Sugarloaf and Hogsback are just two of the mountains that look down on Marquette from the north, but many may overlook the equally beautiful and arguably more peaceful “Top of the World.”

It’s reached by parking at Harlow Lake and taking one of two trails to the summit where one can see north to the Huron Mountains, east to Lake Superior and Granot Loma, and southeast to the city. The Northern Center for Lifelong Learning brought a group to the Top of the World and I tagged along for the full experience.

Elizabeth Bates, of the NCLL and guide on the hike, said, “It’s informative, educational; they’re learning about different areas that we can get out to, so I think that it all blends together.”

We made our way along a lush trail, battling mosquitoes and climbing steep grades, but the view from the top made it all worthwhile.

“This is just such a rich environment that we live in,” Bates said. “I think it’s made getting outdoors so accessible for everybody.”

After a rest at the top for lunch and an opportunity to take in the sights, we began our descent down the backside. And for many of us, having followed a guide up the trail, we’re now prepared to return with friends.

Bates said, “A lot of people like to go with a leader so they know where they’re going, but they also then can come back here on their own. Then they know this trail, they know this area and they can use it for themselves and their friends or they could be leading a hike.”

The Top of the World is a beautiful vista from which to take in the sun and the sights and is just another reason living in the U.P. is so enjoyable.