Hillsdale County
Exact Location:
Hillsdale County is positioned between Williams County, Ohoi and Calhoun County, Michigan along the North Country Trail in Michigan's Lower Peninsula
Hillsdale County satellite image
Hillsdale County, Michigan, and the approximate route of the North Country Trail (Google satellite image with trail overlay)

Hillsdale County is rural and agricultural in nature. Total population is about 47,000 and the county seat is Hillsdale. The North Country Trail passes through Pittsford, Hillsdale, Jonesville and Litchfield as it traverses the county. There is little public land, but the trail does cross Lost Nation State Game Area and uses several municipal trails.


There are many services available as the trail passes through villages and the cities of Hillsdale, Jonesville and Litchfield.

Hillsdale is the largest city with a population of 8300, and it is the home of Hillsdale College. Motels, groceries, laundromat, gas, restaurants, ice cream, hardware store, other small city amenities. Post Office 49242.

Osseo, Jonesville, and Litchfield are also along the trail, with some services. Waldron is a mile off trail.

Trail Overview:

Lake Number Eight within Lost Nation State Game Area in Hillsdale County, Michigan
Lake Number Eight within Lost Nation State Game Area in Hillsdale County, Michigan (photo by jhy)
The North Country Trail enters Hillsdale County at the Corner of Williams County Ohio County Road 20 and Territorial Road. and leaves at the Elm St./South County Line Road, about 42 miles of trail, most of which is on road. There are about 12 miles in the Lost Nation State Game Area, about 10 miles on the (mostly) paved Baw Beese and bike trail, and about 2 miles on the Litchfield Nature Trail.

Hillsdale County is an easy walk, although the southern portion of Lost Nation State Game Area is relatively hilly. There are adequate places to camp or lodge if one plans carefully.

See the databook


Hillsdale county is named for the rolling hills and dales of its topography. The region has always been important as a transportation hub. Two rivers named St. Joseph arise in the county. One flows to Lake Michigan and the other to the Maumee River. The Great Trail, the Maumee Trail and the Sauk Trail were used extensively by Native Americans.

The first recorded history was the surveying of the Sauk Trail in 1825, called the Chicago Road by white settlers. The county was recognized in 1829, one of the earliest in Michigan.


The surface rock is a mix of Coldwater Shale and Marshall Sandstone, expect slippery mud when it rains. The hills and dales are remnants of the glacial end moraine.

Also see:
State of Michigan

US Geologic Survey
personal experience and various public records

Main Index     MI Lower Peninsula Index

The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4600 miles long, spanning eight states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association