Route: Lake Michigan Circumnavigation (MI, WI, IN, IL)

Submitted by lthorn on Wed, 04/28/2021 - 11:14am
Illinois, US
Wisconsin, US
Michigan, US
Indiana, US
1,104 mi
Vertical Gain
8,936 ft

Circumnavigation route of Lake Michigan. 

Lake Michigan is the third largest lake in the United States and borders four states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. Lake Michigan is also the only Great Lake located entirely in the United States.

Note that the route is up to you, and you just need to circumnavigate the lake, and start and end at the same spot.  The route on our map shows one option that generally stays close to the lake, but clearly is not the shortest route.

Steve Cannon wrote a book about his 40-day run around Lake Michigan in 2012.

GPS Track


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I am planning an attempt on this FKT in May 2024, supported, clockwise around the lake starting from Holland MI. I think the shortest route is about 850 miles, cutting off those 2 peninsulas and tracking along US-131 through Cadillac and Grand Rapids in Michigan rather than along the lake front. I'll be trying for average 35 miles a day for 24 days, staying in hotels. Things I'm a little worried about: safety passing through Gary and south Chicago; rain days; access to food and water on the UP; possible fatigue or injury. My support is only for week 3, so first couple weeks I'm on my own, carrying only a <10-pound vest with some essentials (water, snacks, chargers, phone, gps beacon, rain jacket, 1 change of clothes).