P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Captivates Hikers with Endless Lake Michigan Views

Hoffmaster State Park feature image Malski

Hoffmaster State Park: Nothing Wins My Heart Like a Good Hike to a Great Lake

6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon MI, 49441

By now you may know how I feel about our dear Lake Michigan–I love it. There’s something magical about basking in its vast beauty. Naturally, hikes to the lake are some of my favorites, and my hikes at Hoffmaster State Park are no exception. 

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon offers lake views that are hard to beat locally (we see you, Sleeping Bear Dunes). There are miles of trails you can choose from to get from the parking lot to the beach, followed by a seemingly endless beachfront you can walk once you get there.

The trails at Hoffmaster can be steep and sandy at times. It makes for feeling like a true adventurer (which we love), but be sure to leave the stroller in the car.

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Trail Details

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

  • Dogs Allowed? Dogs permitted on 6 foot leash, not permitted on swimming beach

  • Facilities: There are rustic bathrooms near the hiking parking areas and more modern bathrooms near the public beach area

  • Stroller Friendly? No.

  • Time of Year Accessible: Year round

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With Many Trail Options–Where to Begin?

There is no shortage of trail options at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park–with a variety of ways you can hike each of them. The south hiking trails are my go-to spot, typically taking a variation of the Homestead Trail to the lake. On our most recent visit, we took the trail along the lake on our return trip and it was delightful.

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If you’re looking for a shorter hike, try the “Walk a Mile” loop. It’s as easy as it sounds–follow the trail for a quick, one-mile hike. And you don’t want to leave before climbing the stairs to their Dune Overlook! (The Dune Overlook is currently closed due to Covid-19).

In my hiking endeavors at Hoffmaster State Park, I’ve learned it’s important to check the map frequently. It doesn’t seem complicated and you have the lake as your constant compass, but I’ve gone on longer hikes than I’ve intended because I tend to get a little…turned around. 

Pro tip: download a PDF of the map on your phone! Cell phone reception by the lakeshore is spotty–so it’s a good idea to be prepared. 

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Hike Your Way to Your Next Beach Day

Hoffmaster State Park has public beach access! You can hike first and earn your afternoon cool-off in Lake Michigan when you’re done. There are also several picnic areas and bathroom options–it’d be easy to make a family day out of this hike. 

Water levels are high again this summer and the beach here did shrink, but there is still space for beach chairs and towels.

West Michigan Beach Directory » 

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Since Hoffmaster is a state park, parking fees are enforced if you do not have a recreational passport.

A Great Lake, a Gorgeous Hike, and a Good Book

With options for a beach day and benches found throughout, it’s a no-brainer to pack a book along for your hike. Kent District Library is the place to stop for all your reading needs.

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If you’re looking for a physical book, the library is the place to go. KDL has branches throughout Kent County to serve you. Utilizing their online catalog, you can request a specific book ahead of time and have it waiting for you at your local branch.

If you’re looking for a digital read, KDL has you covered there too! With lots of different online services available for library card holders, you’re sure to find something to read. Download it to your phone or tablet and you’re ready to hike while keeping your load light.

And, if you’d rather just listen along–you can find audiobooks available to borrow as well. Happen to be hiking without kids? Listen to it as you hike!

Parks & Trails MAP 

All the West Michigan Parks and Trails Your Family Needs to Know About

Discover even more trails using this list of Family-Friendly Hiking Trails around Grand Rapids.

And once the playgrounds open back up, you’ll be able to easily find them on this list of Favorite Grand Rapids Playgrounds.

Bonus: Here’s a map of all the playgrounds, trails, and dog parks around West Michigan to find your next family adventure!

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