorite sunning spot for the secretive Massasauga rattlesnake? Michigan’s only rattlesnake. Walk quietly and watch carefully for these small snakes basking along with the grade from late spring through summer. From the boardwalk, you may view herons, egrets, swamp songbirds, and mink, otters, beavers, and other wetland wildlife. Listen for the song sparrows, swamp sparrows common yellowthroats, and yellow warblers that nest along the edge of the wetland, or the shy but melodious winter wren in the cedar swamp. Bald eagles nest in the area and the observation tower provides a good vantage point to catch them perching or fishing along Skegemog Lake.

Portions of this area are open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.


From Kalkaska, take M-72 west about 4 miles to County Road 597 (sign says “To Rapid City”). Turn right (north) and proceed about 3 miles to the parking area on the left (west) side of the road.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Forest Management Division, Traverse City Management Unit, (231) 922-5280, or Kalkaska Field Office, (231) 258-2711.

Size: 2,700 acres

Closest Town: Torch River, Rapid City

Discovering the Hidden Wonders of the Skegemog Swamp Pathway

A Serene Journey Through Nature

Nestled in the heart of Michigan’s northwest region lies a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and adventurers—the Skegemog Swamp Pathway. This tranquil trail, located in Kalkaska County, offers a unique glimpse into Michigan’s diverse ecosystems and provides an ideal escape for those seeking peace and solitude.

Coordinates and Trail Details

For those who navigate by GPS, the Skegemog Swamp Pathway is located at approximately 44° 48′ 38.52″ N latitude and 85° 17′ W longitude. This out-and-back trail spans 1.8 miles, offering a relatively easy route that takes an average of 31 minutes to complete.

Activities on the Trail

Hiking is the primary activity on the Skegemog Swamp Pathway, but the trail also offers ample opportunities for bird-watching and nature photography. As you traverse the pathway, you’ll be surrounded by the rich flora and fauna of the region, making it a perfect spot for wildlife enthusiasts. The pathway meanders through northern peatland, conifer and hardwood swamp, and upland forest, providing a diverse range of habitats to explore.

Nearby Attractions

The Skegemog Swamp Pathway is part of the larger Skegemog Lake Wildlife Area, which encompasses approximately 3,300 acres. This expansive area includes a variety of ecosystems, such as open grassland and forested dunes, and offers additional trails for those looking to extend their adventure. The nearby Lake Skegemog is also a popular spot for fishing and boating, adding even more recreational options to your visit.

What Visitors Are Saying

Visitors to the Skegemog Swamp Pathway often praise its serene environment and the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature. One hiker noted, “This trail is a peaceful retreat. It’s well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the swamp and surrounding forest.” Another reviewer shared, “The wildlife sightings here are incredible. We saw a variety of birds and even a few deer. It’s a great spot for nature lovers.”

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References and More Info

  • Compass Latitude: 44°48’38.8″N
  • Compass Longitude: 85°17’00.6″W
  • Numeric Latitude: 44.810781
  • Numeric Longitude: ‘-85.283496
  • Elevation in Feet:
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Trail Measurement: Trail: 1.8 Miles & Area: 2,700 Acres


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