It’s good to know that there is another Pilot/Backpacker out there. Living in Kansas City, we have flown all over the place in our Bonanza on backpacking and camping trips. We have been to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Escalante Ut, Moab, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Aspen (actually lots of places in Colorado), Badlands NP, Guadalupe Mountains NP, I’m sure there are more if it thought about it for a minute. Unfortunately all those trips needed ground transportation, mostly rental cars. I have never found a fly in and hike airport... but I’m looking.
We also fly to Northern Michigan several times each summer (Parents have a cottage up there.) I have been scouting for a place to fly and backpack in the area and bought a book called “Backpacking in Michigan”. I've been reading the descriptions then looking for an airport nearby. Here is what I have come up with.
St Ignace, Mackinac County Airport K83D
Looks like it’s only a mile or two hike to the trailhead for the Horseshoe Bay Wilderness area. Another mile and a half and you are on the beach where camping is allowed. The beach is 2-3 miles long I’ve seen the beach from Mackinac Island and it looks beautiful.
Another Possibility is Big Sable Point. Fly into Ludington KDLM
Looks like a 2-3 mile hike to Lake Michigan. From there hike North towards Big Sable Point. Another Mile and you will be in Ludington State Park, if you keep going North you will enter the Manastee National Forest. It’s 15 miles along the beach to Manastee. I have not done this hike but I’ve flown over it many times and it’s beautiful.
It also looks possible to get to Pictures Rocks National Seashore by air. There are airports at both ends, but neither of them look all that great as they are turf runways.
Grand Marais is on the east end. Airnav says the runway is turf in “poor condition”
Hanley Field is on the West end of the trail. Airnav says it’s turf in “good condition”
There are lots of trip reports on BPL for Pictured Rocks. Sounds like a fantastic place. Again I have flown down the coast and it looks amazing from the air, but I have not done the hike.
I hope that helps. If you do any of these hike or you find any other Airport/Back Pack opportunities I’d like to hear about them.