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Northwestern Michigan Trail Guide
for hiking, biking, cross-country
skiing, and snowshoeing

Last Update: 11-09-2017
Revision History

Jim Stamm • 231-882-5673

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1996-2017 by
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This guide provides the details for many
hiking trails in northwestern lower Michigan –
generally within an hour of Traverse City.

Most of these trails also allow cross-country skiing,
and/or snowshoeing, many can also be used for
mountain biking,
and a couple for horseback
riding. A few of the trails are paved and can
be used by road bikes and roller blades.


OK, now, go... "Take a Hike!"



Click on image
for larger view



TRAILS / PATHS / AREAS COVERED (162)   MB = Mountain Bikes Allowed (41)

ANTRIM COUNTY (13)
• Antrim Creek Area
• Barnes County Park
• Bauer / Polaczyk
• Cedar River Area
• Cosner Nature Preserve
• Coy Mountain Trail
• Elk Rapids Day Park
• Glacial Hills Area MB
• Grass River Area
• Jordan Valley Pathway
• Mohrmann Natural Area
• Torch Bay Preserve
• Warner Creek Path MB
BENZIE COUNTY (25)
 - View Benzie trailsheads
 at Google Earth
 -
Benzie Trail Guide Book
• Aral Hills Trail
• Betsie River Pathway MB
• Betsie Valley Trail MB
• Boekeloo Trail
• Camp Arcadia Trail MB
• Chestnut Trail MB
• Crystal Lake Hills
• Dry Hill Trail MB
• Elberta Dunes South
• Fruithaven Preserve
• Green Point Dunes
• Homestead Dam
• Lake Ann Pathway MB
• Misty Acres Preserve
• Mud Lake Trail MB
• Old Baldy MB
• Old Indian Trail
• Pete's Woods MB
• Platte Plains Trail
• Platte Springs Pathway
• Railroad Point Area
• Ransom Lake Trail
• Trapp Farm Preserve
• Upper Herring Lake
• Zetterberg Preserve
CHARLEVOIX COUNTY (7)
• Avalanche Preserve MB
• Boyne Mountain Resort MB
• Darnton Preserve MB
• Porter Creek Natural Area
• Raven Ridge Preserve
• Rogers Family Homestead
• Wisser Saworski Pres. MB
CRAWFORD COUNTY (3)
• Hanson Hills Rec. Area MB
• Hartwick Pines S.P. MB
• North Higgins Lake S.P. MB
GRAND TRAVERSE Co (43)
• Battle Creek Area
• Boardman Lake Trail MB
• Boardman River Trail
• Boardman Valley
• Brown Bridge Quiet Area
• Bullhead Lake Area
• Chandler Lake Pathway
• East Creek Reserve
• Fife Lake Loop
• Fisher's Run Trail MB
• Grand Traverse
Commons Natural Area
• Grand Traverse County MB
Civic Center Trail
• GTNER on Boardman River
• Halladay-Blackhurst-
Chowning Preserve
• Hickory Meadows
• Interlochen State Park
• Kids Creek Park
• Killingsworth Park
• Long Lake — Fox and
South Island Preserves
[2]
• Lossie Road Nature Trail
• Lost Lake Pathway MB
• Mall Trail MB
• Maple Bay Natural Area
• Mayfield Pond Park
• Miller Creek Reserve
• Muncie Lakes Pathway
• Old Mission Point Park
• Pelizzari Natural Area
• Power Island Trails
• Pyatt Lake Preserve
• Reffitt Nature Preserve
• Sand Lakes Area MB
• Silver Lake Rec Area
• South Long Lake MB
• TART Trail MB
• Three Mile Trail MB
• Timbers Recreation Area
• Valley of the Giants
• Vanderlip Creek
• VASA Pathway MB
• White Township Park
• Yuba Creek Natural Area
KALKASKA COUNTY (4)
• Rugg Pond Natural Area
• Seven Bridges MB
• Skegemog Swamp
• South Boardman Preserve
LAKE COUNTY Co (2)
• Pine Valleys Pathway MB
• Silver Creek Pathway
LEELANAU COUNTY (37)
• Alligator Hill Trail
• Bay View Trail
• Chippewa Run Area
• Clay Cliffs Natural Area
• Cottonwood Trail
• DeYoung Natural Area
• Dunes to Lake Michigan
• Empire Bluff Trail
• Finton Natural Area
• Fulton Park
• Good Harbor Bay Trail
• Greenan Bluffs Trail
• Hidden Lake Trail
• Houdek Dunes Area
• Jeff Lamont Preserve
• Kehl Lake Natural Area
• Kettles Trail
• Krumwiede Forest Reserve
• Leelanau State Park
• Leelanau Trail MB
• Lighthouse West Area
• Nagonaba Nature Trail MB
• North Manitou Island
• OWA Trail
• Palmer Woods Reserve
• Provemont Pond Rec. Area
• Pyramid Point Trail
• Shauger Hill Trail
• Sleeping Bear Heritage MB
• Sleeping Bear Point
• South Manitou Island
• Swanson Preserve
• Teichner Preserve
• Tweddle/Treat Farms
• Veronica Valley Park
• Whaleback Natural Area
• Windy Moraine Trail
MANISTEE COUNTY (13)
• Arboretum Trail
• Arcadia Marsh Preserve
• Big M Trail MB
• First Creek Trail
• Lake Bluff Trails
• Little Manistee River Weir
• Manistee Non-Motorized
Trail Park
MB
• Magoon Creek Area
• Manistee River Trail
• Manistee Riverwalk
• North Point Park
• Orchard Beach Trails
• Spirit of the Woods
MISSAUKEE COUNTY (1)
• Missaukee Mountain
WEXFORD COUNTY (10)
• Cadillac Bike Path MB
• Cadillac Pathway MB
• Clam River Greenway
• Keith McKellop Walkway
• Kenwood Heritage Park
• MacKenzie Trail MB
• Manton Pathways
• Mitchell-Heritage Trail
• Oliver Family Preserve
• Waldeck Island Preserve
TRAILS
SPANNING
MORE THAN
ONE COUNTY
:
(4)
Cedar Run Creek Area - Roughly 55% is in west Grand Traverse County and 45% in east
Benzie County
(MB)
North Country Trail - Mason, Lake,
Manistee, Wexford, Grand Traverse,
Kalkasksa, Antrim, Charlevoix,
Emmet, etc. (
MB: some parts)
Shore-To-Shore Trail -
Leelanau, Benzie, Grand
Traverse, Wexford
Kalkasksa, Crawford, etc.
White Pine Trail State
Park
- Wexford, Osceola,
Montcalm, Mecosta, and
Kent (
MB)

AREAS WITH MANY
TRAILS LISTED ABOVE:

• Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve (5) in Benzie County (MB)
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (20) Benzie & Leelanau Counties

Special Notice about Benzie County

If you're looking for something in print, check out the Benzie County Michigan Trail Guide book.
It provides the details for 25 trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and
snowshoeing in Benzie County, one of northwestern lower Michigan’s favorite counties.

Notes about the details on this page:

  • Geographic limits of the areas covered on this Web page:
    • Within roughly an hour / 60 miles from Traverse City
    • By towns/cities: Atwood, Ellsworth, East Jordan, (south of) Boyne City, Boyne Falls, (west of) Gaylord, Grayling, west of Higgins and Houghton Lakes, McBain, Tustin, (north of) Luther, (south of) Wellston, and Manistee
    • By counties: all of Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau, Manistee, and Wexford counties; most of Missaukee county; as well as southern Charlevoix, western Crawford, and northern Lake counties. (But not Otsego County.)
  • Trail maps
    • Trails and trail maps are sometimes updated by the trail owners, so the trail maps on this page may be out of date, or not point to the latest versions. Visit the official Web page for a trail for the latest information.
    • Most areas have trail maps posted on-site. Those should be the most up-to-date (but are not always).
    • In a few cases no trail map existed, so I created one.
    • In many cases I offer a copy of the trail map that I saved – as protection from Web sites that change and sometimes even "lose" their own trail maps.
  • Trail names listed in the main table above may be a shorter version than their official name.
  • Web addresses were correct at the time of writing, but they can and do change often.
  • Some road distances, trail lengths, and hiking times are rough estimates.
  • A few of the trails are paved and therefore are also used for road biking and inline skating.
  • Road map of area — is a link to Google Maps where you can view the area as a road map, a satellite image, or in terrain view.
  • The symbol denotes where you can find the trailhead (and parking in many cases) on Google Maps where you can view the location as a road map, a satellite image, or in terrain view.
  • Directions to trails are from the nearest town (or nearest major intersection)
  • A few trailheads and access points actually have restroom facilities. But even if a restroom or Port-a-John is present in the summer, one cannot expect it to be available or open at other times. To be safe, assume no restroom is present and therefore "prepare" ahead of time.
  • All details were correct (or as corect as could be determined) at the time of writing, but they are, of course, subject to change.

You might also:

  • See Web Sites to Watch below to check for new trails added since this page was last updated.
  • Please let me know if you have anything to add, change, suggest, or improve.
  • Thanks very much to all of you who have contributed to this page!

Areas within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) require a national park pass:

The use of any area in the SBDNL requires a national park pass. Here is the list of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore areas covered on this Web page. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

Areas requiring a Michigan Recreational Passport:

Many state-run areas (such as state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, boating access sites, and parking lots at trailheads for non-motorized trails) require a Michigan Recreational Passport to use them. If such a passport is needed, it's mentioned in the details for the area. See here for details about Michigan Recreational Passports. And see here for all the places where a Michigan Recreational Passport is needed.

Most scenic:

All the trails have beauty in one way or another. Most travel through very pretty woods, and many go next to a river or creek, alongside or to an inland lake, or to a Lake Michigan beach.

A few trails take you to where a river or creek empties into Lake Michigan. (Note that these are just of few of several publicly-accessible places where a river or creek empties into the lake in the covered northwestern Michigan area.)

The Manistee River Trail, which travels above but next to the Manistee River, is a gem if you like continual cool views up and down from above a river. It runs from south of the Hodenpyl Dam to "Red Bridge" where Coates Highway crosses the river. There are also several creeks that empty in the river along the way, several with small waterfalls.

Said to offer spectacular vistas are Deadman's Hill and Landslide Overlook on the Jordan Valley Pathway. (I have yet to investigate that trail.)

For a great vista high above a river, it's hard to beat that from the High Rollway in northern central Wexford County where there's a great view from high above the Manistee River and looking far to the south. During the fall it's especially breathtaking. This area is along the North Country Trail east of Buckley, south of Kingsley, and west of the Baxter Bridge. There are details at the link given.

Very likely the most scenic, though, are those areas in Benzie and Leelanau Counties that have a great view from high above Lake Michigan:

• Alligator Hill Trail
• Bay View Trail
• Clay Cliffs Natural Area
• Cottonwood Trail
• Dunes to Lake Michigan
• Elberta Dunes South
• Empire Bluff Trail
• Green Point Dunes
• Greenan Bluffs Trail
• Leelanau State Park
• Old Baldy
• Pyramid Point Trail
• Sleeping Bear Point
• Tweddle/Treat Farms
• Whaleback Natural Area

Hiking tips:

Free, prinable topographical maps:

Web Sites to Watch– for new trails (as well as nature preserves). These sites list several trails for northwestern Lower Michigan. (But none list anywhere near as many as the Web page you are on!)

• AllTrails.com – Start with this map then move around on it and zoom in and out to explore the area.
• Cadillac Recreation
• Conservancies
• City Parks - search for <XYZ> city parks, or just <XYZ> parks, or <XYZ> trails, where <XYZ> is a city in your area of interest.
• Counties
• Experience 231: Adventures — Places to hike, bike, paddle, snowshoe, XC-ski, and more in the 231 area code in northwestern lower Michigan
• Get Off the Couch — Places to hike, canoe, kayak, bike, fish, and play in west Michigan (Mason, Manistee, Lake and Oceana Counties)
• Huron-Manistee National Forest
• Michigan DNR
• Michigan State Parks, Forests, etc.
• Michigan Trails
• Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance
• Michigan Trail Maps.com
• Michigan Trail Resources – links to lots of Michigan trail Web sites
• MichiganTrails.us
• MTB Project's Northern Michigan Trails page
• Northern Michigan.com...

        Northwest Michigan Area (10 counties)
        • Bike Trails
        • Hike / Snowshoe Trails
        • Cross-country Ski Trails

        Traverse Bay Area (5 counties)
        • Bike Trails
        • Hike / Snowshoe Trails
        • Cross-country Ski Trails
   
• Northern Michigan map to trails
• Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association
• Northern Michigan Trails.org
• Northwestern Michigan Online.com
• Outdoor Michigan.org
• Pure Michigan - Hiking
• Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
    hiking trails
• Spirit of the Woods Chapter, North Country
    Trail
• Spirit of the Woods Conservation Club
• Top of Michigan Trails Council — involves Emmet, Charlevoix, and Cheboygan counties
• Township Parks — At a search engine (like Google) search for: <XYZ> Township Parks where <XYZ> is the township in which you are interested. Below are just a few of many townships with lots of parks:
• Trails.com...
• Traverse Area Recreation Trails (TART)
    Trails
• Traverse City Area
• Up North Michigan Trails
• Up North Trails.org – Some of the many hiking, mountain biking, nordic skiing, horseback, motorcycle, ORV/ATV, and snowmobile trails in northern Michigan.



ALLIGATOR HILL TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Updated August, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Hilly trail following old logging two-tracks through the woods between Little and Big Glen Lake and Lake Michigan.

Length

9 miles total, made up of several loops.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate – many easy to moderate hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, southwest of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Stocking Road Trailhead location — From Glen Arbor, take M-109 west to Stocking Road, then south to parking lot on left (east) side of road. There is a vault toilet available.

Forest Haven Drive Trailhead location — From Glen Arbor, take M-22 south 0.5 miles to Forest Haven Drive. Turn right (west) and go 700 feet to the trailhead on the left (south) at the corner where Forest Haven takes a sharp turn to the north. Parking for a few vehicles, no restroom. From the trailhead, a 0.2 mile trail headed south connects you to the main ("Intermediate") trail.

M-22 access location — not an official trailhead — From Glen Arbor, take M-22 south 1.1 miles to the house at 6983 (M-22 is called S. Glan Lake Road here) on Glen Lake. Across the street (on the west side), you'll see the stone wall "gated" entrance to Day Forest Estates (which was the name of what they had planned to develop at one time in the Alligator Hill area). Between the two stone walls you'll see five short posts and a loose trail following the old road going up hill. In a few hundred feet it joins with the eastern-most (and lowest) part of the Intermediate Loop Trail. No restroom, off-road parking only.

Day Forest Road access location — not an official trailhead — From Glen Arbor, take M-22 south 2.8 miles to Day Forest Road. Turn right (northwest) and go 1.0 miles to the house at 7475 on Little Glen Lake. Across the street (on the northeast side), you'll see three short posts and a loose trail following the old road going up hill. (April, 2017 — several trees also had blue dots on them near this entrance.) In a few hundred feet this trail joins with the Advanced Loop Trail near the middle of its southwestern portion. No restroom, off-road parking only.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

The "Islands Lookout" near junction post #2 has great views of Lake Michigan, the islands (two Manitous, as well as two Foxes, if you're lucky), Sleeping Bear Point, and Pyramid Point. It is arguably the best view in the National Park.

This trail is a designated horse trail, so "keep an eye out" for horses — and their leavings. The paths here are wide (former roads from the planned but never developed Day Forest Estates, in fact), so you can often ride side-by-side. (Note that this is the only horse trail in the National Lakeshore, but horses are also allowed on county roads within the National Lakeshore.)

And then came the storm of August 2nd, 2015, and its 100 mph straight-line winds. Alligator Hill, and several areas around Glen Arbor, were hit hard – in some areas, the once tall forest was completely laid flat – now a jumble of fallen timber. Some areas were spared, some only partially hit, and some areas – once a canopy of tall trees – now you will not recognize. This will be a storm locals and visitors alike will talk about for a long time. But it will be interesting to watch as the woods slowly redevelops with a new character and the look of new growth.

ANTRIM CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by Antrim County
[Updated 9/14/2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2 (shows the correct length for the Trillium Ridge Trail and has a few additions)
Trail map #3

Note – there is a mistake in the official trail maps (Trail Map #1 above and the two posted on-site (9/17)) and Trail Map #3 that show the Trillium Ridge Trail as being 540 yards (0.3 miles) long when it's really 840 yards (0.5 miles) in length.

General idea

Nice trails through a variety of habitats including upland ridge, forest, wetland, swamp, thicket, meadow, and coastal dune.

Length

2.5 miles of trails, made up of several loops.

• Back Dune Trail (red): 0.2 miles
• Creek Trail (white): 0.1 miles
• Nippising Trail (green): 0.4 miles
• North Barrier-free Loop (blue): 0.5 miles
• Pit and Mound Trail (orange): 0.2 miles
• South Barrier-free Loop (yellow): 0.2 miles
• Thimbleberry Trail (purple): 0.4 miles
• Trillium Ridge Trail (light blue): 0.5 miles (The correct length)

The two barrier-free loops are universally accessible paths — wide, flat, root and stump-free, with bridges over wet areas. The South Barrier-free Loop is the wider of the two and lined with gravel. All of the other trails are rustic, single-tracks.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy. Some of the trails have a few gentle hills, especially the Creek Trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Antrim County, west of Atwood and NNW of Eastport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations

Parking area for the north entrance

Parking area for the south entrance

Directions

From the intersection of US-31 and M-88 in Eastport (which is between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix — 15.1 miles north of the light in Elk Rapids and 16.2 miles south of M-66/US-31 in Charlevoix), take US-31 north 5.3 miles to Rex Beach Road on the north side of Atwood. Turn left (west) and go 1.5 miles to Old Dixie Highway. Across the street is the North Entrance to the Natural Area. From here you can:

  • enter via the North Entrance here by continuing straight and going 0.2 miles down to parking area.

  • turn left (south) and take Old Dixie Hwy 0.5 miles to the South Entrance on the right (west) side of the road. Turn in and go 0.2 miles to parking spots in the turn-around loop.

An alternate way to the area is to take the Old Dixie Highway which begins just north of Eastport. From the intersection of US-31 and M-88 in Eastport, take US-31 north 1.0 miles to Lore Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.25 miles to Old Dixie Highway. Turn right (north) and go 3.9 miles to the South Entrance on the left (west) side of the road. Or go another 0.5 miles north to the North Entrance on the left (west) side of the road.

More details

This 156-acre area includes almost a mile of shoreline on Grand Traverse Bay. It is almost directly east of the northern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. The property supports an incredible array of natural diversity including hardwood forest, forested wetland, conifer swamp, shrub thicket, meadow, wet meadow and coastal dune. Visitors can enjoy hiking marked trails, swimming at the beautiful Lake Michigan beach, cross-country skiing, and bay fishing.

Via the North Entrance is easy access to the beach, a dune overlook (with sign describing what you are seeing including all the Anishinaabe names for the features of the region), and access to several of the trails, including the North Barrier-free Loop.

From the northern section the Nippising and Trillium Ridge Trails take you to the southern section of the area. The Trillium Ridge Trail goes along the top of a ridge. The Nippising Trail travels at the bottom of that ridge along ancient shorelines of Lake Michigan.

Via the South Entrance there is access to the beach via the South Barrier-free Loop and Creek Trail. Antrim Creek flows west along the southern border of the property here and empties into Lake Michigan. A portion of the South Barrier-free Loop and all of the Creek Trail travel along the creek.

There are two kiosks with trail maps, both near the parking area at each end. Although the trails are marked with color-coded posts, there are no other trail maps along the way. So be sure to print out a trail map in color before before hiking the trails.

All of the trails are in the woods, except the west section of the Back Dunes Trail which is in light woods/dunes next to the beach, and the end of the Creek Trail which is in the dunes by the beach.

You may also enjoy a stroll along the beach, such as from the North Drive Loop south to where Antrim Creek emties into the lake, a one-way distance of 0.5 miles. You can also walk about 0.5 miles north and still be in the nature preserve. So you have almost a mile of beach to explore.

ARAL HILLS TRAIL (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Aral Hills” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization.
[Been there.]

Also known as (by me) Aral Hills and the Vanishing Creek...!

This area is not in the Benzie County Michigan Trail Guide book -- it may never be, it's so small and lacking an official trail. There's nothing exciting to see except the woods, the creek, and all the other natural stuff.

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map

General idea

Steady uphill trail, mostly following a old logging trail and vanishing creek, through the woods to a former farm field.

Length

0.3 miles, one way

Hiking time

Maybe half an hour, round trip.

Difficulty

Moderate – the trail winds steadily up a gentle hill. But you'll mkaing you wat sometime though light woods, and there a short but moderate hill at the end.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but cross-country skiing would be very difficult because there's no defined path, there's some tree-fall, and sometimes you have to pick your way around trees and branches. Snowshoeing could be difficult as well unless there's lots of snow.

General location

In northwestern Benzie County, north of Otter Lake, and south of Empire

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 and Esch Road south of Empire, take Esch Road 0.8 miles to Aral Hills Road. Turn right (north) and go 0.4 miles to the start of the trail on the left north side of the road. It's an old logging road in s shallow valley, and there are five 6" x 6" 10-inch-tall posts at the start of the trail. (They me be hiding in the leaves.) Roadside parking only; no restroom.

(For what it's worth, 0.2 miles further east along Aral Hills Road on both sides of the road, there are the same type of short posts blocking vehicle access to:
• the north, another former farm field,
• the south, through a short piece of woods, another former farm field.)

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

This trail does not get used often (if at all) and is not marked.

A good compass does not hurt on this trail. And your bug juice!

For two-thirds of the trail, there's no clear path, But the woods are open enough, so it's easy to make your way through them. But you may have to step over a log here or there. And you may get to hop over very small creek! It's a little soggy in spots, but that's easy to avoid. There are lots of leaves in the path that can cover and hide small branches.

Casual hikers might not enjoy this trail as much as regularly maintained ones. So, this trail is not for everyone. But explorers and nature lovers will appreciate it.

In general, you'll always in a valley going gently uphill. But there are a few forks in the valley.

• The trail starts out easily enough following an old old logging road up a shallow valley. You'll go north, NE, and north again.

• At about 600 along, you'll encounter the end of the vanishing creek right in the middle of the trail. It starts up high in the hills, but here it's wide and shallow and just flowing on top of the soil and seepings into the sand, vanishing!! You'll need to walk to the side of this, of course. The ground here is soft and soggy.

• Another 100 feet later, the creek is narrow and has some real banks, and is coming from a valley ot the NNW. (There's another narow valley to the right (NE), but at about 150 along, in splits into three even smaller valleys -- hard to hike.)

• Go NNW following the creek. Note the much taller banks to the creek, now. After about 300 feet, the creek turns to come from the NE. (You can get about 200 feet following the creek, but the valley for it gets narrow and tight, and the surroundng hills are steep.)

• So instead, go NNW following a dry creek bed in a wide valley. (Perhaps this sees water during wetter weather times and severe rains.) Follow this NNW then north for about 190 feet to where the wide valley ends. (Along the way, on the left (west) side of the bed is old logging path, it appears.)

• Look to the NW and see a wide trail going up a narrow valley -- it's easy to hike up the moderate hill. Along the way it curves to the north and after about 300 feet comes out in a former farm field. Explore the field a little if you like, but be sure you mark well the entrance back to this path!!

ARBORETUM TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Manistee National Forest / USDA Forest Service
[Updated May, 2014. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Easy trail through many species of trees.

Length

0.84 miles

Hiking time

30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Manistee County, southwest of Wellston.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Wellston, go west on M-55 to Bosschem Road, then south one mile south to Pine Lake Road (aka US Forest Hwy 5410). The parking area is just southeast of the intersection. No restroom.

More details

Easy trail open year round. Scenic and secluded, the trail wanders through many species of trees from all over Europe, Asia, and the USA, planted here in the 1940's as a growth experiment. Planting lot markers dot the trail with the names of the trees and their country of origin. There's the small Pine Creek next to trail along the southwestern border. May, 2014 – there were several fallen trees in the northeastern section of the trail, making it a little difficult to follow. Said the Get Off The Couch Web page, "This is a wonderful treasure that is practically unknown, but the Forest Service is abandoning it, and will no longer be maintaining the trail." Hopefully some local organization will maintain the trail. (A good project for a scout troup.)

ARCADIA DUNES / C.S. MOTT NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page (then click on the link for Arcadia Dunes)
Web page #2

Trail map

Overall trail map #1 (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail)
Overall trail map #2 (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail)

General idea

Five trails involving rolling wooded hills, meadows and farmland, and sand dunes above Lake Michigan.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, generally NNE of Arcadia.

Road map

Road map

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

More details

This area contains four official trails:

• Camp Arcadia Trail

• Chestnut Trail

• Dry Hill Trail

• Old Baldy

• Pete's Woods

ARCADIA MARSH NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Added 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
The trail route is simple -- it crosses a bridge over a creek, then heads straight east along a man-made channel.

General idea

Easy, flat trail along a man-made channel in the middle of Arcadia Marsh. Bowens Creek somewhat parallels the trail on the north side.

Length

1.3 miles round trip

Hiking time

Half an hour

Difficulty

Easy, it's flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Manistee County, immediately south of Arcadia

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location on M-22

Directions

From Lake Street (Glovers Lake Road) and M-22 in Arcadia, take M-22 south 0.3 miles to the access road and parking on the left (east) side of the road.

More details

This preserve "offers visitors access to a Great Lakes Coastal Marsh, a rare and declining natural community found only in Great Lakes coastal areas. It is estimated that over 80% of the original Great Lakes marshes have been destroyed. These marshes are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, and Arcadia Marsh is one of only 15 or so remaining coastal marshes along Lake Michigan’s Lower Peninsula shoreline. The marsh’s hydrology has been affected by human alterations and invasive species are established within the marsh, yet it remains a high conservation priority and will greatly benefit from restoration. Learn more about the Arcadia Marsh Restoration Project. The short trail through the marsh is popular for observing the marsh in all seasons and is an especially popular for birding."

At 0.43 miles along is a gate. From here east, the trail is closed from April 15th to July 15th to keep folks out of the nesting areas of the many birds that populate this area. When the gate is open you get another 0.23 miles of trail. Near the gate, Bowens Creek comes close to the trail, and the trail dead-ends into the creek at the end. Expect a mowed path the gate, and tall grass beyond the gate.

AVALANCHE PRESERVE RECREATION AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Boyne City Parks Department and the Boyne City Parks and Recreation Commission
(Also known as Avalanche Mountain Preserve)
[Added 10/16/2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Web page for just the walking/XC skiing/snowshoeing loop

Web page for just the mountain bike loop

Trail map

Trail map #1 — Does NOT show the stairs or the observation decks.
Trail map #2 — DOES show the stairs and the observation decks.
Trail map #3 — The dotted-black line is the hiking trail and the red-dashed line is the mountain bike trail.

Area brochure and trail map

General idea

A multi-use area mostly in the woods that goes around the ridge that leads up to the top of Avalanche Mountain. A short spur trail, as well as a long set of stairs, lead to the peak.

Length

Stairway to the peak — 462 steps
Hiking/XC skiing/snowshoeing loop — 3.0 miles
Mountain bike loop — 4.2 miles

Hiking time

Hiking: perhaps 2 hours because of the hills involved.

Difficulty

Known to be hilly, expect some challenging and moderately strenuous terrain. The exact details are as yet unknown.

The mountain biking and XC skiing here are rated as "challenging" due to the extensive change in elevation experienced along both the walking/skiing and biking loops.

Climbing the stairway to the observation decks at the top will be a workout for most people.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, on a somewhat parallel but separate and dedicated trail from the walking trail.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Charlevoix County on the south side of Boyne City

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations

The start of the west side of the walking loop

The start of the east side of the walking loop

Directions

From the intersection of Boyne Ave (M-75) and Fall Park Road (C-73) in the southeastern area of Boyne City, go west 0.1 miles to Division Street. Turn left (west) and go 0.8 miles to Lake Street. Turn left (south) and go 0.15 miles to Ann Street. Turn left (east) and go 200 feet to Wilson Street. Turn right (south) and go 0.1 miles to the the end where there’s a parking lot for the area. Restrooms.

More details

There are over 300 acres of woodland in this area of predominantly sloping terrain. Approximately 90% of the park is wooded; the exception is its northern slope that was the site of a downhill ski operation that began in the early 1950s. The area offers many types of recreational activities including hiking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, sledding , jogging, and snowmobiling, as well as the newest additions, an archery range and disc golf.

If you want a quick climb to the top of Avalanche Mountain, from the middle of parking lot, head straight south across a meadow to the stairway — there are “just” 462 steps the top! There are benches along the way that will allow you to catch your breath.

Or hike the trail that winds around the side and back of the mountain — it eventually ends up at the top.

At the peak of Avalanche Mountain, the view that awaits you is well worth the walk! There is pair of observation decks with benches from which you can view Boyne City, practically all of Lake Charlevoix, and even a sliver of Lake Michigan on a clear day. The peak rises to 1023 feet above sea level, or 439 feet above Lake Charlevoix, providing the most commanding view of any high point south of the Mackinac Bridge.

Michigantrailmaps.com recommends skipping the steep climb on the west side of the walking loop to the observation decks, and instead beginning your trek with the 462-step stairway to those viewing decks. Once there, pick up the Walking Trail and continue your hike counter-clockwise around the ridge.

The majority of the walking trail loop is a two-track.

Much of the main loop is also utilized by participants playing the 18-hole disc golf course.

Separate from the walking trail loop are over four miles of dedicated, challenging, professionally-designed mountain bike trails in one large loop (with a few short cuts). "Fantastic wooded trails with lots of hilly terrain and countless twists and turns" says a friend of mine who's been there often. The mountain bike trails there are being updated thanks to TOMMBA (Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association) and the Avalanche Trail Project.

In the winter, the hiking trails can be used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

“The park is (also) renown as one of the most thrilling sledding hills in northern Michigan” says www.michigantrailmaps.com

During the winter, a warming shelter at the base of the hill iis open from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It includes restrooms, drinking water, and loaner skates for the ice skating rink.

During the summer, the restrooms at the warming shelter are open, but not the rest of the facility.

BARNES COUNTY PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by Antrim County (AKA Barnes Park Campground)
[Updated September, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page about the campground

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
(with a few corrections and several additions)

General idea

Nice forested trails exploring the woods east and south of the campground. At the campground there are also two accesses to the Lake Michigan beach (via stairs and a path). The Feather of Honor Trail is a paved path that goes past the ball field then through the woods from Barnes Park Road to the campgorund.

Length

3.0 miles of trails made up of a handful of connected loops.

• Feather of Honor Trail (red): 0.4 miles – paved
• Raccoon Alley Trail (pink): 0.1 miles
• Bear Run Trail (light blue): 0.1 miles
• Ladyslipper Trail (orange): 0.6 miles
• Learning Tree Trail (blue): 1.0 miles
• Torch Lake Trail (purple): 0.5 miles
• White Trail (green): 0.2 miles

Not shown on the official map (Trail map #1 above and the two on-site) is a very handy unmarked trail that connects the southeastern end of the Ladyslipper trail with the parking area by the ball field.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy. Most of the trails are flat. There are some slight hills on the Torch Lake and White Pine Trails.

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown, but it appears very likey, as the trails are cut wide, roots are spray-painted orange, and mountain tracks were seen on most of the trails.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown, but likely.

General location

In northwestern Antrim County, immediately northwest of Eastport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

The park is located northwest of the junction of US-31 and M-88 in Eastport (which is between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix — 15.1 miles north of the light in Elk Rapids and 16.2 miles south of M-66/US-31 in Charlevoix).

Parking near the south end of the Feather of Honor Trail by the ball field – From that intersection in Eastport, go west on Barnes Park Road 870 feet (across from the east entrance to Arrowhead Court at the south) to the access road to the ball field. Turn right (north) and go 350 feet to parking area by the ball field.

Parking at the north end of the Feather of Honor Trail in the campground – From that intersection in Eastport, go west 0.5 miles on Barnes Park Road to the campground road loop. Turn right (eat) and go just 400 feet to the trailhead and parking on the right (east) side of the road.

There is no parking at the southwest end of the Raccoon Alley Trail.

More details

The campground is open from mid-May to mid-October. I suspect the trails are open year-round.

Trail notes...

  • The Feather of Honor Trail is a wide, handicap-accessible paved path that is perfect for biking, walking, tricycles. and roller blades.

  • The southwest end of the Raccoon Alley Trail starts across from the eastern bathhouse by the water supply and dumping station. There's a "No Motor Vehicles" sign at the start of the trail.

  • Along the middle of the west side of the Ladyslipper Trail, the trail follows the gravel Old Park Road to the south for about 150 feet before going back into the woods.

  • At the southeastern end of the Ladyslipper Trail after it turns north and crosses Barnes Park Road, there's a bit of confusion. There's a three-way intersection here that is not clearly marked. Turn left (northwest) to follow the Ladyslipper Trail. Go straight (northeast) to take the Bear Run Trail. Turn right (southeast) to follow an unmarked trail to that goes to the parking area by the ball field connecting to the Feather of Honor Trail. This unmarked trail is not on the official maps. It is shown on Trail map #2 above.

  • The Torch Lake Trail is partially in the woods and partially in meadow, and is sandy in the southern and eastern sections. A short section at the north goes under electric wires.

  • Instead of single-track paths, most of the trails are cut wide apparently to allow for mountain bikes.

  • Most of thw trails are in the woods except for some portions of the Torch Lake Trail.

  • There are a few benches scattered about the trails.

  • There are a handful signs discussing the tree species found in the park.

There are two kiosks with trail maps, both are near the parking area at each end of the Feather of Honor Trail. The colors of the trails in those maps have faded, confusing the issue. Although the trails are marked at a few key points with color-tipped posts, there are no other markings or trail maps along the way. So be sure to print out a trail map in color before before hiking the trails.

From the campground there are also two accesses to the Lake Michigan beach (via stairs and a path).


BATTLE CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Whitewater Township, Grand Traverse County.
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Property map #1
Property map #2
Trail map

General idea

Wooded trail to shore of Elk Lake with a great view, and to Huebner Pond and Dam.

Length

1.0 miles of trails
• 0.25 miles to intersection
• 0.25 miles on lake trail to Elk Lake (0.5 miles total, one way)
• 0.5 miles on pond trail to end-point at a field 680 past Huebner Pond and Dam (0.75 miles total, one way)

Hiking time

Varies with route taken

Difficulty

Easy – there are a few gentle hills, but most of the trail is flat.

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, northeast of Williamsburg.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

(Waiting for update to Google Maps to show parking lot)

Directions

From the intersecion of M-72 and US-31 in Acme (northeast of Traverse City), take M-72 7.4 miles east to Skegemog Point Road. Turn left (north) and go 1.2 miles to the parking area and trailhead on the left (west) side of road.

More details

The trail system in this area was created as an Eagle Scout project. This property includes a variety of diverse habitats, and vast ecological systems. Battle Creek is a designated trout stream and is one of the largest and most important tributaries to Elk Lake. The creek contributes approximately six billion gallons of clean water to Elk Lake.

The very pretty wooded trail starts out as a very wide path and goes 0.25 miles to an intersection, from which one can go to Elk Lake or Huebner Pond. This part of the trail is marked with green and orange metal posts, large orange arrows on trees, and few, small, orange "Charter buired cable" markers.

  • Take the lake trail (northeast) for a beautiful view of the south end of Elk Lake. The trail is marked the same as the first portion. This trail is wide single-track. Near the end it's a little soggy, but there are snall logs across the path (a cordory road) that help out.

  • Take the pond trail (WSW) to the dam on the west side of Huebner Pond – it's on a tributary of Battle Creek and provides scenic viewing. There's an old boathouse (??) on the northeast corner. The wide trail is not marked, but it follows an old logging road, and is mowed. The trail ends at a field 680 feet past Huebner Pond.

They had other proposed trails that have not been put in place.

The Lossie Road Nature Trail crosses the south end of the property providing two additional points of public access to the area. There is a footbridge spanning Battle Creek creek along the Lossie Road Nature Trail to provide safe crossing.


BAUER / POLACZYK NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
This area is currently two preserves on one property — the Bauer Preserve and the Polaczyk Preserve.
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

• Bauer Preserve trails – travel through upland forest and old field.

• Polaczyk Preserve trails – travel to a forested ridge and an overlook of the Intermediate (Dingman) River.

Length

• Bauer Preserve trails – 1.9 miles round trip

• Polaczyk Preserve trails – 1.5 miles round trip

Hiking time

• Bauer Preserve trails – about an hour

• Polaczyk Preserve trails – around an hour

Difficulty

• Bauer Preserve trails – appears to involve some hills up to the forested ridge. Best guess for now – moderate.

• Polaczyk Preserve trails – appears to be easy

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northwestern area of Antrim County, SSW of East Jordan.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

This is located roughly five miles east of Central Lake . Both preserves include parking areas, trailheads, and informational kiosks.

Bauer Preserve – From Traverse City, take US-31 north to Eastport and turn right (east) on M-88. Follow M-88 to Central Lake and then turn east on County Hwy 24 (called State Street in town, and Old State Road out of town). Continue on County Hwy 24 approximately 7 miles to Finkton Road. Turn left (north) and follow Finkton Road. At about 1.2 miles it turns north and becomes Kidder Road. Follow this about 1.2 miles to Schroeder Road. Turn left (west) and go about 1.2 miles to the west end of Schroeder Road (where the it makes a ninety degree turn to the north and becomes Graham Road) – the preserve is on the left (south) side of the road.

Polaczyk Preserve – From Traverse City, take US-31 north to Eastport and turn right (east) on M-88. Follow M-88 to Central Lake and then turn east on County Hwy 24 (called State Street in town, and Old State Road out of town). Continue on County Hwy 24 approximately 5 miles. About 1/2 mile past Six Mile Lake Road is Wilson Road (a dirt road). Turn left (northwest) – the preserve is about 2 miles down at the end of Wilson Road.

More details

This area features forested valleys, steep ridges, wetlands and nearly 2200 feet on the Intermediate (Dingman) River near the headwaters of the Chain of Lakes.

  • Bauer Preserve trails – a 0.6 mile connected loop and a 1.3 mile trail upland forest and old field.

  • Polaczyk Preserve trails – two connected loops (1.2 miles) that travel to and atop a forested ridge, and a 0.13 mile spur to an overlook of the Intermediate (Dingman) River, a relaxing place to view the river, flora, and fauna.

BAY VIEW TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Partially open and partially wooded rolling hill trail explores bluff overlooks, fields of wildflowers, and former farmland

Length

8 miles of trails, several loops

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate — there are several easy to modertate hills, and one more strenuous hill on the eastern portion of the Ridge Trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, northeast of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Glen Arbor, take M-22 north to the north entrance to Thoreson Road, then go north and west a short way to the trailhead on the left (south) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

The Lookout Point (at Post #2 of the Ridge Trail) gives a panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside. While you're up there, you'll the trail along the edge of the woods on top of the bluff overlooks fields of wildflowers and former farmland with Lake Michigan in the background.

As of 2015, the portion of the trail system here that runs close and parallel to M-22 is now shared with the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. This is the 0.2-mile eastern portion of the Moosewood Trail (south of Post #9), the 1.3-mile portion between Post #9 and #4 of the Low Trail, and the 0.9-mile portion between Posts #4 and #3 of the Farms Trail. The S.B. Heritage Trail is paved south of Post #6 (and beyond), and smoothly-compacted crushed limestone from Post #6 to #3, and beyond.

Also not shown well on the maps is the 0.25-mile-long connecting trail from Post #10 on the Moosewood Trail to a trailhead at the Homestead Resort. This is handy for hikers and XC skiiers staying at the resort.

BETSIE RIVER PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

West loop: partially hilly trail to the Betsie River across an old orchard and through the woods. East loop: flat trail through the woods with connections to Crystal Mountain trails.

Length

8.0 miles of trails, comprised of two loops:
• West loop — 2.6 miles round trip.
• East loop — 5.0 miles round trip, (two connecting short-cuts available).

Hiking time

• West loop – about 1.3 hours round trip.
• East loop – about 2.5 hours round trip.

Difficulty

• West loop – moderate — there are some easy hills leading down to and up from the Betsie River.
• East loop – easy — it's all flat.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. And see "Connection to Crystal Mountain Trails" in the More details section below.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. And cross-country skiiers, see "Connection to Crystal Mountain Trails" in the More details section below.

General location

In central southern Benzie County, WNW of Thompsonville, SSE of Benzonia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the traffic light in Benzonia (M-115 west and US-31), take US-31 south 2.3 miles to M-115, then left (southeast) 4.7 miles to King Road, then right (west) 0.5 miles to Longstreet Road, then left (south) 0.7 miles to the trailhead and parking lot on the left (east) side of road. No restroom.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

Mostly wooded trails...

• West loop – half flat, half hilly. Starting at the northwest corner of parking lot, the trail crosses Longstreet Road and travels across a flat meadow (old orchard, mostly) to the junction for the loop at post 6 near the edge of the woods. The loop goes north along a meadow, through pines, west into the woods, along a nice creek, south along the Betsie River, and then east back to the junction.

• East loop – all flat, mostly through woods, with connections to Crystal Mountain trails — see below.

Connection to Crystal Mountain Trails
The east loop of this trail connects to Crystal Mountain trails at two places:
1. At the end of Joyfield Road, a short ways east of Stone Road, a Crystal Mountain cross-country ski trail crosses Joyfield Road.
2. Southeast of post 3 there is a connector trail to Crystal Mountain hike, mouitain bike, and cross-country ski trails, and shows up on the Crystal Mountain maps below.

Crystal Mountain:
• cross-country ski Web page
• cross-country ski trail map
• bike and hike Web page
• bike and hike trail map

BETSIE VALLEY TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR. Operated and maintained by Benzie County.
[Been there.]

Web site

Web site #1
Web site #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

A former railroad trail that runs from Frankfort to Thompsonville, passes through Elberta and Beulah, and goes by Betsie Bay, the Betsie River, and Crystal Lake.

Length

23 miles (one-way):
• Frankfort to Elberta – 2 miles
• Elberta to Beulah – 8 miles
• Beulah to Thompsonville – 13 miles

Hiking time

Perhaps 9 hours total, (one-way).

Difficulty

Easy – it's a former railroad that's flat the whole way. Some parts are paved, some crushed gravel / aggregate, and some hardpack/ gravel.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, both road and mountain bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, from Frankfort to Beulah. (The trail from Beulah to Thompsonville is open to snowmobiles from December through March.)

General location

The trail travels across southwestern and central southern Benzie County, from Frankfort, through Elberta and Beulah, to Thompsonville.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many places to access the trail. See the trail maps or the trail's Web site for more details. The main trailheads are:

  1. Frankfort at Cannon Park near Lake Michigan beach. Trailhead location.
  2. Elberta where the trail crosses M-22 just east of town Trailhead location.
  3. River Road between Elberta and Benzonia at Adams Road and just west of the Betsie River bridge Trailhead location. Restroom.
  4. Mollineaux Road at the Crystal Lake Outlet Trailhead location. No restroom.
  5. Beulah at the 5-corner intersection and the train depot (Beulah Village Visitor Center) downtown Trailhead location. Restrooms.
  6. Thompsonville. There's trail-side parking at the ballpark on the north side of Lindy Road in town. Enter the parking area on the east side of the trail where it crosses Lindy Road, about 0.1 miles west of Thompsonville Road Trailhead location. Restrooms nearby. (Technically, the trail ends one block (400 feet) south of Lindy Road at Thompson Avenue, but there's no parking there, and no compelling reason to do that short stretch.)

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

More details

The trail runs from Frankfort through Elberta and Beulah on to Thompsonville. The trail has many scenic aspects and is wooded in many areas.

Traveling west to east, the trail begins in Frankfort at Cannon Park on Main Street (next to Lake Michigan beach near the Frankfort lighthouse).

From Frankfort to Beulah the trail is for non-motorized use only. The six-mile section from Frankfort to Mollineaux Road is paved so it's good for road bikes and roller-blading.

From Frankfort to Elberta the trails skirts the Betsie Bay.

Between River Road and Mollineaux Road the trail parallels the Betsie River in the woods for a while. Watch for turtles in the ponds on the northwest (left) side of the trail.

Just before Mollineaux Road the trail crosses the outlet from Crystal Lake. For the three miles from Mollineaux Road to Beulah the trail runs along Crystal Lake and is compacted aggregate

From Beulah to Thompsonville the gravel / aggregate trail is more remote with very few structures and passes through miles of pine and hardwood forests. This section is open to snowmobiles from December through March. About half a mile south of the Pioneer Road crossing (a few hundred feet south of the Mile 17 post) is the deep valley for Dair Creek. Wooden stairs lead down to the creek from both sides of the trail.

BIG M TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Manistee National Forest / USDA Forest Service
[Been there on parts of it. Many more pieces to be investigated.]

Web pages

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Web page #4

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3 with lots of details for hikers and bikers.
Trail map #4

General idea

Plenty of hills on this trail through a hardwood and pine forest.

Length

46 miles in many loops.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate – "An intermediate level trail system with plenty of both steep and long hills with a variety of wooded terrain to challenge every experience level."

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central southern Manistee County, WSW of Wellston, and ESE of Manistee.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Big M is located between Manistee and Wellston in Manistee County a little south of M-55. From Wellston, head west on M-55 about 4 miles to Udell Hills Road. Turn right (south) and go 3 miles to the park entrance and the parking area on the right (west). Restrooms.

More details

Big M is located east of Manistee, deep in the heart of the hardwood and pine forest of the Udell Hills, within the Manistee National Forest. The USDA Forest Service and volunteers maintain the trails during the summer season.

The trail system covers a circle of hills in an area about 2.5 miles by 5 miles. The North Country Trail runs through the area, cutting across the outer loop system from south to north.

A Huron-Manistee National Forest vehicle pass is required from April 1st to November 1st, which is $5 daily.

The Udell Lookout Tower (a fire watch tower) (location) is within the Big M trails, but is not open to the public.

Primarily for cross-county skiing and mountain biking, this great collection of paths is fun for hikers, too. Note: hikers should be ever watchful of mountain bikers.

An invigorating biking trail, be prepared for many aerobic climbs. And well worth the 360-degree view of the Manistee National Forest from the top of Cappers Peak.

All trails can be hiked whenever there is not snow.

This site is maintained in winter and access road and parking lot are plowed.

BOARDMAN LAKE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

A TART System trail. See here for their complete list of trails.
[Updated 2013. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map

TART Trail — Downtown Detail map #1
TART Trail — Downtown Detail map #2

TART Trail and Urban Trails map #1
TART Trail and Urban Trails map #2

TART Overall Trail System map #1
TART Overall Trail System map #2

General idea

Easy, flat, wooded, road bike / walking trail along the north end and east side of Boardman Lake in Traverse City.

Length

Almost 3 miles (2013)

Hiking time

About an hour one way.

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes, too.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, in central southern Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many places to access the trail. The two main sccess points and parking areas are:

North end at Hull Park – at the west end of Hannah Avenue just east of the Traverse Area District Library.
South end at Medalie Park – in the Logan's Landing area off South Airport Road.

More details

Primarily a road-bike path, it's also quite nice for walking, and in the winter this trail may also be groomed for XC skiing if/when conditions are favorable.

The eastern section of this often wooded, serene trail runs along the east side of Boardman Lake, is paved for the northern mile, and has a crushed limestone surface for the southern mile.

The trail now wraps around the north end of the lake, crosses over the Boardman River, has a spur that connects to Lake Avenue and Eight Street, and goes south along the west side of the lake to down 16th Street.

The vision for this trail is a pathway that circles Boardman Lake, granting easy access to the library, Medalie and Hull Parks, Oryana Food Cooperative, and city neighborhoods.

To continue exploring south along the Boardman River, see the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve.

BOARDMAN RIVER TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

A TART System trail. See here for their complete list of trails.
[Updated summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web site

Web page

Trail map

Trail maps for entire proposed trail:
• Trail map 1: source #1, source #2
• Trail map 2

Trail map for just the completed Section 1: Map #4 (based on a photo taken on-site)

This 24-mile Boardman River Trail (BRT) follows the Boardman River valley from the Muncie Lakes North Country Trail (NCT) trailhead northeast of Scheck's Place campground, all the way to Traverse City. When completed, the BRT will link several existing trail systems including

The BRT will create a huge 46-mile loop using all the systems mentioned above, a portion of the TART Trail, and the NCT-VASA Connector – see any of the trail maps above for the entire proposed trail to get the idea. If one were to start on the north side of the Boardman Lake in Traverse City, one could take...

  • the TART Trail to the TART Trail extension,
  • take that to the VASA Pathway,
  • take that to the NCT-VASA Connector,
  • take that to the North Country Trail,
  • take that southwest to the east end of the BRT,
  • then take all of the BRT back to Traverse City.

The Boardman River Trail (BRT) is being developed in three sections;

The trail is under construction. As of November 2013, Section 1 is complete, providing 7 miles of newly-constructed single-track trail connecting the North Country Trail (NCT) near Scheck's Place campground through to Mayfield Pond Park. As of June 2017, Section II is still "in the works".

General idea

A long trail linking several existing trail systems, mostly in forested area, and using existing dirt paths and two-tracks

Length

24 miles total (when complete)
• Section 1 — 7.2 miles hiking (6.1 miles bikiing from Sheck's Place)
• Section 2 — perhaps around 11 miles (at least 7)
• Section 3 — perhaps around 5 miles (more like 6)

Hiking time

Perhaps 10 to 12 hours. (when complete)

Difficulty

Easy to moderate – because of the many sasy-to-moderate hills involved.

Open to mountain
bikes

Only in certain portions...

  • For section 1, mountain biking is allowed from Scheck's Place campground, through the Brown Bridge Quiet Area via Brown Bridge Road to the Brown Bridge Road canoe landing parking lot, and from there through the East Creek Reserve, and over to Mayfield Pond Park.
  • Section 2 – to be determined
  • Section 3 – to be determined

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. But the portion on roads, Brown Bridge Road, Mayfield Road, and Garfield Road, could be problematic.
(And a deep hard-pack of snow on the boardwalks in the GTNER area (section 3) might be difficult on skis.)

General location

In the central and central northern areas of Grand Traverse County, southwest and south of Traverse City, and from northeast to northwest of Kingley.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are numerous access points, the easist are at the various areas involved:

Section 2 – to be determined

Section 3 (when done) – any of the access points of the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve (GTNER) area.

More details

Section 1 — from the Muncie Lakes NCT trailhead and the NCT near Scheck's Place campground, through the Brown Bridge Quiet Area and part of the East Creek Reserve, and on to Mayfield Pond Park —

Trail markers — Starting at the east end, the Boardmand River Trail (BRT) is marked with yellow-tipped posts with yellow wooden arrows, and along the way, the trail is marked with downward-pointing yellow triangles (like a "Yield sign) on trees, telephone posts, and other posts. (Later in the East Creek Reserve, do not mistake these triangles for the upward-pointing, slightly-brighter, yellow triangles that they use on trees.) Occassionally, there are also orange triangles that say "BRT".

At the east end, this trail starts at a connection to the North Country Trail (NCT) somewhere north of Scheck's Place campground, between Brown Bridge Road and Ranch Rudolph Road. From the road, the trail first appears along Ranch Rudolph Road 0.2 miles west of the parking area for Muncie Lakes Pathway / NCT. That parking area or somewhere by Scheck's Place campground is a good place to park.

The trail heads west going in and out of the woods along Ranch Rudolph Road. Around 2 miles later (from where the trail first runs appears along Ranch Rudolph Road), it connects with and shares the north area trails in the Brown Bridge Quiet Area above the former Brown Bridge Pond. At Post 15 in the west part of that area, the BRT leaves those trails and heads out to Brown Bridge Road immediately west of the Boardman River.

The trail heads east along the road for 0.3 miles. (Notice the yellow triangles on the telephone posts on the north side of the road.) Directly across from the Brown Bridge Road canoe landing parking lot, the trail heads south into the woods. Watch carefully for a yellow triangle on a tree there.

From there, the trail runs 0.7 miles south and connects with and shares some of the East Creek Reserve trails. Specifically,...

  • 0.3 miles — the west part of the Northern loop (some of the west part of post 3 to 4 section)
  • 0.2 miles — the connector trail from that loop down to Mayfield Road (post 4 to 5)
  • 0.1 miles — the connector along Mayfield Road (post 5 to 6)
  • 0.4 miles — the northern part of the Southern loop (post 6 to 7) — which comes out on Mayfield Road.

From there the trail follows roads to Mayfield Pond Park. Take Mayfield Road 0.6 miles WNW to Garfield Road. Turn left (southwest) and go 0.6 miles to Mill Street (just south of the small convenience store). Turn right (west) and go 725 feet (two blocks) to the parking lot for Mayfield Pond Park. (About 200 feet south of the parking lot is a pavillion, and just beyond that are restrooms.)

Section 2 — from Mayfield Pond Park to Beitner Road — under development. It will start by paralleling Swainston Creek, then turn and parallel the Boardman River

Section 3 — from Beitner Road to the north side of Boardman Lake – under development. It will go through the existing Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve (GTNER) area and along Boardman Lake.


BOARDMAN VALLEY NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Garfield Township
[Updated August, 2016. Been there.]

Web site

Web site

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

A few miles of trails along the Boardman River, mostly in the woods

Length

1.3 miles.

Hiking time

35 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, south of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Traverse City, take Airport Road to Racquet Club Drive in the Logan's Landing area (Boardman River valley). Take Racquet Club Drive south to the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. The reserve is accessed from the parking lot adjacent the YMCA. Public restrooms are available within the YMCA building.

More details

Also called the Garfield Township Boardman Nature Reserve.

Dispersed along the trail are a number wooden bridges as well as observation/fishing decks overlooking the river.

This is the northern part of several trails along the west side of the Boardman River. At the southern end, this trail connects directly with the Fox Den Loop Trail in the northern part of the GTNER area.

To continue exploring north along the Boardman River, see the Boardman Lake Trail.

August, 2016 — "In the vicinity of the old YMCA off Racquet Club Drive, abandoned trails were cleared and re-opened, creating additional loops that skirt along side of scenic wetlands for a birders delight. The previously-established trail that follows along the Boardman River from the old YMCA to the Boardman River Nature Center will be incorporated into a segment of the approximately 24-mile-long Boardman River Trail. which will eventually connect Traverse City to the North Country Trail.

BOEKELOO TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Boekeloo Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. The name comes from the fact that it starts at the end of Boekeloo Road and passes through the former Boekeloo property.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Rough trail map. Otherwise, no trail map was found and it's likely none exists. But it's an easy-to-follow unmarked trail.

General idea

Lovely trail through the woods, dunesy woods, woodsy dunes, and finally all dunes down to Lake Michigan beach.

Length

1.8 miles round trip.

Hiking time

About an hour round trip (if you don't stay at the pretty sandy beach too long!).

Difficulty

Easy to moderate – because of several small hills and walking across some sand dunes about a third of the time.

Open to mountain
bikes

No. (But in the National Lakeshore, you CAN take your mountain bike anywhere you could drive a car, such as down Boekeloo Road.)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northwestern area of Benzie County, northeast of Frankfort, northwest of Beulah and Honor.

Road map of area

Road map of area

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (7th Street) and Forest Avenue in Frankfort, take M-22 north and east a few times a total of 10 miles to Boekeloo Road on the left (north) side of the road. (Boekeloo Road is 0.9 miles past (east of) the Manitou Restaurant and is called Cooper Road on the right (south) side of M-22.) Turn left (north) on Boekeloo Road and go 1.3 miles to a small turn-around / parking area. No restroom.

Note: going down the narrow two-track Boekeloo Road is not for every car. Although there are no hills, there can be holes and ruts to watch out for, as well as low-hanging trees, and bushy over-growth. In the winter there can be frozen ruts from other vehicles using the road.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

There's quite a bit of history here, with the Coopers and Boeleloos that lived and worked hard here. Read more about it and the area at this Web page. The Boekeloo Cabin, the "Boekelodge," is in the process of being restored by the Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear organization, learn about that project at this Web page.

From the parking are walk northwest, go in the entrance to the former homestead, then around the north end of the tiny lake. You'll see the Boekeloo cabin — the trail starts on the east side of the cabin. The path unmarked is easy to follow and zig-zags northwest through woods and dunes to the beautiful sandy Lake Michigan beach. (If you feel like straying from the path, do not wander too far as it's easy to get lost in this area with its many repeating geological features.) Once at Lake Michigan, pay close attention to where the path enters the beach from the dunes – to easily find the path on your return trip.

The path itself has several little hills and travels through woods, dunesy woods, woodsy dunes, and then open sand dunes.

From the Lakeshore's Web page, "The trail to Lake Michigan is ideal for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter." It's also wonderful during all the other seasons!

BOYNE MOUNTAIN RESORT

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Overseeing
organization

Boyne Mountain Resort
[Added 10/01/2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Main Web page

• Hiking Web page
• Road and mountain biking Web page
• XC skiing Web page
• Snowshoeing Web page

Trail maps

• Hiking trail map – source 1, source 2 – note that the map is looking west (not north)
• Road and biking trail map – source 1, source 2 – see the yellow paved trail on this map
   >>> Note that the map is looking west (not north).
• Mountain biking trail map – source 1, source 2 – see all but the yellow paved trail on this map
• XC skiing trail map – source 1, source 2 – see the green, blue and back trails on this map
• Snowshoeing trail map – source 1, source 2 – see the red trail on this map
• Fat-tire biking (winter) trail map – source 1, source 2 – see the two-colored trails on this map

General idea

Primarily a downhill ski resort, the area also includes many cross county ski and mountain bike trails, three hiking trails, three fat-tire bike trails, one snowshoe trail, and one paved road bike trail.

Length

• Hiking – three dedicated trails:
  – Thunder hiking trail – 1.0 mile
  – Victor hiking trail – 0.5 miles
  – Deer Run hiking trail – 1.0 mile
• Road biking – one 7 mile paved trail
• Mountain biking – 9.5 miles of dedicated trails
• XC skiing – 35 km (22 miles) of dedicated trails
• Snowshoeing – one 3.5 km (2.2 miles) dedicated trail
• Fat-tire biking (winter) – 6.3 km (3.9 miles) via two easy trails and one intermediate trail

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Ranges from easy to difficult depending on the trail taken

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.
(Also, fat-tire bikes in the winter.)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Charlevoix County just west of Boyne Falls (and east of Deer Lake)

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

There are too many trails, and too many types of trails, to show all of the trailheads.

General location of resort on Boyne Mountain Road by the main parking lots – From the intersection of M-75 (Mill Street) and US-131 in Boyne Falls, take US-131 south 0.8 miles to Boyne Mountain Road (a.k.a. Mountain Pass Road). Turn right (west) and go 0.7 miles to the entrances to the parking lots for the resort on either side of the road. Where you go from here depends on what you want to do. See the trail maps above for details.

More details

Hiking – there are well-marked hiking trails suitable for every ability level:
• Thunder Hiking Trail: skirts around the area south of the Victor Quad Chairlift of the downhill ski slopes
• Victor Hiking Trail: appears to go straight up the ski hill parallel to the Victor Quad Chairlift (above the Clock Tower Lodge)
• Deer Run Hiking Trail: skirts around the area north of the Victor Quad Chairlift of the downhill ski slopes

Mountain biking – there are many trails suitable for every ability level

XC skiing – there are well-groomed tracked trails suitable for every ability level. Note that there's a fee involved. The trails "weave through the woods and wilds of Boyne Mountain, with plenty of room for exploration. Sample everything we have to offer – from gentle trails through pine forests to technical terrain designed to test even the most dedicated Nordic skiers. Whatever your preference or your ability level, our trails are ready for your tracks."

BROWN BRIDGE QUIET AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Conservation District. Maintained by the City of Traverse City Parks and Recreation Department.
[Updated summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web pages

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail maps

Trail map #1 (shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly)
Trail map #2 (shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly)
Trail map #3 (shows Wadsworth Road correctly, the parking area at Post 7, and the short Boardman River Trail (BRT) segment from Post 15 out to Brown Bridge Road — needed to connect the North and South trails at the west end)
Trail map #4 (shows Wadsworth Road correctly)
Trail map #5 (shows the Boardman River Trail (BRT) as it traverses through this area, shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly, shows some trail on the north side parallel to the river)

NOTE: none of these maps show the new footbridge that connects the North and South trails at the east end of the park.

Using the "the short BRT segment from Post 15 out to Brown Bridge Road" at the west end, and the new footbridge at the east end, the North and South areas can be combined as one large loop!

General idea

Very pretty trails moslty in the woods, often high above or along the Boardman River and the former Brown Bridge Pond area.

Length

Around 6.3 miles of trails total.

• North area — 3.7 miles of trails

• South area — 2.6 miles of trails, 4.2 miles if done as a loop from Post 1 to Post 4 and back.

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

  • The North area – has some stairways and several easy to moderate hills.

  • The South area – has many relatively flat sections, but includes some easy to moderate hills along the way and in the Grasshopper Loop at the east end.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Grand Traverse County, NNE of Kingsley and southeast of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

The area is about 11 miles southeast of Traverse City.

  • To the North area — south of Traverse City, from the intersection of Garfield Road and Hammond Road, take Garfield south about 5.3 miles to Hobbs Highway, (this is just before Garfield Road drops into the Boardman River valley), then left (east) about 2 miles to Ranch Rudolph Road. Bear to the right on to Ranch Rudolph Road. Watch for three parking areas on the right (south) side to road each around 0.2 miles apart...

    West-most parking location (by Post 9)
    Middle parking location (by Post 8)
    East-most parking location (by Post 7)

    One can also access the west end of the North area via a short (0.2 miles) piece of the Boardman River Trail (BRT) that starts from just west of the Boardman River Bridge on Brown Bridge Road on the north side of the road and heads northeast, connecting at Post 15.

  • To the South area –
    • Post 1 and the main parking area — south of Traverse City, from the intersection of Garfield Road and Hammond Road, take Garfield Road south 6.7 miles to River Road. Turn left (east) – the road soon becomes Brown Bridge Road – and go 0.6 miles to the entrance to the parking lot on left (north) side of the road. Turn left and go 0.1 miles. Parking location.
    • To get to the small parking area by Post 2, take Brown Bridge Road 1.2 miles east of the entrance to the main parking area. There's a small loop with parking for 6 cars on the left (north) side of the road.
    • To get to the small parking area by Post 3, take Brown Bridge Road another 0.4 miles east (1.6 miles east of the entrance to the main parking area). There's a small parking area with room for 3 cars on the left (north) side of the road. There's also a kiosk with an old (as of July 2016) map of the trails and river.
    • There are also several clearings in the woods with room for 1 or 2 cars along the way.

More details

Boardwalks, wildlife overlooks, and benches are scattered throughout the area.

  • The North area has trails which go through a dry-mesic northern forest, two observation platforms from which you can view the whole area, and a staircases taking you from the high bluff down to near-river level. Near the west end, the trail utilizes the north end of the former Brown Bridge Dam. On the east end just beyond the stairs is a 920' boardwalk.

  • The South area trails traverse dry-mesic northern forests and hardwood-conifer swamps, and an ecosystem in transition as the former Brown Bridge Pond area slowly returns to what it once was before the Brown Bridge Dam (now removed) was built. The trail begins near the edge of the former Brown Bridge Pond (at Post 1) and well before Post 2 arrives at over 100 feet above the river at the top edge of a steep bluff. At the east end, in the Grasshopper Loop (the section east of Post 3), the trail descends to be just a few feet above the river with several access points to the water. Also along this loop section, there are a few boardwalks in wet areas, and the trail crosses Grasshopper Creek twice via small bridges. There's a flowing well/spring with safe drinking water (it's marked with a sign by a well with a faucet).

February, 2017 — With the installation of the new footbrdge at the east end of the park, the North and South areas now connect! We can now do ALL of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area as one large loop trail!!

At the east end of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area, there is now a footbrdge across the Boardman River near the outlet of Grasshopper Creek (between Post #3 and Post #4 on the south side and connecting to Post #5 on the north side).

Below is a video about installing the 55-foot-long footbridge, and a Web page talking about the process. Some pretty ingenious folks got the 2,100 pound bridge through all the woods and down the hills involved on some snowy days in February, 2017!

Improving Access to Nature - Brown Bridge Quiet Area (video)

Volunteerism & Tenacity – Improving Access to Nature at Brown Bridge Quiet Area

At the west end of Brown Bridge Quiet Area, if you take the Boardman River Trail from Post #15, it leaves the Quiet Area trails and heads out to Brown Bridge Road immediately west of the Boardman River (about 0.2 miles). From there you can walk east 0.4 miles along the road (crossing over the river) and back to the entrance to the main parking lot, then 0.1 miles to the lot and Post #1 for the South area, thus connecting the North area to the South area at the west end.

NOTE: The Boardman River Trail (BRT) uses the North area here as part of its trail system.


BULLHEAD LAKE NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, owned & managed by Long Lake Township.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1 — then scroll down to Bullhead Lake Natural Area
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail maps

Rough trail map (taken from the master plan for the area, then updated based on trails encountered on site)

General idea

Former logging road trails and single-track paths wind through old-growth forest over rolling hills to the pretty little Bullhead Lake.

Length

Roughly 0.8 miles of trails, at present. A 0.7 mile loop trail around the edge of the property is proposed.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken. The "main" trail, from the trailhead to the lake, is a little over 0.2 miles long, so it's maybe 25 minuntes round-trip.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate, due the gentle to moderately-steep hills involved.

Open to mountain
bikes

Assumed to be no.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County, north of Interlochen and east of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map of the area

Trailhead location

Edgewood Avenue trailhead

Directions

This natural area is "tucked away" on the west side of Long Lake in Grand Traverse County. The nearest town is Lake Ann to the west. From Lake Ann, take Maple Street (C.R. 610) east — it becomes N. Long Lake Road and bends north at 2.2 miles, then east at 2.7 miles, then north again at 3.6 miles. At 4.0 miles is Edgewood Avenue. Turn right (east) and go 0.4 miles to the trailhead on the right (southwest) across from the mailbox for 9723 Edgewood where there's a sign for the area. Off-road parking only for maybe 3 cars. No restroom.

More details

Beautiful, tall, mature forest with rolling hills, and the lake is surrounded by hills and nestled in a deep bowl. The "main" trail runs from the trailhead to the lake. An east-west trail intersects the main trail and connects to homes on private property on the east and west sides of the area. Another trail goes off to the southwest from that intersection and skirts the northwest and west side of the lake. Both it and the main trail provide "rough access" to the lake through light brush at the edge. There is no development around the lake, luckily. Wild and pretty gem of an area.

Some stumps from the old-growth forest were seen. One I saw had lived at least 200 years, so it's likely it's over 300 years old!

What the Web sites say about this area...

This undeveloped property is place where the natural environment can be preserved and enjoyed.  The area is a home to many frogs, fish, birds and other wildlife that depend on wetlands and the forest that would be greatly disturbed by development.  The property includes frontage on the northern portion of Bullhead Lake. There is no swimming or camping at the lake, but enjoying the beautiful scenery provided by Mother Nature is certainly permitted.

Trails wind through peaceful old-growth forests dominated by beech, maple, and conifer species, and bordered by showy ladyslippers and the Michigan-endangered painted trillium. The natural area is a favorite with birder, so bring your binoculars.

The current trail system evolved from logging roads, and areas (paths) of repeated use. The trail system is well-used but of poor quality. There are numerous trip-and-fall hazards (small stumps and roots in the trail), and several trails dead-end at private property boundaries.


CADILLAC BIKE PATH (a.k.a. Lake Cadillac Bike Path)

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Overseeing
organization

The City of Cadillac Parks Divistion, most likely
[Updated Septmber, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2 (see the light blue trail)

General idea

Urban paved path all around Lake Cadillac

Length

7.5 miles (some say 7.1 miles, and my measurements show 6.9 miles)

Hiking time

Most of the path is not appropriate hiking except for the few parts that are separate paved paths

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Perhaps on the few parts that are separate paved paths. Ohterwise no, as it's mostly in shoulders in the road.

General location

In the southeastern corner of Wexford County, on the west side of Cadillac, and all around Lake Cadillac

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

There appears to be no official trailhead. The path is accessible along most of its route. There is ample parking at lots along the Keith McKellop Walkway and in Kenwood Heritage Park, as well as bathrooms at both locations.

Two such parking locations are on Chestnut Street on the northeastern corner of the lake:

Chestnut Street west parking – In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.6 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street. The path in the shoulder along the street. (The walkway by the lake is the Keith McKellop Walkway and is not for bikes.)

Chestnut Street east parking – In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.2 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street. The path in the shoulder along the street. (The walkway by the lake is the Keith McKellop Walkway and is not for bikes.)

More details

A large, paved loop pathway for bicycles using road shoulders and separate paved paths around beautiful Lake Cadillac. More than half of this circuit provides a lake view. Entirely within the city limits of the City of Cadillac, the pathway clings to the Lake Cadillac shoreline, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods, and will take you along historic downtown Cadillac, Mitchell State Park, and Cadillac West.

On the north and east sides the pathway uses a narrow shoulder of the road. At the southeast the pathway uses 1.1 miles of the northern end of the White Pine Trail (a paved, non-motorized rail trail connecting to northern Grand Rapids). Along the south side the path uses a wide shoulder of the road. On the west side where it parallels M-115 and in the Kenwood Heritage Park area the path is separate paved pathway.

This path intersects with the southern end of the Clam River Greenway near the eastern end of the northern shoreline of Lake Cadillac.

CADILLAC PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4

General idea

Very pretty, wooded, rolling hill trail.

Length

11.3 miles.

Hiking time

Perhaps 5.3 hours.

Difficulty

Moderate, with a few easier and a few harder sections

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to cross-country skiis; no to snowshoes.

General location

In southeastern Wexford County, northeast of Cadillac.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two trail access points:

  1. Northeast of Cadillac, from the intersection of 13th Street (aka 36 Road) and US-131, go east on 13th Street about 0.5 miles to just before it turns south. The Intermediate School District, and CTC are on the left. Turn in at the east entrance and park in school parking lot furthest to the east. Trail access is uphill just north of the large, brown "garage." Parking location. No restroom.

  2. Northeast of Cadillac, from the intersection of Boon Road (aka 34 Road) and US-131 (exit 183), take Boon Road east for 2.6 miles to Seeley Road (aka 49 Road). Turn left (north) and go just 600 feet. The parking lot is on the right (east). Parking location. Restroom.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

Called a pathway, but trail is much more appropriate. Primarily a mountain biker's trail, but it works fine for hiking, too. In the winter, it's a cross-country trail – no shoeshoes, please.

This well-mapped trail hosts a variety of terrain. You will be treated to plenty of hills, lots of forests, and the Clam River. (The northeastern-most portion of the trail parallels the Clam River between posts 1 and 7, and there is very easy access to it at one point.)

This trail is a favorite for local cyclists. A good all-around single-track trail, it contains both large climbs and quick stuff. Sometimes sandy, so don't go after a rain. But it's a great 'have-fun' trail, with real potential for a work-out. There is both easy stuff as well as a few tough hills. Can be ridden by all levels of riders, from novice to expert.

There are some two-tracks that criss-cross the property, and some unnofficial single-track trails scattered in here, as well. Follow the blue "Pathway" triangle markers.

Hikers are treated to a very pretty woods and will get a nice work-out if you venture from the west to Post 8. But there are several loops here, so you can choose how much or how little you want to do. Be mindful of mountain bikers, of course.

CAMP ARCADIA TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In the Arcadia Dunes / C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page (for all of the Arcadia Dunes: C.S. Mott Nature Preserve)
Web page #2

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

Overall trail map for all of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail)

General idea

Nice loop trail through rolling and wooded terrain.

Length

3.7 mile loop.

Hiking time

Perhaps 1.6 hours

Difficulty

Easy – but there are many easy but rolling hills throughout the trail. Good for a "beginner mountain bike ride," says the GTRLC Web page.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. and it's designed for mountain bikes, in fact.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes,

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, NNE of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

This trail is accessed from the St. Pierre Trailhead of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 8.5 miles to St. Pierre Road. (It’s 0.3 miles past (south of) Joyfield Road.). Go south 0.1 miles on St. Pierre Road to the parking lot on the left (east) side of the road. The sign there says “Arcadia Dunes: St. Pierre Trailhead.” Parking; possibly a seasonal Port-a-Pottie.

The Chestnut / Dry Hill trails also use this trailhead and parking area, but they a separate trail from the Camp Arcadia Trail.

More details

Named for Camp Arcadia, who helped build the trail.

Pretty, rolling, and mostly wooded terrain. There are a few open areas where the trail crosses former orchards and fields.

The trail is marked with purple blazes on trees, and expect maps posted eventually at several locations along the way.

The trail starts at the southeast corner of the parking lot, and travels in an area south and southwest of the trailhead. It crosses Matzinger Road and St. Pierre Road, then 0.2 miles later is a 1.5 mile loop.

The southern tip of the loop passes right by Taylor Road — this is a good place to spot a car if you only want to do half of the loop. The location is about 0.2 miles west of St. Pierre Road, and just before Taylor gets very narrow and goes downhill to the west. (The two-track angling off to the northwest from here is not Taylor, but it connects to M-22 to the north, eventually.)

Just west of the southern tip of the loop is a point where the trail offers a pretty view to the southwest of Taylor Road in a valley as it winds downhill. Feels like Kentucky, perhaps.

CEDAR RIVER NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. Jointly owned by Antricm County and the Village of Bellaire
[Updated summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Web page #4
Web page #5

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

A few loop trails through various types of forest and lowland along the Cedar River. One trail follows an old railroad grade for most of its length.

Length

4 miles trails
• 4-H Loop Trail – 0.4 miles
• White Pine Loop Trail – 0.5 miles
• Aspen Trail – 0.8 miles
• Grade Trail – 1.1 miles
• Mellem Trail – 0.4 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken. See the first map for some time estimates.

Difficulty

All trails are easy, but a few are rather "lumpy" and some have "tree feet" of which one should be mindful.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Antrim County, east of Bellaire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

The area is located just outside of Bellaire on the east side. There are three access points...

Fairgrounds Trailhead – From Bellaire, take Stover Road (Cayuga Street in town) to Craven Park Road. Turn left (north), the trailhead is 400 feet on the right (east) The south part of the 4-H Loop Trail starts here. To take the north part of the loop, walk 250 north, turn right (east) and go (on the north side of the buildings) another 200 to the woods and you should see the loose trail heading east.

Mellem Trailhead – From Bellaire, take Stover Road (Cayuga Street in town) for 1.5 miles past (east of) Derenzy Road, (1.3 miles east of Craven Park Road), and 250 feet before Burrell Road. Turn left (north) on the access road. The trailhead and a constructed parking area are located 175 feet from the road within a red pine plantation. The sign at the entrance says "Mellem Family Nature Trail".

Burrel Trailhead – From Bellaire, take Stover Road (Cayuga Street in town) for 1.5 miles past (east of) Derenzy Road, (just over 1.3 miles east of Craven Park Road) to Burrell Road. Turn left (north) and go 0.3 miles to where it turns right (east). The trailhead is on the left (west) side of the road.

More details

The wooded trails meander through untouched swamp, conifer forest, upland forest, and riparian forest along the Cedar River. The Grade Trail follows the grade for the former E. J. & S.(East Jordan and Southern) railroad for most of its length.

There are a few boardwalks in the wetter areas, but still more are needed – it can be muddy in the spring. There are a few benches scattered about. Trails are marked with color codes on posts and trees. There are trail maps at junctions. Several types of trees are identified along the way, and there are a handful of informative, interpretave signs, too.

The northernmost point on the Aspen Trail features a short spur to a bench on the edge of the Cedar River.

The Mellem Trail is a wide path through a red pine plantation for the first 60% or so, then crosses a small creek and goes through lowland out to the intersecion with the Grade Trail. Once there, be sure to walk 300 east to the footbridge over the Cedar River.

CEDAR RUN CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, owned & managed by Long Lake Township.
[Updated June, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1 — then scroll down to Cedar Run Creek Natural Area
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2 (made from a photo of the on-site map, then improved and updated)

The main Web page (and an official for the area) says, "There are currently some marked and maintained trails, but trail system is work in progress and will continue to grow."

The trail from Posts 8 to 10 is still in progress. At the moment (6/09/2017), it's marked only a little at each end, so you have to "forage" at bit on your own. But see the More Details section below for help with that.

Other trails are in the making that will run parallel to the current trail from Post 3 to 5 – these are still being developed.

General idea

Mostly woods with scattered areas of open space, in both highland and lowland, and surrounding Cedar Run Creek. There's also 1500 feet of frontage on Cedar Lake, and access to the lake.

Length

4.5 miles of trails, most of which is marked and maintained. Note that the trail between Posts 8 and 10 is still in the making, but it can easily be done, see the More Details section below for help with that.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate. Many of the trails follow two-tracks or paths with relatively easy hills. But there are a few short, moderately steep hills here and there, such between Posts 2 and 3 on the east loop.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County AND northeastern Benzie County, northeast of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two trailheads / access sites:

Cedar Lake Road trailhead location – East entrance, Grand Traverse County – the main entrance with parking, and possibly a port-a-pottie

  • From downtown Lake Ann — take Maple Street (CR 610) east 0.3 miles to (northbound) Lake Ann Road. Turn left (north) and go 2.5 miles to Cedar Run Road. Curve right (east) and go 2.0 miles to Cedar Lake Road. Turn right (south) and go 0.7 miles to the trailhead on the right (west) where the road turns east. There's parking on the south side of the corner.

  • From the northwest corner of Long Lake — at the intersection of Skiver Road and N. Long Lake Road (CR 610), take Skiver Road west 0.8 miles to Cedar Lake Road. Turn right (north) and go 0.2 miles to where the road turns left (west). Continue to follow it for 0.5 miles to the trailhead on the left (west) where the road turns north. There's parking on the south side of the corner.

Tucker Road trailhead location – West entrance, Benzie County – has its own new (as of the fall of 2015) parking area for about 9 vehicles, and possibly a port-a-pottie

Four-wheel-drive recommneded, but not required, for driving on Tucker Road.

From downtown Lake Ann, take Maple Street (CR 610) east 0.3 miles to (northbound) Lake Ann Road. Turn left (north) and go 1.5 miles to Fowler Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.5 miles to Tucker Road. Turn left (north) and go 0.2 miles to the parking area on the right (east) side of the road. There's no restroom. (A few hundred feet before that, you'll pass by the "old" entrance – a short access road on the right (east) leading downhill about 100 feet to a large metal gate.)

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

More details

Be sure to bring the "bug juice!" There are several wet/lowland areas that the mosquitos call "Home!" and from which they are not afraid to roam!

The property consists of 316 acres of mostly woods with some open space. There's 1500 feet of frontage on (and access to) Cedar Lake in the northwestern corner of the lake. This area surrounnds Cedar Run Creek, which starts in Cedar Lake and flows through this property for 1.5 miles (on its way to the Cedar River and South Lake Leelanau). Most of the trails parallel the creek (or its tributaries) in some way.

Roughly 55% (the eastern portion) of the property is in Grand Traverse County and 45% (the western portion) in Benzie County.

The Cedar Lake Loop (Posts 1-2-3) – Is a 0.8 mile loop trail at the north side of Cedar Lake starting at the Cedar Lake Road entrance. It includes a nice overlook of Cedar Lake at a nice deck accessed by taking a short path downhill from Post 2. The portion of the trail from Post 1 to 2, and Post 3 to 1, is relatively easy two-track. The portion from Post 2 to 3 is a hiking path with easy to moderate hills. There's a bench at Post 3.

The trail from Post 3 to 4 follows an old two-track. (About 600 feet west of post 3 is a old foot path going south — ignore it. About 850 feet feet west of Post 3 is the old two-track going north to a red gate by the new north border trail.) At Post 4, what looks like an old logging road "scissors" across the two-track, roughly here.

At Post 4 there are two choices (both connect to the The Old Grade Loop):

  • Go to Post 6 by following the old logging road WSW to cross the creek and connect with the rest of the property. It starts as a 5-foot-wide cut in the land that goes downhill 0.1 miles to Cedar Run Creek valley where there's a bench and a small wooden bridge across the creek. From there the trail goes 0.4 miles and connects with the Old Grade Loop at Post 6, the southern end of the Old Grade on this property. Along the way, the trail goes gently up then down a hill, crosses a small creek flowing north into Cedar Run Creek.

  • Go to Post 5 by staying on the two-track. It slowly curves to the north, goes downhill, crosses a lowland area (where there's a small pond to the southeast), becomes a single-track, goes uphill, then later turns sharply west, goes downhill, and connects to the east side of the Old Grade Loop at Post 5 (near the loop's northern end and just south of the northern creek bridge).

The Old Grade Loop (Posts 5-6-7-8-9-10-5) – Is a 1.7-mile loop trail on the west side of the property, the east side of which follows the Old Grade (the abandoned M&NE railroad bed). The section from Post 8 to 10 is not finished at present (6/2017). I was able to follow it, but it's a but "tricky" at the north end of the loop. Below are some notes that will help.

Hiker symbols — On a few parts of the western section there are circular silver and red hiker symbols on trees to mark the way. Note, these are not on all trails, so do not expect on them throughout the property. And in one case, going east and north from Post 9, they lead to an unfinished trail. Hopefully, the placement of these will be improved as the section between Posts 9 and 10 is developed.

Notes from entering via Tucker Road (updated 11/16/15) – Follow these notes while looking at the trail map. They should be helpful until the all trails are finished and marked. The trails follow a two-track much of the way, along the Old Grade some of the way, and through an open field at the north end of the loop.

  • From the new (2015) Tucker Road trailhead (Post 11), walk down the wide switchback path to connect with the trail coming from the former entrance. There's a bench here. Walk northeast then east, past Post 8 to Post 9 (at 0.3 miles). (6/2017 — Post 9 is not labelled and has only one sign point to Post 8 to the west..) Here, there's a two-track that curves to the north. The trail, when finished, will go east a little, up and over a ridge, then turn 90 degress to the north. As of 6/2017, this route has only just been started. So, until it's finished, take the two-track.
  • On the two-track for the next 1/4 mile or so, it gently weaves in out of Private Property a little, so be respectful of that..
  • Past the curve, two-track heads straight north and follows (and weaves in out of) the west edge of the natural area's boundary.

    • NEAT SIDE-TRIP / SHORT CUT: At roughly 400 feet miles north of Post 9 is a not-well-defined two-track going off the right (east) – don't take that by mistake. Then at roughly 800 feet miles north of Post 9 (just past a small rise where there's a slight dip in the "main" two-track and a shallow valley going to the right (east)), is another former two-track to the right (east). Follow that – it turns to the northeast and goes 0.1 miles downhill to The Cabin on Cedar Run Creek. (The cabin was used by the former owners (Boy Scouts)). There's a bridge across the creek that connects to a 0.2-mile-long single-track trail that parallels the creek and at each end connects to the Old Grade Loop. This is a quick way to get to the east side of the Old Grade Loop.

  • Perhaps 0.25 miles north of Post 9, the two-track leaves the woods (where there are several metal fence posts) and enters an open field.
  • The unmarked path goes NNE through the field, then after 0,1 miles slowly curves ENE past the north end of a stand of trees.A few hundred feet past that you'll see Post 10 at the east edge of the field at the woods near the start of a valley. (Note that the trail from Post 9 to 10 is still in progress. When done, it will mostly be a single-track path through the woods and only go through the open field at the very the north end by Post 10. In the field on the east side of the stand of woods you just went around are a few new posts in place marking the north end of this section, but ignore these for now, as this section is not complete — it goes south into the woods a little bit, then stops. 6/2017)
  • From Post 10, the trail follows an two-track going downhill into the woods. At about 0.1 miles the trail connects with the north end of the Old Grade part of the trail. There's a post marking this connection with a sign pointing to Post 5 to the south. (There's a hunter's blind here on the east side). Please see this photo for a rough idea of the route here at the north end of the loop.
  • From here the trail follows the Old Grade south. Along the way, Cedar Run Creek crosses under the trail twice. (Interesting tidbit – the culverts used at the creek crossings appear to be old boilers from the steam engine days.)
  • At 0.2 miles from Post 10 and a short ways past the first creek crossing is Post 5, at which there are three choices:

    • Go 0.7 miles to Post 4 by turning left (east). Along the way, the trail goes uphill, turns sharply to the right (south), becomes a single-track, goes downhill, crosses a lowland area, goes uphill, then slowly curves east and becomes an old two-track.

    • Go southwest on a single-track trail that parallels the creek. This trail is maybe 0.25 miles long and goes past the bridge to The Cabin before turning east and reconnecting to the Old Grade Loop.

    • Go straight (SSW) 0.6 miles on the Old Grade to Post 6. Along the way, at about 0.2 miles, sharp eyes will spot The Cabin through the woods on the west shore of the creek. After the second creek crossing, at about half-way along, there's a very small pond/marshy area. Then near the end is a much larger pond, created, it appears from when the put the railroad through the area.

  • Arrive at Post 6. There's a bench here. One has two choices:

    • Go 0.5 miles to Post 4 by turning left (east). Along the way, the trail crosses a small creek flowing north, goes gently up and then downhill, then at 0.4 miles crosses Cedar Run Creek, where there's a small wooden brdge and a bench. Past the creek the trail goes uphill to Post 4.

    • Go 0.7 miles to Post 7 by turning right (west). This follows what looks like was once the east end of Fowler Road many years ago.

  • Arrive at Post 7. Turn right (NNE) and go 0.25 miles to Post 8.
  • Arrive at Post 8. There there are two choices:

    • Turn right (west) and go 0.1 miles to Post 9.

    • Turn left (west) and go 0.2 miles back to Post 11 at Tucker Road.



Notes on future trails (under development) 4/25/2015

See this Trail Map. Besides the trail from post 9 to 10 that needs to be developed, there are four additional trails planned.
  • Trail along the north border from just east (300 feet) of post 3 to post 4. It's a little over 0.4 miles long. Orange or yellow tags on trees. A few trees taken down a long the way. The second half of this parallels an old logging road and has been cleared of trees, and is easy to follow. Along the way, a former two-track crosses the trail and there's a red gate the two-track to the north. A little later, a foot path bends off the left, but the new trail goes straight.

  • Trail from south of post 3 to post 4 — I'll call this the high river trail for now. It goes from the SW corner of the post 2-3 trail portion to post 4. Orange or yellow tags. The east end is not well marked -- head west up a hill with a big tree in small clearing, then look for tags going west. (It's easier to start at post 4 and walk east.)

  • Trail from somewhere by Cedar Lake to bridge at Cedar Run Creek southwest of post 4 — I'll call this the low river trail for now. There's an unofficial connector from the SW corner of the post 2-3 trail portion down to the low river trail. It's 0.5 miles from where the connector intersects this trail to the bridge. Orange tag on trees show this trail starts somewhere east, closer to Cedar Lake -- where is that? Investigate. Orange tags and some yellow tags on trees along the way. There's some very tall old growth (perhaps) down by thre creek.

  • Trail from 370 feet west of post 4 to the small pond that's in the lowland area on the trail from post 4 to 5. At 370 feet west of post 4, see mowed path headed west as two-track curves to the right. About 450 feet along this trail is the only marker — an orange tag on a tree. The old trail angles back to the right and back to the two-track. The new trail must angle off the the left, but it's not made or marked, yet. Investigate once marked.

CHANDLER LAKE PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Added September, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

None found

Trail map

Trail map (Based on a photo taken on-site, then much improved. It is not to scale, but provides a good general idea.)

General idea

Lovely trail though the woods going between the state forest campground on Arbutus Lake and Chandler Lake.

Length

2.0 miles of trails

Starting at the campground...
• 1.9 miles – the outer parts of both Long and Short loops and not any of the connecting short-cuts
• 1.2.miles – the "Short Loop" (Start-1-2-3-10-11-12-13-14-2-1-Start)

Hiking time

• Outer parts of both Long and Short loops: Just under an hour
• Short loop: 36 minutes

Difficulty

Moderate do to the many short but moderately steep hills throughout the trail

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, though the hills involved may be somewhat challenging for skiiers

General location

In the northeastern area of central Grand Traverse County, southeast of Traverse City

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

Main trailhead at the campground – From the intersection of Potter Road and 4 Mile Road southeast of Traverse City, take 4 Mile Road south 0.5 miles to N. Arbutus Lake Road. Turn left (east) and go 0.7 miles to the access road to the state forest campground. Turn right (south) and go 0.3 miles to the campground road loop. Stay to the left. Go 0.1 miles to a T intersection. Turn left (north) and go about 100 feet to a small parking area on the left (west) side of the road. The trail starts right behind the Men's or Women's outhouses. There's "Chandler Lake Path" sign not very far in the woods.

Northern trailhead at the Chaperon Drive – From the intersection of Potter Road and 4 Mile Road southeast of Traverse City, take Potter Road east 0.8 miles to the end. (It becomes Chaperon Road along the way. At the southeast of the turn-around between two driveways is the the trail into the woods.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

Called a pathway, but the whole thing is a single-track trail. It travels completely through woods. Most of the way there are blue DNR Pathway triangles on trees making the trail. Some of the time there are blue and teal dots on trees. It appears this trail it not often used. On the south side of the trail by the lake, there are some very tall pines, perhaps 100 feet tall. See the Trail Notes below for details on following the trail.

Trail Notes:

The map on the back side of the Camper Registration kiosk by the Ranger Cabin was made in 1974 and is not very clear in places. See the Trail map I made based on a photo taken on-site, then much improved It is not to scale, but provides a good general idea. The numbers for junctions are for my reference only – they are not on the map on-site or on the trail.

  • At the southeastern area of the campground road loop is a gravel road spur going east down to the lake. Less than 100 from that intersection is a tiny parking lot. See the Men's outhouse by the parking lot. The trail starts behind the Men’s (or nearby Women’s) outhouse. There’s a “Chandler Lake Pathway” sign 30 feet or so in the woods.

  • At Junction 1: Turn right (east). In a very short distance is Junction 2.

  • The distance between Junction 3 and 10 is about 330 feet.

  • At Junction 4 is an intersection with an unofficial trail that connects with Junction 9. At Junction A on that short-cut is a short trail down to the road.

  • Just before Junction 6 heading east is a short-cut trail over to Junction 8.

  • At Junction 6:

    • Head west 200 feet to the turn-around at the east end of Chaperon Drive (Potter Road, Hoch Road). This is the northern trailhead.

    • Heading north quickly becomes messy as the trail is not marked well at all. It bends to the northwest a little then dies out near a private residence before the ridge at the top of steep slope leading down to Chandler Lake. Turn and follow the ridge going east.

  • At #7 (not a junction) at the northern-most area of the trail you’ll encounter a “Chandler Lake” sign.

  • Keep working your way east and soon you’ll encounter the eastern boundary of the state land with “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs. Head south along the boundary and not too much later you’ll reconnect with the marked trail. From Junction 8 to 9 you are walking south near the edge of the state land.

  • At Junction 9 the trail appears to turn abruptly to the right (west). But that’s really an unofficial trail that connects with Junction 4. If you look closely right where the trail turns sharply, though, you should spot what looks like a deer trail heading south. Follow it and eventually there are markers for the trail. After a bit it crosses the road. The trail continues directly to the south on the left (east) side of a medium-sized tree.

  • At Junction 10 turn left (east). After a short way the trail crosses the Boat Launch access road.

  • At #11 (not a junction) there’s a bench near a point out into the lake.

  • At Junction 12 the trail crosses Forest Road 2752 just a few feet before connecting with the Boat Launch access road.

  • At Junction 13 the trail continues from the northeast of the Boat Launch loop.

  • And #14 (not a junction) the trail crosses a stream coming out of the swamp to the northeast. There’s a culvert and some gates to control the water flow.

CHESTNUT TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In the Arcadia Dunes / C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1 (for all of the Arcadia Dunes: C.S. Mott Nature Preserve)
Web page #2 (for the Dry Hill Trail, which includes the smaller Chestnut Trail, a 2 mile loop at the west end)

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2 (for the Dry Hill Trail, which includes the smaller Chestnut Trail, a 2 mile loop at the west end)

Overall trail map for all of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail)

General idea

Nice loop trail through rolling and wooded terrain.

Length

2 mile loop.

Hiking time

Around an hour.

Difficulty

Moderate – there are many easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. Designed by the International Mountain Biking Association, in fact.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes,

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, NNE of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

This trail is accessed from the St. Pierre Trailhead of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 8.5 miles to St. Pierre Road. (It’s 0.3 miles past (south of) Joyfield Road.). Go south 0.1 miles on St. Pierre Road to the parking lot on the left (east) side of the road. The sign there says “Arcadia Dunes: St. Pierre Trailhead.” Parking; possibly a seasonal Port-a-Pottie.

Camp Arcadia Trail also uses this trailhead and parking area, but it's a separate trail from this one.

More details

Pretty, rolling, and wooded terrain. The trail is marked with purple blazes on trees. This trail has a very similar feeling to Pete's Woods.

Note: this trail is also the western most portion of the 10-mile Dry Hill Trail loop.

CHIPPEWA RUN NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web pages

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Easy trail along the Chippewa Run stream and among woods and old orchards.

Length

1.25 miles
• The main loop and the connecting trail to the main trailhead is 1.0 miles round-trip
• The southern loop (on the other side of M-22) is about a quarter of a mile, round-trip.

Hiking time

40 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – mostly flat, but there are a few easy hills in two portions of the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, just a short way northeast of Empire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the intersection on M-72 and M-22 in Empire, head north on M-22 about 0.7 miles. The parking area is located on the left (northwest) side of the street just south of the creek. No restroom.

In winter, if the parking lot on M-22 is not plowed, by the Empire Museum, take LaCore Street north to Fisher Street. Turn right and follow signs to recycling bins. Park in the recycling area. There's a 0.2-mile path from there going east that connects to the main trailhead.

More details

There are paths on both sides of M-22. Relatively short trail on easy terrain. Four separate ecosystems and a birder's paradise. There are also many species of trees and wildflowers. The Chippewa Run stream runs through the property before flowing over and into South Bar Lake. There's a beaver pond at the south end of the southern loop trail.

CLAM RIVER GREENWAY

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Overseeing
organization

The City of Cadillac Parks Divistion
[Updated Septmber, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2 (see the green trail)
Trail map #2

General idea

Urban paved and concrete greenway paralleling the Clam River through the City of Cadillac

Length

1.6 miles.

Hiking time

50 minutes one-way

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to both

General location

In the southeastern corner of Wexford County, on the north side of Cadillac

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

The greenway can be accessed at many places. Four such locations are:

Chestnut Street east access – In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.2 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street. From the parking lot, go to either the Cadillac Bike Path (on the north side of the street) or Keith McKellop Walkway (long the lake), then go west 770 feet to the greenway (just past the river).

Save-A-Lot access – In downtown Cadillac, at the intersection of Mitchell Street and River Street is a Save-A-Lot. Use their parking lot (if there are lots of empty spaces). The greenway is a nearby sidewalk.

Lincoln Elementary School access – From the Lincoln Elementary School on Ayer Street east of Mitchell Street. Use their parking lot (if school is out). The greenway is just to the east..

CASA fields access – at the intersection of 13th Street (36 Road) and Plett Road, 0.5 miles east of Mitchell Street. This is the north end of the greenway.

More details

This ten-foot wide paved and concrete walkway is a casual and friendly walking or riding experience through the city of Cadillac. The path connects the Lake Cadillac trails (Keith McKellop Walkway and Cadillac Bike Path) at the southern end to the Cadillac Area Sports Association (CASA) soccer & baseball fields at the northern end.

The greenway starts at the beginning of the Clam River at the north shore of Lake Cadillac on Chestnut Street, near the northern tip of the northeastern end of the lake. It immediately passes through the Cadillac Sound Garden. It travels along the gently-flowing river's bank smuch of the way, and parallels the river through town, including industrial areas, downtown, Lincoln Elementary School, and quaint residential neighborhoods. It ends at the CASA athletic fields at Plett Road and East 13th Street on the north side of town.

The greenway uses traditional paths, boardwalks and bridges, and sidewalks. Most of the time the path is wide and separate from the road, making it a safe and more scenic alternative for commuters. And it's "woodsier" than you might think.

Where this greenway crosses dense commercial development along Business US-131 (Mitchell Street), the route follows existing city sidewalks labeled with signs and painted blue footprints as a "portage". More specifically,, going northeast on the walkway, when it encoutners River Street, it uses the street, crosses Business US-131 (Mitchell Street), turns left following Wheeler Street, then via a sidewalk across from Simon Street, goes back to being by the river.

CLAY CLIFFS NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Owned by Leland Township and managed by Leelanau Conservancy. See the Conservancy's complete preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Trail through the woods from M-22 near Lake Leelanau up to clay bluffs 200 feet above Lake Michigan.

Length

1.59 miles of trails, 1.57 miles round-trip following the outside of the major loop, skipping the 0.12-mile connector.

Hiking time

About an hour, round-trip

Difficulty

Moderate. Especially on the north part of the loop where there are some short but moderately-steep hills.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. Cross-country skiiers should take the south part of the loop, as the hills are gentler. Snoeshoes are going to be much easier here than XC skiis.

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, northeast of Leland.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

Main trailhead location – From the intersection of M-22 and River Street in Leland, take M-22 north 2.3 miles to entrance to the area on the left (west) side of the road. No restroom.

Lake Leelanau — Silver Poplars access – go just 200 further (past the main trailhead parking entrance) to the roadside turn-off by the silver poplars on the right (east) side of the road. There's very simple sand/grass access to the lake. There's no restroom and no parking, so park at the main trailhead parking lot.

More details

We suggest combining the two smaller loops (the Universal Access/Young Forest Loop and the Field & Forest Loop) and doing this as one large loop, skipping the 0.12-mile connector. You can do this in either direction. Clockwise is easier with the hills involved, but if you go that direction, be sure ot pause as you climb up the meadow area of the south part of the loop, otherwise you might nice views of Lake Leelanau.

Most of the north part of the loop is a single-track with some moderate hills, and is all in the woods. A good portion of the south part of the loop is a wide, mowed path; the rest is a single-track path. It has gentler hills, and is half in woods and half in meadow. In the meadow portion are nice views of Lake Leelanau. Atop the bluff via the very short Manitou Passage View Trail is an overlook platform with stunning views of Lake Michigan, which includes the Fox Islands and the Manitou Islands.

Says Matt Heiman, Conservancy Director of Land Programs, "the mature hardwood forest [here] features one of the most fantastic wildflower spots in the county, the 200-foot bluff is home to a rare ecosystem, and eagles nest on this diverse property."

The cliffs themselves are unusual in an area sprinkled with sand dunes and an underlying layer of sand just below the relatively thin topsoil. Unlike a slope of sand, the 200-feet-hugh cliff of clay is extremely steep, almost vertical. The cliffs are not accessible; visitors should appreciate the view overlook and otherwise not go near the edge of the bluffs.

Also — an additional benefit to this property – in the northeast corner of the property at Lake Leelanau, canoers, kayakers, ice boaters, and fisherman will now forever be able to access the shore from the area known as "Silver Poplars."

COSNER NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

Pretty trails through the woods.

Length

Two loop trails:
0.8 miles
0.4 miles

Hiking time

About an hour.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Antrim County, south of East Jordan.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Three miles south of East Jordan on M-66 across from the Wagbo Peace Center (1/4 mile south of the Antrim / Charlevoix county line). Look for a kiosk and large parking area on the east side of M-66.

More details

A good place to watch for migrating birds who have returned to the area. You might see the coyote, deer, or fox that have been spotted on the preserve. The woodland, wetland and grassland habitats here are home to many plant and animal species. There's boardwalk through a cedar swamp twice crosses Bennett Creek, which is part of the Jordan River watershed

COTTONWOOD TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 (for all four hiking trails on the dunes)
Trail map #2 (for all four hiking trails on the dunes)
Trail map #3

Cottonwood self-guided tour brochure

General idea

Rolling dunes loop trail with great views.

Length

1.7 mile loop

Hiking time

Around an hour (with no stops)

Difficulty

Moderate – several small sand dune hills.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, north of Empire, southwest of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Access the trail from the Piece Stocking Scenic Drive. From Empire, take M-22 north about 2 miles to M-109. Then left (north) and go a little over a mile to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Entrance is on the left (west) side of the road. Entrance to the Cottonwood Trail is at the northern-most parking area. Restrooms nearby.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

Up on the dunes, mostly in sand. Loop goes from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to the top of the main dune climb and back. Great views.

The the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is open from 9 AM to sunset everyday from May through mid-November.

COY MOUNTAIN TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Helena Township, Antrim County
[Been there, updated 2015]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2 (It this trail as easy — it is not!)

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Hardwood forested ridge trail.

Length

1.7 miles of trials with an elevation difference of 180 feet. The main trail, the Long Loop is 1.4 miles. The trail called the Short Loop is 0.3 miles long, but all it does is shorten the main trail by a tenth or two of a miles, and misses the great views. So, stick with the Long Loop!

Hiking time

Less than an hour (with no stops)

Difficulty

Strenuous. No switchbacks here! Sometimes the trail leads directly up or down a slope, rather than gently traversing it. Put your mountain goat shoes on! In a few areas the trail does actually follows contour. And there are a hanful of benches along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the southwestern area of Antrim County, immediately south of Alden.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Just south of downtown Alden, from the intersection of SE Torch Lake Drive (County Hwy 593) and Valley Road, take Valley Road east around 0.2 miles to the trailhead on the right (south) side of the road.

More details

A beautiful patch of woods! The main trail is called the Long Loop — it the one you want. The Short Loop trail buys you very little and misses the views.

From the Michigan Trail Maps Web site, "A good leg-stretcher. For the effort of climbing (180 feet) you are rewarded with a glimpses (through the trees) of Torch Lake to the west from atop Reuben Coy’s mountain. You can hear the bustle of Alden below you."

CRYSTAL LAKE HILLS (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Crystal Lake Hills” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization.
[Updated July, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map

General idea

Steady uphill loop trail through the woods to the hills and ridge area between Crystal Lake and Lake Michigan.

Length

1.4 miles, round trip.

Hiking time

A little over an hour, round trip.

Difficulty

Moderate – the trail winds steadily up a gentle hill (about 300 vertical feet) most of the way. There's a fair amount of tree-fall on the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but both would be very difficult because of all the tree-fall.

General location

In western central Benzie County, northeast of Frankfort.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (7th Street) and Forest Avenue in Frankfort, take M-22 north and east a total of 7.3 miles to Crystal Drive (where M-22 turns north again). Follow M-22 another 0.3 miles. Before you are even with the south end of the small Round Lake coming up on the right (east) side of the road, watch on the left (west) for the start to the path and a post with “No Vehicles Off Road” and “No Snowmobile” signs. Roadside parking only. No restroom.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

This is an "unofficial" trail that winds steadily uphill most of the way through a scenic mature forest. Some trees are over 100 feet tall.

This trail does not get used often and is unmarked. (But there are a few yellow dots on trees, along the way.) It's not a clean and clear path. But for 80% of the way the trail is not hard to follow if you stay in the center of the “V” of the valley between the hills on each side.

There's a fair amount of tree-fall to step over and walk around, and there's a little more each year. It's not likely to be cleaned up unless SBDNL decides to make this an official trail. There are lots of leaves in the path that can cover and hide small branches. So this trail is not good for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Casual hikers might not enjoy this trail as much as regularly-maintained ones. Therefore, this trail is not for everyone. But it's very pretty and a good aerobic hike.

If you are going to take the Southern Trail (to do the full loop) you'll need a compass for a few sections (near points C, D, E, and F) where there's no easy valley to follow. And there's a little more tree-fall to step over and walk around than on the Northern Trail.

For a hike that's easier to follow, just take the main Northern Trail up and back. (A compass is handy if you're going to explore the open field at the top.)

Here are the points you need to know that go along with the trail map:

• For reference only and not shown on the map — About 70 steps (perhaps 140 feet) from M-22 – on the left is a valley to the southwest. Ignore that valley.

A — about 150 steps (perhaps 300 feet) from M-22 — on the left is a trail going up the valley to the southwest. That's the start of the Southern Trail. If you want to do the full loop and you have a compass, take this trail. But for an easier-to-follow hike just stay on the main Northern Trail.

B — about 600 steps (perhaps 1200 feet) along the Southern Trail — the clearer path dies out, it's now essentially a deer path. But there's still an obvious valley to follow.

C — about 750 steps (perhaps 1500 feet) along the Southern Trail — you enter a flat area with hills on either side and a shallow hill straight ahead.. Contiunue WNW across this flat area, then follow the shallow valley up hill going WNW and then northwest.

D — about 1100 steps (perhaps 2200 feet) along the Southern Trail — the shallow valley dies out. Continue going northwest.

E — about 1350 steps (perhaps 2700 feet) along the Southern Trail — you're at the western-most part of the Southern Trail. You should see a set of double yellow dots on a tree, indicating a turn in the path. (You may see blue dots (and a few pink tags) on a north-south going row of trees.)

Here the trail turns 45 degrees and goes due north. Follow the yellow dots on the trees and go straight north for about 65 steps, perhaps 130 feet, to point F.

F — where the Southern and Northern Trails connect.

  • If you came via the Southern Trail – this point is perhaps 3100 feet from M-22. You can sort of spot this point by the small cluster of trees somewhat on its own, and it includes a smaller tree with a triple trunk. On that tree are yellow dots indicating the end of the Northern Trail and a turn in the loop path. It's in a flat area at the top of long valley that heads to the east – the top end of the Northern Trail. Note that finding point F is tricky, unless someone else in your group comes up the Northern Trail, as well, and meets you at the top. (You may see blue dots (and a few pink tags) on a north-south going row of trees.) (A simple, permanent marker here, sure would be ideal.)

  • If you came via the Northern Trail – this point is perhaps 2800 feet from M-22 and is the western-most part of the trail. There used to be blue dots on a north-south going row of trees, but those have faded. The intersection of this path and that row is point F. In a flat area where the valley and path die out, there's a small cluster of trees somewhat on its own, and it includes a smaller tree with a triple trunk. On that tree are yellow dots indicating the end of the Northern Trail and a turn in the loop path. (You may see blue dots (and a few pink tags) on a north-south going row of trees.)

As can be seen on the trail map or road map there's a open field to the northwest – it may be hard to see from this point during the summer. If you want to explore the field, an easy way to get there is:

  • From point F, go west 38 steps (perhaps 76 feet). You may notice you're now in the middle of a old logging road. ((This make be hard to notice in the full growth of summer, and from the shrubs and trees now growing in the road.)
  • Go 165 steps (perhaps 400 feet) following the old road as it goes north then curves to the left (NW) and goes to the edge of the field.
  • Go 100 steps (perhaps 230 feet) northwest to the top of hill in the field for nice view of Lake Michigan to the north-by-northwest.
  • Then navigate back to point F.

What do I do now?

  • If you came via the Southern Trail – to continue on the loop, from this point take the Northern Trail heading east down the valley that starts there. And good news – it's all downhill from here – have fun! Follow the trees with yellow dots.

  • If you came via the Northern Trail – you can
    • return back down the Northern Trail, for sure the easiest way back down.
    • or go due south following the yellow dots on the trees for about 65 steps, perhaps 130 feet. to point E. You should see double yellow dots on a tree. This is the western corner of the Southern Trail. From here you take the Southern Trail back down followng the very subtle valley (at first). It starts heading SE then turns to the east. Follow the trees with yellow dots. Have fun!
    • NOTE: finding point E is difficult, unless someone else in your group comes up the Southern Trail, as well, and meets you at the top. (A simple, permanent marker here, sure would be ideal.)

G — for reference only — about 350 steps (perhaps 700 feet) from M-22 — going off to the north (and then northwest) is a another shallower valley that parallels the Northern Trail part of the way.


DARNTON FAMILY NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Little Traverse Conservancy
[Added August, 2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source 1, source 2

General idea

Pleasant trail through old farm fields, a hardwood forest, pine plantation, and wetlands around Porter Creek.

Length

3.4 miles of trails. If you did them all, round trip: 4.6 miles. (Their Web page says the length is somehow 6.5 miles.)

An “out and back” trail with two small loops (or alternate routes) along the way (between junctions 2 and 3, and between 5 and 6).

• 1 to 2: 0.43 miles
• 2 to 3 short way: 0.36 miles
• 2 to 3 long way: 0.52 miles
• 3 to 4: 0.25 miles
• 4 to 5: 0.55 miles
• 5 to 6 short way: 0.27 miles
• 5 to 6 long way: 0.66 miles
• 6 to 7: maybe 0.06 miles
• Loop at 7: 0.30 miles

Hiking time

2.3 hours round trip if you did all of the pieces

Difficulty

Unknown, but it appears relatively flat, that is, easy

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown but likely

General location

In southern central Charlevoix County, northeast of East Jordan, southwest of Boyne City

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From East Jordan, from the intersection of State Street (C-48) and Maple Street, take State Street (along the way it becomes East Jordan / Boyne City Road) 2.6 miles east to Wilson Road. Turn left (north) and go 1.8 miles to Behling Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.2 miles to the little parking area on the left (north) side of the road.

From Boyne City, from the intersection of Front Street and Main Street, head southwest 1.0 miles to Marshall Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.3 miles to Anderson Road. Turn left (south) and go 2.5 miles to Behling Road. Turn right (west) and go 0.8 miles to the little parking area on the left (north) side of the road.

More details

205 acres. The trails here take you through rolling terrain and varied habitats, including a mix of old hay fields, northern hardwood forests, pine plantations, and conifer swamp wetlands surrounding an unnamed stream and Porter Creek— a trout stream and important tributary to Lake Charlevoix. Expect sweeping views of the surrounding valleys.

DeYoung NATURAL AREA on CEDAR LAKE

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 – source #1, source #2
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Two sets of trails on either side of Cherry Bend Road.
• East side — Short loop trail through meadow and cedar wetland alongside and down to a fishing dock to Cedar Lake.
• West side — A few loops through rolling hills of woods and meadow (former farm field), crossing a few creeks, and includes former farmstead.

Length

• East side — 0.7 miles
• West side — 1.3 miles of trails, one large loop and two smaller connecting loops

Hiking time

• East side — 18 minutes
• West side — varies with route taken

Difficulty

• East side — Easy, it's flat the whole way
• West side — Moderate, because of the many easy rolling hills throughout the area

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Leelanau County, NNW of Greilickville.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

East side trailhead — From Traverse City, from the intersection of M-72 and M-22 (Tom's grocery store of West Bay at northwest corner), take M-22 north 1.3 miles to Cherry Bend Road. Turn left (west) and go 1.8 miles and look for the barn on the right (east). Pull into the parking area by the barn. There's a portable toilet at a little ways down the trail past the Leelanau Trail.

West side trailhead — Farm and field just across Cherry Bend Road from the east side area, but the parking lot is on Strang Road — From Traverse City, from the intersection of M-72 and M-22 (Tom's grocery store of West Bay at northwest corner), take M-22 north 1.3 miles to Cherry Bend Road. Turn left (west) and go 2.0 miles to Strang Road, Turn left (west) and go 0.3 miles to the small parking area on the left (sout). No restroom.

More details

Historic farmstead, field, and wetlands with nearly a mile of frontage on Cedar Lake. With nearly a mile of shoreline on Cedar Lake, this are protects nearly half of the west side of the lake. Portions of the upland are currently being farmed by a neighbor.

• East side —

Take the short, handicapped-accessibile Fishing Pier Trail to get direct to Cedar Lake, where there's a – you guessed it – fishing peir on the lake. Off of that trail is a loop trail that winds through wetland and mature cedars near the shore of Cedar Lake. Says Traverse City Walks, along the way you'll pass through "a meadow and an old cedar swamp with gigantic cedars rotting away." There are some very large grape vines in there, too, some as big as 4" in diameter.

The Leelanau Trail runs through this portion of this land from north to south.

A man-made fork of the southeastern creek on the property, which was used by the former farm for power, flows through the farmstead, under Cherry Bend Road, then SSE to a small pond. A creek from the pond empties into Cedar Lake. Walk 800 south on the paved Leelanau Trail to get to the outlet creek and views of the pond.

• West side —

It's the farmstead just across Cherry Bend Road from the parking area on the east side. You can walk there from the east side, the trailhead is just northwest of the main barn. Or you can park over at the Strang Road trailhead, then hike in from there. Around 3/4 of the trail passes through meadow and 1/4 through woods, all with rolling hills. The trail is currently marked by new wooden posts along the way. There are kiosks at the trailhead and the farmstead with trail maps. Most of the farmstead buildings have signs with descriptions. There are two creeks that run through the property, combine near M-22, and flow to Cedar Lake. A man-made fork of the southeastern creek flows through the farmstead, which they used to power a waterwheel to run tools and generate electricity. The DeYoungs were the first in the area to bring electricity into a home.


DRY HILL TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In the Arcadia Dunes / C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page (for all of the Arcadia Dunes: C.S. Mott Nature Preserve)
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

Overall trail map for all of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail)

General idea

Longer trail through pretty woods, mild meadows, and rolling hills.

Length

10 mile loop

Hiking time

Perhaps 5 hours

Difficulty

Moderate — there are many easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. Designed by the International Mountain Biking Association, in fact.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, northeast of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

This trail “spins off” of the Chestnut trail which is accessed from the St. Pierre Trailhead of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve.

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 8.5 miles to St. Pierre Road. (It’s 0.3 miles past (south of) Joyfield Road.). Go south 0.1 miles on St. Pierre Road to the parking lot on the left (east) side of the road. The sign there says “Arcadia Dunes: St. Pierre Trailhead.” Parking; possibly a seasonal Port-a-Pottie.

Camp Arcadia Trail also uses this trailhead and parking area, but it's a separate trail from this one.

More details

Pretty, rolling, wooded, and farm meadow terrain. The trail is marked with purple blazes on trees. It crosses Taylor, Zilch, and Matzinger Roads – these are alternate access points with roadside parking only. (Although, 400 feet west of the intersection of Taylor and Letteau (where the trail crosses Taylor) on the south side of the road, is a grass-covered turn-around where one might park off the road.)

DUNES TRAIL to LAKE MICHIGAN

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 (for all four hiking trails on the dunes)
Trail map #2 (for all four hiking trails on the dunes)
Trail map #3

General idea

Longer hike over the sand dunes to Lake Michigan. Longer that it looks from up top!

Length

3.5 miles round-trip

Hiking time

3 to 4 hours

Difficulty

Strenuous — several moderate sand dunes hills and a few smaller ones.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to snowshoers. Cross-country skiers may find it very difficult to go up the hills.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, north of Empire, WSW of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location (at the foot of the Dune Climb)

Directions

From Empire, take M-22 north about 2 miles to M-109. Then turn left (north) and go about 3.5 miles to the Dune Climb entrance and parking lot on the left (west) site of the road. You should also see the dunes on the left...! Restroom.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

This is a strenuous hike in mostly soft sand that starts at the Dune Climb and ends at Lake Michigan. There are five major sand hills to climb on the way there, the first and by far the largest is the initial 130-feet-tall Dune Climb itself. The trail is marked occassionally with blue-tipped posts.

Be sure to take sun and foot protection and plenty of water. A shady hat certainly helps. A light-colored loose shirt is helpful, too, in full sun. Also, bring a swim suit and towel so you can take a cooling dip at the "big lake". The sand can be very hot in full sun in the summer, and the trail is not pure sand the whole way. Decent sandals or light shoes are recommended for at least some parts of the trail.

Please treat this journey with extra respect and allow plenty of time and energy to enjoy it. But you are rewarded with great views and some fun exploration on the dunes.

EAST CREEK RESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Owned by Rotary Charities and managed by the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
[Updated summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page (note that the trail map there is out of date)
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 (showing the Boardman River Trail and Shore-to-Shore Trail) Up-to-date as of 12/2015.
Trail map #2

General idea

Two separate (but connected, relatively easy sets of trails, both near East Creek in a maple and pine forest.
• Southern loop – Trails between posts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11
• Northern loop – Trails between posts 1, 2, 3, and 4
• Connector from Northern loop to Mayfield Road – Trail between posts 4 and 5
• Connector on Mayfield Road to Southern loop – Portion of road between posts 5 and 6

Length

A total of 3.9 miles of trails...
• Southern loop: 2.2 miles of trails
• Northern loop: 1.4 miles of trails
• Connector from Northern loop to Mayfield Road, post 4 to 5: 0.2 miles
• Connector on Mayfield Road to Southern loop. post 5 to 6: 0.1 miles

Hiking time

Varies with route taken

Difficulty

• Southern loop: Easy but with some gentle to mild hills involved.
• Northern loop: Easy and flat the whole way.
• Connector from Northern loop to Mayfield Road: moderate – it's a steady hill most of the way.
• Connector on Mayfield Road to Southern loop: easy, it's on the gravel and sand Mayfield Road.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Grand Traverse County, NNE of Kingsley and SSE of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

To the Southern loop trailhead (on the south side of the road across from post 6) –

  • Coming from Traverse City – take Garfield Road south to Mayfield Road (about 0.7 miles south of River Road.). Turn left (east) and go less than a mile to just before (west of) the bridge over East Creek. On the left (north) is post 6. On the right (south) you'll notice a small clearing (see below) where you can park.

  • Coming from the northern loop – take Wadsworth Road southeast 0.6 miles to Mayfield Road. Turn right (west) and go about a mile to just after (west of) the bridge over East Creek. On the right (north) is post 6. On the left (south) you'll notice a small clearing (see just below) where you can park.

The small clearing / parking area at post 6 is an important place for three trail systems.

  • There is plenty of parking in the grass, but there's no restroom.

  • It's the trailhead location for the Southern loop.
  • The main part of the Southern loop starts at the southwest corner of the clearing – see an opening in a wooden fence and a post with yellow tip.
  • The northern section of the Southern loop starts at post 6 on the north side of the road, goes along East Creek and a tributary, and at post 7 comes out on Mayfield Road.
  • From here going east on Mayfield Road (from post 6 to 5) is the 700-foot connection across East Creek to the Northern loop. At post 5 (on the east side of the creek and north side of the road), there's parking for two cars. The connector trail from here to the Northern loop (post 5 to 4) goes uphill along the tall bank of the East Creek.

  • The Boardman River Trail (BRT) shares the trail going west from post 6 to 7. At Mayfield Road it goes west using the road to Garfield Road, south to the village of Mayfield. then at Mill Street (just south of the little store) heads west to Mayfield Pond Park.
  • The Boardman River Trail (BRT) also shares the trail from posts 6, 5, 4, and 3, then from there it splits away and heads north to Brown Bridge Road.

  • The Shore-To-Shore Trail comes in here from the west via Mayfield Road, and leaves the road going southeast into the woods near the southeast corner of the clearing. It soon crosses East Creek, joins the road again for a very short ways, then goes southeast into the woods and up a hill.
  • Horse riders can also use the Mayfield Road bridge if they do not want to cross East Creek on horseback.

The Northern loop trailhead –

  • Coming from Traverse City – take Garfield Road south to River Road. Turn left (east) and go 0.7 miles to Wadsworth Road. Turn right (southeast) and go 0.8 miles to an unmarked gravel road on the right (southwest). (A tree here may have a yellow marker or yellow ribbons.) Turn right (southwest) and go less than 0.1 miles to a small parking lot.

  • Coming from the Southern loop – go about 1.0 miles east on Mayfield Road to Wadsworth Road. Turn left (northwest) and go about 0.6 miles to an unmarked gravel road on the left (southwest). (A tree here may have a yellow marker or yellow ribbons.) Turn left (southwest) and go less than 0.1 miles to a small parking lot.

  • At the small parking lot, on the west is the trailhead location. No restroom.

More details

The reserve is 560 acres. Trails are marked in three ways: posts with yellow tips at intersections, trees with upward-pointing yellow triangles, and yellow triangular signs nailed to trees. Pay attention to these, as there are some old roads and paths in this area that are not part of the trail system..

The Boardman River Trail (BRT) passes through this area and shares trails as part of its trail system. The BRT marks its trail with downward-pointing, slightly darker, yellow triangles on trees and posts.

Notes about the Southern loop trail...

There are now trail maps at each junction.

The trail passes through a very pretty pine and maple forest with some easy hills involved.

The northern section of the Southern loop starts at post 6 on the north side of the road, goes along East Creek and a tributary, and at post 7 comes out on Mayfield Road. The Boardman River Trail (BRT) shares this of the loop.

The 0.3 mile trail from post 7 to 8 starts on the south side of Mayfield Road, directly south of post 7, and about 35 feet east of a former orchard lane. It's a narrow, single-track path.

At post 5, where the map indicates parking on the east side of the East Creek bridge on the north side of the road, there is only enough room for two cars. Going north from here is how you connect to the Northern loop via a connector trail going uphill along the tall bank of the East Creek.

Notes about the Northern loop trail...

Be sure to take a copy of the trail map with you – it will help.

The trail starts out on a wood-chip path headed west across a square open field. The trail is flat and goes through very pretty woods filled with red pine, maple, and oak, and lots of new and old white pine. Early on the northern portion of the loop, you'll' go by (and hear if it's a running) a "cricket" (natural gas pump) in a small clearing. On the southwestern section of the loop you'll go along a ridge high above the East Creek valley.

Caution: at post 3, this is NOT a four-way intersection, but two, somewhat close, three-way intersections. Look at my trail map above to see this better. On-site maps currently show this incorrectly (4/2015).

At post 4, the four-way intersection at the southwest of the loop – going southeast is the 0.2 mile "connector" trail to Mayfiled Road and the Southern loop. It goes along the bluff parallel to East Creek and comes out at Mayfield Road and post 5. Go 700 feet west on the road to post 6 and the small clearing / parking area (mentioned above in the Directions) to access the Southern trail.

The Boardman River Trail (BRT) shares the west part of the loop and the connector down to Mayfield Road.


ELBERTA DUNES SOUTH NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Owned and managed by the Village of Elberta. Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated August, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Rough Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Relatively short trail – first across a meadow then uphill through woods to the top the dunes for fantastic views of the Betsie River Valley, Betsie Lake, and Lake Michigan.

Length

0.8 miles of trails. For the main trail only, round trip – 1 mile

Hiking time

For the main trail only, round trip – less than an hour

Difficulty

Strenuous – because so much of the trail is moderately steep, climbing 240 vertical feet in about a third of a mile. The first third of the way is flat across a meadow. Most of the rest of the trail is moderately steep uphill. (But it's all worth it for the view!)

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. Snowshoeing would be OK, but cross-country skiing would be very difficult because of the narrow trail and steep hills involved.

General location

In western central Benzie County, immediately south of Elberta.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 1.6 miles (passing through Elberta). On the right (west) side of the road look for the parking area with signs. No restroom.

More details

This area offers 63 acres of open and forested dunes, meadow and shoreline, with 1400 feet of Lake Michigan frontage.

To follow the main trail, from the parking area, begin via a mowed path heading WNW through a meadow leading to the forested hills to the west. From there it’s mostly all uphill and mostly in the woods. In a few places the trail is very narrow and sandy. At the top, you're 250 feet above Lake Michigan and rewarded with great views of the lake, as well as Betsie Lake and the Betsie River Valley. You'll need to "play mountain goat" a little out to the west edge of the bluff for views of the Frankfort Lighthouse.

ELK RAPIDS DAY PARK / WALK of ART

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by Antrim County
[Added summer of 2017. Been there]

Web page

Day Park
• Web page #1
• Web page #2

Walk of Art
• Web page
• Brochure

Trail map

Trail map (based on the May, 2016 brochure)

General idea

Easy paths through the woods next to the beach of Grand Traverse Bay with several outdoor works of art along the way

Length

Around 0.8 miles of paths and trails

Hiking time

Depends on the route taken, if you go along the beach, etc. but very likey less than a half an hour.

Difficulty

Easy — the paths are mostly flat with few easy hills

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown, but likely yes

General location

In southwestern Antrim County, just south of Elk Rapids

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

The start of the paths start from the southwestern corner of the parking lot.

Directions

From the intersection of River Street and US-31 in Elk Rapids, take River Street WSW 0.6 miles to Oak Street. Turn left (SSE) and go 0.1 mile Ottawa Street. Turn left (WSW) and go 365 feet — the street bends to the south and is now Bay Shore Drive. Go 0.4 miles to entrance to Day Park on the left (west) side of the street. (920 South Bay Shore Drive). The parking lot is open May through September. If the entrances to the parking area are closed, you can still park outside the fence and go in via the pedestrian entrance immediatley to the south that's open year around. There's a restroom / bathhouse building inside the park that's open "in season".

More details

The Day Park comprises 13 acres of forest, dune, and a quarter mile of beach frontage along East Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan.

This area combines a "day park" (90-car parking lot, picnic tables, grills, playground, pavilion with handicap access, restrooms, paths thorugh the woods, and a quarter mile of sandy beach on the bay) along with the Walk of Art, sculpture park, which features a rotating "gallery" of up to 30 outdoor works of art. There's a brochure and sign-up book before you start on the paths. Be sure to grab a brochure (at least temporarily) to know what works of art are where, their title, and artist. In addition to the sculptures, the park is also host to classes and workshops, concerts, and various other activities.

Most of the paths are through the woods and are of three types: gravel paths, two-track dirt paths, or single-track dirt trails. You can also walk along the sandy beach.

EMPIRE BLUFF TRAIL
(Part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore)

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Trail through the woods with a few hills and ends at a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

Length

1.5 mile round trip.

Hiking time

About an hour.

Difficulty

Moderate — a few easy to moderate hills.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern corner of Leelanau County, south of Empire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Empire, take M-22 south about 2 miles to Wilco Road, then turn right (northwest) and go 1/2 mile to parking lot on left (west) side of street. Restroom.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

Watch for views to the north over old orchards before you get to the bluffs. At the bluffs — fantastic views — and a great place to watch sunsets!

FINTON NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Added 2016. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

An easy, flat trail through majestic hardwoods, and nearby a cedar swamp.

Length

0.6 miles round trip

Hiking time

18 minutes

Difficulty

Easy, it's flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, northeast of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

North trailhead location — on Woolsey Lake Road — From the intersection of northbound M-201 (Mill Street) and Nagonaba Street in downtown Northport, take M-201 north 3.2 miles and watch for the sign for the area on the right (south) side of the road. (Along the way, M-201 becomes Woolsey Lake Road.) No parking area, no restroom.

South trailhead location — on Northport Point Road — From the intersection of northbound M-201 (Mill Street) and Nagonaba Street in downtown Northport, take M-201 north 2.6 miles to Northport Point Road. (Along the way, M-201 becomes Woolsey Lake Road.) Turn right (east) and go 0.5 miles; watch for the sign for the area on the left (north) side of the road. No parking area, no restroom.

More details

"A magical walk through a place of purity."

There are cedars, hemlocks, and white birches. Many of the birches here are covered with lichen, which are sensitive to air pollution, so an abundance of lichen indicates clean air.

Historical high water levels caused the soil here to bog up and slide away. You’ll also notice boulders deposited by retreating glaciers and the raised ridges running along the ground that indicate past lake levels of Lake Michigan.

FIRST CREEK NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Village of Copemish
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1 — about First Creek and other projects along the Big Manistee River watershed.
Web page #2 — for the Mish-A-Mish Roadside Park — shows the nature area's boundary.

Trail map

Trail map (based on a photo taken at the kiosk)

General idea

Easy hike through the woods, prairie, and boardwalk over First Creek.

Length

1 mile loop.

Hiking time

25 minutes

Difficulty

Easy — trail is flat the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Manistee County, on the south side of Copemish.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Accessed through the Mish-A-Mish roadside park, which is on the right (southwest) side of highway M-115 on the south side Copemish. Restooms.

More details

After the failure of the First Creek dam in 1989, it was removed in 2000. The First Creek Nature Trail was established on the 40 acres that includes the wetland where the Copemish Dam Pond once was. Trail runs along the wetland left by the former pond and goes through surrounding uplands. Early on the trail is a 200 foot boardwalk that crosses First Creek. The trail is mostly unmarked. When out on the backside (southern part) of the loop in the prairie, follow the overgrown wood-chip path and orange-tipped wooden stakes, and later trampled ferns, to find your way.

First Creek is the headwaters for Bear Creek, which is a major tributary for the Big Manistee River.

FISHER'S RUN TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Long Lake Township
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1 — then scroll down to Fisher's Run.
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map — taken from a photo on-site, then improved.

General idea

Easy hike through pretty woods.

Length

1.1 mile loop with a cut-over in the middle, allowing you to make a shorter 0.5-mile loop, if desired.

Hiking time

30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy — trail is mostly flat the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County, north of Interlochen and ESE of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map (red marker shows the parking area and trail entrance)

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the intersection of North Long Lake Road and West Long Lake Road (on the west side of Long Lake, east of Lake Ann about 4 miles), take West Long Lake Road south 1.0 mile. West Long Lake Road turns to the left (east). Keep going straight, — it's now called Fisher Road — for 0.8 miles (going past the Westwoods Elementary School) to the entrance to the park on the right (west). Turn right on the unsigned gravel road — about 250 feet from Fisher Road is a small parking area of sorts on the south side of the road. No restroom.

The trail starts about 100 feet from (west of) Fisher Road. The exit is a few feet to the west of that. Signs there indicate the Entrance and the Exit.

More details

This area is the perfect setting for a pleasant walk in a delightful woods on a designated, single-track trail. There are a few benches for resting weary bones, and a handful of educational signs. Although the trail is short, it's still a great walk in the woods or place to sit and enjoy nature.

Bikers and hikers — realize you are sharing the path with each other, so natually, be respectful of each other. Also, follow the designated trail direction (clockwise) to avoid head-on encouters. The trail is marked with silver and red hiker circles on trees.

FRUITHAVEN NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC). See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2 (covers only the short Ridge trail loop)

Aerial map

Aerial map

Trail map

Full trail map
Partial trail map (shows only the short Ridge trail loop) — source #1, source #2, source #3

General idea

Moderately easy trail in a beautiful woods with mostly gentle rolling hills and long valleys.

Length

2.4 miles of trails
3.5 miles round-trip (for all but one short, parallel piece of Main two-track trail)
• Main two-track trail (blue) – 0.8 miles one-way
• Ridge loop trail (purple) – 0.7 miles (travels next to the Main two-track trail for 0.1 miles then shares 0.2 miles with it)
• Red spur trail – 0.2 miles one-way
• Unmarked western spur trail – 0.1 miles one-way
• Orange spur trail – 0.2 miles one-way
• Green spur trail – 0.4 miles one-way

Hiking time

Around 2 hours round-trip (for all but one short, parallel piece of Main two-track trail)

Difficulty

Moderate — many easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, southeast of Frankfort.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 4.5 miles to Herron Road. Turn left (east) and go 1.0 mile to the parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Once part of Fruithaven Orchards, this wooded preserve is now a haven for wildlife.

Many of the trails follow old two-tracks. As of the fall of 2010, color-tipped wooden stakes mark many those two-track trails. But the stakes are not being maintained, and some are rotting and falling down. Added in the late fall of 2014, the Ridge loop trail is marked with purple blazes on trees and is mostly a single-track path (but shares 0.2 miles of the Main two-track trail). The map on-site (and the GTRLC Web page) shows only the Ridge loop trail. It would appear they are, at least for now, ignoring the wooden stake markers. So, be sure to see the full trail map offered on this page before hiking here!

The trails start from the northwest corner of the parking lot. Coming from the northwest is the "returning" western portion of the Ridge loop trail. Head north to begin the "outgoing" eastern portion of the loop.

Within a few feet is a very short cut-over path to the Main two-track trail. Skip this, as that two-track parallels the trail you are on and you'll join with it soon, anyway.

After about 0.1 miles, the single-track path merges with the Main two-track trail. Keep going on this for 0.2 miles to the tip of the Ridge loop trail. From here, you can either go left (west) taking the 0.4-mile-long western portion of the Ridge loop trail, which goes up and along the east side of the ridge (with some glimpses of the Herring Creek wetlands) and then back down to the parking lot. Or, you can continue on straight, exploring 1.6 more miles of trails. But be sure, on the way back down, to take the western portion of the Ridge loop trail – it's a very pretty trail.

Continuing on the Main two-track trail (blue), it's a steady but easy uphill climb its whole 0.8-mile length. After the intersection for the western portion of the Ridge loop trail (at 0.3 miles from the parking lot), there are four spur trails along the way that follow old two-tracks:

  • About half-way up (0.4 miles from the parking lot) at stake B-6/R-1 (dark blue on the tip, red in the middle), is the intersection for the Red Spur Trail on the right (east). It's 0.2 miles long (about 422 paces), uphill most of the way, and dies out at a red stake about 250 feet downhill from a high point.

  • About 200 feet further is the intersection for an unmarked western spur trail on the left (west). It follows a shallow valley up for 0.1 miles (about 222 paces) before it dies out. (One can climb up a short but moderatly steep hill at the west that may have at one time been a two-track,. At the top are more unmarked old two-tracks to explore and get lost on!)

  • About 100 feet further up at stake B-8/O-1 (dark blue on the tip, orange in the middle), is the intersection for the Orange Spur Trail on the right (east). It's a little over 0.2 miles long (about 468 paces), uphill all of the way, and dies out at stake O-8 before reaching any high point. Note: at stake O-3 veer to the left, and at stake O-4 veer to the right.

  • A little over 200 feet from the intersection for the Orange Spur Trail is a long notch cut through a hill. Just past that are two intersections for the Green Spur Trail on the left (west) – the first is NOT marked, and the second, up about 200 feet, IS marked. This 0.4 mile spur trail explores the northwestern area of the reserve.

At the top of the hill the trail ends at an existing orchard. (Careful, that’s an electric fence there!)


FULTON PARK (NATURAL AREA)

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Overseeing
organization

Fulton Park – A Wildlife Interpretative Trail. Managed by Traverse City Parks and Recreation
[Added August, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

None found. It's a simple loop, though, with a spur at the northeastern corner (the tiny Aspen Loop) that connects to the TART Trail.

General idea

Natural area with a self-guided trail through woods and cedar swamp, and crosses a few streams/ponds

Length

Roughly 0.3 miles

Hiking time

About 20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but likely not

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In the southeastern corner of Leelanau County and the northwestern corner of Traverse City, just south of Greilickville

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the intersection M-22 (West Bay Shore Drive) and M-72 near the northwestern corner of Traverse City (and just south of Greilickville), take M-22 north 0.4 miles to Carter Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.3 miles to the small parking lot for the area on the left (south) side of the street. No restroom.

The park can also be accessed from the TART Trail (which runs along the park's east boundary) via its own trail entrance.

More details

13 acres of forested natural area with a self-guided, five-feet-wide nature trail which guides visitors through light woods and a cedar swamp, and crosses two interior ponds/creeks. Along the way the trail runs along low land dominated by cedar, tamarack, and spruce. There are 15 marked posts designating a feature found on the brochure (which, if present, is found at the start of the self-guided trail). The park has been historically known as prime birding habitat. Look for nesting wood warblers, woodpeckers, and foraging green herons at this small gem of a site.

There's an open but shaded grassy area that's a nice quiet place for a lunch or family picnic. There's one picnic table.

The TART Trail runs along the park's east boundary.

GLACIAL HILLS PATHWAY and NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Co-ownned and managed by Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Antrim County, Forest Home Township and the Village of Bellaire. The Friends of Glacial Hills is the name of the board that manages the area.
[Updated summer 2017. Been there on parts of it. Many more pieces to be investigated.]

Web page

GTRLC Web page
Friends of Glacial Hills Web sie

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Groomed Fat-tire Bike Loop for winter

The Friends of Glacial Hills Web site has several suggested routes with descriptions, miles, and rough time estimates.

General idea

Mostly wooded trails through rolliing hills and a wide variety of habitats from forest to wetlands.

Length

31.5 miles of trails in several loops.

The area is divided into three sections: West, East, and North Regions, but the all are interconnected via trails.

I wish they would show the distance between junctions on the maps, as well as the difficulty. But alas, they do not. But you can get an idea from the scale on the map, as well as from the several suggested hikes shown on the maps at the kiosks, and at the Friends of Glacial Hills Web site. And you can just assume that the difficulty is moderate.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate overall. There are many easy to moderate hills throughout the trail system, with a few, very short strenous hills..There are a few short, relatively flat sections.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. The trails were designed by mountain bike experts, in fact.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to both, as well as fat-tire biking.

General location

In western central Antrim County, northwest of Bellaire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Located just a little ways northwest of Bellaire. There are four access points, three main ones, and one minor one.

  1. Eckhardt Road — From Bellaire, take the Bellaire Highway (W. Cayuga St.) west about 2 miles to Eckhardt Road. Turn right (north) and go about 0.8 miles (through two 90 degree turns) and near a thrid turn watch for the sign and an entrance that veers off to the right (north). There are two port-potties and a full kiosk of trail maps and signs. 3169 Eckhardt Road. Trailhead location

    TIP: While you're here (on the way to Eckhardt Road), make a quick stop at Forest Home Township's Loon Nursery Preserve, just before (east of) Eckhardt Road on the south side of Bellaire Highway. There's a very short, gravel path to a viewing platform on Lake Bellaire. It's the first township-owned loon nursery in the nation. (It should not be confused with the Golden Days Loon Nature Preserve, which is located just to the west, at Clam Lake Road and Bellaire Hwy, and has no parking or trails.)

  2. Vandermark Road South — From Bellaire, take the Bellaire Highway (W. Cayuga Street) west 1.3 miles to Vandermark Road. Turn right (north) and go about 0.8 miles to the parking lot on the right (east) side of the road. There's a port-pottie and a full kiosk of trail maps and signs. 3162 Vandermark Road. Trailhead location

  3. Vandermark Road North — From Bellaire, take the Bellaire Highway (W. Cayuga Street) west 1.3 miles to Vandermark Road. Turn right (north) and go about 1.4 miles and see the tiny parking lot on the left (west) side of the road. No restroom. A minor access site – there's just a sign for the entrance to the trail, and nothing elese.. Trailhead location

  4. Orchard Hill Road — From the intersection of Forest Home Avenue and Bridge Street (M-88) in Bellaire, take the Forest Home Avenue west 0.5 miles to Orchard Hill Road. Turn right (north) and go about 1 mile the the parking lot on the left (southwest) side of the road. No restroom, but a full kiosk of trail maps and signs. Trailhead location

More details

This 765-acre natural area is well-suited for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, hunting and wildlife viewing.

Here you'll find extreme ecological diversity with 12 distinct habitat types that support 20 species of trees, over 100 species of flowers, and over 100 species of birds. Two hardwood forest types, three wetland habitats, and the shrub thicket and wet mesic forest types. Features switchback climbs up beautiful hills.

Print out a copy of the trail to plan a rough route before you get there. But also look at the several suggested hikes on the Friends of Glacial Hills Web site and those shown on the maps at the kiosks.

At each junction are number posts with trail maps which help a lot. Trails are marked with blazes on trees.

There's a Scenic View at the end of spur from Post 6, and another between Posts 2 and 3.

At each access site...

  • The Eckhardt Road access provides immediate access to Posts A and 4, and quick access to D.
  • The Vandermark Road South access provides immediate access to Posts 21 and 22.
  • The Vandermark Road North access provides immediate access to Post 34.
  • The Orchard Hill Road access provides immediate access to Posts 39, 40, and 45

Hikers, be sure to watch and listen for mountain bikes. The trails are two-direectional. Watch out for and be respectful of all other trail users.

One trip I've taken so far was north of Orchard Hill Road: 46-44-47-48-53-54-55, then turn around and go 55-54-52-51-43-44, then took a short-cut to the parking lot. It was around 3 miles. Beautiful woods, deep rolling hills, difficulty was moderate with two tiny strenous hills. The trail crosses a stream between 54 and 55. A few meadows and several benches along the way. Single-track path the whole time. Old two-tracks criss cross the property. Very much recommended.


GOOD HARBOR BAY TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Pretty trail through the woods and a few bits of wetland, not far from the shores of Lake Michigan.

Length

2.8 mile loop

Hiking time

A little over an hour.

Difficulty

Easy — Flat the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. A great place for beginning XC skiiers, and it gets some good lake-effect snow. It can also be cooler here than other inland areas, thus helping to maintain the snow.

General location

In central northern Leelanau County, north of Maple City, northeast of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Glen Arbor, take M-22 east about 8 miles to S. Boehemian Road (C.R. 669), turn left (north) and go a little over a mile to Lake Michigan Road, then right (east) and go about 0.8 miles to parking lot and trail entrance on the right (south) side of the road.

At the end of the road (about 0.2 miles further) is a nice picnic area next to the Lake Michigan beach on Good Harbor Bay that seems to go on forever in both directions.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

Nice wooded trail. A creek (more likely it's a long, narrow wetland between parallel ridges) runs through the loop. The long, low ridges seen while hiking the tral that run parallel to Lake Michigan's shoreline, are, in fact, ancient shorelines themselves from when the lake covered this area thousands of years ago, and then receded.

At the southeastern and southwestern corners of the loop are unofficial trails heading south that connect to Little Traverse Lake Road. They are roughly 0.3 and 0.4 miles long, respectively.

GRAND TRAVERSE COMMONS NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by the Grand Traverse Conservation District and Garfield Township.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4
Trail map #5

General idea

Several relatively short connecting trails in the rolling hills and woods just west of the Grand Traverse Commons Area.

Length

Around 5 miles of trails involving nine interconnecting loops. Trails range from 300 feet to 1 mile in length.

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

Mostly moderate — a few trails are easy, but most involve easy to moderate hills. And note that about two thirds of the Old Orchard trail (red) are strenuous and steep as they take you to the top of the hill there and back down. And the Copper Ridge Trail (copper) is also strenous with the hills involved on this trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, immediately west of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are currently eight access points. The trailhead location links below and the trail maps above will help a lot.

  1. Lot K access point — In Traverse City, Munson Hospital, Parking Lot K, at the southwest corner of the intersection of Medical Campus Drive and Cottoageview Drive. On the west side you'll find the trailhead for the Tanglewood Trail. Trailhead location

  2. Gray Drive access point — In Traverse City, take 11th street west off of US-31 past Elmwood and take the first left onto Silver Drive. Turn right on Blue Drive (aka Cottageview Drive), left on Gray Drive, and park at the end. The Cedar Cathedral Trailhead is here. The trail takes off from west of the buildings here into the woods. Trailhead location

  3. Red Drive access points — In Traverse City, take 11th street west of US-31 (Division Street) past Elmwood, and take the first left onto Silver Drive. Keep to the left, Silver Drive turns to the south. Take the next right and go straight west to Red Drive.

    1. Turn left and go around 400 feet. The Tanglewood Trail trailhead is there. It leads up the hill and also into the woods. Trailhead location

    2. Another 300 feet to the south is the Garfield Trail trailhead. Trailhead location

    3. Go another 0.3 miles south all the way to the end of Red Drive. In the middle of the west side of the loop that's there (the area is known as Historic Barns Park), you'll find the trailhead for the Copper Ridge, Meadows Loop, and Old Orchard trails. The trail heads west from here into the woods. Trailhead location

  4. Copper Ridge Drive access point – From the intersection of Silver Lake Road and Copper Ridge Drive (a little northeast of the intersection with Barnes Road and by West Junior High School), take Copper Ridge Drive and follow it around to the northeast corner of its loop, then take the spur to the north (left) and go the end. There you'll find another Copper Ridge trailhead. Trailhead location. (You can also take the spur 200 feet to the west.)

  5. Long Lake Road access point – In Traverse City, from the intersection of Front Street and US-31 (Division Street), take Front Street west 1.5 miles (crossing Cedar Run) to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the road. (The road here is called Long Lake Road.) This is the Garfield Trail trailhead. Trailhead location

  6. Oleson's access point – There is "unnofficial" access point on Long Lake Road across from Oleson's food store, just southwest of the intersection with Cedar Run Road / Medical Campus Drive. This area is also used for parking construction equipment. Oleson's Trail is accessed here. Trail access location

More details

Also called the Grand Traverse Commons Recreation Area. These trails occupy the woods and hills behind (west of) Munson Hospital, Grand Traverse Commons, and the former State Hospital. The 480 acres are sometimes referred to as the State Hospital property, referring to when the Grand Traverse Commons buildings were a state psychiatric hospital. The Copper Ridge Trail provides access to a 38-acre wooded parcel to the west owned by the State of Michigan that is also available for public use.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY CIVIC CENTER TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by the Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation
[Added 11/7/2017. To be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

None found but the path can be easily seen from this satellite view. It's moslty a big square around the perimeter of the park.

General idea

A paved path mostly in trees around the perimeter of Grand Traverse County Civic Center, an urban park.

Length

1.0 miles long

Hiking time

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy — it’s all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County on the east side of Traverse City just east of Garfield Avenue. It’s bordered by Front Street to the north, Fair Street to the east, and Titus Avenue to the south.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location

The path can be accessed just about anywhere along its route. A good parking spot for the path is off of Titus Avenue at the south end.

Trailhead location — this is where Civic Center Drive (the access street to the park) crosses the path just a few feet south of a parking area one can easily use to easily access the path — at the south end of the park.

Directions

To the specific trailhead location above at the south end of the park — from the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Front Street in Traverse City, take Garfield Avenue south 0.3 miles to Titus Avenue. Turn left (east) and go 900 feet to Civic Center Drive. Turn left (north) and at 100 feet it crosses the path and at 150 feet is the parking lot. There should be restrooms available in some of the park’s buildings.

More details

The Civic Center is an active recreation park that encompasses 45 acres within the city limits. It’s a multi-use area with indoor and outdoor facilities. There are athletic fields for baseball and softball, a one-mile-long paved walking path, an expansive playground (known as Kids Kove), basketball courts, a skate park for both skateboarders and bicyclists, a picnic shelter, and an amphitheater for outdoor shows. The indoor facility includes Easling Pool and Howe Ice Arena.

Called a trail, its actually a paved path around the perimeter of an urban park, mostly in trees.

GRASS RIVER NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Owned by Antrim County, managed by the Grass River Natural Area, Inc.
[Been there. Some parts still to be investigated.]

Web page

Main Web site for the area
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Pretty batch of easy trails and boardwalks (along with observation platforms and benches) going along creeks and rivers, winding through forests, stream corridors, swamps, and above floating sedges.

Length

7.5 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Antrim County, west of Mancelona, south of Bellaire, and northeast of Alden.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Main parking location by the nature center

Directions

From Alden – From the intersection of S. Torch Lake Drive and Helena Road, take S. Torch Lake Drive north 0.8 miles to Alden Highway (Country Road 618). Go straight (north) 3.1 miles to Grass River Natural Area Road. (Along the way, the road bends to the east.) Turn left (north) and go 0.3 miles to the southern parking lot, or 0.7 miles the main parking location by the nature center.

From Bellaire – From the intersection of southbound M-88 and E. Cayuga Street in Bellaire, take M-88 south 3.6 miles to Comfort Road. Turn right (southwest) and go 1.9 miles to Alden Highway (Country Road 618). Turn right and go 0.6 miles to Grass River Natural Area Road. Turn right (north) and go 0.3 miles to the southern parking lot, or 0.7 miles the main parking location by the nature center.

From Mancelona – From the intersection of M-88 and US-131 in Mancelona, go west on M-88 (State Street) for 2.3 miles to where it turns sharply to the right (north). Do not follow it. Instead, go straight (west) on Alden Highway (Country Road 618) and go 5.8 miles to Grass River Natural Area Road. (It's 0.6 miles past (west of) Comfort Road.) Turn right (north) and go 0.3 miles to the southern parking lot, or 0.7 miles the main parking location by the nature center.

More details

Near the village of Bellaire on Antrim County's Chain of Lakes, this area comprises 1,325 acres along the pristine Grass River. There are a well-developed and very well-marked network of trails, boardwalks, and observation platforms along Finch Creek and the Grass River, whoch winds through upland forests, stream corridors, tamarack swamps, above floating sedges. Great area for wildlife viewing.

Most of the trails from post 15 though 21 are on boardwalks, and there may be other boardwalks on other trails (to be investigated).

There is also a deck along the Grass River (NNW of Post 20) for fishing and carry-in boat access, if you want to carry a boat that far. (See the Dock Access Trail from Post 20.) Kayak access was actually easier (grass/dirt at the river's edge) next to the observation deck at the northern point of the Sedge Meadow trail (NNE of Post 20).

GREEN POINT DUNES NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 2013. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4 (older map, before the connecting trail from the west Lookout to the Stairs was put in)

General idea

Lovely hilly trail mostly through woods, leading to two wonderful overlooks of Lake Michigan and stairs to Lake Michigan beach.

Length

Round trip —
• Direct to the Lake Michigan lookouts and back – 1.3 miles
• Direct to the Lake Michigan stairs and back – 1.8 miles
• The whole loop, visiting both lookouts and the stairs – 1.9 miles

Hiking time

Round trip —
• Direct to the Lake Michigan lookouts and back – under an hour.
• Direct to the Lake Michigan stairs and back – about an hour.
• The whole loop, visiting both lookouts and the stairs – a little over an hour.
(Of course, the times do not include time spent at the lookouts, or going down the stairs exploring the beach)

Difficulty

Moderate – there are many easy to moderate hills throughout the trail. In fact, there are very few flat sections.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, south of Elberta.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake St) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 3.8 miles to Green Point Road. Turn right (west) and go 1200 feet to the parking lot on the left (south). No restroom.

More details

Very pretty wooded and rolling terrain. Trails are marked with purple blazes on trees.

The Lookouts trail (via posts 1, 2, and 3) goes up to two lookouts offering great views high above Lake Michigan. Once you get to the first hexagonal lookout, notice a path leading from it out to the bluff. It's a only a few hundred feet long. Take this out to the bluffs where you will find another but smaller observation deck perched right on the edge of the bluff! It's almost 300 feet above Lake Michigan.

The Stairs trail (via posts 1, 5, and 4) goes down to the beautiful sandy Lake Michigan beach.

New in 2012, a 0.4 mile connecting trail from the west Lookout to the Stairs (most of the trail between post 3 and 4) was added, creating a nice 1.3 mile loop.

I recommned doing the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, as the trail from the west lookout to the stairs (most of the section between posts 3 to 4) is a little steeper going up than the section from between posts 5 and 1. So it's easier to go down between 3 and 4 and go up from 5 to 1, than to do that in reverse.

GREENAN BLUFFS TRAIL (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Greenan Bluffs Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization. The name comes from the fact that it starts at the end of Greenan Road and ends at the bluffs at Lake Michigan.
[Updated August, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map #1 (Based on guesses looking at the satellite image)
Rough trail map #2 (Based on actually hiking the path with a GPS device)

General idea

Steady uphill trail through woods and dunes meadow to the bluffs above Lake Michigan.

Length

1.65 miles, one way, 3.3 miles round trip.

Hiking time

Around 2 hours, round trip.

Difficulty

Moderate. It's mostly a steady uphill trail, but with a few flat areas, and some small ups and downs in dunes meadow, and short bit of sand dunes. There is one "strenuous" 30-foot sandy hill to climb, transitioning from the woods to dunes meadow.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. Although it would be difficult to follow this unmarked trail in the winter. The bottom third has a fair amount of tree-fall to climb over, through, or around. The one, steep 30-foot sandy hill would be very hard on skiis.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, north of Empire, southwest of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Empire, take M-22 north about 2 miles to M-109. Turn left (north) and go1.9 miles Greenan Road. Turn left (southwest) and go 0.6 miles to the turn-around at the end. Thje trail starts to the left of post with three signs: no off-road vehicles, no snowmobiles, no bicylces. Roadside parking for a few cars, No restroom.

More details

This trail is a great way to explore the woods and the bluffs of the area without having to deal with the Scenic Drive or encounter other humans.

Be sure to take plenty of water on this trip. You may want to explore the bluffs a little at the top, and it's easy to get dehydrated. Wearing long pants is recommended for walking through a fair amount of tall grass.

  • You begin following an former two-track that's in a valley. While following the two-track and for the first third of the trail, there is some occasional tree-fall to climb over, through, or around.
  • At 0.1 miles you'll go under the covered bridge on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
  • After another 0.2 miles you'll cross the west-bound Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
  • You're walking up an old two-track that follow a small valley, and there are a few handfuls of fallen trees to walk around, go under, or scooch over. About 1200 feet from the road, the two-track fizzles out and bends to the right. You'll see a foot path bending to the left. (In the middle of that fork, sharp eyes will spot an 8-faced, concrete marker about a foot tall.) Take the foot path which curves to the left (west). Soon you enter a meadow...
  • For 0.4 miles you'll pass along the edge of a meadow, then through light trees and pines.
  • After that, you'll enter into woods. Near the "entrance" enter you'll see 5 orange-tipped, metal stakes about 16" tall.
  • Go 0.3 miles through woods. While in there, the uphill stops and you'll start to go downhill a little. There are a few sets of fallen trees to go around.
  • At the edge of the woods you'll come to the 30-foot tall, steep, sandy hill that's the transition from the woods to dunes meadow above.
  • Then it's 0.4 miles through dunes meadow and scrubby trees,
  • The last 0.1 miles is through grassy dunes. Be sure to mark your trail (mentally at least) in this last section – there's no defined path. I used a large stand of trees and the top of the bowl behind it as reference points
  • You'll come to the bluff above Lake Michigan — you are around 0.4 miles north of the main "Lake Michigan overlook" on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, and perhaps 0.5 miles south of a high point in the bluff some folks call "The Sleeping Bear."
  • The bluff has a shoulder to it, the second bluff is about 50 feet down – it's fun to explore going right to the edge.
  • Going down to Lake Michigan – just to the north of where you encounter the bluff is a "notch" that may provide easier access to the lake than anywhere else in the area. But you are still 200 feet above that lake and have to come back up a very sandy, steep, and "slippery" slope. It will be strenuous and it will take a while.

GTNER (BOARDMAN RIVER NORTH and SOUTH AREAS)

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Overseeing
organization

This area is officially known as the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve (GTNER) and is managed by the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
[Updated October 21, 2017. Been there.]

Web site

Web site #1
Web site #2
Keystone Rapids & Boardman Pond Trails
Sabin & Beaver Pond Trails

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Small overview of GTNER trails and the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve trail

North-end trails (north of Cass Road and on the west side of the river). There are three connecting loops:

South-end trails (south of Cass Road):

General idea

Several miles of trails along the Boardman River, mostly in the woods, broken into two sections, and each has three connecting trails.

Length

North-end trails (north of Cass Road) – three connecting loops that cover about 2.1 miles in total.

  • Fox Den Trail: 0.6 miles one-way
  • Sabin Pond Trail: 0.8 miles one-way
  • Beaver Pond Trail: 0.7 miles one-way

South-end trails (south of Cass Road) – four trails that cover 2.35 miles one-way.

  • Boardman Pond Trail: 0.75 miles one way

  • Three of the four trails here connect to each other:
    • Lone Pine Trail: 0.5 miles one-way
    • Oleson Bridge Trail: 0.7 miles one-way
    • Keystone Rapids Trail: 0.4 miles one-way
    • Note, from Beitner Bridge to the end of Lone Pine Trail (skipping the Oleson Bridge Trail on the west side of the river) it's 0.9 miles one-way.

  • NOTE: they have been working on a trail to connect from north of post 24 on the Oleson Bridge Trail to south of post 15 on the Boardman Pond Trail. It appears this will finally be done when they finishing removing and reworking the area around the Boardman Pond. When complete, it will allow hikers to connect from the south end trails (south of Cass Road) to the north-end trails (north of Cass Road).

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy — the trails are mostly flat, but there are many small hills and some boardwalks along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but a deep hard-pack of snow on the boardwalks (on the Sabin Pond and Beaver Pond Trails) could be difficult on skis.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, south of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are seven major access points, as well as coming in from the north via the the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve trail.

North-end trails (north of Cass Road):

From the intersection of Airport Road and Cass Road in Traverse City, take Cass Road south and go...

South-end trails (south of Cass Road):

From the intersection of Airport Road and Cass Road in Traverse City, take Cass Road south and go...

More details

The area contains several miles of trails along east and west sides the Boardman River.

North-end trails (north of Cass Road):

This northern half of the GTNER area contains three connecting loop trails along the Boardman River that run from a little ways north of the Sabin Dam to the Boardman Dam at Cass Road.

While at the Sabin Dam, be sure ot visit the Boardman River Nature Center.

From Sabin Dam area, follow the service road down to Sabin Dam you will find the Fox Den Loop Trail goes off from the left (north). It, crosses Jack's Creek and a cattail marsh on boardwalk and loops back to Sabin Dam. On the north end of the loop it connects directly to the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve, a trail that continues along the west side of the river to the YMCA just south of Airport Road in Traverse City.

Also from Sabin Dam area, the Sabin Pond Trail goes to the right (south) along the west side of the river. It connects to the Beaver Pond Loop Trail which continues south to the Boardman Dam at Cass Road.

New, October, 2017. As part of the Boardman River Trail (BRT) once it's completed, is a new section of trail from Post 9 by the Meadows Pavilion trailhead to Post 6 by the Sabin Dam. Starting at Post 9, it's a separate upload trail sometimes under the power lines. It later joins with the upload part of the Sabin Pond Trail loop. It's marked with yellow-tipped posts and yellow BRT triangles.

UPDATE: September, 2017. They are removing the Boardman Dam at Cass Road, and reworking the area both north and south of the dam. They have re-routed the river through its original river bed on the far west side of the former split channel and through the former Beaver Pond. Until they finish this, there is no way to cross the new route of the river — a footbridge witll be needed. We'll have to see what they come up with. To access the trails north of Cass Road, skip the Beaver Pond Loop trailhead and go to the Meadows Pavilion trailhead.

South-end trails (south of Cass Road):

This southern half of the GTNER area contains four trails, three of which connect to each other, along the Boardman River from the Boardman Dam (at Cass Road) south to the Beitner Bridge (at the east end of Beitner Road).

The Boardman Pond Trail goes along the west side of the river from Cass Road. It dead ends at post 15, almost direclty across from the north end of the Lone Pine Trail, post 16. (It's too bad there's no bridge to connect these!).

The Lone Pine Trail goes along the east side of the river. On north side, it does not quite reach to Cass Road, and on its south end it connects to the Oleson Bridge Trail.

The Oleson Bridge Trail is aptly named as it "bridges" (joins) the Lone Pine Trail with the Keystone Rapids Trail just south of the Oleson foot bridge. Cross the bridge to explore the west side of the river.

The Keystone Rapids Trail goes along the east side of the river from the Oleeon Bridge Trail at its north end to the Keystone Rapids trailhead and parking lot at Beitner Bridge (at Beitner Road) on its south end. It's along this stretch that you'll find the "famous" Keystone Rapids.

The Meadow / River Loop Trail somewhat parallels the Keystone Rapids Trail but goes through meadow and then woods on east side up above the river. At the north end, it starts from the west end of the canoe launch road at the Oleeon Bridge Trailhead and goes to the Keystone Rapids trailhead and parking lot at Beitner Bridge (at Beitner Road) on its south end. This trail will become part of the Boardman River Trail (BRT), once it's completed.

UPDATE: September, 2017
. They are removing the Boardman Dam at Cass Road and reworking the area both north and south of the dam. As such, the trails anywhere near the dam and the reworked area are temporarily closed. There are signs posted at the kiosks.

This trail system will eventually connect at its south end somehow to the Boardman River Trail (BRT), once the BRT has been completed.

See also the Brown Bridge Quiet Area for trails much further upstream on the Boardman River along the former Brown Bridge Pond.


HALLADAY-BLACKHURST-CHOWNING NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map (using a photo of trail map at the site)

General idea

Pleasant trail through a mostly pine forest.

Length

Around 2 miles.

Hiking time

About an hour.

Difficulty

Moderate. There are several easy to moderate hills along the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Grand Traverse County, NNE of Kingsley.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Traverse City, take Garfield Road south around 9 miles to Voice Road (which is 2.8 miles past River Road), then turn left (east) and go 0.5 miles and watch for the preserve on the right (south) side of the road (before the intersection with Summit City Road).

More details

This rolling forested and grassland preserve was once a pasture for cattle; but now, bear and other wildlife roam. The property is being restored to a native tree woodlot by managing the old pine plantation.

HANSON HILLS RECREATION AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Grayling Recreation Authority
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

• Mountain biking trail map and details.
• Nordic skiing / hiking trail map and details
• Snowshoeing trail map and details

General idea

An area with many recreational opportunities — mountain biking, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, downhill skiing, tubing, and more.

Length

• Mountain biking — over 20 miles of inclusive singletrack trails
• Nordic skiing / hiking — over 20 miles of groomed, wooded trails
• Snowshoeing — 4.5 miles of inclusive trails

Hiking time

Varies with activity / trail / route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate. Sounds like a mix of easy to at least moderate trails.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In western central Crawford County, WSW of Grayling.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Main parking area, 7601 Old Lake Road, Grayling, MI

Directions

From Grayling – take M-72/M-93 southwest 0.8 miles to Old Lake Road. Turn onto that road and follow it for 1.4 miles to the entrance to the area. Turn left (southwest) and go 0.2 miles to the main parking area.

More details

An entry fee/donation is recommended. A $2.00 donation is recommneded for mountain biking. I assume the same is good for hiking and snowshoeing. A daily nordic ski pass is $10 for adults, and free to those 12 and under.

Hiking trails use the nordic trails in the summer.

HARTWICK PINES STATE PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there on part of it. More parts to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Web page #4
Web page #5
Au Sable River Trail
Mertz Grade Trail
Old Growth Forest Trail
Ski/Mountain Bike Trails

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Topographical map

General idea

Beautiful forest trails over rolling hills.

Length

Several trails totaling over 20 miles, ranging from 0.25 to 7.5 miles in length.
• Aspen Trail: 3 miles
• Au Sable River Trail: 3 miles
• Bright and Glory Lakes Trail: 0.25 miles
• Deer Run Trail: 5 miles
• Old Growth Forest Trail: 1.25 miles
• Mertz Grade Trail: 2 miles
• Weary Legs Trail: 7.5 miles

Hiking time

Varies with trail / route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate, depending on the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, on specific trails only, such as Aspen, Deer Run, and Weary Legs Trails. See one of the trail maps, for details, too.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing: yes, but on specific trails only,
Snowshoeing: yes, but on specific trails only,

General location

In central Crawford County, NNE of Grayling.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

There are many access points to the trails here. The main one is...

Main parking area and visitors center

Directions

NNE of Grayling, and almost straight east of Traverse City and Kalkaska.

Coming north or south of Grayling – take I-75 to exit 259 (north of Grayling), then take M-93 (Hartwick Pines Road) northeast 2 miles to the park's main entrance.

Coming from Traverse City and Kalkaska – take M-72 to Grayling. At the three-way intersection of M-72 / James Street / McClellan Street in town, turn left (north) on McClellan Street (this is also Business 75 and M-93). Go 2.6 miles to Hartwick Pines Road and turn right (heading northeast) -- you're still on M-93 and Business 75. After 1.4 miles you'll cross over I-75 (this is exit 259). Here Business 75 ends and the road is (still) called Hartwick Pines Road and M-93. Keep going -- 2.1 miles further is State Park Drive on the left (north) -- the main entrance to the park. Enter here and go 0.3 miles to Monarch Drive. Turn right (east) and go 0.5 miles to the main parking area; the visitors center is a short walk nearby.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The largest state park in Michigan's northern lower peninsula, Hartwick Pines is rich in scenic beauty and different habitats. It contains the largest stand of virgin (Old Growth Pines) white pines remaining in the lower peninsula – along the Old Growth Forest Foot Trail. The park also has good mixture of other forest types that typically grow on the sandy soils found in this part of Michigan. Several small lakes, the East Branch of the Au Sable River and its associated streams and wetlands further add to the diversity that makes this park very attractive to wildlife. They offer a very nice Visitor Center here as well as Logging Museum. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. year round. restroom at the visitors center.

HICKORY MEADOWS

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Conservation District.and Garfield Township
[Updated August, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4
Brochore for the area with a trail map

General idea

Easy trail through upland forests.and meadows.

Length

Around 2 miles of hiking trails. The XC ski trail is 0.8 miles long.

Hiking time

Perhaps an hour.

Difficulty

Easy — but several easy hills along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

It's likely the main hiking trail can be used for XC skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

Also, if you park at the southwest corner of the property off the west end of Randolph Street, a groomed XC ski trail available.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, immediately northwest of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

M-72 trailhead location – In Traverse City from the intersection of M-22 and M-72 (at west bay), take M-72 west 0.8 miles and watch for a gravel drive (a driveway to a former farm) on the left (south) side of the highway. Turn in here — there's a parking lot 250 feet in; the trail starts from the southwest corner. No restroom.

Randolph trailhead location – In Traverse City from the intersection of Randolph Street and Division Street, take Randolph Street west 1.3 miles to the parking lot for both Hickory Meadows and Hickory Hills.

More details

The hiking trail and a groomed XC ski trail meander through upland forests.and meadows.

August, 2016 — the universally-accessible trail from the Randolph Street trailhead was extended through East Meadow to the Wayne Street trailhead. The highly-compacted, crushed gravel surface enables ease of access for users of all mobility.

NOTE: Immediately to the west (at the west end of Randolp Street) is the Hickory Hills Ski Area (downhill and XC) and Disc Golf Course (in the summer) in beautiful woods and rolling hills owned and run by the City of Traverse City. Web site #1, Web site #2, Web site #3.

HIDDEN LAKE TRAIL (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Hidden Lake Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization. The name comes from the fact that the trail ends at Lake Michigan near Hidden Lake.
[Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Easy woodsy trail following old logging railroad past Hatt Pond and Hidden Lake to Lake Michigan at the foot of the east side of the dunes at Pyramid Point

Length

1.1 miles of "main" trails, 0.6 miles of alternate trails

Hiking time

About an hour, round trip, main trails only

Difficulty

Easy, it's flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In western Leelanau County, northeast of Glen Lake and Glen Arbor, and northwest of Little Traverse Lake

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Main trailhead and parking — From the intersection of M-22 (Harbor Highway) and County Road 669 (Bohemian Road) — northeast of School Lake, west of Little Traverse Lake, NNW of Maple City, and ENE of Glen Arbor — take County Road 669 north 1.1 miles to Lake Michigan Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 2.4 miles to a turn-around at the end of the road. The trail starts in the northwest corner.

Alternate trailhead and parking — From the intersection of M-22 (Harbor Highway) and County Road 669 (Bohemian Road) — northeast of School Lake, west of Little Traverse Lake, NNW of Maple City, and ENE of Glen Arbor — take County Road 669 north 1.1 miles to Lake Michigan Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 1.5 miles to Good Harbor Drive. Turn right (north) and go 0.8 miles to a turn-around at the end of the road. The trail starts near the northwest corner.

This alternate parking spot is handy if you want to do less trail and more beach, such as walking the shore around Pyramid Point.

More details

This trail follows an old logging railroad bed north to Lake Michigan, right next the bottom of the east side of the dunes at Pyramid Point. From the main trailhead, along the way...

  • at around 0.1 miles some power lines cross overhead.
  • at about 950 feet along, if you want to explore — walk straight east 300 feet, through a field and then some pines, and you'll come to the west side of Hatt Pond.
  • Pyramid Point Trail connector, if needed — about about 0.5 miles, going off the left (west) is a "deer trail" type path. It ends about half-way, but just keep walking WSW through the field. At 0.2 miles you'll intersect with an eastern part of Pyramid Point Trail. This might be handy if you're doing a much longer hike here.
  • at around 0.8 miles along, Hidden Lake "hides" in the trees to the left (west) about 150 feet.
  • at 0.9 miles along is a four-way trail intersection. From here, you can:
    • walk 0.5 miles ESE to the alternate trailhead and parking spot.
    • walk 220 feet NNE to Lake Michigan. There's a 10-foot moderatly-steep hill to go down to get the beach.
    • follow the "main" trail to the left (WNW). It immediately passes along the north side of Hidden Lake, curves to the north, and after 0.2 miles arrives at an easy access to Lake Michigan beach, right at the foot of the steep hill that goes up to the Pyramid Point dunes.

The main trail starts out as a gravel two-track, slowly becomes a wide gravel single-track, then eventually becomes a footpath.

Alternate trail on the west side of Hidden Lake...From the four-way trail intersection, if you follow the "main" trail to the left (WNW), after it passes by the north side of Hidden Lake, but a few hundred feet before reaching the beach, an alternate trail goes to the left (southwest then south). It quickly becomes a deer path, and passes by (just 150 feet away from) the west side of Hidden Lake. It ends soon after that in a cedar swamp. (For those of you that are half mountain goat (we won't discuss how that happened), you can take a trail leading out of here climbing southwest up onto the dunes.)

A fun idea for those that like to walk shorelines... From the beach at the end of the main trail, walk the shore 1.7 miles all the way around Pyramid Point to a set of stairs coming down from the end seasonal road south of the camp. See here for a map of this route. For the first half of the trip, along the northern shore, it's a mix of sand and pebbles and stones, and for a few areas near the steepest part of the bluffs, you'll probably have to go slightly into the water. After that, for the second half, it appears to be a nice sandy beach.


HOMESTEAD DAM on the BETSIE RIVER

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page — but only for the boat launch at the dam.

Trail map

None found, and it's very likely none exists.

General idea

Trail travels along the north side of the Betsie River downstream (west) from the Homestead Dam through the woods with some easy hills.

Length

Approximately 2.7 miles round trip.

Hiking time

Around 1.5 hours round trip.

Difficulty

Fairly easy with a few small hills. There can be mud near the running springs along the trail so wear boots as the soggy ground can pull regular shoes right off. You'll encounter a few small creeks — there are logs and/or rocks to help you to cross.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but XC skiing might be difficult.

General location

In central southern Benzie County, southeast of Benzonia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the traffic light in Benzonia (M-115 west and US-31), take US-31 south 0.9 miles south to Love Road. Turn left (east) and go 1 mile to Dam Road. Turn right (south) and go 0.6 miles to the parking lot for the Homestead Dam. Restroom.

More details

Wooded, mostly flat, unmarked trail travels west (downstream) along the north side of the Betsie River from the Homestead Dam to US-31. At several places there are two parallel trails — one along the river and another further away often on higher or drier ground. During a few key times of year (such as salmon and steelhead runs), expect to encounter several “fisherfolk” along the way.

HOUDEK DUNES NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 — source #1, sourrce #2
Trail map #2 — source #1, sourrce #2
Trail map #3

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Area includes both woodsy and sandy trails, and few small hills, as well as an observation deck at Houdek Creek.

Length

3.5 miles of trails total in several connected loops. 2.95 miles if you take just the outer parts of all loops, making one major loop.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken. Under two hours for the major loop.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, northeast of Leland.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Leland, from the intersection of M-22 and River Street, take M-22 north 5.2 miles (and 0.8 miles past CR 626 (Eagle Hwy)) and look for the Houdek Dunes Conservancy sign and parking lot on left (west) side of road. No restroom.

More details

Stands of bright, healthy, white birches – many over a century old. Lots of maples, oaks, and pines. One particularly ancient and impressive maple. Some dunes here and there. Lady slippers in the spring. Observation deck at Houdek Creek.

INTERLOCHEN STATE PARK — PINES NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR. Inside the Interlochen State Park.
[Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page for trail
Official Web page for Interlochen State Park
Another Web page for the State Park

Trail map

Park map #1
Park map #2
Pines Nature Trail Interpretive Brochure
Trail map from brochure

General idea

Easy trail through tall, old growth forest and many pines and evergreens.

Length

1.0 miles.

Hiking time

25 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In western central Grand Traverse County, SSE of Interlochen.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Rough location of trailhead

Directions

From the intersection of US-31 and M137 (north of Interlochen), take M-137 south through town around 2 miles to the main entrance to Interlochen State Park on the left (east) side of the road. Once in the park, follow the signs to camp site 334 (in the west-most row of sites). There's a tiny parking lot (for two cars) between sites 334 and 336. The trail starts threre on the west side of the camping road. (Or you can park at the shower/bath house over by Duck Lake that's not far away, or in the main lot and walk the paved camping road over to the trail.) Restrooms nearby.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to enter since the trail is inside the Interlochen State Park. Some "old growth" white, red, and Norway pine and hemlock that have never been cut, including many over 100 feet tall and one that's 150 feet tall, are still standing along the trail. The oldest are around 300 years old!

Interlochen State Park is located on two fishing and swimming lakes: Green Lake and Duck Lake. Michigan's first state park, it was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1917 as a 200-acre public park to preserve one of the last virgin pine stands for the people of Michigan.

JEFF LAMONT PRESERVE

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #1

Trail map

Trail map – source #1, source #2

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Short, east trail through forested wetland, incluing maple, hemlock, and beech.

Length

0.15 miles, one-way (0.3 miles round-trip)

Hiking time

Under 10 minutes.round-trip

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northern tip of Leelanau County, north of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Northport, from the intersection of Nagonaba Street and M-201 (Mill Street), take M-201 north 1.6 miles to Kilcherman Road. Go straight (north) 1.0 mile to where the road bends to the west and becomes Christmas Cover Road. Go 0.8 miles west to the parking area for the preserve on the right (north) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Jeff Lamont adored Leelanau, but tragically, died of cancer just after his 21st birthday. So the coming together to create this preserve helped his friends and family remember and heal. Together, they preserve this land in his memory.

Currently there is only one short trail at the south end of this 40-acre property. Certainly the opportunity exists to put in more trails in this beautiful, forested area.

Just 0.5 miles to the west is the Christmas Cove Beach on Lake Michigan, a public township park.

JORDAN VALLEY PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
(Sometimes called the Jordan River Pathway)
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Web page #4
See also: Deadman's Hill Loop
See also: Warner Creek Pathway-Pinney Bridge

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map of the area from the North Country Trail brochure
North Country Trail Brochure for the Jordan River Pathway
North Country Trail for the Jordan River Pathway
Jordan River Pathway Detour

General idea

Moderate to rugged hiking along the very scenic Jordan River in the Mackinaw State Forest.

Length

18 miles in several loops of varying lengths

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate to rugged.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In eastern central Antrim County, north and northwest of Alba.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
sirections

There are three main access points:

  1. Pinney Bridge — From Mancelona, take M-66 north eight miles to Pinney Bridge Road. Then right (east) on Pinney Bridge Road, go around 1.8 miles and watch for signs for the (hike-in only) Pinney Bridge Campground and trail at Pinney Bridge.

  2. Deadman's Hill — About 6.7 miles north of Mancelona on US-131 is the small village of Alba. From Alba, take US-131 north 6.0 miles to Deadman's Hill Road. Turn left (west) and follow the signs going 1.7 miles to the DNR parking area and Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook.

  3. Landslide Lookout — From Alba (about 6 miles north of Mancelona on US-131), take Alba Road (CR 620) 0.9 miles west to Harvey Road, then right (north) and go around 1.5 miles. Along the way it turns into a seasonal road. The Landslide Lookout parking lot will be just ahead. From there, follow the easy path to the spectacular Landslide Lookout.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The Jordan Valley Pathway is a Moderate to rugged scenic hiking trail that winds through the Mackinaw State Forest, may be poorly marked in spots, and contains several loops of varying lengths. One loop begins at Deadman's Hill, which offers a spectacular vista of the surrounding countryside and river floodplain. A second breathtaking vista is the Landslide Overlook.

From the trailhead at Deadman's Overlook to Pinney Bridge Campground, it's 8 miles in one direction (northern route) and 10 miles in the other (southern route). Jordan River Road may be used as a shortcut for day hikers to connect one part of the trail to the other..

You will encounter the Jordan River and its tributaries several times along the hike, and be treated to "wistful vistas" of the Jordan River Valley. The Jordan River is Michigan's first waterway to be officially designated as a Wild and Scenic River.

11.2 miles of this Pathway is used as part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. From the northern most point of this Pathway, follow the North Country Trail 1.2 miles to connect with the Warner Creek Pathway.

See also the Jordan Valley information section of our North Country Trail listing.

KEHL LAKE NATURAL AREA

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 — source #1, sourrce #2
Trail map #2 — source #1, sourrce #2
Trail map #3

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Easy hiking in wonderful, old woods along Kehl Lake.

Length

Two loops totaling 2.2 miles.

Hiking time

1.3 hours to cover both trails.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northeastern tip of Leelanau County, NNE of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map. (On some maps Kehl Lake may show as Leg Lake.)

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Northport, take M-201 north 2.5 miles to Snyder Road. Turn left (north) and then at the "T" with Sugar Bush Road, turn right (east). Follow Sugar Bush Road — it takes a sharp left turn to the north and becomes Kehl Road. Stay on Kehl Road. After 2 miles you'll pass Ottis Road on the right. Shortly past that, on the left, you'll see the Conservancy sign for Kehl Lake Natural Area and the parking area on the left )west) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Kehl Lake is also called Leg Lake on some maps. The Ojibway called it “Midassaigan” meaning “Legging Lake." Near the tip of Leelanau County peninsula, this area combines the best of Leelanau, with features such as inland lake shoreline, towering mixed forest, important wetland habitat. At the far north end of the trail loop is a viewing platform that keeps you dry and suspended over a dynamic wetland ecosystem. An old woods, with some trees over 100 years old. There are white pines here as tall as 120 feet and 4 feet in diameter.

KEITH McKELLOP WALKWAY

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Overseeing
organization

The City of Cadillac Parks Divistion, most likely
[Updated Septmber, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2 (see the orange trail)
Trail map #2 (see the dotted-green path)

General idea

Urban paved walkway that hugs the northeastern shoreline of Lake Cadillac

Length

1.3 miles.

Hiking time

40 minutes one-way

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No, nor road bikes. But inline skates are allowed.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown, but quite likely.

General location

In the southeastern corner of Wexford County, on the west side of downtown Cadillac, and northeastern end Lake Cadillac

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

The walkway can be access at several places. Three such locations are:

Chestnut Street west access – In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.6 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street.

Chestnut Street east access – In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.2 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street.

Lake Street access – In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Cass Street and Mitchell Street, take Cass Street 0.1 miles southwest to Lake Street. Keep going, taking the 90 degree curve to the left, then immediately on the right (west) is the entrance to the parking lot.

More details

The walkway starts at the intersection of South Street and Lake Street just west of the Family Fare grocery store. It hugs Lake Cadillac heading north, northwest, west, and southwest and ends at a loop turn-around next to the east end of Sunset Lane.

At the southeastern end the walkway connects directly to the White Pine Trail, a paved pathway for bikers and hikers. In the middle, the walkway intersects with the southern end of the Clam River Greenway.

This walkway is for walking, jogging, strolling, and inline skating, that is, foot traffic only, so you won't be dodging bikes or skateboards. There are public restrooms at the southeastern end and by the boat launch, and there are several parking areas along the route. Leashed pets are welcome (but please pick up after them).

Lake Cadillac is always in view as you are never more than a few yards from the water.

Gaslights border this downtown sidewalk that hugs the northeastern shore Lake Cadillac shoreline, including a picnic and swim area, fishing docks, and the Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion. It connects to the Cadillac City Park, City Boat Launch, Blackburn Skate Park, Sound Garden (via the Clam River Greenway), and Veteran's Memorial. There are many scenic views and several recreational opportunities along the way, such as a playground that is handicap accessible, a skate park, and the unique "Sound Garden".

There are historic markers strategically placed along the walkway and are very informative. The markers include pictures and information on the Cobbs & Mitchell Lumber Mills, The Clam Lake House (early hotel), Mason House (first office of the founder of Cadillac, George Mitchell), Cadillac Boat Club, Acme Truck Plant, and the Cummer-Diggins Mill.

KENWOOD HERITAGE PARK

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Overseeing
organization

The City of Cadillac Parks Divistion, most likely
[Updated Septmber, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Web page #1 and Web page #2 for the disk golf course

Trail map

Trail map #1 — a very rough idea of the trails based on walking around with no compas or GPS

Area map: source #1, source #2 — see the rust-colored trail at the north side of the west end of the lake. It is very inaccurate, shows the general location only, and incorrectly labels the trail as the Kentwood Trail.

Disk golf course map for the 18-hole course: source #1, source #2

General idea

Multi-use recreational area on Lake Cadillac with beach, boat launch, playground, picnic area, disc golf course, volleyball, some walking paths in the woods, and more.

Length

Maybe 1.3 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Easy, as it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown but very likely

General location

In the southeastern corner of Wexford County, west of the city of Cadillac, on the northern side of the west end of Lake Cadillac

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

There are two parking areas, on by the lake, and one by the volleyball court...

Lake-side parking – From the intersection of North Boulevard and M-118 on the west side of Lake Cadillac (at the channel connecting the lake with Lake Mitchell), take North Boulevard east 0.7 miles to the main parking area on the right (east) side of the street.

Volleyball court parking – From the intersection of North Boulevard and M-118 on the west side of Lake Cadillac (at the channel connecting the lake with Lake Mitchell), take North Boulevard east 0.9 miles to gravel road on the left (north) side of the street. Turn left (north) and go 350 feet to the parking area.

Use the volleyball court parking lot if you are going to walk on the trails.

More details

Kenwood Park is a multi-use recreational area on Lake Cadillac with a scenic, sandy swimming beach, playground, boat launch, picnic areas, two disc golf courses (a 9-hole and 18-hole), sand volleyball court, and some walking trails.

The beach and boat launch are on the lake-side of the street. Across the street is the other section with numerous picnic shelters, playgrounds, disc golf course, a sand volleyball court, and the walking trails.

There are all sorts of paths north, northwest, and west of the volleyball court as part of the 18-hole disc golf course on this west side of the park. The walking trails are separate from those, but somewhat intermingle, and are mostly north of the disc golf course.

To get to the walking trails, from the volleyball court, drive or walk 0.2 miles north on the dirt road loop (that goes around through the disc golf course). At the northern tip of this road you'll see a red gate. Start here. The trails are not marked and no trail map could be found online or on-site. Use the trail map above for a rough idea. The disk golf course map above will help where you interect with those areas.

You will be treated to stands of towering white and red pines complemented by oaks, maples, poplars, and elms. The trail travels through the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area within William Mitchell State Park. This path is separate from but just east of the Mitchell-Heritage Nature Trail.

KETTLES TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL)
[Added summer, 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2. the plan for the trail

The trail is still being created, so there is no Web page for it at the SBDNL site just yet.

Trail map

None found. Here is a rough idea of the trail based on what's currently there and what's proposed.

But the (planned) path at present appears to be, starting at Baatz Road...
• a 0.8 mile-path going northeast that connects to the "bottom" (south end) of a loop
• about half-way along this southern trail has a 0.4-mile spur to the southeast that goes to the Kettle Bog
• the loop is 1.4 miles long and extends to the north
• the west branch of the loop is 0.5 miles long; the east branch is 0.9 miles long
• at the the northwestern corner of the loop is access via Lanham Road (a seasonal two-track) coming in from the west

General idea

Deeply rolling hills with many kettles (large, deep depressions with steep banks left by receding glaciers), some wet, some dry, in a lovely woods.

Length

2.6 miles of trail. Doing all pieces together: 3.8 miles round-trip.

Hiking time

About 2.5 hours.

Difficulty

Moderately easy in the southern half. In the northern half, there are easy hills, a few moderate ones, and at least one that's short but quite strenuous. (When they develop the trail, stairs (or substantial switchbacks) will be required for the short, strenuous hill to make it usable by the general public.) Total elevation change over the whole trail: 172 feet.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southern central Leelanau County, southwest of Maple City, east of Empire, and southeast of Glen Lake

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two access points:

Baatz Road Trailhead – From the northern intersection of M-72 and County Road 669 (southwest of Maple City and east of Empire), take 669 north 1.0 mile to Baatz Road (called Kasson Center Road to the east). Turn left (west) and go 1.2 miles to the trailhead on the right (north). Currently, there is only road-side parking. The plans call for a gravel parking area for 6 to 8 cars. And there is no signage, other than a post with a No Off-Road Vehicles sign.The plans call for trailhead signs.

Lanham Road access location – From the northern intersection of M-72 and County Road 669 (southwest of Maple City and east of Empire), take 669 north 1.0 mile to Baatz Road (called Kasson Center Road to the east). Turn left (west) and go 1.3 miles to the northbound Fritz Road. Turn right (north) and go 1.5 miles to Lanham Road. This becomes a seasonal (not plowed in the winter) two-track, and four-wheel-drive is recommended. Turn right (east) and go 1.1 miles to a small clearing where you can park. This is the northwestern corner of the loop part of the trail. The path goes to the east and to the south following small two-tracks. Expect trail markers here of some kind once the trail is developed.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

This trail is on a piece of parkland in the Bow Lakes area that is inland several miles and separate from the rest of the national lakeshore. This area was added to the lakeshore in 1982 because of the unique glacial topography, including dry kettles, kettle bogs, lakes, wetlands, and a bog. (Kettle formations are deep, often steep-sided depressions left by the glaciers when they retreated.) This trail has natural features not found elsewhere in the park, and is the only place in the mainland SBDNL where kettles can be found.

The trail is currently being developed, the trails are unmarked, and at Baatz Road, there's only roadside parking. When the trail is done, expect at least two overlooks along the trail, one at one of the kettles, and another by a kettle bog. Also expect a gravel parking area for 6 to 8 cars at Baatz Road, as well as marked trails and trailhead.

Trail notes from May, 2016...

If you want to explore this area now, before the trails are developed, these notes will help a lot. Most of the trail follows old two-tracks. I hiked this starting at both access points over two different days.

__________________________

• The southern trail — starting at the Baatz Road Trailhead...

Head mostly north — no trail is present, yet, but there are small pink flags marking the way across a mostly open meadow. It's easy to see this was once an orchard, as some remnants of that exist. Just before entering the woods, you'll join with a single-track path coming from the southwest. The woods begin around 0.3 miles along. Once in the woods, the main trail follows a two-track, and is an easy downhill all the way (0.8 miles) to the junction at the southern end of the loop.

Note: If you take the loop from this point, until the trail system is developed and stairs put in, do the loop in a clockwise direction — head northwest from the junction. This because the steep slope on the northern part of the loop trail is slippery and climbing up it would be quite strenuous. And getting to the steep slope from the northeastern corner of the loop is tricky and very difficult to describe, because there is currently no trail there. But by going in a clockwise direction, you get to go down the steep slope, and there's a deer path most of the way from the bottom of that to the northeastern corner of the loop.

Along the way...

• 160 feet before the spur mentioned just below at 0.4 miles, there is an old two-track on the left (north) that looks more like a deer path. It's not part of the planned official trail. It's around 0.35 miles long, and skirts the hills along and above the east side of a double kettle.

• About 0.4 miles along and a bend in the trail is a short spur to the right (south) that goes a few hundred feet into the bottom of a kettle. It's worth a few minutes to experience being at the bottom of a kettle.

• At 0.5 miles along is the intersection with a spur trail that goes over to the Kettle Bog. This intersection is easy to spot, as it's a large triangle of thin woods, with a wide valley going down to the right (southeast). Bend to the right walking downhill through some new-growth trees but following the former two-track. At about 200 feet there's an old, narrow two-track on the left (northeast). A two-feet-diameter rock somewhat marks this intersection. From here you have two choices...

1) Take the 0.1-mile-long old two-track, which is not part of the official planned trail. You'll go over a small hill, then steadily downhill to the bog. Be sure to stop before entering the bog‚ as this path leads right into it! You can walk a little ways past this point near the edge of the bog along a small ridge. But to see the main part of the bog, you'll have to scramble uphill a bit heading southeast. But in a few hundred feet you'll be treated with a nice view of the bog. (Climb up a little further, and you can join the "main" two-track, if you like.)

2) Follow the proposed trail by taking "main" two-track which goes through a small depression, curves to the right, climbs a moderate hill, then curves left. Now you're on a ridge where the trail is flat (more or less). Walk about 0.1 miles and you'll come to a "T" with a two-track going off on a ridge to the right (southwest). At this point, you are at a rather unique location with a kettle to the west, a kettle to the south, and the Kettle Bog to the northeast. Neat! (A bog overlook is planned for somewhere here, but it's a bit too far from the bog to see it very well in the summer with all the foliage. Perhaps it will include a platform to get closer for a clearer view.) Keep going on the two-track downhill until it dies out in a small clearing. From here there's a simple path heading north down a moderate slope right the edge of the southern edge of the bog. An overlook is planned here. This spur is around 0.4 miles long.

—> About the Kettle Bog – It's 4 acres, somewhat tadpole-shaped, with the central area being a marshy island. There's even a 20-feet-diameter hole of water southeast of the center of the "island". It's a fun place to hang out and listen to the wildlife. And being like a large bowl, there are nice echoes, such as when a startled sandhill crane cries out!
__________________________

• The northern trail loop — starting at the Lanham Road access...

Note: Until the trail system is developed and stairs put in, do the loop in a clockwise direction — head east from the Lanham Road access. This because the steep slope on the northern part of the loop trail is slippery and climbing up it would be quite strenuous. And getting to the steep slope from the northeastern corner of the loop is tricky and very difficult to describe, because there is currently no trail there. But by going in a clockwise direction, you get to go down the steep slope, and there's a deer path most of the way from the bottom of that to the northeastern corner of the loop.

Walking east, you'll soon find yourself on a ridge and are treated to a dry kettle on the right (south), and a deep, steep slope into a large valley on the left (north) in which Pothole Lake (a kettle lake) resides about 1000 feet to the northeast. (An overlook is proposed for this location.) The trail turns south then bends to the east where there's a very quick descent, at least 50 feet. (I hope they put stairs in here!) With the loose rocks and leaves, it's a bit slippery — step carefully. The two-track dies out soon past the bottom of that steep hill. (A trail is expected to be developed from here heading ESE that will connect with the two-track that's part of the east side of the loop. But that's rather hilly, so it's not easily done at the moment.) But for now, you can follow a single-track "deer path" to the northeast. There are some short, moderate hills along the way. Just past a brown NPS boundary marker, it dies out about 100 feet (at a tall broken stump) (west of) before reaching the two-track. But just head east, and you'll soon encounter the old two-track running north-south in a shallow valley. Mark well your position at this point and how to get back to the deer path in case you intend to to go back this way — which you will not need to do if you do the full loop.

• So now you're on the old two-track running north-south that's the east side of the loop. Turn right (south). The trail is easy, with a few mild hills. At around 0.1 miles along is a dry kettle on the left (east). (It is here that the proposed trail coming from the WNW will connect with the two-track. But as you can see, it's quite hilly going west here, so it's not easily done at the moment.) At 0.2 and 0.3 miles along are two kettle lakes (at least during wetter years) to the right (west) of the trail. At 0.5 miles along you come to the junction at the southern end of the loop.

ª At the junction, you intersect with the northern end of the southern trail coming from Baatz Road. To continue on the loop, turn right (northwest). It's a steady easy-to-moderate uphill climb for 0.4 miles, then downhill the last 0.1 miles. You end at the Lanham Road access.
__________________________

Something extra, outside the scope of the propsed trails, yet still in the lakeshore property...

1. Pothole Lake access #1, maybe someday

On the northern part of the loop, just east of the base of the steep hill, there's a small valley to the north. On the east side of this is a deer path going north. It would not surprise me if, as folks start to use and explore this area, that deer path becomes more prominent.. Why? Because just 0.2 miles straight north is Pothole Lake, and folks may find a way to easily get down to the lake.

2. The trail to Bow Lake, and Pothole Lake access #2... use this map...

At northern loop's northeastern corner of the loop (Point A), take the old two-track going north. It follows the contour of the hills above and along the east and north sides of Pothole Lake, and beyond.

It's perhaps 0.15 miles to the east side of the lake (Point B) from the Point A. From here, you can see the kettle that Pothole Lake is in, but not the lake itself because of all the foliage. One map I found indicates an old two-track going down to the lake from this area, but little evidence of this could be found. But, there is a point on the east side of the lake, where there is a small, sharp, narrow valley going uphill to the east, and a wide open slope on the west going down to the lake. It's here where the two-track to the lake might have been. If you follow a shallow valley going west, in about 400 feet you can reach the lake. (A good place to start is at the north end of the "wide open slope".)

It's 0.3 miles from Point A to the north side of a saddle point on the north side of the lake where the trail turns north. Then in about 300 hundred feet is the remnant of a two-track heading northeast downhill in a shallow valley. (Point C). The path is hard to see, but the valley is obvious.

Spur — If you go north from Point C, soon two-track dies out and the trail becomes a deer path. You can take it north from Point C around 0.15 miles, and along the way it passes by a small kettle lake on the left (west). Soon after that, the path is hard to find. The small kettle lake is worth a look if you have a few minutes. Otherwise, ignore this spur trail.

Back at Point C, this time take the path going northeast in the shallow valley downhill. It's perhaps 0.1 miles down to the south end of swampy area once part of a lake here. (Point D). (Along the way is another path going uphill to the south which we'll ignore.)

Spur — At Point D, one can walk maybe 0.1 miles on an old two-track going to the northwest then north before the tracks die out (but the clearing for the old road can still be made out). So we'll ignore this.

Instead, from Point D, go east. It curves around the bottom of the old lake, then soon heads NNE following a fairly-clear two-track with some easily hills along the way, and a short, moderate one at the end before coming out at the southwest corner of a small field (Point E). It's 0.4 miles from Point D to Point E. (Also near Point E is a path going south which we'll ignore.)

From here, walk 150 feet northeast in the field to where an old track goes into the woods. From there, walk northeast around 200 feet through the woods. Just before coming out of the woods (Point F) near the southwest corner of another open field, you'll see a narrow, twin-track trail (looks as if it was made by an ATV) going north. Take that 70 feet to where it connects with a clear two-track going east-west. Take that two-track going west then northwest 600 feet to an open area by Bow Lake (Point G). From here it's just 250 feet down to the lake. (Late May 2016, the water level is perhaps two feet above a "normal" level, consisent with many inland lakes in the area.)

Note: 500 feet northeast of the lake there's still a private residence whose owners also use the lake. At the lake are a few crude benches, a picnic table, and a square platform in the lake, and more. Please be respectful of this shared-use area and their belongings.

From the Lanham Road access to Bow Lake...
• 0.4 miles to Point A
• 0.4 miles from Point A to Point C
• 0.1 miles from Point C to Point D
• 0.4 miles from Point D to Point E
• 0.3 miles from Point E to Bow Lake
1.6 miles one way, 3.2 miles round trip


KIDS CREEK PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Garfield Township and the Grand Traverse Conservation District..
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

Short partially wooded trail along Kids Creek and Olseon mill pond between Kohl's and Great Wolf Lodge on US-31.

Length

0.75 miles

Hiking time

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, immediately southwest of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Traverse City, on US-31, use the parking lot and enter the trail between Kohl's and Bed Bath & Beyond. No restroom.

(Or access the park from the non-motorized trailhead along the US-31 bike path — "a great spot to pull off from the path, park your bike, and take a walk around the stream.")

More details

A "little gem of a park" between Kohl’s and the Great Wolf Lodge in US-31 in Traverse City, complete with marked trails, wooden bridges, boardwalks, and the Olseon mill pond (which is stocked with fish). There's even the old grist mill near the pond. Kids Creek meanders through the park. On the east end there's a bridge that connects the park directly to the west part of the Mall Trail bike path.

KILLINGSWORTH PARK

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Overseeing
organization

East Bay Charter Township
[Added summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2 (then scroll down to Killingsworth Park)

Trail map

Trail map (made from a photo of the sign on-site)

General idea

Two connected loops of trails, all in pretty rolling hills and woods, and that go by six, small, unnamed lakes.

Length

1.26 miles of trails, with two short connecting spurs to local residences. 1.33 miles round trip, if you do it all.

Hiking time

About 40 minutes round-trip

Difficulty

Easy to moderate, as there are rolling hills throughout the property.

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiis
No to shoeshowing

General location

In the northeastern part of central Grand Traverse County, southeast of Traverse City

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead on Chandler Road – 2807 Chandler Road

Directions

• Directions from the west: From the intersection of 4 Mile Road and Potter Road southeast of Traverse City, take 4 Mile Road 0.5 miles south to North Arbutus Lake Road. Turn left (east) and go 1.2 miles to East Arbutus Lake Road. Turn left (north) and go 0.3 miles to Highview Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 0.6 miles to Chandler Road. Turn left (west) and go just 200 feet to the entrance to the park on the (right) north side of the road.

• Directions from the north: From the intersection of High Lake Road and Supply Road (County Road 660) southeast of Traverse City, take High Lake Road south 1.0 mile to Highview Road. Turn right (west) and go 0.4 miles to Chandler Road. Turn right (west) and go just 200 feet to the entrance to the park on the (right) north side of the road.

More details

A 50-acre parcel that's a lovely place for a nature walk or family picnic. There is a pavilion, tiny playground, and restroom. Lovely woods and rolling hills. You'll pass nearby six, small, unnamed lakes, some of the which appear to be in kettles. There are maps at junctions and end points. The trails easy to follow and marked with hiker signs.

KRUMWIEDE FOREST RESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Updated 10/19/17. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
(made from a photo taken on-site)
Trail map #3 (shows topology)

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Mostly wooded trail in the valley, up on the ridge, and the hills in between at the former Krumweide farmstead.

Length

1.9 miles of trails
• Forestry Loop: 1.6 miles
• Ridgeline Trail: 0.3 miles
• Doing the loop but taking the Ridgeline Trail, bypassing the back side of the Forestry Loop: 1.4 miles

Hiking time

About an hour

Difficulty

Moderate. There are gentle to moderate hills along the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern of Leelanau County, east of Glen Arbor, northwest of Maple City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Glen Arbor, take M-22 northeast 5 miles to Wheeler Road. Turn right (southeast) and go 2.3 miles to the entrance to the reserve on the left (east), parking (for a few cars) is in the former driveway. The entrance to the trail starts here. No restroom.

More details

The trails are marked with blue blazes on trees.

The main Forestry Loop is a wide path that makes a large, irregularly-shaped loop. (It resembles a mirror image of Lake Michigan.) At the top, the Ridgeline Trail is a narrow foot-path along the top of the ridge that one can take as a recommened alternate route.

Trail notes...

When you first enter, just a few hundred feet from the road you encounter the middle of the long, relatively straight, western part of the Forestry Loop going left and right (north and south). You can go either way to begin your journey. Going to the right (south, counter-clockwise) is recommened as the climb up is much more gradual that way.

Going south, the path travels along the valley for a while, goes steadily uphill, and eventually goes through a wide pass in the ridge, then wraps around the back, and finally reaches the top of the ridge (that parallels the valley and Wheeler Road).

At the top, you have a choice –

You can go to the southeast following the wide path of the Forestry Loop which goes steadily back down the back-side of the ridge and then back up to where it intersects with the northen end of the Ridgeline Trail.

Or, for a much more interesting and scenic route, go straight north and take the Ridgeline Trail – a narrow foot-path along the top of the ridge. (About half way along you'll encounter a huge boulder (called an erratic) on the west side of the trail, left here when the last glacier receded.) Near its north end it turns to the east, goes down hill, and connects with the Forestry Loop.

From here the path goes through a narrow pass down (west) a moderately steep hill before reaching the valley where the trail is flat. Then it travels south back to the short "driveway" out to the road. Sharp eyes may detect where the former farm buildings were along this last stretch.

This trail, area, and whole valley are especially beautiful in the fall when the colors are at their peak. It's perhaps the best time to appreciate this trail.

From the Web site, "Located in the western part of Cleveland Township, much of the 110-acre Krumwiede Forest Reserve consists of a glacial moraine forming the high ridge between two very scenic wooded and pastoral valleys: Starvation Valley, an ancient glacial drainage channel which forms the course for Wheeler Road; and Bohemian Valley, the more fertile farmland to the east along County Rd. 669."


LAKE ANN PATHWAY

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Very nice rolling-hill trail through the woods and goes by two small lakes and the Platte River.

Length

5.3 miles in total, comprised of two loops:
• East loop (round trip) – on the east side of Reynolds Road — 1.8 miles
• West loop (round trip) – on the west side of Reynolds Road — 3.5 miles

Hiking time

• East loop – about an hour.
• West loop – 2 hours.

Difficulty

• East loop – easy — it's mostly flat.
• West loop – moderate – there are many easy to moderate hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but in winter it’s primarily for cross-country skiing – snowshoers and winter hikers should walk to the side to not disturb the XC ski track.

General location

In northeastern Benzie County, southwest of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From Lake Ann at the intersection of Maple Street (County Highway 610) and 1st Street, take Maple Street 1.1 miles west to (southbound) Reynolds Road. Turn left (south) and go one mile to the gravel access road on the left (east) — take that 300 feet to the parking lot.

From Honor, take US-31 east about 8.5 miles to Reynolds Road. Turn left (north) and go about 4 miles. After crossing the narrow Platte River, watch for the pathway’s sign, then the entrance to the parking lot on right (east) side of the road.

Restrooms nearby.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The woodsy east loop winds gently along the Platte River and the Lake Ann shoreline. The west section is a large loop (with two shortcuts) through wooded, rolling terrain and goes next to Shavenaugh Lake, Mary’s Lake, and the upper Platte River

LAKE BLUFF TRAILS

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Overseeing
organization

Lake Bluff Audubon Center, a.k.a. Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map
Brochure and trail map

General idea

Trails through gently rolling forests, open fields, and exploring the bluff near Lake Michigan.

Length

Perhaps 3 miles for all the trails (??)
• Jackfern / Ridge Trails: 2 miles (??)
• Beach Path: 0.25 miles (??)
• Bluff Trail: 0.2 miles (??)
• Cottonwood Path: 0.6 miles (??)

Hiking time

Perhaps 2-3 hours to do all the trails (??)

Difficulty

Easy to modearte. A few easy hills on some trails.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, NNE of Manistee.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking location

Directions

Located at the. Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary, a.k.a. Lake Bluff Audubon Center.

From the north side of Manistee at US-31 (at the Burger King), take Lakeshore Drive (M-110) north about 1.5 miles (going past the Orchard Beach State Park). The Center / Sanctuary is located on the left (west) side of the road at 2890 Lakeshore Road. No restroom.

More details

There are three sets of maintained trails:

  • On the east side of the street there are three interconnected trails running through gently rolling mature forests, open fields, and wetlands.
  • On the west side of the street and north of the Center, the Beach Path goes to the beach on Lake Michigan. Near the beach, the Bluff Trail leads off from the Beach Path and goes south along the Lake Michigan bluffs.
  • On the west side of the street and south of the Center is the Cottonwood Path and loop.

LEELANAU STATE PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Lake Michigan/Mud Lake Loop

Trail map

Park / Trail map #1 - source #1, source #2
Trail map #2

General idea

The large Southern section — rolling hill trails through mature forest, some parts along Mud Lake, and with a Lake Michigan overlook and beach access. The small Northern section includes the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, but there are no official trails other than some gravelly paths along the lake.

Length

8.5 miles made up of several connected loops

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Moderate. There a several easy to moderate hills throughout the trail system.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northeastern tip of Leelanau County, NNE of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Southern section trailhead and parking location — with the hiking trails: From Northport, go north about 4 miles to Densmore Road. To get there, take M-201/Mill Street north out of town. It becomes County Road 640/Woolsey Lake Road. Later, where County Road 640 splits off to the right, go straight and the road becomes County Road 629/Woolsey Lake Road. Take this to Densmore Road (Airport Road). Turn left (north) and go 0.9 miles to the parking lot. Restroom.

Norrthern section parking location — with the lighthouse (at lighthouse point) is another 4.3 miles past (north of) the Southern section (Densmore Road) at the end of County Road 629. Restrooms.

More details

Being a state park, a Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The Leelanau State Park is located at the tip of the little finger on the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula – the word "Leelanau" is the Native American word for "A Land of Delight" — the park has the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum, a rustic campground along Lake Michigan, two mini cabins, 8.5 miles of hiking/skiing trails, and a picnic area. Petoskey stones can be found along the shoreline.

In the Southern section, the main loop is made up of two trails, the Lake Michigan Trail and the Mud Lake Trail ,and are what's shown on the park's map at the trailhead. But there are three cross-over or connecting link trails: the Maple Ridge Cutoff, Tamarack Cutoff, and the Pot-Hole Ridge Loop, which allow you to divide the main loop into four smaller ones. Two additional spurs lead out to the beach on Lake Michigan (the 0.3-mile Cathead Spur) and uphill (and up stairs) to an overlook (the Manitou Overlook Spur). There's also the alternate 0.4-mile Pothole Ridge Spur on the east end of the main loop. It offers the steepest hill in the park, yet is very scenic atop the ridge of a dune.

When done hiking, be sure to explore lighthouse point and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum at the Northern section of the park.

LEELANAU TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

A TART System trail. See here for their complete list of trails.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 — source #1, source #2
Trail map #2

TART Trail — Downtown Detail map #1
TART Trail — Downtown Detail map #2

TART Trail and Urban Trails map #1
TART Trail and Urban Trails map #2

TART Overall Trail System map #1
TART Overall Trail System map #2

General idea

Bike and hike path along former railroad that goes from Carter Road in Greilickville (immediately northwest of Traverse City) all the way up to Sutton's Bay, passing through vineyards, orchards, meadows, farmland, forests, pastures, and rolling hills.

Length

17.0 miles

Hiking time

Around 7 hours, one-way.

Difficulty

Easy, and it's paved the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiers. In the winter, the trail is groomed by volunteers from (at least) the Cherry Bend trailhead north to Birth Point Road, and from the 4th Street trailhead in Suttons Bay south to Revold Road.

General location

In the southeastern area of Leelanau County, between Traverse City and Suttons Bay.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many places to access the trail. The three main trailheads are:

Cherry Bend Road trailhead location
Fouch Road trailhead location
4th Street (Suttons Bay) trailhead location

Keswick Methodist Church, on Center Highway between Fort and Revold Roads, welcomes trail users to use their lot.

See the main Web site for more details about restrooms, parking, BATA's Bike-n-Ride transportation program, Edible Trails, and more.

More details

Officially, the trail starts at Carter Road near its east end in Greilickville (just north of the intersection of M-72 and M-22) which is where it connects to Traverse City's TART Trail, At the northern end, the trail now extends to Dumas Road, which is two miles north of the 4th Street trailhead in Suttons Bay. The trail uses a route via streets to get through Suttons Bay.

Primarily a road bike path, this non-motorized pathway runs along Leelanau County's former railroad corridors, passing through rolling hills, lush forests, picturesque orchards, peaceful meadows, and an aquatic medley of streams, lakes, and ponds. There is also a handful of vineyards within a short distance of the trail along the way. (I'm just sayin'.)

The Michigan portion of US Bicycle Route 35 extends 501-miles from Sault Ste. Marie in the north to New Buffalo in the southwest corner, passing through our area along the TART Trail and Leelanau Trail.

LIGHTHOUSE WEST NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 – source #1, source #2
Trail map #2 – source #1, source #2
Trail map #3

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Relatively short trail through an array of habitat to the undeveloped shore of Lake Michigan.

Length

1.2 miles of trails. Doing the loop, ignoring the cross-over trail and going out to Lake Michigan beach and back, is 1.3 miles round-trip.

Hiking time

About 45 minutes

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northeastern tip of Leelanau County, NNE of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Northport, go north 7.8 miles to Cathead Bay Drive (almost to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse). To get there, take M-201/Mill Street north out of town. It becomes County Road 640/Woolsey Lake Road. Later, where Co. Rd 640 splits off to the right, go straight and the road becomes County Road 629/Woolsey Lake Road. A little later it becomes County Road 629/Lighthouse Point Road. Keep going to Cathead Bay Drive. Turn left (west) and go 375 feet to the entrance and parking on the right (north). No restroom.

More details

From the Web site – At the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula neat the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. comprised of 42 acres with 640 feet of undeveloped shoreline along Lake Michigan, this area provides an array of habitat for over 100 species of our "feathered friends" – from beautiful songbirds to broad-winged raptors.

There are several environments here, including: cobble beach at Lake Michigan wetland, open and shrubby land, and light woods. Just past the western tip of the Birding Loop trail is a set of stairs to help down a short but steep bluff. Don't trip over the large boulders just past the stairway!

LITTLE MANISTEE RIVER WEIR TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
“Little Manistee River Weir Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization.
[Added spring, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page for the weir. There is no Web page for the trail.

Trail map

None found, and likely none exist

General idea

Easy and very pretty trail along the edge of the Little Manistee River northwest of the weir

Length

0.5 miles

Hiking time

0.5 hours round-trip

Difficulty

Easy — it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, although the access road and parking lot may not be plowed in the winter.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, ESE of Manistee, and east of Stronach

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location (at the weir). The trail starts at the obseration deck

Directions

From south of Manistee: From the intersection of US-31 and Stronach Road (at the BP gas station just south of Manistee), take Stronach Road east 0.9 miles to Filer City Road. Turn right (southeast) and go 1.1 miles to 4th Avenue (Stronach Road) in the village of Stronach. Turn right (east) and go 1.3 miles to Old Stronach Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.8 miles to the intersection with Carty Road. Turn left (east) – you are still on Old Stronach Road – and go 2.4 miles to the entrance to the weir on the left (north) side of the road. Turn left (north) and go 0.2 miles to the parking for the weir.

More details

The weir (officially the Little Manistee River Weir Trail Egg Collection Facility, Fisheries Division, Michigan DNR) is a very fun place to visit when they are holding fish (trout and salmon, typically spring and fall) for the purpose of collecting their eggs which are taken to hatcheries, then later as fingerlings used to stock Michigan's lakes and rivers. Check out the weir's Web page for more details.

The facility is handicap accessible, has sidewalks around much of it and an observation deck at the river by the weir, and two restrooms by the parking lot.

Once you check out the operation at the weir, take the simple, single-track trail starting at the the obseration deck and paralleling the southwest side of the river. It's a relatively short, but very pretty, partially wooded trail. Early on, look in the tall pines across the river for an eagle's nest.

A variety of wildlife inhabit the riverside forest mix here of pine, cedar, and hardwood. Some of these are: bald eagles, osprey, raven, turkey, and woodpecker; beaver, mink, red fox, and whitetail deer; frogs, skink, toads, and turtles.

LONG LAKE — FOX and SOUTH ISLAND NATURE PRESERVES [2]

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list. Onwed by Grand Traverse County.
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Long Lake Area Preserves map #1
Long Lake Area Preserves map #2

South Island trail map #1
South Island trail map #2

General idea

These are two wooded islands in Long Lake in northwestern Grand Traverse County.

Fox Island — has no trail infrastructure, and has an undeveloped shoreline – it's mostly enjoyed from the beach
South Island — Short loop trail around the perimter of the island

Length

Fox Island — no trail infrastructure (the island is10 acres in area)
South Island — 0.5 mile loop (the island is 13.8 acres in area)

Hiking time

Fox Island — n/a (no trail infrastructure)
South Island — maybe 25 minutes

Difficulty

Fox Island — unknown
South Island — unknown, assumed pretty easy

Open to mountain
bikes

Fox Island — no
South Island — no

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Fox Island — maybe, snowshoeing, anyway
South Island — maybe, snowshoeing, anyway

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County, east of the village of Lake Ann, north of Interlochen, and northwest of Grawn

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations

Fox Island — no trailhead
South Island — Trailhead location

Directions

The closest Long Lake public access to the islands is the Crescent Shores Road boat launch – at the east of Crescent Shores Drive off of West Long Lake Road

Crescent Shores Road access — light-duty boat launch at the east end of the road, short dock in the summer, roadside parking 500 feet west of the lake on the south side of the road, no restroom

Directions: From the intersection of north end of West Long Lake Road and North Long Lake Road (County Road 610) where North Long Lake Road makes a 90 degree bend, and south of the northwest corner of Long Lake — take West Long Lake Road south 0.5 miles to Crescent Shores Road. Turn left (east) and go 0.6 miles to the end of the road.

From the Crescent Shores Road boat launch:

  • The western tip of Fox Island is 0.8 miles to the ESE
  • The western tip of South Island is 0.9 miles to the southeast

More details

Visit these two small islands by boat using the Crescent Shores Road boat launch. South Island has a seasonal dock at its west end. Both islands are covered with northern hardwood forest and provide a habitat for bald eagles and an array of plant life. Fox Island has 3,000 feet of undeveloped shoreline, South Island – about 3450 feet.

LOSSIE ROAD NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Whitewater Township, Grand Traverse County.
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Road and trail map #4

General idea

Mostly flat, wooded trail was former right-of-way for Lossie Road. Travels between Cook Road (at the west) and Skegemog Point Road (at the east).

Length

1.8 miles, one way

Hiking time

Less that an hour, one-way.

Difficulty

Mostly easy on two-track type of trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, northeast of Williamsburg.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Access the trail from either Cook Road or Skegemog Point Road:

  • Cook Road – From US-31 northeast of Traverse City, take M-72 east approximately 5.5 miles to Cook Road (called N. Broomhead on the south side of M-72). Then left (north) go 1.5 miles and watch for the trail access on the right (east) side of road. It's immediately south of the driveway for 7392 Cook Road. Cook Road access. No restroom.

  • Skegemog Point Road – From US-31 northeast of Traverse City, take M-72 east approximately 7 miles to Skegemog Point Road. Then left (north) and go 0.6 miles and watch for the trail access on the left (west) side of road. Skegemog Point Road access. No restroom.

More details

This trail was the former right-of-way for Lossie Road between Cook Road and Skegemog Point Road. The trail crosses the south end of the Battle Creek Natural Area. There is a footbridge spanning Battle Creek. At Cook Road the trail is a grassy and flat two-track. The trail appears to be mostly in the woods. At Skegemog Point Road the trail is a narrow and slightly hilly two-track. (To be investigated.)

LOST LAKE PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Relatively flat, sometimes sandy trail through the woodlands and around Lost Lake.

Length

6.3 miles, broken into two loops.
Southern loop: 2.4 miles.
Northern loop: 3.9 miles

Hiking time

About 3 hours round trip.

Difficulty

Easy. A few minor ups and downs along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County, northwest of Interlochen.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

East of Interlochen, from the intersection of US-31 and Gonder, go north on Gonder about a mile and watch for parking lot on left (west) side of road. No restroom.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The trail starts near the northeast corner of the parking lot. It returns in the northwest corner. The trail goes through the woods, along Lake DuBonnet, around the Lake Dubonnet State Forest Campground, along the outlet for the Lake, then via a gravel road, crosses the outlet dam (which is the Platte River, by the way). After crossing the outlet, look on the west side of the road where you'll find the start / end point to the second part of the trail. This 3.9 mile loop takes you through some nice rolling terrain with many pines and hardwoods, and near a few wetlands and Lost Lake. As you can see from the trail map, there are several two-tracks that criss-cross this area. Coming back, after doing the northern loop and the crossing the outlet, you can immediately go up a short feeder trail to connect to the southern loop. or go a short distance south on the gravel road and watch on the left (east) for short feeder trail to marker No. 2. From there go south to take the western part of the southern loop, past Christmas Lake, and back to the parking lot.

See here for more trail details.

MACKENZIE CROSS-COUNTRY and MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Manistee National Forest Service
[Updated 10/3/2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1 (shows miles (page 1) and kilometers (page 2). This map has two errors on the page showing miles: the distance between Posts 14 and 19 should be 0.22 miles, and the distance between Posts 15 and 16 should be 0.04 miles)
Trail map #2 (errors corrected and the map improved)
Trail map #3 (made from a photo of map taken on-site; I added Post 22 based on what was seen in another map; shows kilometers)
Trail map #4 (shows the 0.7 km-long trail from Post 21 to Post 22 that connects these trails to the Caberfae Ski Area; shows kilometers)

General idea

Many loops through rolling hills and very pretty pines and hardwoods of the Manistee National Forest

Length

10.1 miles with varying length loops

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Mostly easy to moderate, with a very more strenuous sections. Note that easiest trails can still have some gentle hills. One can do a large loop of all easy sections, or if you wish, expand that loop, or take some alternate pieces, to include "more difficult" and "most difficult" sections.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. (Hikers should be aware of this.)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing – yes as that's this trail's primary use in winter. Some trails are groomed in the winter.
Snowshoeing – maybe, but do not disturb the XC tracks

General location

In southwestern Wexford County, west of Cadillac, south of Mesick, and ENE of Wellston.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Located just west of the Caberfae Peaks Ski Area.

Take M-55 to Caberfae Road (a.k.a. 13 Mile Road):

  • From the west — east of Wellston from the intersection of M-55 and M-37, go east on M-55 for 5.3 miles to Caberfae Road (north), a.k.a.13 Mile Road (south).

  • From the east — from Cadillac, take M-55 about 13 miles west to Caberfae Road (north), a.k.a.13 Mile Road (south).

At Caberfae Road, turn north and go 2.3 miles to 11 1/4 Road. Turn right (northwest) and go just 350 feet to 38 Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.9 miles to the entrance (FR 9833) on the left (south). Parking and the trailhead are just 400 feet in. Restroom.

More details

The varied terrain of this trail system is said to be an "outstanding Nordic trail set in a beautiful hardwood forest" and a “fantastic for a family outing.” In the winter the trail connects to, and is accessible from, the Caberfae Peaks Ski Area.

Cross-country skiing and mountain biking are the primary use for this trail system. Hikers and snowshoers should be aware of this. Some trails are groomed for cross-country. Snowshoers should take care not to walk in the XC ski tracks.

The trail system is very well marked with blue diamond-shaped blazes and numbered posts with maps at each junction.

Most of the trails are wide enough to easily accommodate passiing slower bikers or XC skiers.

Most trails are designated one-way and are dangerous if skied or biked the opposite direction.

Two other rules:
1) Yield the right of way to hikers, oncoming bikers, and skiers.
2) Give warning well in advance when overtaking bikers, skiers, and hikers.

MAGOON CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Also known as Magoon Creek Park.
This is a Filer Township Park/Natural Area and is maintained by the township.
[Added fall, 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page (shows all of Filer Township's parks)
Web page #2 (with trail map)

Trail map

Trail map #1 — source #1, source #2
Trail map #2
(made from a photo of the sign on-site)

General idea

Mostly easy trails, and all but the beach trail are in the woods. The beach trail parallells the Lake Michigan beach up on a short ridge. In the southwestern corner, the trail takes you easily to the beach where Magoon Creek empties into Lake Michigan.

Length

2.0 miles of trails

Hiking time

An hour if you hiked all pieces..

Difficulty

Most of the trail is flat, but there are two short, moderately steep hills. One is just south of the beach parking lot, it's eroded a lot and full of roots. The other is on the well-used alternate "volunteer" trail just north of the southeastern corner.

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown, but it appears not.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, except the two short, moderately steep hills will be "challenging" on XC skiis.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, SSW of Manistee and WSW of Stronach.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead at the Beach Parking Area

Directions

From the intersection of US-31 and Merkey Road on the south side of Manistee, take US-31 0.5 miles to Red Apple Road. Tunr right (west) and go 3.9 miles to the entrance to the park. (Along the way, Red Apple Road turns south). Turn right (west) to go into the park. You can park here at the entrance, at the Beach Parking Area, or the Picnic Parking Area. There are restrooms and a hand-pump for drinking water by Picnic Parking Area

More details

Magoon Creek Park has 97 acres with 2,300 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. There are woods, rolling hills, valleys, a creek, dunes, and and the Lake Michigan beach. It's a great spot for an afternoon picnic. The Picnic Area has many picnic tables and a covered pavilios nestled high atop a 150-foot bluff. From here, the view is spectacular. You can see the dunes to the south and Manistee's north pier Lighthouse to the north. Go for a hike, explore along the creek, relax on the beach, and more.

The trails are single-track, and expect for the beach trail, all in the woods. The trails are marked with white-tipped posts, most of which are numbered. During the summer, there are supposed to be booklets in the mailbox at the northeast corner of the trail system, on the north side ot the Trail Parking Area, by the trail map sign. These booklets are prepared by Filer Township and give information that corresponds to the numbered posts. If there are no booklets, you can also check with the Visitor's Bureau at 310 1st St., Manistee, MI 49660, or call 877-626-4783 or 231-398-9355.

A few trail notes...

From the picnic area, cross the parking area, past the large rock with a placque, the beach trail start here and follows an old road gradually downhill. Along the way, rhere are a couple of sandy turnoffs from this trail leading to the beach at the right (west). At the south end, this trail intersects with the Lower Trail Connector. Keep going straight to reach Magoon Creek.

From here:

  • follow the creek down to its mouth at Lake Michigan beach. This is a nice sandy beach with noe dune climbing involved. The creek outlet is sandy and shallow, making for a nice place for children to wade.
  • follow the creek up until you reach a small bridge (which is private). Take a left turn at the bridge and follow this trail (the two small side trails from the beach trail will come in on your left) until you come to the small triangle junction with the main loop at posts 18-20. Keep going east and in the southeast corner near post 31 you'll find the old Wojczechowski homestead site where the foundation is still intact.

From here, you can:

  • follow the main trail through switchbacks up the hill
  • continue on the level for another 200 feet, and then follow the less-used and unofficial trail which heads east then turns and goes uphill. It rejoins the main numbered trail near post 37.

MALL TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

A TART System trail. See here for their complete list of trails.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map

TART Trail — Downtown Detail map #1
TART Trail — Downtown Detail map #2

TART Trail and Urban Trails map #1
TART Trail and Urban Trails map #2

TART Overall Trail System map #1
TART Overall Trail System map #2

General idea

Paved path from Traverse City along US-31 (aka Division Street) from 11th Street to the Grand Traverse Mall (South Airport Road).

Length

2.4 miles — 0.3 miles from 11th Street to 14th Street, and 2.1 miles from 14th Street to South Airport Road.

Hiking time

About an hour..

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes (assumed), if it's not plowed in the winter. But there will be many plowed driveways and a few streets to cross.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, the trail travels from the west side of Traverse City to southwest of it (by the Grand Traverse Mall).

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many access points. Three major ones (right along US-31) are

  • 11th Street and US-31 (Division Street) – location at Google Maps – note, there's no nearby parking. No restroom.

  • 14th Street and US-31 (Division Street) – location at Google Maps – a good starting location with plenty of parking. No restroom.

  • South Airport Road and US-31 – location at Google Maps – a good ending location with plenty of parking nearby. No restroom.

More details

Primarily a road bike path. From 11th Street to 14th Street the path is partially wooded and runs along the west side of the street. From 14th Street south to South Airport Road the path runs on the east side of the street and is very open.

MANISTEE NON-MOTORIZED TRAIL PARK

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Overseeing
organization

This City of Manistee park is a collaboration of the City of Manistee Non-Motorized Transportation Committee and the Shoreline Cycling Club.
[Updated October, 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Easy wooded trails primarily designed for classic cross-country and skate skiing.
There is a separate snowshoeing trail.
All trails can also be used for mountain biking and hiking during the summer.

Length

Winter:
• 3.8 miles of groomed cross-country trails. (Purple: 1.2 miles, Red: 1.4 miles, Yellow: 0.8 miles, and White: 0.4 miles)
• A 1 mile snowshoe trail (the Blue trail) that's also dog-friendly. (Blue)
Summer:
• 4.8 miles of trails for mountain biking and hiking during the summer.

Hiking time

2 hours if you hiked all trails.

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat. "Excellent beginner skiing but it's also fun more advanced skiers blasting around on the flats."

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-county skiing – yes, as that's the trail system's primary purpose. Use the Purple, Red, Yellow, and White trails.
Snowshoeing — yes, but only on the designated snowshoe trail – the Blue trail.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, ESE of Manistee and East Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

M-55 Trailhead

Directions

From the intersection of M-55 and US-31 north of Manistee (in Parkdale), go 3.1 miles to the entrance to the park on the left (north) side of M-55 (about 0.1 miles past Franklin Road). No restroom as of 10/2016, but one is planned. (The address is 2106 Caberfae Hwy, Manistee, MI 49660.)

More details

All trails travel through the woods.

Note: During the winter, no snowshoeing, winter hiking, or dogs are allowed on the cross-county trails (Purple, Red, Yellow, and White). However, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and dogs ARE allowed on Blue snowshoe trail. (Summer hiking and mountain biking are allowed on all trails during the summer.)

The cross-country trails (Purple, Red, Yellow, and White) are a 9-foot-wide mowed path in the summer, and groomed in the winter for two-way traffic. The Blue trail snowshoe trail is an unmarked single-track track that is very difficult (at present: 10/2016) to follow during non-winter months.

See this Web page for current skiiing conditions.

This Web page says – "This is a four-season City of Manistee Park for mountain biking, walking, running, and cross-country skiing. Expect trails that are fun and challenging for beginners and advanced users alike. (Just remember, there are no hills.) The Mountain Bike (MTB) Skills Park is for people of all ages and abilities to improve their MTB skills in a safe and approachable environment."

MANISTEE RIVER TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Manistee National Forest (part of the National Forest Service) and the Manistee River Trail Association (if it still exists)
[Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page
MDNR Web page for this section of the river
Manistee River Trail PDF
Another Web page for the trail

Trail map

Trail & road map #1 – source #1 and source #2 – The Manistee River Trail is the red-dashed trail. The solid black line is the North Country Trail,. This map shows the OLD route for the NCT at the north.

Trail map #2 — The Manistee River Trail the green trail. The purple trail is the North Country Trail, if needed. At the north end, the yellow trail loosely shows the MRT/NCT connecting trail from the NCT, across the river at the suspension footbridge, and on to the Seaton Creek Campground. This map shows the OLD route for the NCT at the north.

Trail map #3 – The Manistee River Trail the dotted orange trail. The dotted red trail is the North Country Trail. This map show sthe NEW route for the NCT at the north. It also shows the MCT/NCT connector from the NCT to the Manistee River Trail northwest of post #2. And it shows the connector from to the Manistee River Trail to the Seaton Creek Campground (between posts #2 and #3).

Trail map #4 – The Manistee River Trail is the dashed red trail. This map shows the new route for the NCT at the north. It also shows the MCT/NCT connector as a dotted red trail going from the NCT at mile 20.5 to the Manistee River Trail at mile 21.6 (and the suspension footbridge).

North Country Trail (NCT) – the OLD route used to cross Beers Road at the Marilla Trailhead and head north. Maps #1 and #2 show this. That piece from the Marilla Junction north to the Marilla Trailhead at Beers Road is now just a spur. The new route of the NCT has it bends east north of the Marilla Junction, crosses Blueberry Lane (at the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead), and runs parallel to Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road along its southern side – as the NCT heads east to M-115. Maps #3 and #4 show this.

MRT/NCT connector trail – for details about that, see the Directions section below, and then under "Via the suspension footbridge".

General idea

Very scenic, wooded, and hilly trail along the east side of the Manistee River.

Length

Roughly 10 miles (one-way)
• 9.6 miles from the Little Mac suspension footbridge to the Red Bridge access.
• 11.0 milesfrom the Seaton Creek Campground to the Red Bridge access.
• 10.7 miles if connecting to the NCT (about 0.7 miles northeast of the Marilla Junction) at the north end, and starting/ending at the Red Bridge access at the south end.

Hiking time

5 hours.

Difficulty

Moderate

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In eastern central Manistee County, southwest of Mesick, and northeast of Wellston.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are a variety of places to access this trail along the east side of the river. But there are also three main access points:

  • Seaton Creek Campground – Starting here is only practical if you are also camping here, or maybe if are coming from the east and don't want to drive over to the suspension footbridge. There is a 1.4-mile connector trail from the campground to the Manistee River Trail.

    From Mesick, take M-37 south about 6 miles to 26 Road (near Yuma). Turn right (west) and go 1.7 miles to O'Rourke Drive (a.k.a. S. Hodenpyl Road on some maps). Turn right and go northwest 1.3 miles to Forest Road 5993 (a.k.a. McClush Road on some maps). Turn right and go 0.4 miles to the campground. There is a day-use parking fee. Campground area at Google Maps. Restroom.

  • Via the suspension footbridge (here's a photo), 0.4 miles downriver from the Hodenpyl Dam and accessed from Upper River Road. This is the most practical access to the north end of the trail for most folks It it the start of the main Manistee River Trail. (And from here you can also connect to the North Country Trail and Seaton Creek Campground.)

    From Mesick, take M-115 west around 1.7 miles (crossing the Manistee River) to Hodenpyl Dam Road. Turn left (southwest) and go 4.6 miles to what's now called Blueberry Lane on the left (southeast). (It's incorrectly called Hodenpyl Dam Road on some maps.) You'll see the Consumer Energy sign for the Hodenpyl Dam. Take Blueberry Lane and go 0.5 miles to Upper River Road, then right (west) about 0.2 miles. There a few small areas to park off the road. The closest place is where the power lines cross the road. A trail to the bridge leads downhill from this parking area. Parking and trailhead location. No restroom.

    (If you have to, you can park at the Hodenpyl Dam parking lot at the south end of Blueberry Lane, then walk back to this point. There is a pit toilet there, too.).

    Note: this is the largest wooden suspension bridge in Lower Michigan and is known as "The Little Mac."

    Connecting to the North Country Trail...

    • To connect to the North Country Trail to head south, follow the MRT/NCT connector. It's still called the Manistee River Trail, it's marked with white blazes on trees, and it heads southwest along the northwest side of the river, loosely parallel to Upper River Road for 0.8 miles, then north through the woods for 0.3 miles. It connects to the NCT roughly 0.7 miles northeast of the Marilla Junction.

    • To connect to the North Country Trail to head north, start by following the MRT/NCT connector. It's still called the Manistee River Trail, it's marked with white blazes on trees, and it heads west along the north side of the river, parallel to Upper River Road. Follow it for about 0.3 miles to where it, and the road, cross over Woodpecker Creek (very close to where the creek joins the river). From here, follow the Woodpecker Creek Trail (also marked with white blazes on trees) 0.7 miles north then east, along the creek and through the woods out to Blueberry Lane. From here, take the road 0.2 miles north to the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead at the north end of Blueberry Lane. If needed, see North Country Trail for more details.

  • Red Bridge – Directly east of Brethren 8.4 miles on Coates Highway where it crosses the Manistee River.

    Or, from dowtown Mesick, take M-115 west 0.4 miles to south M-37. Turn right (south) and go 7.7miles to 30 Road. Turn right (west) and at 3.4 miles where it turns to the south now it's called Coates Highway (Brethren Highway on some maps). Take that 1.5 miles to where Coates Highway heads west. Turn right (west) and go 1.5 miles to Red Bridge.

    The parking area for the south end of the trail is actually just before the bridge on the left (south) site for the road. Parking location. The trail starts on the north side of the highway across from the parking area.

    Not far away, there's a parking lot for boaters on the south side of the highway on the west side of the bridge that includes potable water and a pit toilet.

    If you will be connecting to the North Country Trail, access to it is just west of bridge on the north side of the highway. See North Country Trail for more details.

More details

Like the river, this scenic foot path meanders along the east side of the Manistee River between the Hodenpyl Dam (near Mesick) and Red Bridge (at Coates Highway).

The trail stays close to the river (or outside east bows) the whole time, traverses several wetlands, and there are bridges crossing two creeks. There are several small waterfalls alone the way, and a "larger" waterfall near the northern end of the trail is very popular with many hikers. Several observation sites along the trail provide hikers with views of the Manistee River and surrounding area. There are several campsites dispersed along the trail.

This trail connects to the North Country Trail (which runs along the bluff on the west side of the river) for a nice 23-mile backpacking loop. Connection points between the two trails are near the suspension footbridge on the north end and Red Bridge at the south end.

Upper River Road on the west side of the river is a good shuttle road, if needed. One can also use Beers / Marilla Road / Coates Highway as a paved shuttle route (it's longer but takes about the same travel time).

See also:


MANISTEE RIVERWALK

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Overseeing
organization

City of Manistee
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

Boardwalk / sidewalk along the south side of the Manistee River behind the quaint downtown area

Length

1.5 miles, one-way

Hiking time

40 minutes, one way.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Perhaps snowshoeing if the walk is not cleared in winter.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, in the city of Manistee along the south side of the river "behind" downtown out to Lake Michigan.

Road map of area

Road Map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many access points to access the pathway, many along River Street in downtown Manistee, and several places west of downtown. Some typical access points at the ends of the pathway are:

  • Mason Street – At the east end of the pathway just northeast of the bridge at US-31 (Cypress Street) there's a small parking lot off Mason Street. Google Map of location

  • Another common access point on the east end is from the parking lot behind the House of Flavors restaurant, at River Street and US-31 (Cypress Street). There are stairs there down to the pathway. Google Map of location

  • A common access point on the pathway's west end is on the southwest side of the river channel near Lake Michigan at Douglas Park near the boat launch at the west end of First Street. Google Map of location

There are public restrooms available downtown and Douglas Park.

More details

This urban pathway (boardwalk / sidewalk) runs along the south side of the Manistee River behind River Street's quaint Victorian shops in the downtown area. In fact, it starts just east of US-31 and goes all the way to the Lake Michigan beach, where the river empties into the lake. Extend your "trip" if you like and walk the south pier to the beacon on Lake Michigan.

Along the way are mile markers, benches, picnic areas, interpretive signs, private docks, drawbridges, charter fishing docks, nearby businesses, restaurants, and boats large and small traveling the river. There are lights at the eastern section so you can easily stroll the downtown sections after dark on a summer evening.

The Riverwalk now features mileage markers every tenth mile, so fitness walkers can gauge their distance. The Manistee County Historical Society also has markers posted along the way denoting sites of interest and importance from the area's golden era of logging.

MANTON AREA HISTORIC PATHWAYS, GARDENS, and WATERWAYS

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Overseeing
organization

Unknown, perhaps the Village of Manton
[Added May, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

None found

Trail map

Trail map (based on a photo taken on-site)

NOTE: This map shows the mill pond as it once was, before it was drawn down with the removal of the Manton Millpond Dam sometime between 2010 and 2012. The removal of a dam returned the creek to its original channel. The dam was located where the footbridge is now across the Manton Creek.

General idea

Woodsy nature trail, part of which follows the course of Manton Creek going past the historic Mill Pond area, and part of which travels through a nice pine forest.

Length

1.6 miles of trails, 2.3 miles round-trip if one does all of the trails

Hiking time

About an hour

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

The Path Trail and bottom (south section) of the South Loop, which follows a former two-track — likely: Yes.
Everything else: No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to both

General location

In northeastern Wexford County, on the north side of the Village of Manton

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Cedar Street trailhead — From the intersection of Main Street (westbound old M-42) and Business 131 (N. Michigan Avenue) in Manton, take Business 131 north 0.5 miles to Cedar Street (just north of the DNR office and just south of the Manton Dairy Bar). Turn left (west) and go about 0.1 miles to the railroad tracks. If there are orange cones in the road before the track, you'll have to just park off the road before the track. Otherwise, on the other side of the tracks is a parking area on the left (south).

41 1/2 Road (Sturtevant Street) trailhead — From the intersection of Main Street (westbound old M-42) and Business 131 (N. Michigan Avenue) in Manton,, take Main Street west 0.5 miles to Sturtevant Street. Turn right (north) and go 0.7 miles to the west entrance on the right (east) side of the road. Pull in here and in 200 feet is a parking area.

More details

The Mill Pond Recreation Area, or Manton Area Historic Pathways, Gardens, and Waterways as it's now called, is a fancy name for a simple nature trail in a 41-acre area that's open year 'round, daily, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Explore the creek and pond — From the parking area at the east side by the railroad tracks, follow the former two-track west, which is the bottom (south section) of the South Loop and later the Path Trail. It's partially tree-lined and parallels the course of Manton Creek (a.k.a. Cedar Creek) as it flows northwest through the property. Roughly half-way along, as of May, 2017, beavers have built a long. C-shaped dam, and a nearby lodge. (They perhaps miss the large mill pond that was once there a little ways downstream.) You'll pass by wetland that was the start of the former mill pond. Eventually you'll come to a footbridge over Manton Creek (which is on its way to the Manistee River). Just beyond that is what's left of the mill pond, it's a mere fraction of its former self. Past that is the west side parking area and west entrance.

In its heyday, mill operations on the pond included the Manton Millpond Grist Mill.

Explore the woods — From the parking area at the east side by the railroad tracks, on the north side of the two-track, is the entrance to the north and south loop trails through the woods. It's a five-wide path covered in pine needles through mostly pine forest, and a few weltand areas. There are two small bridges over minor creeks.

If there are gardens, as the name suggests, no garden areas where seen during May, 2017.

Here's more about Manton Creek from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

MAPLE BAY NATURAL AREA

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list. Onwed by Grand Traverse County.
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

Relatively short but scenic woodsy trails to undeveloped shoreline on Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay.

Length

0.8 miles of trails. 1.6 miles if you do all the pieces. You can extended your hike with a walk along the beach.

Hiking time

Depends on the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy, all flat except the initial 0.2-mile trail has a short, gentle hill.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, SSW of Elk Rapids.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Northeast of Traverse City, from the intersection of US-31 and M-72 in Acme, take US-31 north 5.6 miles to the green sign marking the Maple Bay Natural Area on the left (west) side of the road. (It's 0.9 miles past Angell Road. A red barn can be seen on the (right) east side of US-31.) Turn into the gravel farm road and follow it 0.4 miles to a metal gate and the parking area.

More details

This 450-acre property straddles both sides of North US-31, known for its beautiful sunflowers planted on both sides of the highway and wonderful hiking trails leading to a popular beach. Besides forest and beach, the area features vernal wetland and wet meadow. It's home to many indigenous and migrating birds and animals.

The access road travels past Maple Bay Farm (including a farm house, root cellar, sugar shack and pole barn building) on the west side of US-31 to a parking area on top of a bluff where forests meet agricultural fields. Doing the trail, you'll descend the bluff to its foot then leads through forest to a beautiful 2,600 feet of undeveloped shoreline and beach on East Grand Traverse Bay.

Extend your hike with a walk along the beach.

MAYFIELD POND PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Paradise Township
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

None found.

General idea

Short but scenic and wooded trail that circles an historic mill pond and crosses Swainston Creek.

Length

(Perhaps) 0.7 mile loop

Hiking time

25 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate – one moderate hill on the southwest portion of the loop. Easiest to do if you hike the loop counter-clockwise.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Grand Traverse County, north of Kingley, on the west side of the village of Mayfield.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking area location

Directions

Near Traverse City, from the intersection of Garfield Road and Hammond Road, take Garfield Road south 8.0 miles (or 1.3 miles south of River Road) to Mill Street in the the small village of Mayfield. Turn right (west) and go two blocks to the entrance to the park and a small parking lot.

More details

This park is the Mayfield Historic Mill Site with a former mill pond that's part of Swainston Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. The loop trail circles the pond and is wooded much of the way. The west portion of the loop rises over 100 feet above the pond and offers a nice view of the area. To get up the hill, you can go either way on the loop, but it's best to go counter-clockwise. On the north end, after crossing the creek, the trail goes gradually uphill via an old logging road. At the southern end of the loop has a moderately steep path with some stairs to descend.

Section 1 (from the east) of the Boardman River Trail (BRT) ends at this park. Section 2 of the BRT, when completed, will leave from here heading generally west.

MILLER CREEK NATURE RESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Garfield Township and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
Also known as the G.T. Crossings Trail System.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Partially open but mostly wooded trail system east of Office Depot, Home Depot, and Walmart in Traverse City, then down along Miller Creek in a pretty woods.

Length

Around 3 miles of trails in several loops.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate. Most of the trail is flat, but there's a short mild hill as you go from being just behind the shopping area down to the Miller Creek area.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, southwest of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are three access points:

  • A trailhead and a small parking area at the southwest corner of (and behind) the Office Depot building on South Airport Road. Parking and trailhead location. No restroom.

  • A trailhead and parking lot behind (east of) BAM and Home Depot (by the Resurrection Life Church).  Parking and trailhead location. No restroom.

  • At the old Sabin Elementary School on Cass Road (just north of Hartman Road). Parking location. Walk through the former playground area and look for the trail access location at the edge of the woods just northwest of the west end of the school. No restroom.

More details

The trails passes through a former red pine plantation, takes boardwalks over a cedar swamp, skirts the edges of open meadows behind the stores, apartments, and homes of the G.T. Crossings shopping area, and follows Miller Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. Lots of dog walkers.

MISSAUKEE MOUNTAIN XC TRAILS

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Overseeing
organization

Lake City and the area ski club
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Missaukee Ski Mountain Web page

Trail map

None found.

General idea

Hilly and wooded cross-county ski trails available for summer hiking use.

Length

5.2 miles

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

Unknown.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-county skiing: yes.
There should be some snowshoeing available in the area.

General location

In western central Missaukee County, north of Lake City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking area location. Apparently, the trail starts here ((to be investigated.))

Directions

From Lake City take M-66 north approximately 4 miles to Missaukee Mountain Road, then turn left (west) and go about 0.6 miles to Missaukee Mountain. Restrooms availabe in the little ski lodge (if it's open).

More details

In the winter, the downhill ski runs at Missaukee Mountain are open on weekends and Christmas break, depending on snow conditions.

The cross-country ski trails range from beginner to expert, with paths from a half a mile to two miles long.

The trails are open for walking during the off-season.

"From the geocaching.com Web site — "The trail begins from the parking lot and (goes) behind the ski lodge, it has markers along the trail so avoid the temptation to bushwhack."

MISTY ACRES: THE BORWELL PRESERVE

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

Pretty loop trail through hardwoods down to the Betsie River, and travels along the edge of a deep ravine of a creek that flows to the river.

Length

Around 1 mile, more that half of it in a loop.

Hiking time

Less that 30 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate — there are a handful of small and gentle hills along the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central southern Benzie County, west of Thompsonville and SSE of Benzonia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the traffic signal in Benzonia (US-31 and M-115 west), take US-31 south 7.3 miles to County Line Road (also called Smeltzer Road on some maps). Turn left (east) and go 2.2 miles to the parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Once the Misty Acres farm, this beautiful 600-acre area is still in the planning stages. The future for more trails and other features is being studied. The farm here is currently available to view via appointment — it's home to a small herd of cattle — Belted Galloways from Scotland. The property straddles the Benzie-Manistee County line, has 360 acres of hardwood forest, and 6200 feet along the Betsie River.

The trail travels along the edge of a deep ravine for a creek that's a tributary of the Betsie River. You get some glimpses of the river before the trail circles back through the woods. It's a well-marked with purple blazes, so helpful for staying on trail when it's covered with leaves or snow.

MITCHELL-HERITAGE NATURE TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Updated September, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Trail Web page
Another Web page about this area and trail
Mitchell State Park Web page

Trail map

• Mitchell State Park Road / Trail map: source #1, source #2 (which shows the correct parking location in the Kenwood Heritage Park)
• Mitchell-Heritage Trail map

General idea

A pretty and easy woodchip path around the wetland area of the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area..

Length

2.5 miles

Hiking time

Depends on the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Wexford County, west of Cadillac, and northwest of the western end of Lake Cadillac.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two parking areas and access points:

Kenwood Heritage Park parking and trailhead location — At an area in the west part of Kenwood Heritage Park. From M-115 and North Boulevard, take North Boulevard 0.7 miles northeast to Rose Avenue on the left (northwest) side of the road. Turn on to Rose Avenue and got 520 feet looking for the start of the trail on the left (southwest). Park in the grass. Restrooms are available at the beach-side of Kenwood Heritage Park (across North Boulevard).

Johnson Center parking and trailhead location — At the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center at the northeast corner of M-115 and North Boulevard at the west end of Lake Cadillac. Enter off of M-115, 300 feet north of the intersection with North Boulevard. Restrooms inside the Center.

More details

Trails lead through wetland from the two parking areas to a woodchip path with bridges and boardwalks that loop around the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area.

A vehicle permit may required to park at the Johnson Center, as it's in Mitchell State Park..

MOHRMANN NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by Antrim County as forest land under a management agreement with the Antrim Conservation District
[Updated May, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map (based on a photo taken on-site)

General idea

Pretty, wooded trail, that passes by a creek in the northeast, and crosses two creeks in the southwest

Length

Maybe 1 mile total

Hiking time

Roughly half an hour

Difficulty

Easy, as it's all flat (excetp for one tiny moderate hill)

Open to mountain
bikes

No (assumed)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

This area is in western central Antrim County, north of Bellaire, on the northeast side of Intermediate Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the east side Bellaire at the intersection of Cayuga Street and Derenzy Road (Fairgrounds Road), take Derenzy Road north 3 miles to Intermediate Lake Road. Turn (left) west and go 1.7 miles to the entrance to the park on the right (north) side of the road. No restrooms.

More details

This 105-acre rustic park features numerous forestry features, creeks, and an abundance of wildlife. It offers fishing, nature trails, hunting, and a picnic area. It is open all year around. Fish Creek flows through this property, and it's joined by another creek along the way. There are three footbridges crossing over creeks on the Red Trail. The Blue Trail loop in the northeastern corner passes through private property – please be respectful of that. In the southeastern corner of the Blue Trail loop, there is currently (May, 2017) no sign to tell you to turn here. (If you go to the east, there's a footbridge over a creek – that's the wrong way.)

MUD LAKE TWO-TRACK TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

On state land so it's this property is owned and managed by the Michigan DNR. “Mud Lake Two-Track Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an "official" trail on any organization.
[Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map

General idea

Technically a two-track, this trail that travels the former Manistee & Northeastern railroad along the Platte River and Mud Lake to Lake Ann (the lake not the village) in a very pretty and woodsy, undeveloped area.

Length

1.6 miles round trip.

Hiking time

Less than an hour round trip.

Difficulty

Easy – most of the trail is flat, but there is one small hill and some parts of the trail are sandy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Benzie County, south of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Trailhead
location
and
directions

From Lake Ann — at the intersection of Lake Ann Road (2nd St) and Maple Street (County Highway 610), take Lake Ann Road south 2.2 miles to just before the unsigned Buckley Road on the left (east). (If you come to Douglas Drive on the left (east), you’ve gone 0.4 miles too far south). The starting point is the two-track on the right (west) side of the road, 200 feet north of Buckley Road.

From downtown Honor — take US-31 east 9.2 miles to Lake Ann Road (County Highway 665), turn left (north) and go 2.5 miles to the two-track on the left (west) side of the road. Along the way on the right (east) you'll pass Douglas Drive at 2.1 miles and the unsigned Buckley Road at 2.5 miles. The two-track is 200 feet north of Buckley.

The trail starts here: Google Maps view (44.695302, -85.83660)
The trail ends here: Google Maps view (44.704133, -85.84038)

No restroom.

More details

There are occasional vehicles on this two-track, but very infrequent, and only the stoutest of 4x4s will make it.

The Shore-to-Shore trail travels part of this two-track from south of Mud Lake to just before Lake Ann Road.

The two-track begins going west 0.2 miles down a small hill, then turns north and runs on the former railroad the rest of the way. The Manistee & Northeastern traveled through here in the early 1900s on its way to the village of Lake Ann along the east side of Ann Lake – the original name of the lake.

While traveling towards Mud Lake, the Platte River runs parallel to the two-track then crosses under about halfway along on its way to Mud Lake.

Just south of Mud Lake there's a fork. (The two-track curving up hill goes to Peanut Lake 0.9 miles away.) Bear right going straight on the flat part of the two-track. You'll pass along the southwest side of Mud Lake, one of three Mud Lakes in Benzie County. (Yes, there's carry-in boat access here to Mud Lake — IF your vehicle can make it this far.)

A little ways after Mud Lake you'll come to the end of the two-track. There's a channel here — technically it's the Platte River — it flows though Mud Lake, down this channel, then into and through Lake Ann. Were you here riding a train in the early 1900's, you'd cross over the channel and make your way to Lake Ann village. The piles for the former bridge are still present in the channel. A beautiful little spot – with the 800-foot river channel to Mud Lake at the east and Lake Ann just 100 feet to the west.

When returning, consider a short side-trip. Near the end, before turning east and going back up the hill to Lake Ann Road, walk straight (south) staying on the former railroad for about 0.2 miles. This path is not used much at all, and there's a tree here and there to step over. The Platte River is right along west side and it's a pretty, woodsy area. Peanut Lake is about 0.3 miles directly west of this area and its creek flows into the river somewhere in here. It's time to turn around when you get the Private Property sign.

MUNCIE LAKES PATHWAY

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there on parts of it.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail map

Trail map #1 (Based on a photo I took on-site.)
Trail map #2
Rough trail map
(No official map could be found online.)

General idea

Woodsy network of trails that wander past several small lakes and skirt the banks of the Boardman river.

Length

11.5 miles, with 5 loops ranging from 0.95 to 5.35 miles long.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiing.

General location

In eastern central Grand Traverse County, southeast of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking and trailhead location

Directions

The pathway is 13 miles SE of Traverse City with several access points such as the trailhead Ranch Rudolph Road and intersections with Rennie Lake Road.

Directions to the trailhead: south of Traverse City, from the intersection of Garfield Road and Hammond Road, take Garfield south about 5.6 miles to Hobbs Highway, (this is just before Garfield Road drops into the Boardman River valley), then left (east) 1.7 miles to Ranch Rudolph Road. Turn right on to Ranch Rudolph Road, taking it east 2.8 miles (just east of Rennie Lake Road) to the (east) entrance to the parking lot and trailhead on the left (north) side of the road.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

This area is covered with beautiful hardwoods. Trails wander past small lakes (the Muncie Lakes system) and pass in and out of the Boardman River Valley, and at times skirt the banks of the Boardman River with overlooks of the river's valley. The North Country Trail uses several of the trails here..

NAGONABA NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organizations

Village of Northport and Leelanau Township
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

None found

Trail map

Trail map (Based on a photo I took on-site.)

General idea

Nature trail through the woods and across Northport Creek, going from the west end of Nagonaba Street in Northport to the Braman Hill Recreation Area

Length

0.4 miles one-way, 0.8 miles round trip

Hiking time

Less than half an hour round trip.

Difficulty

Easy – it's believed most of the trail is flat.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiing, but not sure about snowshoeing

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, on the west side of the village of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

• The trail starts at the west end of Nagonaba Street: Google Maps view

From Northport at the intersection of Nagonaba Street and Mill Street, take Nagonaba Street west 0.4 miles to the end. There are a few off-road parking places, but no restrooms.

• The trail ends at Morningside Drive at Braman Hill Recreation Area: Google Maps view

From Northport at the intersection of Nagonaba Street and Mill Street, take Mill Street north 0.1 miles to 3rd Street. Then left (west) and go 0.6 miles Morningside Drive (the entrance to Braman Hill Recreation Area). Turn left (south) and park. The trail starts 450 feet in from 3rd Street on the left (east) of Morningside Drive. Parking and restrooms are available.

More details

The first phase of this trail begins at the west end of Nagonaba Street on the west side of the village of Northport, and finishes on Morningside Drive at Braman Hill Recreation Area. "Future plans are for another segment that’s designed to go south and west of the Northport/Leelanau Township wastewater treatment facility to Johnson Road. A third segment, planned well into the future, will go north of the soccer fields on Third Street and along the creek." according to this Web page.

Along the winding trail, “The first part has larch, tamarack and pines, the second has cedar, hemlock, and quaking aspen, and the third has hardwoods — maple, ash and beech.” says Andy Thomas, one of the two trail designers. In the first section you'll encouter a big, cool sculpture, Jeremy the Frog, the work of a local artist. The trail includes three elevated walkways — one that crosses Northport Creek and two more that provide protection to wetland areas. “One is about 20 feet and the others are about 30 feet long,” Thomas said. The 5-feet-wide trail is open to hikers, birdwatchers, cross country skiers, and bicyclists.

NORTH COUNTRY TRAIL (NCT)
(from south to north through Northwestern Michigan)

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organizations
and Web sites

North Country Trail Association and many chapters. Here are the chapters for the three main sections of the trail that this guide covers:

Links to all North Country Trail Michigan chapters

North Country National Scenic Trail (National Park Web site)

North Country National Scenic Trail in the Huron-Manistee National Forest

The North Country National Scenic Trail is part of our National Scenic Trail System which is administered by the National Park Service.

[Been there on several parts of it. Many more pieces to be investigated.]


Trail maps,
road maps,
and more

Map of the whole trail across seven states (PDF document)

Interactive online map of the whole trail but you can zoom in for good detailed views (Added April, 2015)

Michigan Overview Map
- Note: this map and the three below are special Google maps and take a few moments for these to completely load, you can zoom in and out and move about. There are terrain, road map, aerial views, and more.

Maps and details based on section :

Maps you can buy:

  • MI-05, Freesoil Trailhead to M-186, 81.4 miles - Hikers get their first glimpse of the Northwoods in the Manistee National Forest. Within Manistee National Forest, enjoy sandy soils that support a pine-hardwood forest and great hiking along the Manistee River Trail, which forms a great loop hike opportunity. The NCT leaves the Manistee National Forest near the Hodenpyl Dam Pond which features a fabulous new (2009) trail along the Hodenpyl Dam Pond and Manistee River.

  • MI-06, Cedar Creek Road to Charlevoix County, 81.2 miles - Continuing south of Traverse City to Kalkaska the NCT is routed through state forest land (the Pere Maruette SF) which offer a number of year round recreation opportunities. The next jewel along the NCT is the Jordan Valley Pathway, which offers a scenic loop hike near Alba.

MORE DETAILS:

  • Please SEE THIS PAGE for trail notes, directions, and details for some segments of the Michigan NCT. See at least items 11 thorugh 41.

  • But especially, SEE BELOW for trail details, maps, Web pages, directions and notes for many segments of the Michigan NCT.

General idea
and location

The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4600 miles long across seven states from New York to North Dakota. There are many sections throughout Michigan. This guide covers only 3 sections in northwestern lower Michigan – areas generally within 1.5 hours of Traverse City, in these counties: Mason, Lake, Manistee, Wexford, Grand Traverse, Kalkasksa, Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet.

From the North Country Trail Association Web site about the Trail in Michigan:

"Hikers get their first glimpse of the Northwoods in the Manistee National Forest. Within Manistee National Forest, enjoy sandy soils that support a pine-hardwood forest and great hiking along the Manistee River Trail, which forms a great loop hike opportunity. The NCT leaves the Manistee National Forest near the Hodenpyl Dam Pond which features a fabulous new (2009) trail along the Hodenpyl Dam Pond and Manistee River. Continuing south of Traverse City to Kalkaska the NCT is routed through state forest land (the Pere Maruette SF) which offer a number of year round recreation opportunities. The next jewel along the NCT is the Jordan Valley Pathway, which offers a scenic loop hike near Alba. From here the trail heads towards Petoskey through the Mackinaw State Forest. North of Petoskey wonderful hiking opportunities exist in Wilderness State Park, where the trail follows the Lake Michigan shoreline. As one leaves Wilderness State Park and heads towards Mackinaw City the lights of Mackinaw Bridge visible become visible."

Length

Varies with route taken.

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

Varies from easy to difficult. Many easy to moderate hills, with a view more difficult ones now and then.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, but only on certain sections and segments..

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

North Country
Trail Segments
(from south to north)
Length Hiking
Time
Road Map Trail
Map
Web
Site
Comments

Back to Trail List

Croton Dam to 40th Street Trailhead 9.4 miles   Road
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This trail section is near White Cloud, but begins northeast of Newago at the Croton Dam on the Muskegon River. Parking may be available at the Kimble County Park on Croton Drive. Parking is also available here.

The trail crosses Bigelow Creek and provides access to Coolbough Nature Preserve. A spur trail takes visitors to Twinwood Campground.

• Mountain bikes are NOT allowed.

40th Street Trailhead location

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

40th Street Trailhead to M-20 Trailhead 9.6 miles   Road
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Heavily wooded red pine area with several stream crossings. A steel girder bridge will take hikers across the White River.

• Mountain bikes are NOT allowed.

M-20 Trailhead – M-20 (1 Mile Road) trail crossing location – apparently there is parking nearby just to the west.

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

M-20 Trailhead to Nichols Lake North Trailhead 18.4 miles   Road
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The trail crosses Cole Creek before traversing through hills. As the trail travels north the hills will give way to a marshy area and trail crosses several roads. North of Benton Lake the trail crosses Bear Creek.

• Mountain bikes ARE allowed.

Nichols Lake South Trailhead location — the trailhead and parking somewhere in this area.

Nichols Lake North Trailhead — Cleveland Drive trail crossing location and nearby parking

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

Nichols Lake North Trailhead to 76th Street Trailhead 11.6 miles

4 miles (96 Street to 76th Street Trailhead
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Near Baldwin. Trail pass Stiles Swamp as you leave the Nichols Lake area before heading into the Sterling Marsh area, where portions of the trail have been raised to prevent resource damage. Trail travels towards and along the Pere Marquette National Scenic River for several miles. The trail gets progressively hilly as it heads north. Heavily wooded red pine area with several stream crossings near 76th Street Trailhead.

• Mountain bikes NOT allowed.

76th Street Trailhead — 76th Street trail crossing location and nearby parking (somewhere in here)

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

The 78 miles from 96th Street to the Marilla Trailhead (at Beers Road taking the north spur from the Marilla Junction) is the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section of the trail.

76th Street Trailhead to Bowman Lake Trailhead 6 miles   Road
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Near Baldwin. Trail travels toward and along the Pere Marquette National Scenic River. The terrain gets progressively hilly as the trail heads to Bowman Bridge Campground and River Access. Glacial depressions are found in this area and provide homes for many species of wildlife.

• Mountain bikes NOT allowed.

Bowman Lake Trailhead — 56th Street crossing location and nearby parking (at Lake Cemetery off Evergreen Road, west of the 56th Street crossing location).

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

Part of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section.

Bowman Lake Trailhead to Timber Creek Trailhead 8.5 miles

41 miles (Bowman Lake to M-55)
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Near Baldwin. Trail goes through the Bowman Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area, and travels along the Pere Marquette National Scenic River near Sulak and Upper Branch Bridge river access sites, until crossing US-10, then arrives at the Timber Creek Trailhead.

• Mountain bikes ARE allowed from the Bowman Lake trailhead to M-55.

Timber Creek Trailhead — M-10 crossing location and somewhere nearby is parking, perhaps at the Timber Creek Campground to the west.

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

Part of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section..

Timber Creek Trailhead to Freesoil Trailhead 19 miles   Road
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Near Baldwin and Freesoil. Trail passes through Ward Hills, past McCarthy Lake, and through very steeply hilled terrain.

• Mountain bikes ARE allowed. The portion of trail running from Timber Creek Trailhead to the Manistee River is the most advanced riding on this portion of the trail for mountain bikes.

Freesoil Trailhead – 8 Mile Road (Free Soil Road) crossing location and somewhere nearby is parking

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

Part of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section.

Freesoil Trailhead to Udell Trailhead 14 miles

10 miles (M-55 to Udell Trailhead)
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Near Manistee, Freesoil and Wellston. The trail traverses the Udell Hills. After the trail crosses the Little Manistee River, the terrain changes from mixed hardwoods to wetlands. The trail heading north was formerly a narrow gauge railroad that was elevated above the wetlands in the early 1900's by lumberjacks. The trail winds through the wetlands and swamp in this section. However, about 3.5 miles north of the trailhead there's boardwalk through the wetland areas.

There is no connector to the Big "M" cross-country ski trail, however the two trails do cross at several points

• Mountain bikes NOT allowed from M-55 to Udell Trailhead.

Udell Trailhead – M-55 crossing location and somewhere nearby is parking, perhaps on Fire Tower Road just south of M-55.

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

Part of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section.

Udell Trailhead to Upper River Road Trailhead 16 miles

10 miles (Udell Trailhead to Dilling Road )

6 miles (Dilling Road to Upper River Road Trailhead)
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Near Manistee, Wellston, and Brethren. Trail traverse many hills, particularly in the Dilling Road (Sawdust Hole, Tippy Dam) area. Order of things: Udell Trailhead to Highbridge Rd. to Dilling Rd to Coates Highway (Upper River Trailhead / Red Bridge).

• Mountain bikes NOT allowed between the Udell trailhead and Dilling Road.

• Mountain bikes ARE allowed from the Dilling Road to the Marilla Trailhead.

Upper River Road Trailhead – Coates Highway crossing location with parking nearby here located just north of Coates Highway on the west side of Upper River Road.

There are connecting trails from the parking area to the NCT in one driection and the Manistee River Trail in the other direciton and crossing Red Bridge.

For directions, see the Web pages listed.

Part of the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section.

Upper River Road Trailhead to Marilla Trailhead 9 miles

15 miles (Dilling Road to Marilla Trailhead)

6 miles (Dilling Road to Upper River Road Trailhead)
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Near Brethren, Marilla, and Mesick.

North of Coates Highway, the trail climbs up a hill to a flat, forested area. Trail follows the bluff high above the Manistee River offering scenic views of the river valley. The only water source is at Eddington Creek Crossing, 1.5 miles south of the Marilla Trailhead, where there's a treated wood bridge.

0.4 miles north of Eddington Creek and 1.1 miles south of the Marilla Trailhead is a fork in the trail which the Grand Traverse Hiking Club has named Marilla Junction.

  • From Marilla Junction, the portion of the trail leading north is a "connector" spur portion which goes high above the Manistee River with a bench along the way and impressive views of the river and Hodenpyl Dam Pond, and leads to the Marilla Trailhead and parking.

    Marilla Trailhead and parking location. This trailhead is the northen most access to the trail on the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Its accessed from Beers Road, about 2.5 miles east of Marilla (and Marilla Road). There is ample parking (with a fee) and a pit toilet.

  • From Marilla Junction, the portion of the trail leading northeast is the main North Country Trail which follows an old rail grade downhill for 1.3 miles, connecting to the Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead (at the north end of Blueberry Lane, just off of Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road) and small parking area. (Blueberry Lane leads a short way to the Hodenpyl Dam, in case you were wondering.)

    Hodenpyl Dam (Blueberry Lane) trailhead and parking location. There's a kiosk and tiny parking lot. It's 350 feet south of Beers Road/Hodenpyl Dam Road on Blueberry Lane. (Some maps incorrectly label Blueberry Lane as Hodenpyl Dam Road.) No restroom, but one is available at the end of Blueberry Lane down by the dam.

• Mountain bikes are allowed from Upper River Road Trailhead past the Marilla Junction and on via the connecting spur to the Marilla Trailhead

• Mountain bikes are NOT on the 1.3 mile portion of the trail from Marilla Junction to the Blueberry Lane trailhead.

Upper River Road, by the way, is a gravel road which parallels the NCT and Manistee River on the west side of the river. It's nice "shuttle route" with hiking this section of the NCT one-way, doing the Manistee River Trail (MRT), or canoeing / kayaking this section of the river. (One can also use Beers Road / Marilla Road / Coates Highway as a paved shuttle route (it's a longer distance, but it's paved and takes about the same travel time).

The powerline here along Upper River Road is a snowmobile trail during the winter months.

The 78 miles from 96th Street to the Marilla Trailhead (at Beers Road taknig the north spur from the Marilla Junction) is the Spirit of the Woods Chapter section of the trail.

The 95 miles from the Marilla Junction to Starvation Lake Road northeast of Kalkaska is the Grand Traverse Hiking Club section of the trail..

For detailed directions, see the Web pages listed.

A 23-mile loop: (connecting the NCT and MRT)

A 23-mile loop trail (one of the best backpacking loops in the state) is formed by combining this segment of the North Country Trail (NCT) with the Manistee River Trail (MRT) along the Manistee River. The loop trail can be accessed from the Marilla Trailhead and Upper Branch Trailhead for the North Country Trail and the Red Bridge (at Coates Highway, east side of river) and Seaton Creek access points for the Manistee River Trail.

At the northern end of the NCT, following the main trail by taking the northeastern fork from Marilla Junction, about 0.7 miles past the Marilla Junction you'll encounter the MRT/NCT Connector trail. It's called the Manistee River Trail here, is a sharp turn to the right, heads south, and is marked with white blazes on trees. After about 0.3 miles, it turns left and loosely parallels the road heading northeast for about 0.8 miles. You'll come to the "Litte Mac" suspension footbridge (the 2nd largest in Michigan) where you'll cross over the Manistee River and come to the main Manistee River Trail on the east bank of the Manistee River. From here you can take a connector east to the Seaton Creek Campground, or head south on the main Manistee River Trail.

On the south end, the two trails (MRT and NCT) are joined by Red Bridge, where Coates Highway crosses the Manistee River.

Tthe NCT (west side) offers much more vertical (ups and downs) than the Manistee River Trail (east site) for those seeking a good workout.


Marilla Trailhead / Marilla Junction / Beers Road Loop 3 mile loop 1.5 hours Road
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Trail map (see the NE
corner of the
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A nice loop if you just want a picturesque short hike. You'll make a big triangle with the North County Trail, the NCT connector trail, and Beers Road.

You can start this loop in two places (and go in either direction):

1. Marilla Trailhead (with parking area and pit toilet) – on the south side of Beers Road, about 2.5 miles east of Marilla Road. Then make the big triangle...

  • Take the connector spur trail south 1.1 miles to the Marilla Junction — an intersection with the main NCT – a wider trail following an old railroad bed heading gently downhill to the northeast.

  • Follow the North County Trail northeast 1.3 miles to the Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane, just south of Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road.

  • Walk 350 feet north on Blueberry Lane to Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road, then take it west 0.6 miles uphill back to the Marilla Trailhead parking lot. (NOTE: Some maps incorrectly label Blueberry Lane as Hodenpyl Dam Road.)

  • Of course you can do this in reverse order, if you like!

2. Blueberry Lane – On Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road about 3 miles west of Marilla Road on you'll find Blueberry Lane. (NOTE: some maps incorrectly label Blueberry Lane as Hodenpyl Dam Road.) Turn right and 350 feet on the right is a sign for the North County Trail (NCT). This is the Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead for the NCT. Park there. No restroom, but one is available at the south end of Blueberry Lane down by the dam.

The North County Trail here heads southwest and connects to the north-going spur portion of the trail (up on the west bluff above the Manistee River at Marilla Junction.

  • If you want a steady uphill climb most of the way:

    • Take the North County Trail first – go 1.3 miles southwest up to the Marilla Junction.
    • Turn right (north) and take the NCT connecting spur for 1.1 miles, past the trailhead and out to Beers Road.
    • Go east 0.6 miles down Beers Road to Blueberry Lane.
    • Go south 350 feet to your car at the Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane.

  • If you want to get the uphill aspect of the trip out of the way first and then be able walk downhill for the rest (and majority) of the trip:

    • Walk 350 feet north on Blueberry Lane to Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road
    • Walk west 0.6 miles on Beers Road uphill to the Marilla Trailhead.
    • Take the North County Trail connecting spur south 1.1 miles to the Marilla Junction — an intersection with the main NCT – a wider trail following an old railroad bed heading northeast and gently downhill.
    • Follow the NCT northeast 1.3 miles to the Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane.



BIGGER LOOP — There's a slightly longer, more interesting loop here, if you are interested. 4.1 miles, 2.0 hours, no additional hills
  • Start at the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane.
  • Walk 350 feet north on Blueberry Lane to Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road
  • Walk west 0.6 miles on Beers Road uphill to the Marilla Trailhead.
  • Take the North County Trail connecting spur south 1.1 miles to the Marilla Junction — an intersection with the main NCT – a wider trail following an old railroad bed heading northeast and gently downhill.
  • Follow the NCT northeast 0.7 miles to the MRT/NCT Connector trail.
  • It's called the Manistee River Trail here, is a sharp turn to the right, heads south about 0.3 miles, and is marked with white blazes on trees.
  • Just past the road it turns left and loosely parallels the road heading northeast. Take it about 0.5 miles to where it, and the road, cross over Woodpecker Creek (very close to where the creek joins the river).
    • Side trip #1 — while at the Woodpecker Creek crossing on Upper River Road, walk 100 feet south to check out where the creek enters the Manistee River.
    • Side trip #2 — while at the Woodpecker Creek crossing on Upper River Road, walk 0.3 miles east via the Manistee River Trail to the "Litte Mac" suspension footbridge across the Manistee River. (It's the largest suspension footbridge in Lower Michigan.)
  • From here, follow the Woodpecker Creek Trail (also marked with white blazes on trees) 0.7 miles north then east, along the creek and through the woods out to Blueberry Lane.
  • From here, take the road 0.2 miles north to the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane.



SHORTER LOOP — There's a slightly shorter loop here, too, if you are interested. 2.3 miles, 1.2 hours, almost no hills, but you'll miss the impressive views of the river and Hodenpyl Dam Pond from up high on the NCT. But you still get to walk next to the river and the creek.
  • Start at the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane.
  • Follow the North County Trail southwest 0.6 miles to the MRT/NCT Connector trail
  • It's called the Manistee River Trail here, is a sharp turn to the left, heads south about 0.3 miles, and is marked with white blazes on trees.
  • Just past the road it turns left and loosely parallels the road heading northeast. Take it about 0.5 miles to where it, and the road, cross over Woodpecker Creek (very close to where the creek joins the river).
    • Side trip #1 — while at the Woodpecker Creek crossing on Upper River Road, walk 100 feet south to check out where the creek enters the Manistee River.
    • Side trip #2 — while at the Woodpecker Creek crossing on Upper River Road, walk 0.3 miles east via the Manistee River Trail to the "Litte Mac" suspension footbridge across the Manistee River. (It's the largest suspension footbridge in Lower Michigan.)
  • From here, follow the Woodpecker Creek Trail (also marked with white blazes on trees) 0.7 miles north then east, along the creek and through the woods out to Blueberry Lane.
  • From here, take the road 0.2 miles north to the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead on Blueberry Lane.

Hodenpyl Dam
(Blueberry Lane) to M-115
7.1 miles Road
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Hodenpyl Dam Tralhead location — has a kiosk and tiny parking lot. It's 350 feet south of Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road on Blueberry Lane. (NOTE: some maps incorrectly label Blueberry Lane as Hodenpyl Dam Road.) No restroom, but one is available at the south end of Blueberry Lane down by the dam.

Here the trail is a flat, scenic hike along the Hodenpyl Pond (with some diversions nearer the road), through pine plantations, skirting wetlands, and peninsulas. A little over half way along is the Northern Exposure Trailhead with ample parking.

M-115 Crossing location — is one mile west of Mesick. Across the bridge to the east is Veterans Park which has a water pump, pit toilet, parking, and access to Manistee River.

Note: There is also access to Mesick access from Glengary, 4 miles further down the trail, and the town is about one mile away.

Mesick is a great trail town, and is the last source of food and services for 35 trail miles (and note that access to Kingsley is a 6-mile road walk).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

M-115 to M-37 4 miles   Road
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After crossing M-115, the trail rises to the bluff along the Manistee River with fine views. Later the trail dips and climbs moderately, leaves the river for a spell and rejoins it just south of the village of Glengary, on No 11 Road. After a 0.3 mi road walk south crossing the Manistee River, the trail enters the woods on the left and then emerges onto M-37 just south of Sherman.

M-37 South location is just south of Sherman and north of Mesick about a mile.

From here, take M-37 north across the Manistee River to the M-37 North location at the intersection with 12 Road, where the trail heads east.

Note: There is no food in Sherman. Mesick is about 1 mile south of the trail at Glengary via 11 Road (Eugenee Street in town), and 1 mile south of the trail via M-37, where there is a restaurant and two gas stations. Mesick is a great trail town, and is the last source of food and services for 35 trail miles (and note that access to Kingsley is a 6-mile road walk).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

M-37 North to Baxter Bridge

(A combined trip of four sections below)
19 miles   Road
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The Grand Traverse Hiking Club says this is the most scenic parts of the trail in their section.The trail crosses Wheeler and Anderson Creeks and follows the Manistee River for much of the way and is often high above it, giving you panoramic views of the river and its valley. About 11 miles into the hike are the "High Bank Rollways" which has a beautiful panoramic view and is accessible to vehicles. The DNR has built a viewing platform and parking area. It is a very popular place, especially for leaf peekers in the fall.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

M-37 North to 12/15 Road Intersection 2.6 miles   Road
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From the intersection of M-37 and 12 Road, the trail heads east on 12 Road. It's paved at first, then becomes a narrow "seasonal road" (a two-track when snow is not plowed).

At the intersection of 12 Road and 15 Road, the parking is limited (and no parking after snow falls when this is a snowmobile trail).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

12/15 Road Intersection to Harvey Bridge (17/19 Road) 3 miles   Road
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The trail here is hilly and scenic with some clay as it heads east on state land along a series of ridges and lowlands, crossing several creeks, and a deep ravine and with many nice overlooks. After 2 miles, across a ravine, there’s a bench with view. In another mile the trail emerges onto No.17 Road (which becomes 19 Road south of the river), just north of the old iron Harvey Bridge over the Manistee River. (Just south of the bridge there is parking, a pit toilet, and a boat landing.)

17 Road Crossing location (17 Road becomes 19 Road south of the river).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Harvey Bridge (17/19 Road) to the High Bank Rollway 10.5 miles   Road
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After trail crosses 17 Road it winds through the forest with some high bank overlooks, interspersed with road. Walk where the road is close to the river. Soon the trail climbs to a bluff over the river, with more high bank overlooks. Anderson Creek (a good water source (be sure to treat all water)).. After wandering along the river, the trail gains more elevation and after more scenic vistas arrives at the overlook of the High Bank Rollway.

The High Bank Rollway location is also accesseible by car off of No. 4 Road and some sandy two-tracks.

Directions from Buckley: From the traffic light in Buckley go south 0.5 miles on First Street then east 4.8 miles on No. 4 Road. Where the paved road swings northeast, veer off the road going straight (east) and follow the gravel road. It goes east 0.3 miles then turns south, then east again (stay on the most traveled road), ending up after 1.4 miles at some parking spots. A short walk to the south takes you to the NCT and a few overlooks.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.


High Bank Rollway to Baxter Bridge (29 1/2 Road) 2.7 miles   Road
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The trail continues east along high bank bluff with views of the Manistee River valley, then turns northeast and drops into a beautiful valley of hardwoods. It then winds eastward with continual drops in elevation, eventually crossing a footbridge over a nice stream. Here you are surrounded by marvelous cedars. The trail continues east, climbing to an overlook before passing through a stand of beech. The trail emerges onto 29 1/2 Road north of the Baxter Bridge.

29 1/2 Road South location — shows roughly where the trail emerges from the woods just north of the Baxter Bridge.

The Baxter Bridge is at 29 1/2 Road (accessed by 31 Road south of the river) crosses the Manistee River (east of Mesick, west of Manton). Parking is available at the river access just north of the bridge. The state forest campground is on the left (east) past (south of) the bridge. There is a boat launch at the bridge on the west side of the road.

If you're starting at the Baxter Bridge and going west, the trail heading west is north of the bridge. The trailhead is not obvious. If you walk north up the road for a hundred yards or so, you will see the trail marker the left (west) side of the road. The entrance is in woods just before the forest ends at an open field. If you get to that open field, you've gone too far. See 29 1/2 Road South Location above.

If you're starting at the Baxter Bridge and going east, take 29 1/2 Road north to 2 Road, where the trail follows that road heading east.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Baxter Bridge (29 1/2 Road) to Dell Road 2.6 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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This section is a road-walk. The trail walks 29 1/2 Road north 1.1 miles to 2 Road (County Line Road), then east 1.5 miles to Dell Road.

If needed, there is road access to Kingsley for services and supplies, but it's 6 miles away. From the intersection of 2 Road and Summit City Road, go north 5 miles on Summit City Road, then west 1 mile on M-113. Grocery, restaurant, hardware, laundry.

Dell Road and 2 Road Intersection

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Dell Road to the Two Bridges Trailhead (and on to the Old US-131 State Forest Campground) 6.2 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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Compared with the High Bank Rollways segment to the west, this is a little known stretch of trail, but perhaps equally as beautiful. This part of the trail continues along the north side of the Manistee River.

From the intersection 2 Road (County Line Road) and Dell Road, the trail starts off following a two-track fire lane to the south, through second growth forest and pine plantation, then turns east and follows the Manistee River along the north bank, crossing a couple of bridges, and climbs to a ridge. At the benches and platform, there is road-access via Walton and Townline Roads.

As the trail approaches the Two Bridges Trailhead there is a view of the railroad trestle bridge (which crosses the Manistee River). This trailhead is a very pleasant place, is a good water source, but has no road access.

From the Two Bridges Trailhead, you have two choices:

  1. Go north on the former route of the North Country Trail that's now the west branch of the Fife Lake Loop. 7 miles later, it joins back up with the main (new route of the) North Country Trail at the "northern junction", which is just south of M-186 west of Fife Lake (by Forrest Road).
  2. Take the new route of the North Country Trail that heads east along the Manistee River. then NNE up to Headquarters Lakes, then straight north past Spring Lake, then west to the "northern junction" where is joins the west branch of the Fife Lake Loop. It's around 14 miles.

The Fife Lake Loop –
Web page #1, Web page #2, Web page #3, Web page #4, Web page #5
Trail map #1
, Trail map #2
Road Map
[Added 2017. Trails to be investigated.]

The 21-mile Fife Lake Loop is comprised of the "west branch" – the former route of the North Country Trail and the "east branch" – the new route of the North Country Trail, going from "southwestern junction" at the Two Bridges Trailhead, to the "northern junction" just south of M-186 west of Fife Lake (by Forrest Road).

From the Two Bridges Trailhead, following the west branch of the loop, the trail leaves Manistee River and heads mostly north with flat and easy miles. You'll cross No. 2 Road, a railroad track, and M-113. It's 6.5 miles to Sparling Road.

Sparling Road crossing location

Directions to the Sparling Road trail access — from intersection of M-186 (State Street) and US-131 west of Fife Lake, take US-131 south 0.5 miles to Sparling Road, then turn right (west) and go 1.5 miles.

It's another 0.5 miles north to "northern junction" just south of M-186. There's trailhead parking at the Old US-131 State Forest Campground and M-186.

So, it's 7.0 miles from the "southwestern junction" to the "northern junction" following the west branch.

The east branch of the loop is the new route of the North Country Trail (see the next section). It's around 14 miles long between the two junction points.

Following the new route of the North Country Trail south about 0.5 miles south takes you to the Old US-131 State Forest Campground.

There's trailhead parking at Old US-131 State Forest Campground and M-186.

Old US-131 State Forest Campground location

Directions to the Old US-131 State Forest Campground via vehicle: From the junction of M-113 and US-131 southwest of Fife Lake, drive 0.9 miles south on US-131, turn right at the sign for camping / State Forest Campground, and then immediately left, now heading south on Old 131. Continue south another 1.7 miles. Turn right at entrance to the SFCG, then continue straight for 0.4 miles to the trailhead with parking.

While at the campground, admire the "historic" wooden trail map, showing the NCT as it was a decade ago (1990s). The one-mile spur trail (to the north) accesses the NCT near the Two Bridges Trailhead. Also while here, walk on the road (Old 131 south of the campground entrance) to check out the pedestrian / snowmobile bridge across the Manistee River. This is where Old US-131 crossed the river.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.


Old US-131 State Forest Campground to the "northern junction" by M-186 Around 13.5 miles Road
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From the Old US-131 State Forest Campground, follow the new route of the North Country Trail. It goes along the Manistee River, crosses Old US-131, crosses the new US-131, goes along the Fife Lake Outlet Creek (using a few roads along the way), goes in between west and middle Headquarters Lakes, heads north past Spring Lake and crosses a railroad track, and then at 4th Street heads west across US-131, then goes WNW to the "northern junction" where it meets the west branch of the Fife Lake Loop just south of M-186 (by Forrest Road).

There's trailhead parking at Old US-131 State Forest Campground, US-131 Roadsite Park, Spring Lake State Forest Campground, and M-186.

At 4th Street, you can take roads to town, or better yet, take the "spur trail" east and north into the village of Fife Lake – a pleasant community with all the services a hiker needs.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

M-186 (west of Fife Lake) to Mayfield Road Around 3.3 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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From M-186 the trail continues north. At Mayfield Road there is limited parking along the road.

Mayfield Road crossing location

Directions to the Mayfield Road crossing — From the intersecion of Garfield Road and Hammond Road south of Traverse City, take Garfield Road south 7.4 miles to Mayfield Road (about 0.7 miles south of River Road.). Turn left (east) and go 6.2 miles.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Mayfield Road to Muncie Lakes Pathway Trailhead 5.5 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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After some dirt road walking, the trail now heads into the Boardman River valley, following Twenty-two Creek and the Valley of the Giants, with huge old-growth trees. It crosses some flatlands to the Boardman River, emerging onto Brown Bridge Road. Take the road a short way going north, over the Boardman River. Just past the entrance to Scheck’s Place SFCG (State Forest Campground) on the left (west) the trail re-enters the woods heading north. The trail goes up the hill, crosses Ranch Rudolph Road, and comes to the Muncie Lakes Pathway Trailhead.

Muncie Lakes Pathway Trailhead and parking location

Directions
to Muncie Lakes Pathway Trailhead — south of Traverse City, from the intersection of Garfield Road and Hammond Road, take Garfield south about 5.6 miles to Hobbs Highway, (this is just before Garfield Road drops into the Boardman River valley), then left (east) 1.7 miles to Ranch Rudolph Road. Turn right on to Ranch Rudolph Road, taking it east 2.8 miles (just east of Rennie Lake Road) to the (east) entrance to the parking lot and trailhead on the left (north) side of the road.

Somewhere near Scheck’s Place, the Boardman River Trail (BRT) connects to the NCT and heads west.

The hike from Scheck’s Place to Twenty-two Creek is a favorite day hike says the Grand Traverse Hiking Club.

Also, at 3.3 miles along this section of the trail is Scharmen Road where the locals park for a day-hike to the Valley of Giants...

Valley of the Giants
[Been there.]

For those of you who just want a short hike to explore the Valley of the Giants, here is a satellite/map view of the area, a trail map of this section North Country Trail, and below are the details for this trail section...

General location: In eastern central Grand Traverse County, southeast of Traverse City, and northeast of Kingley.

Length
: NCT section: 2.4 miles. John's Trail: 2.4 miles. Short Loop (to the Connector Trail): 2.1 miles. Long Loop (to the east intersection): 5.0 miles

Directions
: Start southwest of Brown Bridge Pond at the intersection of River Road and Garfield. Go east on River Road — it becomes Brown Bridge Road. After crossing Arbutus Hill Road, go east 0.7 miles to Sharmen Road. Veer right (heading straight east) and go 3.2 miles to the east end of Sharmen Road, where it curves south and Hodge Road starts. You'll see the markers where the North Country Trail (NCT) trail crosses the road here. Park on the side of the road. Parking location.

Details: Take the trail heading east on the east side of the road.

After 0.2 miles is the west intersection with John's Trail ( a new trail in honor of John Heiam, long time President of GTHC and currently a member of the NCTA board. John has been a strong advocate for the NCT and other trails in the northern Michigan region). It's a two-track heading southeast. It can be used to make a small or large loop here. It's marked with red blazes on trees and posts.

The NCT is a single-track path and marked with blue blazes on tree. It starts out heading east but then travels mainly southeast down into the valley and along Twenty-two Creek (aka 22-Mile Creek) much of the way. The valley has the nickname of Valley of the Giants as there are many huge old-growth trees here, some as big as 40" in diameter, many well over 100 feet tall. This moderately easy trail goes on for 1.0 mile where it intersects with the single-track Connector Trail up to John's Trail. From here you can:

  • take the 0.2-mile Connector Trail up a few moderatly steep switchbacks following the white blazes on trees. There's a T along the way with a short path to a few wilderness campsites. Take the Connector Trail to the top of the ridge to join Join's Trail (marked with red blazes on trees and posts). From here it's 0.7 miles northwest (all two-track) to the west insection not far from Scharmen Road. Or take it south and east about 1.7 miles to reconnect with the NCT at the the east intersection. (There's also an intersection with the DNR's motorcycle ORV Trail here, just to add to the confusion).
  • continue along the new re-route of the NCT along the Twenty-two Creek valley.1.4 miles to the east intersection with Join's Trail. (Almost immediately, there's a new footbridge across the creek, with a bench and trail log kiosk.)

Taking the NCT to the Connector Trail, then the Connector Trail, and then returning via John's Trail to the west intersection is the Short Loop. Ignoring the Connector Trail and taking the NCT all the way to the west intersection, then returning via John's Trail is the Long Loop.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club (GTHC) chapter section.


Muncie Lakes Pathway Trailhead to Dollar Lake Trailhead 4.2 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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The trail uses Muncie Lakes Pathway's network of trails. Follow map posts #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8, through rolling mixed woods. About 0.5 miles after post #8 the trail leaves the Muncie path and turns north (left), drops into a valley, then up and over to Dollar Lake (where there's good swimming). Past Dollar Lake the trail continues north, then makes a sharp right turn to the Dollar Lake Trailhead (at Supply Road, 0.3 miles northwest of Williamsburg Road) with a large parking lot.

Dollar Lake Trailhead and parking location

Driving directions to Dollar Lake Trailhead: From Three Mile Road and Hammond Road southeast of Traverse City, go east on Hammond, curve right (south) on High Lake Road, curve left (east) on to Supply Road and go a total of 8.5 miles. There's a large sandy parking lot on southwest side of the road between Woodland School and Williamsburg Road.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Dollar Lake Trailhead to Sand Lakes Trailhead 5 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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This slightly rolling section of the trail features the North Branch of the Boardman River, then heads north, crosses Broomhead Road at mile 3.1 (a favorite hike/snowshoe spot westbound along river and there is limited parking), crosses Guernsey Lake Road, then goes into the Sand Lakes Quiet Area with its web of trails. At #3 marker there is a spur trail 0.9 miles to the Sand Lakes Trailhead at Broomhead Road.

Sand Lakes Trailhead and Parking location

Directions to the Sand Lakes Trailhead – from Traverse City, go northeast on US-31 to M-72 in Acme, turn right (east) and go 5.7 miles on M-72 to Broomhead Road. Turn right (south) and go 3.7 miles (which makes a left/right 0.5 mile "dog-leg" along the way) to the signed large parking lot.

See also the NCT spur that connects to the VASA Pathway: brochure page 1 and page 2 (map).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Sand Lakes Trailhead to Guernsey Lake Trailhead 2.5 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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The Sand Lakes Quiet Area is very popular for hiking and camping in summer, and skiing & snowshoeing in winter.

From the Sand Lakes Trailhead, take the white-blazed spur trail to marker #3, where you pick up the NCT. The maps at each marker post show the NCT. Go east. Follow #5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13. The trail goes through rolling woods, swings south towards marker #13, and soon after a 0.2 mi spur trail (with white blazes) goes into campsite area of Guernsey Lake SFCG (State Forest Campground). At #14, another spur trail (with white blazes) it goes 0.3 miles southeast to the parking area for the campground on the entry road near white-blazed spur trail marked #15.

Guernsey Lake Trailhead and parking location

Driving directions to the Guernsey Lake Trailhead:

  • From Sand Lakes Trailhead parking lot, take Broomhead Road south just 700 feet to Sand Lakes Road. Turn left (east) and go 2.3 miles to Island Lake Road. Turn left (east) and go 0.9 miles to Guernsey Lake Road, Turn right (south) and go 1 mile to the entrance to the SFCG on the right (west).

  • From Kalkaska, drive south on US-131 to Island Lake Road, turn right (west) and go 6.9 miles to Guernsey Lake Road. Turn left (south) and go 1 mile to the entrance to the to SFCG on the right (west).

See also the NCT spur that connects to the VASA Pathway: brochure page 1 and page 2 (map).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.


Guernsey Lake Trailhead to Kalkaska Kaliseum Trailhead 9.5 miles   Road Map Trail Map
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Connect back with the NCT via the spur to marker #14. Or save a litte time and distance by taking the campground entrance road east about 1000 feet to Guernsey Lake Road, then turn left (north) and walk about 500 feet to where the BCT corsses the road.

Then proceed to the right (east). The trail crosses Boardman River Road, angles past Island Lake in woods, crosses a meadow to Island Lake Road crossing, goes into woods for a pleasant walk to Smith Lake Road, goes east along Smith Lake, and continues on two-tracks towards Kalkaska. On west edge of town you'll come to the Kalkaska Kaliseum (a large indoor and outdoor recreational complex). Follow the paved path around the north and east sides of the sports fields to the large parking lot on east side of Fairground Road.

Kalkaska Kaliseum Trailhead and parking location

Directions to the Kalkaska Kaliseum — from the main US-131/M-72 intersection in Kalkaska, go 0.7 miles west to Fairgrounds Road, then left (south) and go 0.1 miles to the large parking lot on the left (east) side of the road.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Kalkaska Kaliseum Trailhead to Log Lake Campground 2.4 miles Road Map Trail Map
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The town of Kalkaska has all the services one might need except an outfitter.

Fomr the Kaliseum, by road, the trail heads southeast on Courthose Drive to Birch, north to Arbor, east to Walnut, north to Norway, east to Cedar (US-131), north one block to Nash Road (CR 612), east for 0.4 miles to Shady Lane, northeast 0.3 miles to Stevens Drive, east 700 feet to East Log Lake Road. Here the trail skirts the west and north sides of Blue Lake. The trail then turns left (north) at Log Lake Park Campground. (The campground is on Log Lake Road NE, which West Log Lake Road becomes north of the intersection with East Log Lake Road.)

Log Lake Campground location — general vicinity

Directions to Log Lake Campground — from intersection of M-72/CR 612 and US-131 in Kalkaska, drive east 1.3 miles on CR 612 to West Log Lake Road. Turn left (north) and go about 0.5 miles to the campground on Log Lake.

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Log Lake Campground to Sunset Trail Road 10.3 miles Road Map Trail Map
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From the Log Lake Campground gate, turn right (north) and follow dirt road which bends right (east). After 0.4 miles, turn left (north) onto a small dirt unnamed road which goes through flat, cleared land and past an oil well. When the road bends right (east), the NCT continues straight heading north to the Shore-to-Shore Trail, and east crossing Wheeler Lake Road. The trail follows the power line to the dirt State Road. Turn right (east) on State and go 0.2 miles to a vehicle barrier. After this gate, NCT follows a horse trail, passes another gate and continues east on State Road. After crossing Darragh Road, the road walk continues 4.1 miles east on paved CR 612, going past Manistee Lake to Sunset Trail Road. The trailhead is on left just past (east of) Sunset Trail Road around 0.1 miles.

Sunset Trail Road Trailhead location — general vicinity

Directions to Sunset Trail Road Trailhead — from intersection of M-72/CR 612 and US-131 in Kalkaska, drive east on CR 612 (Nash Road) 6.0 miles to Darragh Road. Turn left (north) and go 2.0 miles to east-bound CR 612. Turn right (east) and go 4.2 miles. The trailhead is on left (north) just past Sunset Trail Road. There is limited parking on dirt road just past (east) of where the NCT leaves the road heading left (north).

Part of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club chapter section.

Sunset Trail Road to Starvation Lake Road 8.8 miles Road
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The trail travels north, somewhat paralleling Sunset Trail Road for 2 miles, where a short spur heads west to Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground. From there it turns east, crossing Kenel Road, then turning north to cross Papoose Lake Road and Indian Lake Road (this may also be called Twin Lakes Road), and goes through a hilly forested section past several small lakes and ponds, then comes to Starvation Lake Road (just a little east of Starvation Lake). There is limited parking 0.1 mile east on Starvation Lake Road along a dirt side-road.

Added from other hiker's experience... Park alongside the road on Starvation Lake Road. Take Sunset Trail Road until it dead ends at Starvation Lake Road, then turn right – approximately 1 mile from the corner (past grocery store).

The trail itself was well marked from Starvation Lake Road. to CR 612. Follow only the blue markings on trees, however. Similar markings using other colors are extra loops that are not part of the main trail.

Starvation Lake Road crossing location

The 95 miles from Marilla Junction to Starvation Lake Road is the Grand Traverse Hiking Club section of the trail.


Starvation Lake Road to C-38 (Mancelona Road) 4 miles Road
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The NCT crosses Starvation Lake Road just a little east of Starvation Lake. Going north you hike through a nice stand of pine trees planted by the CCC Camps. Emerging from the pines you cross a road and go through small trees and brush, then enter a section of sumac, rasberry bushes. and ferns that grow as high as your chest. The adopter for that section has named it the "deadly meadow". There are a few carsonite markers along the trail where there were no trees to blaze. At the northern end of this section you enter into a hardwood forest and walk on a two-track for approximately 0.75 miles to C-38 (Mancelona Road). The trail crosses C-38 2.0 miles east of Cinder Hill Road and just before C-38 bends northeast to go around Hawk Lake.

C-38 (Mancelona Road) crossing location

Note on your map that Sand Lake is in this section. There are plans to make a white-blazed side-trail to the lake, so watch for it in the future.

The 78 miles from Starvation Lake Road to north of Conway in Emmet County is the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section of the trail.

C-38 (Mancelona Road) to Cinder Hill Road 4.4 miles   Road
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This section is a nice walk through hardwood forests and over the ridge of hills (that you can see to the east as you drive on US-131). You can park off-road at either end of this section.

The trail eith begins to very closely within 100 feet) parallel Cinder Hill Road, or begins to use Cinder Hill Road here:

Cinder Hill Road south location – general vicinity.

The trail the leaves (or crosses and leaves) Cinder Road here: Cinder Hill Road north location and heads west.

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

Cinder Hill Road to US-131 2.3 miles   Road Map Trail map #1

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Web page The trail goes through the woods past the Five Lakes area, then is a road walk using Doer Road west to Corey Road, north to (and across) US-131

US-131 crossing location

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

US-131 to Alba Road 0.8 miles   Road
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North of US-131 the trail continues north on Corey Road, a sandy dirt road, passing by private lands on either side. The road goes up a hill and passes through a pleasant stand of tall hardwoods. Going downhill the trail crosses Alba Road (CR 620). (Note: the road changes name to Harvey Road north of Alba Road.)

Alba Road crossing location

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

Alba Road to Landslide Lookout 1.3 miles   Road
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Corey Road changes name to Harvey Road north of Alba Road (CR-620).

(If you are a long distance hiker and need supplies, the village of Alba is just 0.8 miles to the east on Alba Road. A little south of the corner of Alba Road and US-131 there is a party store and small campground with showers at the gas station.)

From here the trail heads north toward Landslide Lookout, a scenic overlook of the Jordan Valley. Harvey Road going is a small and narrow dirt road that ends at the Lookout. About 1/3 mile before that the trail takes to the woods on the left and follows the old railroad grade. The trail comes out by the outdoor toilet in the parking lot. Follow the blue blazes to one of the most awsome vistas of the valley. There is a bench where you can park your weary bones for a short time before continuing the adventure in the Jordan Valley.

Landslide Lookout parking location

At the Lookout you can hear the rushing river down the hill. The river has its begining at the bottom of Landslide Lookout hill. If you have the time to hike to the bottom of the hill, there is a path that branches off to the right. You'll see it as it goes down the hill to the river. But don't forget that you have to climb back up!

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter chapter section.

Jordan Valley information   Road
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The Jordan Valley — watershed of the Jordan River that flows into the city of East Jordan.

The river is completely formed in the valley, starting as a small stream you can step across at the northeast end of the valley, and growing to a wide deep river that has been designated a National Scenic River. The North Country Trail( NCT) takes you across several of the beautiful streams that feed the river. There are more streams on the east side of the Jordan Valley Pathway if you want to do the loop trail.

No bicycling is allowed on these trails in the Jordan River Valley.

The 19-mile loop:

The Jordan Valley Pathway is an 19-mile loop trail that circles the valley. The NCT uses the westerly side of the loop. The Jordan Valley Pathway is marked with blue circles and the NCT is marked with rectangles. Where the trails follow the same path, the marking on the trees look like giant exclamation points!

From Landslide Lookout the NCT goes to the left (west) to Pinney Bridge. The Jordan Valley Pathway goes to the right (east) and goes to Deadman's Hill, another beautiful lookout of the valley.

Or park at the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery on Turner Road. Hike back up Turner Road. about a half mile more or less to where the trail crosses the road. Since there may not be tracks you'll have to look carefully for the trail markers. (If you crest the hill you've gone too far.) Once you find the trail, head north to Deadman's Hill then continue using your map to Pinney Bridge Campground.

Links to Google Maps locations:
• Landslide Lookout parking lot
• Pinney Bridge location
• Jordan River National Fish Hatchery location
• Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook parking lot

Jordan River National Fish Hatchery Web sites
• Web site #1
• Web site #2
• Web site #3
• Web site #4
• Web site #5

The NCT portion of the trail is well-marked with 3" x 5" blue rectangles. Blazes on the DNR section are blue circles and more sparse. Be aware of the blazes and keep your map and compass handy!

The Jordan River National Fish Hatchery is a great place with a 24-hour visitor center. Lost hikers have been known to crash there during the night. If you are there between 7:00 am and 3:30 pm check out the fish rearing inside. The lake trout eggs may be hatching this week. There are lake trout and brook trout in the raceways outside.

Winter Info — In the winter, a good option is to start at the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery on Turner Road. off US-131, because the road to Deadman's Hill is not plowed all the way to the parking lot. Doing this gives you a few options for picking up the trail. For an accurate snow report, call the hatchery at 231-584-2461. The staff is always helpful to hikers.

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter chapter section.


Landslide Lookout to M-32

(A combined trip of four sections below)
14.6 miles   Road
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Web page The trail through the famous Jordan River Valley is hilly and very scenic. There are several streams to walk beside and cross over.

Pinney Bridge Campground is a walk-in campground with pump water and an outdoor privy. Pinney Bridge is the only place people are allowed to camp in the valley.

From the campground the trail follows the Jordan River going in an easterly direction. It passes at the foot of Deadman's Hill and continues north to O'Brien's Pond and Warner Creek. Following an old railroad grade, it ends up at the M-32 trailhead and parking lot.

The best places to park to hike this section are:
• Landslide Lookout parking lot
• Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook parking lot
• M-32 trailhead and parking lot

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

Landslide Lookout to Pinney Bridge Campground 3.6 miles   Road
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The marked trail goes to the left and onto the side of the opposite hill. This part of the hike has some steep hills. In the lower lands there wet areas where springs make their way to the river, but most of them have puncheon to walk on. When you come to the first bridge over a creek, stop and look upstream. You'll be surprised, because the creek starts right there out of the hill. Further on you'll come to Cascade Creek, another creek adding its water to the Jordan River. The last leg of this section is higher ground with hardwood trees and open areas.

When you begin a decent down a long hill you are almost at Pinney Bridge. There is a small parking area there, at the intersection of Pinney Bridge Road and the access road to Pinney Bridge. Continue north on the access road around the locked gate to the Pinney Bridge. (Note how big the Jordan River is already). Continue north of the bridge to the walk-in Pinney Bridge Campground about 1/4 mile away. This is a walk-in campground with pump water and an outdoor privy and is the only place camping is allowed in the valley.

Pinney Bridge location

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

Pinney Bridge Campground to Jordan River Road crossing 5 miles   Road
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Hiking east from the Pinney Bridge Campground you enter the forest and climb a steep hill. At the top you are rewarded with a view of the Jordan River Valley and a bench on which to sit and enjoy it. This is a great place to watch the sunset if you are camping. The trail is hilly at first with the river in the valley, but soon you will be hiking in the valley with creeks and springs crossing the trail on their way to the Jordan River. When you come to the river there are lots of places to sit on the bank and enjoy the river. Then it is back up into the hills, eventually coming out on Jordan River Road. (FYI — about 0.8 miles before coming to Jordan River Road, across the river to the east you'll see the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery.)

Jordan River Road northwest location

Here you'll turn south (right) walking the road a short way, then cross the Jordan River at a place called "The Three Culverts."

Jordan River Road -- "The Three Culverts" location

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

Jordan River Road crossing to Jordan River Road walk entrance 4 miles Road
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Web
page
From "The Three Culverts" location where Jordan River Road crosses the river, about 100 feet southeast the trail goes back into the woods heading east, but soon turns north. Leaving the road, you again climb to the top of the hills and come out on a large clearing. It is dotted with trees now, but in the early 1900's there was a lumber camp here while they were logging the valley. After the open section comes the swampy section. The trail offers a little view of the amount of water that flows out of the hills and saturates the ground. There are boardwalks over the deeper areas and the beaver think the boardwalks are a wonderful places to put their dams. Sometimes the trail is underwater, but the DNR is working on the problem so you might get lucky and find it dry. There are two boardwalk areas and they are good places to observe water birds, frogs, and swamp creatures.

You will come to a divide in the trail which is well marked. It is part of the short 3-mile loop trail from Deadman's Hill Overlook and back. To stay on the NCT, continue straight ahead. The trail hugs the bottom of the hill with many stretches of puncheon – because of the water coming out of the base of the hill.

The next highlight is a platform built over one of the springs. It is a good spot to get a close up view of the spring.

The next divide in the trail is where the Jordan Valley Pathway goes up the hill to Deadman's Hill Overlook. To stay on the NCT, continue straight ahead and stay in the valley. You will now be following only the 3" x 5" blue rectangles. It's a little more than a mile to where you join Jordan River Road again. (The Tittabawassee Chapter calls this section "the Arden Johnson section" because it was one of his favorites.)

Jordan River Road "road walk" entrance location

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter chapter section.

Jordan River Road walk entrance to M-32 2.0 miles   Road
Map
Trail Map   It's a road walk on Jordan River Road for a while (maybe 0.5 miles). The road T's but the trail goes straight, crosses Warner Creek, joins the Warner Creek Pathway loop, then parallels the creek running north almost to M-32. The trails then turns east and goes to the M-32 trailhead.

M-32 Trailhead Parking Area location

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter chapter section.

M-32 to C-48 (Thumb Lake Road ) 14.2 miles   Road
Map
Trail map #1

Trail Map #2
The trail parallels M-32 somewuat for a short way then turns north and crosses the highway. Through grassy valleys with oil fields and hardwood forests with lumbering operations, this piece of the trail brings you to the Chandler Hills. Between M-32 and U.S.131 the trail comes out on top of some high hills with a spectacular view of the valley. When the trail is on the road, it crosses over several rivers and streams.

At C-48 (Thumb Lake Road) the trail takes C-48 east 1 miles to Jenkins/Slashing Road, where there is parking in the grass on the northeast corner.

C-48 (Thumb Lake Road) west – where the trail enters the road. (This is the intersection of C-48 (Thumb Lake Road) and Baker Road.)

C-48 (Thumb Lake Road) east – where the trail leaves the road. (This is the intersection of C-48 (Thumb Lake Road) and Jenkins/Slashing Road.)

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

C-48 (Thumb Lake Road ) to Maxwell Road 13.6 miles   Road
Map
Trail map #1

Trail Map #2
  This is a very pleasant hike through hardwood forests. It is a hilly area that is well worth the effort. Springs and small streams abound in this section for water filtering. There is a scenic vista on a white-blazed side trail.

Maxwell Road location – where the trail enters the road. (This is the intersection of Maxwell Road and Harmon Road.)

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

Maxwell Road to McDougal Road 9.4 miles   Road
Map
Trail map #1

Trail Map #2
  The trail follows Maxwell Road south to Taylor Road, then west on that road a short way before heading into the woods.

Over hill and over dale to the edge of Petoskey and the campus of North Central Michigan College. The trail climbs up to a high ridge and stays there for a good part of this hike. When it comes off the hills, it goes through an interesting section; a 40-acre field dotted with communication towers. The last three miles are on roads, but after hiking in the woods for so long it is almost refreshing to have a wide open view.

McDougal Road crossing location. (This is the intersection of McDougal Road and Greenwood Church Road.)

Part of the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section.

McDougal Roadd to Kipp Road 11.7 miles   Road
Map
Trail map #1

Trail Map #2
  The trail goes through the campus of North Central Michigan College then continues on through Petoskey by following the Bear River. Called "The peaceful passage through Petoskey" because all the traffic and business of the large city is muted by the river valley that you traverse on your way to Little Traverse Bay. The walk along the bay on the bicyle path is most pleasant. A side trip to downtown Petoskey can be made opposite the large clock. Watch for walkway with large overhead sign. After going through a residential area the trail goes behind a grocery store. It then goes past a side trail to the State Park. Crossing M-119 it travels northeast along an old railroad grade and through the village of Conway.

(At the north end of Conway the trail goes behind a very nice restaurant.) North of Conway the trail road walks on N. Conway Road to Hathaway Road, then west to Kipp Road.

Kipp Road location (This is the intersection of Kipp Road and Hathaway Road.)

The 78 miles from Starvation Lake Road to north of Conway in Emmet County is the Jordan Valley 45° / Tittabawassee Chapter section of the trail.

The 46 miles of the NCT beyond this point is the Harbor Springs Chapter section of the trail (trail map) taking you to Mackinaw City.

NORTH HIGGINS LAKE STATE PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Added 10/12/2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

The state park:

The trails:

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2

General idea

Three loops of marked trails through scenic wooded areas on state forest managed land that is adjacent to the state park on the park’s north side, across the road from the camping and beach areas behind the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum area.

Length

10 total miles of trails:
• Beaver Creek Trail: 6.5 miles
• Bosom Pines Trail: 3.8 miles
• Upland Nature Trail: 1.5 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Unknown, but it appears rather flat with some slightly moderate hills.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing: yes.
Snowshoeing: unknown, but for sure do not walk in the groomed XC ski trails.

General location

In southwestern Crawford County (along the southern border), south of Grayling, west of Roscommon, on the northern tip of Higgins Lake

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

At the parking area for the Civilian Conservation Corp Museum — From the intersection of the access road to US-127 and N. Higgins Lake Drive (near the northwestern corner of Higgins Lake), take N. Higgins Lake Drive 0.8 miles east to the access road and parking lot for the Civilian Conservation Corp Museum on the left (north side of the road). Go 600 feet on this road. The trails start from the northeastern corner of the parking lot.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The number 1 on the trail map is the beginning and end of the hiking trail system. The numbers 2 through 8 mark the intersections of the trails.

As you walk or ski the marked trails, you will cross narrow two-track trails once used as fire breaks. These fire break trails are oriented North-South and East-West. They are indicated by straight lines that form a square grid on the trail map. Each square represents an area of 40 acres.

The trails are groomed in the winter. Dogs are prohibited on groomed ski trails.

The Beaver Creek and Bosom Pines Trails wind through gently rising uplands areas of pine and hardwoods offering a range of scenery.

The Upland Nature Trail consists of hardwoods, pine and meadow areas. It also contains 27 fitness stations which describe a defined set of fitness activities that can be done along the trail.

NORTH MANITOU ISLAND

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web site #3
Web page #4
Web page #5
Web page #6

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4
Trail map #5
Trail map #6

General idea

Explore the many terrains of the entire island.

Length

17 miles at least on official paths.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

N/A — there is no passenger ferry service during the winter.

General location

On the North Manitou Island of Leelanau County, northwest of the county mainland, north of Glen Arbor, and WNW of Leland.

Road map of area

Road map

Fishtown at Leland, MI location

North Manitou Island location

Directions

The island is accessible by private boat or passenger ferry operated by Manitou Island Transit, which is at the west end of "Fishtown" in Leland.

More details

The passenger ferry operates only from May through October.

North Manitou Island is 7.75 miles long by 4.25 miles wide and has 20 miles of shoreline. The highest point on the island is in the northwest corner, 1,001 feet above sea level or 421 feet above Lake Michigan. The inland Lake Manitou occupies a lowland in the north central portion of the island.

The hiking terrain varies from sandy beaches to gravel and boulder-surfaced slopes, as well as the traditional dirt path through the woods. As you hike the island, you will see old buildings dating from the logging and farming days.

NORTH POINT PARK (a.k.a. North Point Township Park)

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Overseeing
organization

Onekama Township
[Added 11/9/2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

PDF document for park
Web page

Trail map

No trail maps were found, but in the satellite view it’s easy to see two of the three trails leading away from the parking lot near the intersection of Seymour Street and Greenway Streets

The paved “Long Loop” can be easily seen in this satellite view going northeast from the parking area. Note that there’s access to the eastern tip of this loop from Bayview Street.

The crushed-stone “Short Loop” can be easily seen in this satellite view going southeast from the parking area.

General idea

Paved, crushed-stone, and primitive trails traveling through meadow and light woods in a small community park at North Point on Portage Lake.

Length

1.3 total miles of trails and called the Blanche Miller Trail which includes
• Long Loop — 3,203 feet (0.6 miles) — paved asphalt
• Short Loop — 1,134 feet, (0.2 miles) — crushed stone
• Primitive Loop — 2,730 feet (0.5 miles) — unpaved

Hiking time

Less than 30 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy as it’s all flat.

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but very likely not.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In western central Manistee County, west of Onekama on the north side of Portage Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

Trailhead and parking — From the intersection of Portage Point Drive and M-22 west of Onekama, take Portage Point Drive west 2.2 miles to Seymour Street. Turn left (east) and go 0.5 miles to the intersection with Greenway Street where at the east you will see the short access road to the parking lot. Parking, no restroom.

Note that there is also access to the eastern tip of Long Loop trail off of Bayview Road, but this is not a trailhead and there is no parking.

More details

This 60-acre park is named for North Point on which it is located. North Point extends into nearby Portage Lake and is also known locally as "Andy’s Point". This is a community park and it is extensively used by the residents and seasonal residents of Onekama Village and Township. It also serves many visitors to the area and has a 20-car paved parking lot. You will find walkways, a picnic area, and natural plant areas throughout this beautiful landscape.

OLD BALDY

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In the Arcadia Dunes / C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated Septmber, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page (for all of the Arcadia Dunes: C.S. Mott Nature Preserve)
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

Overall trail map for all of the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail)

General idea

Fairly easy trail through woods with sand dunes and small hills at the end and fantastic views.

Length

4.2 miles of trails
• Shortest route – straight to the dunes overlooks and back — 2.0 miles round trip.
• Scenic route – to both dunes overlooks but taking the far west and east loops — 3.4 miles round trip.
• Universally Accessible Overlook Trail – 1.1 miles round trip

Hiking time

• Shortest route – 1.2 hours round trip.
• Scenic route – around 2 hours round trip.
• Universally Accessible Overlook Trail – 35 minutes round trip

Difficulty

For the main trails – fairly easy, then moderate – there are some slight hills and inclines for most of trail, then in the sand dunes at the end there are a few relatively easy hills. The Universally Accessible Overlook Trail is a gentle incline most of the way, with four winding boardwalks that help at a slightly steeper section around half way along.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, in the wooded area. But mountain bikes are not allowed in the dunes area at the end, and they ask that you not ride your bike on the following sections: 2-4, 4-5, and 5-dunes. So at Post 5, park your bike and hike to the dunes. Also, please walk your bikes if you take them on the boardwalks on the Overlook Trail.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, north of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead and parking location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 9.0 miles to the “Arcadia Dunes: Baldy Trailhead” sign and parking lot on right (north) side of the road. (It’s 0.8 miles past Joyfield Road in the middle of a large “S” turn.) There may be a seasonal Port-a-Pottie. If not, there are restrooms at the Arcadia Lookout 0.6 miles south on M-22, and at the Chestnut Trail parking lot (not far away).

More details

New in 2017 is the short and universally-accessible Overlook Trail. It's a seven-feet-wide crushed-gravel path that leads from the parking lot through the woods to a wooden overlook (with several benches) where there is a lovely view of Lake Michigan looking north along its shoreline.

The main attraction here is Old Baldy, a high point in the bluff almost 400 feet above Lake Michigan. It’s at the north end of the trail system. There are two overlooks in the dunes there. At the west end from the top of the bluff is a great view of Lake Michigan up and down the coast, including the Frankfort Lighthouse. Then roughly 0.2 miles through the dunes to the northeast at the top of a hill is a wonderful view of Lower Herring Lake that includes Lake Michigan.

Along the trail are numbered posts with trail maps at each junction. Except for the Overlook Trail, most of the trail is a single-track path. From Post 8 to 6 the trail follows a former two-track. Except for the dunes at the end, most of the trails are in the woods. At the north end of the trail system in the dunes area there are a few short sand dune hills to go up and down.

The easiest and shortest route to the overlooks in the dunes is to start from the parking lot going west on the Overlook Trail. At Post 8 turn right (north) going to Post 6, Post 5, and then to the dunes.

The longest and perhaps most scenic route to the dunes is to take both the far west and east loops. The west loop goes by Post 7, and the east loop goes by Post 3

Just north of Post 5 is a set of stairs leading up into the dunes area. At the top of the stairs, check out both of these options:

  • go straight and then to the right (northeast) about 750 feet to the top of a hill for a great view to the north of Lower Herring Lake and Lake Michigan.

  • go straight and then to the left (west) about 450 feet out to the top edge of the bluffs above Lake Michigan for great views to the north, west, and south.

When you're done with this trail be sure to check out the Arcadia Lookout. It’s about 0.6 miles south of the parking lot on M-22 and offers more great views of Lake Michigan and the quaint village of Arcadia in the valley to the south.


OLD INDIAN TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2
Trail map #2: source #1, source #2

General idea

Mostly easy trails through the woods, with a small dunes and Lake Michigan beach at the end

Length

Two overlapping loops trails, each about 2.3 miles long. At the west end both connect to a 0.2-mile-long trail that leads to a Lake Michigan overlook and then to the beach.
• Shortest route, round trip —2.5 miles for the Green Arrow loop only.
• Longest route, round trip — 3.8 miles for the northern portion of the Black Arrow loop and going to Lake Michigan beach.

Hiking time

• Shortest route, round trip —About an hour for the Green Arrow loop only.
• Longest route, round trip — Around 2 hours for the northern portion of the Black Arrow loop and going to Lake Michigan beach.

Difficulty

• Green Arrow Loop — easy – a few slight hills.
• Black Arrow Loop — moderate – a handful of very small but moderately steep hills.
• Path to the Lake Michigan — moderate — a small dune hill then across the sand to the beach.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In western central Benzie County, northeast of Frankfort.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead and parking location

Click here for the links to view the trailhead locations for all Benzie County trails in Google Earth.

Directions

From the intersection of M-22 (7th Street) and Forest Avenue in Frankfort, take M-22 north and east a few times a total of 8.5 miles to the parking lot on the left (north) side of the road (700 feet past (east of) Sutter Road). Restroom.

More details

NOTE: The use of this (and any) area within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) requires a national park pass. See here for more details about SBDNL passes.

Mostly wooded, gently rolling terrain. The path to the Lake Michigan beach is open (no trees) and sandy.

There are three main east-west trails (that make two overlapping loops), from easy to moderate. At the far (west) end of the loops is a highly recommended path that leads up a small dune hill to a Lake Michigan overlook, then continues across the sand to beach at the lake..

OLD MISSION POINT PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Peninsula Township
[Been there on parts of it.]

Web page

Peninsula Township parks Web page
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Easy trail through woods, old orchards, and meadows; includes beach access and the Old Mission Point Lighthouse.

Length

7.5 miles of trails in a several loops

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, at the northern tip of the Old Mission Peninsula, north of the village of Old Mission, and NNE of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are three access points and parking areas:

  1. Take M-37 (Center Road) to Tompkins Road, then right (east) on that and go less than a mile to Brinkman Road, then right (south) 0.5 miles to Woodland Road, then left (east) 0.25 miles to Eastern Road, then left (north) 0.25 miles to Ridgewood Road, then right (east) 0.6 miles and watch for the parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. Access point and parking area

  2. Take M-37 (Center Road) to Tompkins Road, then right (east) on that 0.75 miles to Brinkman Road, then left (north) 0.5 miles to Murray Road, then left (west) 300 feet. Watch for the parking lot on the right (north) side of the road. Access point and parking area

  3. Take M-37 (Center Road) all the way north (and a lttile east at the end) to the parking lot for lighthouse. Access point and parking area

More details

Located smack dab on the 45th parallel at the tip of the Old Mission Peninsula, this area includes the historic Old Mission Point Lighthouse and Lake Michigan beach access. The northern portion of this area is sometimes called Lighthouse Park.

OLIVER FAMILY NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Cadillac Area Land Conservancy
[Updated Septmber, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

None found. The route is simple, though. Not far from the parking lot, the trail crosses a tributary of Slagle Creek, then it loops around following the edges of the property; just follow the blue dots on trees. This image shows the borders of the property and its rough location.

General idea

Pretty path through woods, meadow, and stands of scotch and red pine

Length

0.4 miles

Hiking time

15 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

yes

General location

In western central Wexford County, just southeast of Harrietta

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location

Entrance to the area

Directions

From the Cadillac area — from the intersection of M-115 and 34 Road (Boon Road) northwest of Cadillac, go west 5.9 miles to 23 Road. Turn right (north) and go 6.33 miles. Along the way, the road may be called Haskins Road. Once it curves to the west, it becomes 30 1/4 Road. The address is 5390 W. 30 1/4 Road, southeast of the village of Harrietta. Look for the entrance to the area on the right (north) side of the road.

From the Mesick area — from the intersection of south-bound M-37 and M-115, take M-37 south 7.7 miles to 30 Road. Turn left (east) and go 3.2 miles to Davis Avenue in the village of Harrietta. Turn right (south) and go 0.3 miles to 30 1/4 Road. Follow the curve to the left (east) and go 0.4 miles to 5390 W. 30 1/4 Road, southeast of Harrietta. Look for the entrance to the area on the left (north) side of the road.

More details

This is a 15-acre parcel of land on the outskirts of Harrietta open to the public for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. This little gem of an area has Slagle Creek running through its northwestern corner, and provides access to U.S. Forest Service lands on its northern border. On that border was once the Great Lakes Central Railroad line known as the Toledo, Ann Arbor, and Northern Michigan Railway. Apparently one can fish on Slagle Creek.

The Cadillac Area Land Conservancy and volunteers have done a lot to improve this preseverve. In the spring of 2017, for example, they planted wildflowers, native grasses, and other plants known as carriers at the preserve. This mixture of seeds has the name of "Pheasant Forever" and is good for harboring wildlife.

The trail here starts out as gravel and via some wooden stairs and small footbridge bridge crosses over a tributary to Slagle Creek. After that, the rest of the trail is a simple mowed path. You'll pass through areas of low foliage (logged off in recent years) and stands of scotch and red pine. There are views of Slagle Creek from the northwestern corner of the trail loop. Along the southwestern side the trail parallels the tributary.

ORCHARD BEACH NATURE TRAILS

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3

General idea

Trail through gently rolling terrain in both woods open land.

Length

2.5 mile loop with 3 "shortcuts."

Hiking time

Around an hour if you do just the main loop.

Difficulty

Easy – there are several easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, NNE of Manistee.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead and parking location

Directions

From the intersection of Lakeshore Drive (M-110) and US-31 in Manistee (at Burger King), take Lakeshore Drive north 1.5 miles. going just past (north of) the driveway to the Orchard Beach State Park to a small parking lot for the trail on the right (west) side of road. Restrooms available at the main park area across the street.

More details

Being part of the Orchard Beach State Park, a Michigan Recreational Passport is required for entry or to park at trail entrance.

Mostly wooded with a bit of open meadow. Some nice tall pines and oaks along the way. When you're done, drive over to the camping area and take the stairway to the beach for a dip in Lake Michigan!

OWA TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Omena Woods Association (OWA)
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail maps

• Trail map of northern section: map #1, map #2
• New trail (2015) at south end: map #1, map #2
• Rough trail map (A rough map I made based on a small hike during the spring of 2015.)
• Omena Woods area: map #1, map #2

General idea

Wooded trail that begins going by Mougeys Lake then spends most of the time above Omena Bay in the hills on Omena Point, in West Grand Traverse Bay.

Length

Somewhere around 1.8 miles (I did not have enough time to do it all)

Hiking time

Less that 2 hours round trip

Difficulty

Easy — with some gentle hills involved.

Open to mountain
bikes

No. (Though this would make a great trail for mountan bikes.)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In eastern northern Leelanau County, just northeast of Omena

Road map of area

Road map

North end access — at the parking area for the trail near the northeast corner of the lake.

Mougeys Lake access — at the north end end of the access road/trail to the area at the southeast corner of Mougeys lake.

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

North end access:

From "downtown" Omena on M-22, take M-22 a very short way northwest to the "entering" Omena Point Road. Go another 0.3 miles on M-22 to the "exiting" Omena Point Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.4 miles to a two-track on the right (south). Take that and go about 350 feet to a parking area on the right (southwest) near a bend in the road. The north end of the trail starts just east of the parking area. There may be a sign to mark it that says "OWA Trail".

Mougeys Lake access:

From "downtown" Omena on M-22, take M-22 a very short way northwest to Omena Point Road. Bear right and go 0.25 miles to Lake Street. Turn left (north) and go about 0.1 miles to the north end of Lake Street (at the west end of Isthmus Road). There's no parking and no restroom. The sign at the start of the path says "OWA Trail".

The trail crosses Omena Heights Road right about here, so you may be able to park off-road there. Further south, I also noticed two, short connecting trails down to Omena Point Road. If you can spot those, you may be able to park off-road there and then access to trail.

More details

On the OWA Web site it says they "own almost 110 acres of prime land which can be enjoyed for its beauty and recreational trails, but never developed." The trail utilizes that conservation easement property on Omena Point.

Where the trail crosses Omena Heights Road there's a significant jog (dog-leg). When coming from the north, jog 100 feet or so to the east to find the south-bound trail.

The majority of the trail parallels Omena Point Road up in the hills and woods above the road. Based on the property that OWA owns and a new map at their site, the trail goes south to a small loop at the south end of the point.

Near the north end if the trail (just east of the south end of Mougeys's Lake), there's part of it that offers a view of Omena Bay (late fall through early spring – when there are no leaves).

From a meadow near the north end, there's another portion of the trail that goes northeast. How far, I do not know, as I ran out of time. See the north map above for more details.

PALMER WOODS FOREST RESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Updated 10/21/17. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map