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11000 Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga
Alanson, MI 49706
United States

Phone: (231) 347-6536
Web site: http://www.emmetcounty.org/petosega/
Region: Northwest

If at Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga you feel like singing Kumbaya around the campfire, go ahead. You wont be the first.The Emmet County park at the west end of Pickerel Lake started out as a summer camp with boys sleeping in log cabins, eating in a mess hall and spending their days learning archery, canoeing, hiking and swimming. When the County Board of Commissioners purchased the land in 1992 they decided to create a new place to camp during the summer but preserve the history and ambiance of the old summer camp. Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga dates back to 1934 when Jim Templin, a 23-year-old graduate of University of Kentucky and former Eagle Scout, decided to postpone his business career and open a summer cam ...

Leeward Drive
Alanson, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

What was once slated to be a controversial subdivision is now a unique island preserve thanks to the Little Traverse Conservancy. Oden Island, located south of the village of Oden, juts out into Crooked Lake and is the home to large old-growth trees and fragile wetlands. When a developer proposed crowding 34 homes on the east half of the island, the Conservancy orchestrated a response in 2000 that included an outpouring of support and donations from communities and families to protect the natural side of the island. In only three months $1 million was raised to purchase the land and create a nature preserve. Today the 50-acre preserve offers a parking area, nearly a mile of foot trails ...

Corner of Valley Street and Smalley Street
Alden, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 331-4643
Region: Heartland

Tucked away on the east side of Alden, oblivious to most visitors who are mesmerized by Torch Lake to the west of town, is a small mountain with a short but interesting trail system. Coy Mountain Natural Area dates back to 1885 when Reuben Coy decided to preserve a ridge forested in virgin hardwoods that towered behind his gristmill. It was the last remnant of the giant maples and beeches in a region that had been heavily clear cut by loggers.The 11-acre tract remained in the Coy family until 1958 when Reubens daughter-in-law deeded the property to a group of trustees with the intentions of preserving Coy Mountain for the use and benefit of the Villagers of Alden and the surrounding comm ...

M-32
Gaylord, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

Located 15 miles west of Gaylord, Warner Creek is a lightly used ski trail in the winter that offers scenery and solitude. It winds through Hardwood Hills, a rugged slice of the Mackinaw State Forest. But most of the pathway is a surprisingly level and easy ski, as if whoever laid it out knew you just wanted to shuffle along and enjoy the winter woods. Other than for cross-country skiers or snowshoers, this loop can be a tough trail to follow past O'Briens Pond due to excessive water and swamps.

3582 State Park Dr.
Bay City, MI 48706-1356
United States

Phone: (989) 667-0717
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Two short interpretive trails depart from near the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center; Lagoon Trail and Chickadee Nature Trail, both with display signs and built to be handicapped accessible. At the south end of the Lagoon Trail loop a paved trail departs south to cross State Park Drive and connect to the Bay County Riverwalk Rail-Trail, a 17.5-mile system of walkways and pathways that extends to Bay City.

3582 State Park Drive
Bay City, MI 48706
United States

Phone: (989) 667-0717
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Created in 1923, this unit was originally called Bay City State Park and was the most popular state park in the 1930s when it attracted more than 1.5 million visitors annually. But due to the shallowness of Saginaw Bay and an overload of nutrients from farmland runoff, a growth of algae and organic material turned the parks pristine, white sandy beach back into the shoreline wetlands that they were naturally meant to be and attendance plummeted.In the early 1990s, the park received much needed attention with a major renovation. The size was increased from 196 acres to more than 2,200 when adjoining Tobico Marsh was officially added and the name was changed to Bay City State Recreation Ar ...

M-22
Frankfort, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Lake Michigan

Public land abounds on both sides of M-22, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and almost a dozen Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) natural areas, providing access to trails and paths into some of Michigans most spectacular dune country. That includes Arcadia Dunes, a GTRLC preserve that saved one of the largest remaining undeveloped tracts of Lake Michigan coast when it was established in 2003.Also known as the C.S. Mott Preserve, Arcadia Dunes is spread across 3,600 acres just north of the Manistee/Benzie County line and is spilt in half by the state highway. The preserve includes 2 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, coastal bluffs with impressive perched dun ...

Goose Rd
Honor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 922-5280
Region: Northwest

Outside of the Porcupine Mountains, there arent too many places in Michigan where you need to ford a stream. But here we were, looking at a beautiful stretch of the Platte River with no foot bridge in sight. We were on one side, the trail resumed on the other and the only way to continue was to kick off the hiking boots and splash across the cold trout stream.Located in Benzie County, near Honor, the Platte River Springs Pathway is short loop but packed with adventure, starting with that ford reached minutes after leaving up your car. On the south side of the river the trail winds through 35 acres of rugged bluffs, from which a handful of springs emerge to keep the Platte cold and clear. ...

1129 Wilson Street
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-6597
Web site: http://www.cityofboynecity.com/avalanche-preserve-recreation-area-188/
Region: Northwest

Separate from the mountain bike trail is the Avalanche Walking Trail, a 3-mile system that climbs the ridge to the viewing decks and then follows the rugged ridge as it loops back to the Avalanche Warming Shelter and parking area.A majority of the trail is a two-track that provides good footing and is easy to follow. On the east side of the ridge the system includes a side trail and spurs to Division Street and Contractors Drive. Much of the main loop is utilized by participants playing the 18-hole disc golf course.The route described below is a 2.2-mile hike that follows the main loop is a counter clockwise direction opposite of disc golf players and begins with the steep climb to the ...

1129 Wilson Street
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-6597
Web site: http://www.cityofboynecity.com/avalanche-preserve-recreation-area-188/
Region: Northwest

There is no record of an avalanche ever barreling down Avalanche Peak into Boyne City, but the hill is incredibly steepso steep that in the 1950s, it was a downhill ski area with rope tows and even a chairlift. Located on the southwest corner of the city, Avalanche Peak rises to 1023 feet or 439 feet above Lake Charlevoix to provide the most commanding view of any high point south of the Mackinac Bridge.This towering ridge is the center piece of Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area, a 300-acre Boyne City park that is predominantly a forested sloping terrain. The exception is its northern slope that was the site of a downhill ski operation beginning in the early 1950s. By 1958 the downhill ...

2280 Boyne City Road
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-7523
Region: Northwest

Deer Flats Nature Trail is the longest trail at Young State Park, a 3-mile loop that stays predominately in low-lying woods. It shares a segment with White Birch Nature Trail and all of it is utilized during the winter as part of the parks Nordic trail system.Although called a nature trail, the interpretive portion of the path is limited to six display signs that identify tree species along the trail. It makes for a pleasant and easy hike, however, as it is level, well marked and closed to mountain bikes. This is an especially good choice for families with young children but keep in mind that while most of the trail is well-planked, there can be wet sections in he spring and after a heav ...

6093 E. M-115
Cadillac, MI 49601
United States

Phone: (231) 775-7911
Region: Lake Michigan

A hike through the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area can be a bit of a surprise for many first-time visitors. Depending on the time of year, the wildlife seen along the trails can surprisingly abundant. And thats surprising because the 235-acre preserve is practically in the middle of Cadillac.At one point along the trail youre looking at the backside of a Days Inn or reading billboards and listening to the traffic along M-115. Yet in the middle of this marsh its possible to see hundreds of turtles, small flocks of ducks, an ospreys nest, great blue herons taking or a beaver slapping its tail as it swims past an observation deck.The water source for the marsh is Black Creek, which was ...

37205 Mouillee Rd
Rockwood, MI 48173
United States

Phone: (734) 379-9692
Region: Southeast

Middle Causeway is a dike that cuts across the heart of Pointe Mouillee and not only allows you to hike a shorter loop than following the perimeter dikes but leads you through the most interesting sections of the state game area. This is particularly true in April-May and September-October when the spring and fall migrations are taking place and the birdlife will be vibrant in the adjacent marshes and ponds. But arrive anytime during the summer and the waterfowl spotted will still be the highlight of this trek. A pair of compact binoculars add considerable to this outing even if youre not a birder as well as a bird book if youre interested whats flying overhead.A walk of 7 miles may seem ...

37205 Mouillee Rd
Rockwood, MI 48173
United States

Phone: (734) 379-9692
Region: Southeast

Driving south along Jefferson Road in the Downriver region of Southeast Michigan, you pass a Detroit Edison plant with its towering twin smoke stacks and then the Monsanto chemical company and finally the remains of what was once McLoud Steel. Maybe thats what makes Pointe Mouillee State Game Area so unique. Within minutes in the rustbelt that is Downriver you travel from power plant and industrial complex to one of the most extensive marshes in Michigan.Located near the towns of Rockwood and Gibraltar, the state game area is 4,000 acres of marshes, pools and diked ponds surrounding the mouth of the Huron River and the shoreline of Lake Erie. Historically it was much larger, so large tha ...

37205 Mouillee Rd
Rockwood, MI 48173
United States

Phone: (734) 379-9692
Region: Southeast

For the most part this 9.8-mile route follows the perimeter control dikes in the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area and for some makes too long of a day on foot. The distance is ideal for a mountain bike, however, the reason cycling is by far the most popular way to travel these dikes.The loop begins at the end of Roberts Road near the South Causeway and is covered in a clockwise direction, saving the best for last. Roberts Road is picked up from Dixie Highway 1.5 miles south of the Huron River where it heads due south and in 2 miles ends at a parking area and boat launch.Any outing in the state game area is better enjoyed if you pack along a pair of compact binoculars and if the day is sun ...

3582 State Park Drive
Bay City, MI 48706
United States

Phone: (989) 667-0717
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Tobico Marsh is a 1,848-acre a wildlife refuge that lies within Bay City State Recreation Area and almost within sight of the city itself. The area is steeped in history with Native Americans remaining until 1837 and the Tobico Hunt Club calling it home as early as 1907. Tobico Marsh State Game Area itself is undeveloped and contains a variety of habitat, from small pockets of cattail marshes and oak/maple climax forest to Tobico Lagoon, a 900-acre body of water and the largest remaining wetland along Saginaw Bay. The entire area is home to deer, beaver, muskrat, and mink, but it's the wide variety of birds, especially waterfowl, that makes this refuge so spectacular. The lagoon’s la ...

12032 Red Arrow Highway
Sawyer, MI 49125
United States

Phone: (269) 426-4013
Region: Lake Michigan

Michigan's famous sand dunes begin at Warren Dunes State Park. The 1,952-acre unit is the first unit along Lake Michigan, located just 12 miles north of the state border in Berrien County. It's a Michigan park, but its dunes are well known throughout the Midwest. More than 80 percent of the park’s visitors are from outside the state with the vast majority arriving from Illinois and Indiana. The attraction is 3 miles of sandy Lake Michigan shoreline and the dunes that border it. Near the water the dunes are wind-blown and high with several that rise 200 feet above the lake. They range from Mt. Fuller and Pikes Peak at the south end of the park to Mt. Edwards, a mostly wooded dune at th ...

12032 Red Arrow Highway
Sawyer, MI 49125
United States

Phone: (269) 426-4013
Region: Lake Michigan

The Mt. Randal Loop is a combination of three trails and a shoreline walk that makes for a 4-mile trek and the best hike in this 1,952-acre park. This outing includes a bit of everything: a stroll along Lake Michigan, stretches through forests, knee-bending climbs up mountains of sand to sweeping views below. For visitors not familiar with Michigan’s dune country, the geology of this area can be intriguing. Along the hike you’ll be able to spot the different types of dunes from in this park: parallel dunes, blowouts, and parabolic dunes or parallel dunes that have been carved by a series of wind-blown indentations. To help understand the unique natural aspects of the area, a handful ...

32911 Willow Road
New Boston, MI 48164
United States

Phone: (734) 782-3956
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com
Region: Southeast

Oakwoods Metropark is a 1,700-acre unit of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, which oversees a system of thirteen parks along the watersheds of the Huron and Clinton Rivers. Oakwoods includes a stretch of the Huron River just upstream from the Flat Rock Dam. Here the Huron is a sluggish waterway filled with marshy islands and small bayous, a perfect place for waterfowl and bird life to gather.Most of the river lies in a 400-acre Nature Study Area that features a nature center and is accessed by four interpretive trails, ranging from 700 feet in length to 2 miles. Other trails in the park include a 3-mile segment of the paved hike-bike trail that winds 15 miles through Lower Huron, ...

M-22
Frankfort, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The favorite destination for most hikers at Arcadia Dunes is Old Baldy, an open dune perched 356 feet above Lake Michigan for sweeping views of the Great Lake. Mountain bikers are allowed on portions of Baldy Trails but the open dunes and short segments make this system best suited for hikers and trail runners.The straight trails on the west side of the system are old gravel roads that were built in the 1960s for a subdivision that never materialized. Future plans call for developing a segment of them and the overlook they lead toas a handicapped accessible path and viewing platform.The hike described here is the perimeter of the system thatmakes for a 3.1-mile loop to Old Baldy and pass ...

M-22 & Saint Pierre Road
Arcadia, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

The bulk of the Arcadia Dunes-C.S. Mott Preserve trail system is Dry Hill Trails, a glacial moraine ridge that runs inland several miles from the Baldy Trailsalong Lake Michigan. South of the moraine are steep-forested back dunes and together they give the preserve a rugged interior, much to the delight of the mountain bikers who laid out the trail.Although open to all trail users, Dry Hill was a collaboration between the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the International Mountain Biking Association. The loop is classic single track, a flowing trail rated intermediate with quick rolling hills, numerous long uphill sections and naturally banked turns.The main trailhead is loca ...

20145 Beck Road
Northville, MI 48167
United States

Phone: (248) 349-8390
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=469&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Until 2003, Maybury was the only state park in Wayne County and still the only one with a trail system. A look at its park map clearly shows how Michigans most crowded corner is desperate for places to hike, ride and skate. In short, Maybury looks like a plate of spaghetti. Almost every square inch of the unit near Northville has been used to develop hiking trails, a paved bike path, a mountain bike system, equestrian trails, even a history trail. On any given day park users range from power walkers with hand weights to mothers with strollers and iron-butted off-trail cyclists bikers.Maybury was the site of a former sanitarium and a working farm when the Michigan Department of Natural Re ...

M-22
Frankfort, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Anchoring the southern end of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Benzie County is Old Indian Trail. The path picks up its name from when Native Americans used the route to access their fish camps along Lake Michigan and today draws less attention than any other trail in the park. Many visitors and hikers bypass this area of Sleeping Bear Dunes for the dramatic scenery found at places like Empire Bluffs or Pyramid Point. But the trail still provides access to a beautiful beach and is often a rare escape from the summer crowds encountered elsewhere in this popular park. Old Indian also has one of the most unusual warnings found at any trailhead in Michigan: You Are A Visitor In Cou ...

20145 Beck Road
Northville, MI 48167
United States

Phone: (248) 349-8390
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=469&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The Friends of Maybury State Park spearheaded the development of the History Trail, a self-guided history tour to commemorate Maybury Sanatorium.To help combat the spread of tuberculosis, often referred to as the white plague in the early 20th century, the city of Detroit purchased eight farms in Northville that totaled of 850 acres and in 1921 opened the sanatorium. At its peak the institution was a self-contained community of more than 40 buildings and included Maybury Farm that contributed fresh milk and produce to the facility. Maybury Sanatorium gave Detroit a reputation as one of the leading cities in the world in the fight against tuberculosis before it closed in 1969.

20145 Beck Road
Northville, MI 48134
United States

Phone: (248) 349-8390
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=469&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The Maybury State Park Hiking Trail is a 4-mile loop that stretches from one side of the park to the other and can easily be adapted to a 3-mile loop, which still contains the best stretches of trail. You cross other paths and see other trail users in this park its impossible not to but most of the time youll be off by yourself, enjoying the natural sounds and scenery of the rolling woods. Arrive in late April and early May and the trilliums make this a delightful escape from the urban areas and subdivisions that surround this park.The best trailhead to begin at is near the Walnut Picnic Shelter at the west end of the park. Parking, picnic tables, drinking water and restrooms are locat ...

Haggerty Rd
Sumpter Township, MI 48111
United States

Phone: (734) 654-1223
Region: Southeast

While following a boardwalk through the heart of Crosswinds Marsh, we paused to watch an adult eagle leap off the edge of its huge nest and fly overhead. A minute later we were watching a jumbo jet from nearby Detroit Metro Airport streaking low across the sky.Boardwalks, Boeings and bald eagles; this Wayne County park is an unusual place.What was farm fields before 1993 is now one of the largest man-made marshes in the country and easily accessible via more than 5 miles of foot trails, including 1.4 miles of boardwalk over ponds and streams. The marsh and the 1,050-acre park is a result of a land swap when nearby Metro Airport destroyed 200 acres of wetland to expand its runways.State ...

20379 Marcellus Highway
Decatur, MI 49045
United States

Phone: (269) 445-8611
Web site: http://www.casscountymi.org/CountyParks.aspx
Region: Lake Michigan

Occasionally while standing on a bridge in Fred Russ Forest Park, and if your timing is right, you can watch small rings suddenly appear on the surface of a stream. What is remarkable isnt that these are brown trout actively feeding during a hatch of emerging insects. What is really remarkable is where youre watching this natural event. You are neither on the Au Sable River nor even in northern Michigan, but in Cass County, about as far south as you can drive in this state.Located on a rural road between Dowagiac and Marcellus, Fred Russ is a 13-acre Cass County park surrounded by Michigan State Universitys 580-acre Russ Forest Research Station. The entire area is laced by more than 4 mi ...

Haggerty Rd
Sumpter Township, MI 48111
United States

Phone: (734) 654-1223
Region: Southeast

This hike incorporates almost every foot trail in Crosswinds Marsh for a 4.3-mile outing that takes you around the man-made marsh and through the center of it. It begins on the boardwalks, ends on the boardwalks and saves the most scenic section for the finish. Some parts can be mundane but the hike is easy and most children can easily handle it length due to the lack of elevation.Keep in mind that during summer youll need sun protection and drinking water. Unfortunately a planned interpretive brochure to correlate with the many numbered posts passed along the trails was never produced. Too bad because interesting scenery, short distances and an opportunity to learn a bit about our natur ...

4216 Ranger Road
Grayling, MI 49738
United States

Phone: (989) 348-7068
Region: Northwest

Loggers, lumber barons and white pine made Michigan the greatest lumber-producing state in the country between 1869 and 1900. During that era there were an estimated 700 logging camps, and more wealth was made off Michigan white pine than by miners in the Klondike gold rush. By 1910 only a few parcels of virgin pine had escaped the cutting, and by far the most popular one with visitors today forms the heart of Hartwick Pines State Park that lies just off I-75 between Grayling and Gaylord. Referred to simply as “the Pines,” this 49-acre forest is the largest contiguous stand of old-growth white pine in the Lower Peninsula. Some of the largest trees are more than 300 years old and sta ...

8555 Silver Hill Road
Pinckney, MI 48169
United States

Phone: (734) 426-4913
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=484&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The glaciers that shaped much of southeast Michigan did a wonderful job sculpturing the Pinckney Recreation Area, a 10,201-acre state park that straddles the Livingston/Washtenaw County Line. The heart of the unit is a cluster of seven lakes, connected by streams and short channels and set in rolling hills forested primarily by oak. Winding around most of the lakes is Pinckneys 26-mile trail system that offers mountain bikers, hikers, trasil runners and backpackers some of the most picturesque paths in this corner of the state.Pinckney stretches from M-52 near its southwest border northeast to M-36 with a number of county roads bisecting it. The park is spread out and includes parcels of ...

8555 Silver Hill Road
Pinckney, MI 48169
United States

Phone: (734) 426-4913
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=484&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The main reason Losee Lake Trail was built in 1996 was to give a hikers a quiet place to walk in Pinckney Recreation Area. Designated for "Foot Traffic Only", the 3.5-mile trail system is an area free of two-wheelers in a state park that had become a mountain bikers' paradise. But the trail was also designed to demonstrate what a living, thriving habitat marshes and ponds are. Want to show kids some wildlife? Lead them past the wetlands along the Losee Lake Trail in the spring and they're almost guaranteed to spot a cornucopia of life in the shallow waters. The outside loop of the system makes for the longest hike and is marked by red posts. The 3.3-mile route passes both the shoreline ...

8555 Silver Hill Road
Pinckney, MI 48169
United States

Phone: (734) 426-4913
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=484&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The Silver Lake Trail is labeled as a 1.9-mile loop but Ive found it to be much closer to 2.3 miles. Even at this distance the trail is too short for most off-road cyclists so its spared the heavy numbers of mountain bikes seen on the Crooked Lake Trail and especially the Potawatomi Trail. Arrive during the day in the middle of the week and its possible to have the path to yourself and not see anybody, biker or hiker.The Silver Lake Trail is worth putting up with an occasional trail rider for its exceptional scenery. This relatively short route includes views of three lakes, passes by a handful of ponds, and climbs several hills to make the walk invigorating as well as visually enjoyable ...

4216 Ranger Road
Grayling, MI 49738
United States

Phone: (989) 348-7068
Region: Northwest

The best escape into the woods at Hartwick Pines is the Au Sable River Trail on the west side of MI-93. The highlight of this 3.1-mile trail is the East Branch of the Au Sable River, which it crosses twice, but the route also winds through its own stands of virgin timber and passes 23 numbered posts that accompany an interpretive brochure available from this web site or at the Michigan Forests Visitor Center. Best of all the crowds that gather around the towering white pine along the Old Growth Forest Trail are rarely, if ever, experienced here.The Au Sable River Trail does require a bit of climbing at one point and a few wet spots must be crossed; but overall the trail is not difficult ...

8555 Silver Hill Road
Pinckney, MI 48169
United States

Phone: (734) 426-4913
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=484&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The best hiking in southeastern Michigan is in Pinckney Recreation Area, and the Crooked Lake Trail is another reason why. This 5.1-mile loop is a pleasant walk that traverses hardwood forests, marshes, and grassy hillsides. Along the way, you pass three inland lakes, climb to 1,008 feet for a view of Crooked Lake, and plunge down a ridge forested in hardwoods that makes this path an especially scenic one in October.But the nicest feature of this trail is its proximity to several urban areas, including Jackson, Ann Arbor, and western Detroit. Because of Pinckney Recreation Area, hikers from here dont have to drive all day just to find a scenic trail on state land.This location also draws ...

4650 Geddes
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
United States

Phone: (734) 971-6337
Web site: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/parks_recreation/parkermill/pr_pkpm.html
Region: Southeast

History and nature are well preserved and on display at Parker Mill Park. The Washtenaw County park straddles Fleming Creek just above its confluence with the Huron River west of Ann Arbor and US-23. The county-owned portion is a 26-acre tract that includes the historic grist mill, a pioneer log cabin and the old millpond site. An adjoining 18 acres is Forest Park, a dedicated natural area. Together the parks create a 44-acre preserve that are linked by 1.5 miles of trail.The main attraction of the county park is Parker Grist Mill, the last of at least five mills that operated along Fleming Creek. Built in 1873, the mill originally ground flour and corn for the Parker family and neighbor ...

4216 Ranger Road
Grayling, MI 49738
United States

Phone: (989) 348-7068
Region: Northwest

Named from an early logging railroad spur, Mertz Grade Trail is a 2-mile plus loop that extends on both sides of M-93. A portion of the trail follows the historic Mertz logging railroad spur and on the west side of M-93 you pass some impressive white pines. There are also 17 numbered posts that correspond to an interpretive brochure available on this web site or from the Michigan Forest Visitor Center. But overall this foot path is not nearly as interesting a hike as the Au Sable River Trail just to the north of it. At times you find yourself walking through a matchstick stand of aspen. Nor do you ever see Hartwick Lake. The spur that many park maps show extending to it is almost impos ...

S. Parker Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
United States

Phone: (734) 971-6337
Web site: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/parks_recreation/napp/preserves/brauer.html
Region: Southeast

In 2003, the Washtenaw County Natural Areas Preservation Program purchased 187 acres west of Ann Arbor from the Brauer family and then seven years later obtained an adjoining 39 acres. The result was Brauer Preserve, a 226-acre tract that protects a diversity of habitat types, from sandy knolls and upland forests to wetlands, but also includes 85 acres of active farm land.Thus the scenery on any visit to this rural preserve ranges from red barns and fields of soybeans to the mature trees and impressive fern communities that thrive in the hardwood swamp surrounding Lake Isabella, Brauers crowning jewel. There are parks and preserves with more impressive natural scenery in Washtenaw County ...

4216 Ranger Road
Grayling, MI 49738
United States

Phone: (989) 348-7068
Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/loggingmuseum
Region: Northwest

The Old Growth Forest Trail is, without a doubt, the most popular foot trail in Hartwick Pines. The 1.25-mile loop draws more than a quarter million people a year who use it to access the heart of the parks 49-acre tract of virgin timber, the largest continuous stand of old growth white pines in the Lower Peninsula.

8251 Germania Road
Cass City, MI 48726
United States

Phone: (989) 856-4411
Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/sanilacpetroglyphs
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Woods, a gentle stream, the possibility of encountering wildlife, and easy hiking are reasons why the trail in Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic Site is such a good family outing. But what makes it an excellent adventure for children is the way the historic artifacts fill young minds with images of ancient hunters, Indian villages, and nineteenth-century loggers.The main feature of the park is a large slab of sandstone with dozens of carvings on it that archaeologists believe to be 300 to 1,000 years old, dating back to the Late Woodland Period. Known as petroglyphs, these carvings are the only such ones ever found in Michigan and were discovered after massive forest fires swept the Lower Pen ...

4216 Ranger Rd
Grayling, MI 49738
United States

Phone: (989) 348-7068
Region: Northwest

Hartwick Pines is not only the largest state park in the Lower Peninsula but it was also one of the first in northern Michigan to welcome mountain bikers when in the late 1980s it opened up its 10-mile network of ski trails to off-road cycling.At first two-wheelers came in groves. But eventually their numbers tapered off partly because so many other mountain biking areas became available including Hanson Hills in Grayling and Aspen Park just to the north in Gaylord. Others bypassed Hartwick Pines because its trail system is mostly old logging roads and not technical enough for many off-road enthusiasts.But dont let the lack of narrow single track stop you from leaving I-75 for an easy bu ...

6975 Mower Road
Saginaw, MI 48601
United States

Phone: (989) 759-1669
Web site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/shiawassee/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

In the heart of the Lower Peninsula is an area known as the Shiawassee Flats where three great rivers; the Tittabawassee, the Shiawassee and the Cass, merge to form the Saginaw River. The result of all this water is one of the largest and most productive wetland ecosystems in Michigan and preserving a large portion of the Flats is the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.Established in 1953 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Shiawassee spans 9,501 acres just south of Saginaw with 75 percent of it being marshes, wetlands and bottomland-hardwood forests. The remaining portions are cropland, managed pools and moist soils units. Tying together the various sections is a system of dikes tha ...

M-72
Roscommon, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 275-5151
Region: Northwest

What is officially the George Mason River Retreat is to most people who visit this special area simply the Mason Tract. Both titles refer to auto magnate George Mason who loved to fish the South Branch of the Au Sable River.Mason made his fortune in the automobile industry and, in the 1930s, purchased a large tract of land that borders the South Branch from another auto magnate, Clifford Durant of the Durant Motor Car Company. It became his personal wilderness, an area of undeveloped woods and clear water where he would go with a flyrod in hand to escape the daily routines of Detroit. Mason loved his river so much that upon his death in 1954 he bequeathed it to the state of Michigan on t ...

Mt McSauba Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

Charlevoix can be a busy place, especially in the summer. But just north of the city, tucked behind Mount McSauba, is a small preserve where its easy to escape the crowds of tourists. North Point Nature Preserve is a 27-acre tract that includes wooded and open dunes, forests in various stages of succession and 2,800 feet of shoreline on Lake Michigan.The small preserves was purchased in 1988 in an effort spearheaded by the Little Traverse Conservancy that included applying for a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and organizing a local fundraising campaign. The land was eventually deeded by the Little Traverse Conservancy to Charlevoix Township as a public nature preser ...

Tin Lizzy Lane
Saginaw, MI 48722
United States

Phone: (989) 759-1669
Web site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/shiawassee/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

The Cass River Unit Trail is located in Bridgeport Township and is so close to I-75 that the interstate traffic is heard in the first half of the loop. The entire loop, including a short cross over spur totals only 1.5 miles and passes through the Cass River floodplain where there is little to no elevation gain.The trail is not the most appealing choice for hike considering what is available in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and elsewhere in Saginaw County. But it is amazing at times how much wildlife is seen in an area so close to a highway. That includes whitetail deer and even a small heron rockery.Most of the trail is in the Cass River floodplain that can be too wet for hiki ...

Strobelbel Rd
Saginaw, MI 48602
United States

Phone: (989) 759-1669
Web site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/shiawassee/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Woodland Trail may be part of Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge but it is literally on the edge of a city and Saginaw is lucky because of that. If there was ever a perfect escape from its urban grasp, this is it; a point of land where two great rivers converge to form a moat against the advances of what some people would call progress and others decay. On the north theres the Tittabawassee, on the south side the Shiawassee. In between the two is an area of woods, marshes, creeks and 5 miles of trails open to hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers.The trail system is divided into three loops of various lengths that all begin from the same trailhead. The Marsh Loop is the short ...

3010 Maple St
Saginaw, MI 48602
United States

Phone: (989) 759-1669
Web site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/shiawassee/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

The Green Point Environmental Learning Center is a 76-acre natural area located within Saginaw, one of Michigans largest cities, and across the Tittabawassee River from the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, one of Michigans largest wetland ecosystems. Originally a city-operated nature center, Green Point closed in 1988 due to budget cuts but was re-opened five years later with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managing the facility as an interpretive center for the refuge.Along with the interpretive building with natural history exhibits, Green Point also offers a wide range of programs throughout the year and a network of short paths that wind 2.5 miles through the floodplain of the ...

6975 Mower Road
Saginaw, MI 48601
United States

Phone: (989) 759-1669
Web site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/shiawassee/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

The Ferguson Bay Trail in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is an interesting walk almost any time of the year, as it provides dry footing through an area of marshes, ponds, sloughs, flooded forests and other moist soil units managed for a variety of wildlife. But during the peak migration seasons of March through April and September through early November, this day hike offers an impressive view of waterfowl, especially Canada geese. At the height of migration, some 25,000 geese and 40,000 ducks gather on the refuge.From the observation tower, the halfway point of the 5-mile hike, you can watch flocks of hundreds rise in unison off the water, circle the refuge twice, and then depa ...

6685 Sheridan Rd
Saginaw, MI 48601
United States

Phone: (989) 790-5280
Web site: http://www.saginawcounty.com/Parks/PriceNatureCenter.aspx
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Located 5 miles south of Saginaw, Price Nature Center is a 186-acre woods surrounded by theagricultural heart of Saginaw County. This park offers a variety of amenities including picnic area, childrens playscape, a pavilion that is available for rent, even a group campground but most visitors come here for the solitude of the trees, particularly in fall and spring.The land was originally donated to Michigan State University by James C. Price who in 1940 wanted to assure its continued use to the public and serve as a memorial to his family. Price Memorial Forest was used by the MSU Forestry Department for field studies and experiments as well as by locals for camping and picnicking. In 19 ...

106 State Park Drive
Roscommon, MI 48653
United States

Phone: (989) 821-6374
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=496&type=SPRK
Region: Heartland

Situated on the east side of County Road 100 is an escape from the campers, crowds, and, during the winter, snowmobiles that are the trademark of South Higgins Lake State Park. Marl Lake is the other half of the state park and offers a quiet wooded path that wraps around the shoreline that for much of the year makes for a scenic day hike or an easy mountain bike route.From late December through February the trail system becomes a popular cross-country ski area that is an ideal run for families with young children. Theres an occasional low rise but no hilly portions to fret over. If you need to rent ski equipment, then just to the north onto CO-100 is Cross Country Ski Headquarters(989-82 ...

M-33 and Tomahawk Lake Hwy
Onaway, MI 49765
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Michigans karst region is spread across Presque Isle, Alepna and Montmorency counties in the northwest corner of the Lower Peninsula and the heart of it is the Sinkhole Area, a non-motorized, 2,600-acre slice of the Mackinaw State Forest between Onaway and Atlanta.A karst is a geologists term for a limestone region where underground streams dissolved the rock into a series of large circular caves. These caverns eventually collapse under the overwhelming load of sand, rock and clay left by the last glacier 10,000 year ago and the result is deep conical depressions throughout the forest called sinkholes.The Sinkhole Area includes the Sinkholes Pathway as well as a portion of the High Count ...

32911 Willow Road
New Boston, MI 48164
United States

Phone: (800) 477-3182
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com
Region: Southeast

Besides Long Bark Nature Trail, Oakwoods Metropark has three other short interpretive paths that begin at the nature center; Big Tree Nature Trail (0.75-mile), Sky-Come-Down Nature Trail (1 mile) and Split Log Trail (700 feet).

Ocqueoc Falls Road
Rogers City , MI 49779
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

While the Upper Peninsula has hundreds of waterfalls, the Lower Peninsula has only two, with Ocqueoc Falls being the most popular and accessible one south of the Mackinac Bridge. You can rush from the parking lot to the falls in a couple of minutes, but the best way to turn this stop into an adventure is first to bike or hike a portion of the Ocqueoc Falls Pathway, a bicentennial project built in 1976.This Mackinaw State Forest trail is shared by hikers and mountain bikers during much of the year and consists of four loops; 2.85, 3.5, 4.6 and 6 miles. More than just the falls, this is a very scenic area dominated by the river valley and forested by towering pines and hardwoods that are b ...

76th or 84th Ave.
Zeeland, MI 49464
United States

Phone: (616) 738-4810
Web site: http://www.miottawa.org/Parks/upper.htm
Region: Lake Michigan

Located in the southwest corner of Ottawa County, Upper Macatawa Natural Area is an excellent example of what cooperation among agencies and environmental groups can do to save and restore wetlands and other natural habitat. The 612-acre park is split in half by the Macatawa River and, despite being within view of an interstate highway, has become a natural oasis that attracts an array of birds and waterfowl to its many pools and wetlands and hikers, birders and cross-country skiers to its 6.5 miles to trails.A campaign to protect the Upper Macatawa River began in the mid-1990s in an effort to preserve open space and re-create wetlands to address water quality problems. The first parcel ...

84th Ave
Zeeland, MI 49464
United States

Phone: (616) 738-4810
Web site: http://www.miottawa.org/Parks/upper.htm
Region: Lake Michigan

A natural 2.4-mile loop departs from the 84th Avenue trailhead and includes the most interesting terrain at Upper Macatawa Natural Area as well as the barrier-free paved trail and scenic overlook. Its well marked and easy to follow and during the spring and fall migrations would provide amble opportunities to spot birds and waterfowl.The paved path is 10-feet wide and slopes gently up the ridge to the viewing point at no more than 5 percent grade to meet wheelchair accessibility requirements. The barrier-free trail alone makes for a round trip of a mile.

13925 Lakeshore Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417
United States

Phone: (616) 738-4810
Web site: http://www.miottawa.org/Parks/rosymound.htm
Region: Lake Michigan

The most amazing view at Rosy Mound Natural Area is reached after you climb a long set of stairs to an observation deck called Dune Overlook. Below you are open and forested dunes, a small stand of white pines, a beautiful beach and Lake Michigan stretching to the horizon. You're on the edge of Grand Haven yet the only man-made object you can see is a boardwalk across the sand. Despite a history of logging, sand mining and uncontrolled recreational use, this park appears as natural and pristine as if you were standing in a remote corner of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Dedicated in 2004, the 164-acre natural area is one of Michigan's newest tract of protected dunes, a $1.1 million effort by Ottawa

Lone Pine Road
Gaylord, MI 49735
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

Although it is technically a pathway in the Mackinaw State Forest, Pine Baron is more like a city trail on the edge of Gaylord. The pathway is less than 3 miles from the heart of the Ostego County seat and so endeared by locals that they fund its grooming during the winters when the Department of Natural Resources can not.Named for the lumber barons who clear cut the land in the late 1800s, Pine Baron was built in 1978 as primarily a cross-country ski trail in a region of Michigan that averages more than 180 inches of snow per winter.The pathway is a set of four, interconnected loops that range in length from 2 to 2.5 miles and fan out from a parking area into a forest of hardwoods and p ...

Pickerel Lake Road
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
United States

Phone: (989) 983-4101
Region: Northwest

Pickerel Lake Road is one of the most interesting roads in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. It departs from the paved Sturgeon Valley Road and climbs through a deep woods before breaking out at a scenic pull-off. Topping off at 1,080 feet is a bench with an impressive view of forested ridges and hills for miles. From there it’s a straight drop down to the Pickerel Lake State Campground that will have anybody riding shotgun gripping the dashboard while you’re worrying about the trailer you’re towing. It’s great introduction to this state forest campground. Pickerel Lake is the most popular place to set up camp in Pigeon River Country because it’s the largest facility, fea ...

Fairview Ave.
Gaylord, MI
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Web site: http://www.trailscouncil.org
Region: Northwest

The North Central State Trail is not only one of the newest recreational trails in Michigan but the longest improved rail-trail, stretching 61.9 miles from Gaylord to Mackinaw City. Much of it is like any other rail-trail in northern Michigan; a flat, easy ride along a crushed limestone surface through woods and farms and pass trout streams.But arrive in the fall and theres not another rail-trail in Michigan, or maybe the Midwest, like the North Central. For almost 8 miles north of Indian River you hug the west shore of Mullett Lake. On one side of you is the fifth largest lake in Michigan, lined by quaint cottages, weathered docks and old wooden lawn chairs and swings. On the other are ...

Fairview Ave.
Gaylord, MI
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Web site: http://www.trailscouncil.org
Region: Northwest

The southern half of the North Central State Trail extends 28.1 miles from Gaylord to Indian River with almost half of it along the Sturgeon River. Gaylord is the southern terminus and also the highest point of the trail at more than 1,370 feet.Those without the ability to spot a car often begin in Gaylord and ride to Vanderbilt and back for a 15.2-mile outing. The 10.9-mile section between Vanderbilt and Wolverine is perhaps the most interesting portion in the southern half, a wilderness-like setting where only a few roads are crossed.The Gaylord trailhead is a mile north of M-32 downtown on Fairview Road at the Alpine Soccer Complex. Head north from M-32 on Old US-27 and turn west (lef ...

3435 S. Straits Highway
Indian River, MI 49749
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Web site: http://www.trailscouncil.org
Region: Northwest

The northern half of the North Central State Trail stretches 33.8 miles from Indian River to Mackinaw City, passing through Cheboygan within 16 miles. All three towns have well developed trailheads with restrooms and parking while nearby are restaurants and other businesses. Indian River marks the halfway point of the rail-trail and, in the minds of many, the start of its most scenic section. A ride from here along the west shore of Mullett Lake to the hamlet of Mullett Village would be a round-trip of 24 miles with the vast majority of it within view of the lake. To shorten that ride even further, begin at picturesque Topinabee, an ideal staging area at Mile 33.7 of the rail-trail. Fr ...

Sturgeon Valley Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
United States

Phone: (989) 983-4101
Region: Northwest

The lure of Green Timbers is history, trout and, if your timing is right, large elk. This rugged 6,388-acre tract, part of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, not only has wildlife, scenic vistas and blue ribbon trout streams but is also crisscrossed with an unmarked trail system that appeals to hikers, backpackers and winter adventurers on snowshoes or backcountry skis.The 1918 successful reintroduction of elk to Michigan took place just 1.5 miles north of the tract, and Green Timbers has remained an important area for the species. Eventually much of the tract was logged by the Cornwall Lumber Company and then burned and used for gr ...

Sturgeon Valley Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
United States

Phone: (989) 983-4101
Region: Northwest

The Honeymoon Cabin was once the most popular destination in Green Timbers before it was removed in 2016 despite the protests of backpackers, hikers and snowshoers. The cabin was perched on a high ridge above the Sturgeon River Valley where on a clear evening the sunsets can be stunning. The old cabin may be gone but the location is still an unusual spot to spend the night or even a leisurely lunch before heading back.

Sturgeon Valley Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
United States

Phone: (989) 983-4101
Region: Northwest

As far as anglers are concerned, most of the Sturgeon River in the Green Timbers area is a hike-in adventure. Many who want to fish and then overnight hike to the Green Timbers Cabin, a 2.3-mile trek.The Reynolds Road Anglers Access, however, is the easiest way to reach a portion of this Blue Ribbon trout stream within this otherwise non-motorized tract. Except for Reynolds Road, no two-track in Green Timbers is open to vehicles.

Vienna Corners
Gaylord, MI 49735
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

The main campground on Big Bear Lake lacks a boat ramp as well as the privacy usually associated with state forest campgrounds. Butthe Mackinaw State Forest campgrounddoes have one feature most other units would be hard pressed to match; a beautiful beach only a few steps from your site. The clear water of the lake combined with the sandy strip at its north shore is no doubt the reason for its popularity.But escaping is easy, even in July, because the campground also serves as the trailhead to a state forest pathway. Big Bear Lake Pathway is a 2.5-mile trail system of two interconnected loops with most of the trail north of the Bear Lake Road. Departing from east end of main campground i ...

239 Commerce Blvd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Web site: http://www.gaylordmichigan.net/member-profile/37/470/
Region: Northwest

There are two places in Michigan where its possible to see an elk while mountain biking, hiking or cross-country skiing; the Shingle Mill Pathway in Pigeon River Country State Forest and Aspen Park.Ive hiked Shingle Mill a half dozen times and have never seen an elk. The first time my daughter and I were on the Aspen Park trails it was impossible to miss them. There was six of them, huge animals that were standing on the edge of the woods a hundred yards away from us when suddenly two of the bulls squared off and clashed antlers.All this - trails, a rolling terrain of hardwoods and hemlocks and clashing elk - was in the middle of Gaylord, four blocks from a K-Mart.Aspen Park is a dandy.T ...

239 Commerce Blvd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Web site: http://www.gaylordmichigan.net/member-profile/37/470/
Region: Northwest

Aspen Park has five short trails that are paved and total 2 miles. The perimeter of the route, Elk Trail, North Trail and Hemlock Trail, form an easy 1.65-mile loop that begins and ends at the information kiosk in the parking lot. The asphalt surface makes this loop ideal for walking, family outings with young cyclists, in-line skating or roller skiing in preparation from the upcoming Nordic season.

239 Commerce Blvd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Web site: http://www.gaylordmichigan.net/member-profile/37/470/
Region: Northwest

Built by theNorthern Chapter of the Michigan Mountain Bike Association(MMBA), this 5-mile loop has become a favorite with locals looking for a quick workout and vacationing mountain bikers in need of a leg stretcher in the middle of a long drive up north.Like everything else in Gaylord, Aspen Park is an easy-off-easy-on sidetrip from I-75. In less than five minutes after leaving the interstate, youre on a single track, riding through the woods past huge hemlocks.Aspen Single Track dates back began in 2001 when the Northern Chapter received permission from city officials to cut the trail. Chapter president Eric Isaacsen and vice president Bill Snow then spent the winter exploring the area ...

9679 State Park Rd
Mears, MI 49436
United States

Phone: (231) 873-3083
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=493&type=SPRK
Region: Lake Michigan

Not all of Michigans great hikes are trails. This trek is a journey through Silver Lake State Parks trailless backcountry, a mile-wide strip of dunes between Silver Lake and Lake Michigan. Theres not another hike like this in Michigan or even the Midwest because no other stretch of dunes are so barren.Perched on a plateau and rising more than 100 feet high above Silver Lake, the heart of these dunes are totally devoid of any vegetation, even dune grass. The only thing besides sand are the stumps and trunks of ghost forests, ancient trees that the migrating dunes had buried and killed. Almost half of the hike is in this Sahara Desert-like terrain, the other half is spent strolling a stret ...

8100 Grange Hall Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-8811
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=459&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Located on the northern edge of Oakland County, Holly Recreation Area is a 7,817-acre state park that offers a wide variety of terrain on both sides of I-75. West side of the interstate Holly consists of fairly flat wooded lots, reverted orchards, tamarack swamp, small lakes and marsh bog. Areas east of the highway feature heavily forested hills, second growth forests, the largest lakes, more wetlands and open fields that at one time were farmed. In all, Holly has 17 lakes and a handful of creeks and 30 miles of trails for both hikers and mountain bikers located not much more than 30 minutes from the urban areas between Flint and Pontiac. Places to roam close to home. The park is actu ...

8100 Grange Hall Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-8811
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=459&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Most of McGinnis Lake Campground is grassy sites in a semi-open setting. The exception is the Trillium Loop whose sites are well spread out in a rolling woods, giving you both privacy and that feeling of camping up north. Located within this loop, directly across from site No. 127, is the Whispering Pines Nature Trail, a 0.5-mile interpretive trail.

8100 Grange Hall Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-8811
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=459&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

A quick glance at a map and the Lakeshore Trail appears to be a hike through the beaches and day-use areas of the Holly Recreation Area, a walk along the park road where you would be tripping over picnic baskets and beer coolers on a hot summer day. This trail is true to its name. It skirts the shoreline of Valley and Wildwood Lakes. But it remains on the edge of the water, well below the park road that follows ridges, and for the most part it’s a scenic route along the wooded banks of these impoundments, not through family re-unions and company picnics. The trailhead for the 2.4-mile is posted in a parking lot reached just before crossing the spillway that separates Heron Lake and Wi ...

8100 Grange Hall Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-8811
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=459&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Calling any trail in Oakland County Wilderness is a little presumptuous. Or a lot. Still this 5.75-mile loop in Holly Recreation Area is a dandy, an oasis in the urban sprawl that someday will turn Dixie Highway between Grand Blanc and Pontiac into nothing but an endless strip mall. This trek is not wilderness by any stretch of the imagination but it does get you into the woods and away from traffic, pavement and the developed areas of this state park.The trail lies north of McGinnis Road and loops around McGinnis Lake Campground and its namesake lake. You see the lake but never the campground or those staying there. Wilderness Trail stays in the woods, climbing a number of surprisingly ...

5142 E Holly Rd.
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-1758
Web site: http://www.hollyparks.org/index_files/Page443.html
Region: Southeast

At the front of Sorensen Park are the usual park amenities; softball fields, a tot lot and a picnic area. In the back is one of the best examples of a warm-water river eco-system in Michigan and a rare fen. Separating the two is the Holly Nature Center.All this is literally on the edge of Holly, a small town in the northwest corner of Oakland County. An amazing place if you know about it. But most people driving past the park entrance on East Holly Road dont have a clue of what lies beyond the ball fields, including the Hiker T. Moose 5K Trail.After establishing the park, the small nature center was added in the late 1990s and a trail system was developed. The crowning jewel of the park, ...

9966 Twin Lakes Road
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
United States

Phone: (989) 983-4101
Region: Northwest

The Pigeon River Country State Forest is a rugged 105,049-acre tract located 20 miles north of Gaylord and occupying the high central plateau of the Lower Peninsula. The forest is an outdoor playground crisscrossed with dirt roads, old two-tracks, and trails and dotted with lakes, trout streams and eight campgrounds, small rustic facilities tucked away on river bends and isolated lakes. Its best known as the home of the Michigan elk herd, an animal that was reintroduced here in 1918.Beginning and ending in the state forest is the High Country Pathway, a 70-mile loop that passes through four countie ...

Eaton Road
Springfield Township, MI
United States

Phone: (248) 846-6558
Region: Southeast

Just a short drive north of the quaint village of Davisburg is the Shiawassee Basin Preserve, Springfield Townships largest park at 515 acres and home to one of Michigans largest, most pristine prairie fens.Prairie fens are a type of wetland fed by surface or groundwater and are usually associated with the headwaters of streams, rivers, and or lakes. In this case Davis and Long Lakes and the Shiawassee River the flows between them. In Michigan, fens are one of the most biologically-rich ecosystems, providing habitat and clean water for hundreds of native plants and animals, many of them rare or endangered species.Within Shiawassee Basin Preserve they include the Poweshiek Skipperling, a ...

14390 Fish Lake Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-7271
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=492&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

For an area that was originally purchased for development, Seven Lakes State Park has since evolved into a natural retreat with a variety of topography and ecosystems, ranging from mature hardwood forests and a wetland fen to open meadows and a restored prairie. But what dominates the park is water. Seven Lakes actually has seven lakes and a couple of ponds that total 230 acres and several miles of shoreline. Ringed by rolling hills is the largest, Big Seven Lake, and its many arms and islands occupy the heart of the state park and is the destination of most visitors.The 170-acre lake is an impoundment built by the developers who used a dam to turn a series of small lakes into a large bo ...

14390 Fish Lake Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-7271
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=492&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The Green Trail Loop is the most interesting route at Seven Lakes State Park as it winds through mature hardwoods forest, skirts the largest lakes in the park and has enough rolling terrain to keep you on your toes, whether youre hiking or biking.The park lists it as 2.1 miles in length but we included the Overlook spur, a walk of 2.25 miles. Either way if thats too short, you can easily combine it with theDickinson/Nature Trail Loop that would make for a 3.3-mile outing that passes five of the parks seven lakes. The Yellow Shortcut will shorten the trail to 1.75 miles including the Overlook.You can pick up the Green Trail Loop at either the Dickinson Shelter and picnic area or the boat ...

14390 Fish Lake Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-7271
Region: Southeast

The park considers the Red Trail Loop to be a 1.8-mile, one-way route from Meadow Ridge Shelter on Big Seven Lake to the Dickinson Boat Launch. But a more logical hike would be to continue on the Green Trail Loop a short distance and then depart at post No. 8 to skirt the south end of Big Seven Lake, looping back to the picnic area and beach along its west shore.This would be a 3.8-mile hike that would eliminate any backtracking while skirting the parks three-largest lakes and covering some of the most scenic sections of its trail system.

14390 Fish Lake Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 634-7271
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=492&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The Nature Trail Loop is misnomer as there are no interpretive plaques along it or a brochure for it. But the trail does provide campers at Sand Lake with a quick escape into the woods and is often used by walk-in anglers to reach Spring Lake with their belly boats for an afternoon of fishing.Its connected to the Green Trail Loop by the Dickinson Trail and the two paths make for a natural route for hikers. Beginning and ending at the Dickinson Shelter the hike would be a 1.35 mile walk past three lakes, more than enough water to keep young children interested in the outing. Just the Nature Trail Loop itself from the campground is a hike of 0.7 miles and mountain bikers are not allowed on ...

10400 Fish Lake Road
Holly, MI 48442
United States

Phone: (248) 858-0906
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/roseoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

The northwest corner of Oakland County is rural horse country, an area of rolling pastures, whitewashed fences, faded red barns and mares and foals trotting through open meadows. In the middle of it is Rose Oaks County Park, the reason its trail system is open to horseback riding and probably used more by equestrians than hikers.The 637-acre park was purchased by the county 1995 to become its 11th park. Its terrain includes wooded uplands and gently rolling open meadows. But its dominated by wetlands and a series of small glacially-created lakes. Almost a third of Rose Oaks, some 200 acres, is marshes and vast cattail swamps that surround two creeks and almost a dozen ponds and lakes. Ne ...

3500 Wixom Road
Commerce Township, MI 48382
United States

Phone: (248) 685-2433
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=487&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Proud Lake is a 4,700-acre state recreation area in the southwest corner of Oakland County whose terrain ranges from rolling dense forests and vast wetlands to a chain of lakes and 3.5 miles of the Huron River. Practically on the doorstep of Milford, Proud Lake draws a good number of hikers along with paddlers, campers, cross country skiers in the winter when snow is sufficient and even fly fishermen in the spring who arrive for a special catch-release trout season.The heart of the park, and all its hiking trails, extends from Proud Lake west along the Huron River valley to Wixom Road. From Wixom Road, a dirt access road heads east to the park headquarters, main trailhead, group campsite ...

3500 Wixom Road
Commerce Township, MI 48382
United States

Phone: (248) 685-2433
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=487&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The main trailhead in Proud Lake Recreation Area is located in the large day-use parking area just down the road from the park headquarters and near the organization campground. But this loop begins at fishing access site where Wixom Road crosses the Huron River and includes the River Trail. Although not often shown on maps, this path is by far the most scenic one in the park and is the only one that allows you to hike along the Huron River. The trail winds through extensive wetlands and the park staff is constantly working to maintain its many boardwalks and bridges. Check on the trail’s status and plan to get your boots wet. River trail is an interesting hike any time of the year b ...

3500 Wixom Road
Commerce Township, MI 48382
United States

Phone: (248) 685-2433
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=487&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

This short and easy walk is ideal for children, even those as young as three or four years old. The small lake, technically an impoundment, provides them with something to constantly to look at while the eight interpretive panels along the trail, whose subjects range from dragonflies and turtles to herons, allow you to pass along a bit of wetland education. If its spring or fall, carry a pair of binoculars to search for wildlife and look at birds.

4480 Orion Road
Rochester, MI 48306
United States

Phone: (248) 651-9260
Region: Southeast

Within the mushroom of development that is northern Oakland County is the Paint Creek Trail, an 8.9-mile rail-trail between Rochester and Lake Orion. For the most part, the trail is a wooded path winding along a trout stream, passing such un-suburban scenery as ponds, grassy meadows, wetlands, even prairie habitat while wildlife such as muskrats, herons, snapping turtles, and an occasional deer can be sighted. But most of all for those walking or jogging along the gravel path, Paint Creek is a quiet escape from the bulldoze mentality of developers who are scraping clean this hilly region north of Detroit and turning it into a land of strip malls and subdivisions.On the weekends, Paint Cr ...

2301 W Clarkston Road
Lake Orion, MI 48360
United States

Phone: (248) 625-0877
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/orionoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

Purchased by Oakland County Parks in 1980, the main feature of Orion Oaks is Lake Sixteen, a 90-acre lake without a single house or condo on it in a corner of the state where everybody wants to live on the water. But the rest of the 927 acres is a mix of meadows and woods, ridges, hills and hollows. Its the rolling contour of the land, not the undeveloped lake, that makes Orion Oaks such an interesting place to hike, mountain bike or Nordic ski.The parks trail system was totally revamped in 1997 and then re-designated in 2009. Once a mishmash of old roads and two-tracks, the 10-mile system is now well posted and easy to follow, featuring a system of numbered junctions with locator maps b ...

2301 W Clarkston Road
Lake Orion, MI 48360
United States

Phone: (248) 625-0877
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/orionoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

Most of the perimeter of the trail system in Orion Oaks County Park was once posted as the Orion Oaks Achievement Trail, a 6.2-mile loop that began at the parking area and trailhead off of Joslyn Road. The achievement of this route wasnt hiking 6 miles, most avid walkers have few problems with that, but the fact that in the middle of Oakland County, generally a beehive of development in most parts, here was a place where you can hike a healthy distance in a completely natural area and backtrack only the first half mile. That is quite an achievement for anybody living in metro Detroit.This routeis a modified version of the Orion Oaks Achievement Trail. It begins and ends at the Clarkston ...

52221 Pontiac Trail
Wixom, MI 48393
United States

Phone: (248) 437-7345
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/lyonoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

Some people think that the naturalists at Lyon Oaks County Park have one of the hardest jobs around. Oakland County’s newest park is bordered on one side by I-96, on another by an industrial park, includes an 18-hole golf course and is spilt in the middle by gas pipeline corridor. So where could anything wild possibly hide here? The naturalists say plenty. When the area was destined to become a trailer park, Oakland County began acquiring the land in 1992 and 10 years later opened the Lyon Oaks Golf Course. In 2003, the 1,043-acre park added the first phase of a trail system, a small nature center and a 13-acre bark park, an off-leased area for dogs. Despite the bark park and the man ...

5200 Indian Trail
White Lake, MI 48386
United States

Phone: (800) 477-2757
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/parks/index_all.aspx?ID=5&r=0
Region: Southeast

The sign said it all: Rattlesnake Habitat. Remain on Trail!Indian Springs may have a golf course, picnic areas, an Environmental Discovery Center and a Spray n Play recreation area, but first and foremost its a swamp preserving the marshy headwaters of the Huron River. In this park Mother Nature is first, man-made amenities a distant second.Located 9 miles northwest of Pontiac in Oakland County, Indian Springs was established in 1982 to preserve the last major section of the Huron Swamp and is one of 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks. Much of the 2,215-acre park is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the natural environment and includes both a nature center and a Environmental ...

5200 Indian Trail
White Lake, MI 48386
United States

Phone: (800) 477-2757
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/parks/index_all.aspx?ID=5&r=0
Region: Southeast

Along with its impressive and awarding winning interpretive building, the Environmental Discovery Center features 60 acres of restored and created native ecosystems including ponds, wetlands and prairies. Winding through the ecosystems are three short paths known as the Discovery Trails with interpretive panels scattered along all of them.

5200 Indian Trail
White Lake, MI 48386
United States

Phone: (800) 477-2757
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/parks/index_all.aspx?ID=5&r=0
Region: Southeast

This short trail begins on the south side of the nature center and skirts a small pond with observation areas. Its surface is asphalt, capable of handling wheelchairs. At one point you cross a bridge where often frogs can be seen in the quiet edges of the ponds. Other wildlife that can be spotted are turtles, usually sunning themselves, and occasionally water snakes.

5200 Indian Trail
White Lake, MI 48386
United States

Phone: (800) 477-2757
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/parks/index_all.aspx?ID=5&r=0
Region: Southeast

The Farmland Trail departs from the nature center and provides a leisurely hike to the east. Through in the beginning it briefly swings through the woods it soon breaks out into a tall grass prairie where the parks Spray N Play Adventure Playgournd is visible.Most of the trail is a 0.75 mile loop through old farm fields and past fencerows where during July and August field flowers can be enjoyed. At that time of the year this trail does not get hammered by insects like the Woodland or Hike-Bike Trails.

5200 Indian Trail
White Lake, MI 48386
United States

Phone: (800) 477-2757
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/parks/index_all.aspx?ID=5&r=0
Region: Southeast

This is Indian Springs best trail for escaping into the natural world and possibly sighting wildlife. Woodland Trail is a 3.5-mile walk but three crossover spurs allow you to shorten it; Crosscut, 0.75 miles, Hunters Ridge 1.25 miles and Sawmill, 2 miles.The entire loop, however, is an easy hike that takes most people less than two hours and allows them to take a break at the parks most scenic corner, Timberland Lake. The foot trails are either surfaced with gravel or mowed lanes and have extensive boardwalks over wet areas and streams. The trail is extremely well marked and the park has also erected almost 20 interpretive plaques along the route, all of them encountered before or after ...

5200 Indian Trail
White Lake, MI 48386
United States

Phone: (800) 477-2757
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/parks/index_all.aspx?ID=5&r=0
Region: Southeast

You can view portions of the Huron Swamp and the woods of Indian Springs by hiking, skating or pedaling the parks paved Hike-Bike Trail. The trail is a 5-mile asphalt ribbon that extends from the Meadowlark Picnic Area to a small loop in the northeast corner of the park. The roundtrip from the picnic area is an 8-mile walk or ride.For the most part the trial is level and easy with exception one long hill near the beginning. Since the majority of it is through a wooded/wetland area, the best time of year for the Hike-Bike Trail is either late spring, when there is a profusion of wildflowers, or in the fall, when the leaves of the maple and oak that forest much of the area, turn shades of ...

9501 Sashabaw Road
Clarkston, MI 48348
United States

Phone: (248) 625-0877
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/independenceoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

Independence Oaks County Park is the largest unit in the Oakland County Parks system at 1088 acres, and a state-designated Wildlife Viewing Area. The park encompasses rolling hills, wooded ravines, the headwaters of the Clinton River, and a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer. But the centerpiece is Crooked Lake, a 68-acre lake with crystal-clear water that is free from the buzz of motorboats and jet skis.The park has a 14-mile network of trails with most of it in a rugged, undeveloped area on the west side of the lake. Here Springlake Loop, Ted Gray Loop and a portion of Lakeshore Loop can be combined to make a 3-mile loop that begins near the Lewis E. Wint Nature Center and ...

9501 Sashabaw Road
Clarkston, MI 48348
United States

Phone: (248) 625-0877
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/independenceoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

River Loop is a 2.2-mile paved loop through the Clinton River Flood Plain Natural Area, a vast, wooded wetland that is the headwaters of the Clinton River. Part of the trail follows the paved lane along the park entrance road from Sashabaw Road. Among the many parking areas to pick up the River Loop is across from Pine Grove Shelter, just beyond the contact station.

9501 Sashabaw Road
Clarkston, MI 48348
United States

Phone: (248) 625-0877
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/independenceoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

This is Independence Oaks’ best hike, a 3-mile loop in the undeveloped half of the park that includes climbing the tallest ridges and following the shoreline of Crooked Lake. Keep in mind the hike does include more than 100 feet of climbing along an old glacial moraine that forms the main ridge in the park. If that is too much for you or your family of hikers, then just walk Lakeshore Trail, an easy 2.4-mile loop that hugs the entire shoreline of Crooked Lake. If it’s mid- to late summer, pack a rod and reel and try fishing for panfish here or at one of the many docks on the west side of the lake. Use a simple bobber rig with a leaf worm or half of a nightcrawler, which can be purch ...

9501 Sashabaw Road
Clarkston, MI 48348
United States

Phone: (248) 625-0877
Web site: http://www.destinationoakland.com/parksandtrails/parks/independenceoaks/Pages/default.aspx
Region: Southeast

Nordic skiers, even those who live in Oakland County, are often pleasantly surprise the first time they ski the trails at Independence Oaks County Park. Not because the trails are so well groomed or the lakes-and-woods scenery is so stunning in the winter but because of the change of elevation they encounter. There are some serious slopes at Independence Oaks. Who knew Oakland County could be so hilly? When there is sufficient snow, usually from early January to early March, the park grooms more than 7 miles of trail for both classic and skate skiing. Once groomed and tracked, these trails are open only to Nordic skiers but the park has three other winter trails; Habitat Trail, All Vis ...

5200 Highland Road
White Lake, MI 48383
United States

Phone: (248) 889-3750
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=455
Region: Southeast

Looking to escape the pressures of being Henry Fords only son and thus, sole heir to the Ford Motor Company, Edsel Ford began purchasing the hilly property in northwest Oakland County in 1923 and the following year had broken ground on his rural estate. In 1976, Haven Hill was registered as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service, one of only 12 in Michigan. This combination of history and nature in a setting accessible mostly by trails makes Haven Hill unique and one of the most interesting destinations in southern Michigan for day hikers and history buffs.

5200 Highland Road
White Lake, MI 48383
United States

Phone: (248) 889-3750
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=455
Region: Southeast

Goose Meadow Trail is a 2.5-mile loop lies that wraps around a portion of Haven Hill Lake and lies almost entirely in the Haven Hill Natural Area. It makes for a scenic walk that is easier and shorter than the Blue Trail, thus idea for families with children in toll.This hike begins in the Goose Meadow Picnic Area where the trailhead is marked by a large stone and plaque commentating the National Park Service designation of Haven Hill as a National Natural Landmark in 1976.The picnic area also includes picnic tables, drinking water, a pavilion and toilets while crossing the entrance drive nearby is the Blue Trail.

5200 Highland Road
White Lake, MI 48383
United States

Phone: (248) 889-3750
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=455
Region: Southeast

The principal trail in the Haven Hill Natural Area is a loop that encircles Haven Hill Lake with two cutoff spurs that create shorter trails. The entire loop is a 5.2-mile hike marked as the Green Trail. Slightly shorter is the 4.8-mile loop marked as the Blue Trail while the Red Trail is 2.15 miles.Mountain bikes are banned from the system and during the winter the loops are popular cross-country ski trails when there is sufficient snow. The drawback is that equestrians share short segments of the system with hikers and Highland Recreation Area is extremely popular with horseback riders. Be prepared for a few horses on the weekends and a more than a few mounds of droppings in the middle ...

5200 Highland Road
White Lake, MI 48383
United States

Phone: (248) 889-3750
Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/highland
Region: Southeast

To view the ruins of the Ford estate, follow the former entrance drive up Haven Hill. The road is closed to traffic just beyond the park maintenance buildings and parking is not now allowed at the gate.You can usea bicycle to reach the top of Haven Hill but the end of the entrance drive is incredible steep and most people end up walking their bikes to reach post No. 7. Thus, a round-trip hike of 1.4 miles is required from the Circle Parking Lot to the top of the hill to view the ruins.The best time to search for the tennis courts, that featured clay imported from France, pool and the toboggan run is late October or early November after the leaves had dropped and visibility improves on th ...

1330 E. Greenshield Road
Lake Orion, MI 48360
United States

Phone: (248) 693-6767
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=435&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

There is no longer a Bald Mountain. The highpoint, which at one time was the site of a ski club, eventually became part of a landfill and met its fate at the front end of a bulldozer. But the so-called mountain is remembered 2 miles to the north in Bald Mountain Recreation Area, whose 4,692 acres preserve some of the steepest hills and most rugged terrain in Oakland County.The park is three separate units located south and east of the community of Lake Orion. The unit west of M-24 is mostly old farmland with no developed facilities. The units east of M-24 are the rugged areas of Bald Mountain with a terrain of both open fields and forests of hardwoods and conifers. There are 17 lakes in ...

1330 E. Greenshield Road
Lake Orion, MI 48360
United States

Phone: (248) 693-6767
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=435&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Spring peepers? How about spring walkers? Like the small woodland frogs that burst into chorus on the first warm day of May, theres many of us out there who suddenly drop everything for a walk in the forest when Marchs finally pass through.Is there nothing finer in May than a hike in the woods?Probably not. Theres no bugs, theres no scorching temperatures that slow you down in August, theres few people. What you will find are trilliums, marsh marigolds and other wildflowers bursting into bloom, trees greening the forest after a long winter of white and brown and, of course, the high piping whistle from a chorus of spring peepers.When the temperatures finally break 50 degrees or gosh for ...

1330 E. Greenshield Road
Lake Orion, MI 48360
United States

Phone: (248) 693-6767
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=435&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

Bald Mountain Recreation Area has 15 miles of trails divide between the North Unit and the South Unit and the crown jewel of the system is the 3.6-mile loop around Graham Lakes. Officially its labeled the Orange Loop but its commonly referred to as the Graham Lakes Trail. The loop was originally built in 1983 as a Nordic trail because the hilly unit seemed like a natural one for cross-country skiing with its numerous long, downhill runs. But this lake-studded area also attracted the attention of hikers and eventually mountain bikers.There is no actual Bald Mountain here, or anywhere else in the state recreation area, but the trail does ascend a number of ridges and hills, climbing 60 fee ...

4794 6 Mile Road
White Cloud, MI 49349
United States

Phone: (231) 745-4631
Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/eastern/LodaLake/index.shtml
Region: Heartland

We stood near the edge of Loda Lake, looking for a splash of pink but finding only brown leaves. We were too early for color. But, though we had never been in the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary before, we knew that in a few weeks a pink ladys slipper orchid would grace this spot. Post number 6 told us so.A little way down the trail, post number 9 indicated sweetferns, and, my gosh, it was right. We dropped to our knees, and pushing up through last falls decaying leaves were the small fiddleheads of this years understory of ferns.Originally part of a 1000-acre private reserve, Loda Lake was sold to Manistee National Forest during the Great Depression. Because of the wide variety of habita ...

Jefferson Rd.
Croton, MI
United States

Phone: (877) 500-2570
Region: Heartland

Hardy Dam is an interesting contrast. Built in 1931, this huge man-made structure is the largest hydroelectric plant in the Lower Peninsula and produces enough electricity for a city of 24,000 people.Yet upstream the Muskegon River has been turned into Hardy Dam Pond, 4,000-acre body of water with 50 miles of almost undeveloped shoreline including no private cottages or homes on it. Downstream Consumers Energy and local Boy Scout troops have teamed up to build Hardy Dam Rustic Nature Trail where at times its so quiet in the woods its hard to believe there are generators, power lines and spillways just upstream.Together seeing the dam, even driving across it, and hiking this interpretive ...

Buttles Road
Lewiston, MI 49756
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Originally set up as a cross country ski trail, Buttles Road Pathway in Mackinaw State Forest now also attracts mountain bikers as well as an occasional hiker interested in the sink hole terrain. But the pathway is still best enjoyed in the winter on skis or snowshoes as a layer of snow makes the clearcuts and old gas fields scattered in the area much more tolerable.Buttles Road is located in the western edge of Montmorency County, only a 30-minute drive from Gaylord and less than 4 miles north of Lewiston. The pathway is basically a 6-mile loop from the trailhead off Buttles Road with two crossover spurs for shorter loops of 2 miles and 3.1 miles.The most interesting features of Buttles ...

2800 State Park Road
Monroe, MI 48162
United States

Phone: (734) 289-2715
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=497&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

William C. Sterling State Park is best known as the only Michigan park on Lake Erie, for its sandy beach and as a popular departure point for walleye anglers. But the park is dedicated to marshland and was named after William C. Sterling, a Monroe County businessman who by the mid-1800s already realized the value of wetlands to man as well as wildlife. Sterling was a passionate hunter and in 1878 he began buying the nearby marshland for as little as 30 cents an acre because nobody else saw the value in swamps. A decade after his death in 1924, a group of Monroe citizens proposed that 115 acres north of the River Raisin be preserved as a park and named in his honor. Sterling State Park w ...

400 S. Badour Rd.
Midland, MI 48640
United States

Phone: (989) 631-0830
Web site: http://www.chippewanaturecenter.org/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

The Chippewa Trail is a paved trail that winds 3.5 miles from downtown Midland to the outstanding Chippewa Nature Center. The scenery is interesting in places but not overly impressive. The trail, however, makes for an excellent family adventure whether on bicycles, in-line skates or on foot. It begins at the unusual Tridge, a bridge that spans the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers, and ends at the nature center where you can view the confluence of the Pine and Chippewa rivers. Extensively renovated in 2009, Chippewa Nature Center is an ideal place for an extended break before heading back. Inside is the popular Wildlife Viewing Area, the River Overlook with its view o ...

8800 W. M-116
Ludington, MI 49431
United States

Phone: (231) 843-2423
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=468&type=SPRK
Region: Lake Michigan

Ludington State Park features more than 20 miles of trails but the most popular path in the park is also the shortest: the Skyline Trail. This half-mile path requires you to climb stairways to the crest of a dune, but once youre on top the walking is easy and the views are spectacular.Three stairways provide access to the Skyline Trail. They are located in the parking lot on the south side of the Sable River, near the center of the trail and along Sable River Trail. By following a portion of the Sable River Trail and the Skyline Trail in a clockwise direction from the parking lot, youll make a 1-mile loop and encounter the interpretive posts in numerical order.There are thirteen numbered ...

8800 W. M-116
Ludington, MI 49431
United States

Phone: (231) 843-2423
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=468&type=SPRK
Region: Lake Michigan

The largest state park along Lake Michigan and one of the largest in the Lower Peninsula is Ludington. The 5,300-acre state park in Mason County includes 5.5 miles of Great Lake shoreline, 4 miles along popular Hamlin Lake and a 1,699-acre Wilderness Natural Area. The terrain varies from wind-blown sand dunes to gently rolling pine forests. Much of the dunes, from Lake Michigan to a half mile inland, are treeless areas of dune grass and scrub. Others are covered in jack pine.The state parks most picturesque fixture is Big Point Sable Lighthouse, an impressive tower among the dunes that was built in 1867. From the lighthouse to the northern boundary is the parks Wilderness Natural Area, a ...

8800 W. M-116
Ludington, MI 49431
United States

Phone: (231) 843-2423
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=468&type=SPRK
Region: Lake Michigan

The toughest climb for many hiking at Ludington State Park isnt a knee-bending ridge or trudging through the soft sand on a steep dune. Its the 130 steps to the top of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.They often reach the historic building late in the afternoon, entered its 112-foot tower and looked up at a tight spiral staircase to see a stairway to heaven.Its all part of the lighthouse experience at Ludington State Park. By walking out to the former light station you get a sense of the isolation that the lightkeeper would have felt.The fact that you cant drive to the lighthouse doesnt stop 20,000 people annually from enjoying the splendid views from its tower and the natural beauty of it ...

8800 W. M-116
Ludington, MI 49431
United States

Phone: (231) 843-2423
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=468&type=SPRK
Region: Lake Michigan

Perhaps the most popular hike in Ludington State Park is theLighthouse Trailwhere visitors follow Lighthouse and Logging trails to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse and then loop back along the Lighthouse Access Road.Just as scenic, however, is the circuit formed by Lost Lake, Ridge and Island trails. These trails lead you to the edge of the wilderness area and past the fascinating perched dunes above Hamlin Lake.This 4.8-mile loop begins in the Hamlin Day-use Area and makes for a pleasant hike, where lunch can be enjoyed deep in the park at a rustic CCC shelter overlooking the inland lake.In summer, bring a quart of water per person, a hat, and sunscreen, for some stretches of the walk are ...

8800 W. M-116
Ludington, MI 49431
United States

Phone: (231) 843-2423
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=468&type=SPRK
Region: Lake Michigan

The Sable River Trail was originally 1.6 miles in length and formed a semi-loop on both banks of the Big Sable River within Ludington State Park. In the mid-1990s the park turned a good portion of it into a paved path that is popular with campers who arrive with bicycles.The Sable River Trail is now a 0.7-mile path that begins at post No. 16 at the foot bridge across the river and skirts the south bank to the Hamlin Dam. Along the way it passes the east end stairway to theSkyline Trail. At the Hamlin Dam you can cross over to the north bank and read a historical marker about logging activities in the late 1880s.Hamlin Lake was originally dammed by loggers in the 1880s to create a large h ...

9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

The 200 miles of sand dunes fronting Lake Michigans east shore is the largest collection of freshwater coastal dunes in the world and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the only National Park unit in the Lower Peninsula, is the crowning jewel. Theres nothing like it anywhere else in the country.Established in 1970, the 72,000-acre park stretches between Frankfort and Leland and includes 35 miles of shoreline on the mainland, two remote islands in Lake Michigan and the largest dunes in Michigan. It is one Michigans best known destinations, an area that attracts almost 1.2 million visitors a year who come to play in the dunes; to hike, ski, camp, run wildly down the Dune Climb or simp ...

Stocking Road
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

The best cross-country ski area in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is Alligator Hill, whose 8.3-mile trail system offers skiers three loops that range from easy to advance and feature plenty of long downhill runs and equally long climbs. But during the rest of the year Alligator Hill can be a destination for anybody looking for a walk in the woods amid a hilly one - that includes the kind of sweeping Lake Michigan panorama this national park is famous for.The hill picks up its name from a long ridge and bluff at its southeast corner that resembles the silhouette of an alligators snout, best seen from the top of the Dune Climb. Alligator Hill is the result of glacial activity when ...

Forest Road 5993
Cadillac, MI 49601
United States

Phone: (231) 723-2211
Web site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/hmnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=18710
Region: Lake Michigan

Click hereto order a detailed map and a guide to the Manistee River Trail from the MichiganTrailMaps.com eshop.From Hodenpyl Dam Pond the Manistee River winds southuninhibitedand free in the Manistee National Forest for 13 miles before a road crosses it. Unmolested by bridges, cottages and dams, this wild stretch of Michigans third-longest river appeals not only to paddlers and anglers looking for trophy trout but also to hikers. On the east side of the river lies the Manistee River Trail, on the west side a portion of the North Country Trail (NCT). Together those trails can be combined into a 23-mile loop that has become one of the most popular backpacking treks in the Lower Peninsula.T ...

6360 Chilson Road
Howell, MI 48843
United States

Phone: (810) 229-6566
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=438&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

The glacial activity that blessed several southeast Michigan counties with a rolling terrain and numerous lakes can easily be seen at Brighton Recreation Area, 50 miles northwest of Detroit in Livingston County. Scattered throughout the 4,947-acre park are moraines, outwash deposits, kettles and other typical features of the Pleistocene Epoch, the glacial era that ended 25,000 years ago. Brighton's 10 lakes were the result of retreating glaciers whose moraines left them in a rolling terrain that today is covered by oak-hickory woodlands along with the open fields of abandoned farms from the 1820s. Brighton was established in 1944 and increased its acreage over the years but is still bro ...

M-109
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

The Dune Climb is undoubtedly the most popular spot in Sleeping Bear Dunes with more than 300,000 people climbing it annually, the vast majority during the summer. This open dune forms the eastern edge of the Sleeping Bear Plateau, a 4 square-mile field of perched dunes that extends to Lake Michigan to the west and Sleeping Bear Point to the north.Most visitors are content with just climbing the dune, but departing from this picnic area are two trails. Skirting the base is the Duneside Accessible Trail, a paved, interpretive path. Departing from the top of the Dune Climb is the Dunes Trail, a 1.8-mile trek across the perched dunes to Lake Michigan.During the summer a steady stream of hik ...

M-209
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

The Dunes Trail is actually two separate routes through the dunes in this corner of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and most visitors head to just one of them - the parks popular Dune Climb and its 4-mile round-trip trek to Lake Michigan.Not nearly as many people make their way to the other trailhead at the end of M-209 located on Sleeping Bear Point itself. Yet step-for-step few trails anywhere in the state are as interesting as this route where the open dunes create excellent vantage points and the Manitou Passage provides a good reason to stop and gaze.Dont underestimate this short hike. Walking in sand can be strenuous and in the middle of the summer sunglasses, a wide-brimmed ...

6360 Chilson Road
Howell, MI 48843
United States

Phone: (810) 229-6566
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=438&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

This trail is listed as a 2-mile loop but is actually closer to 1.7 miles from start to finish at the trailhead in the Bishop Lake day-use area. If you need a little more mileage on your hike, it’s easy to add this loop with the Penosha Trail for a 6.2 outing. You begin on the Penosha Trail for the first half mile but then depart it at post No. 8. For the most part the next mile is a walk in the woods with few significant features. The best section is reached within a half mile of post No. 8 where you are treading along the crest of a rolling ridge with a dry kettle to the right of you and a marshy one to the left. The trail then descends before making its longest climb. You return to ...

6360 Chilson Road
Howell, MI 48843
United States

Phone: (810) 229-6566
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=438&type=SPRK
Region: Southeast

An ice age 25,000 years ago and some unsuccessful farmers in the 1930s resulted in an undeveloped tract in Livingston County where today you can go for a 5-mile walk in the woods to escape the concrete and crowds of Southeast Michigan. The glaciers of the Pleistocene epoch were responsible for Brighton Recreation Area’s rolling topography of moraines and ridges, steep-sided kettles, and numerous lakes and ponds. As towns such as Brighton and Howell grew in the 1800s, woodlands were cleared, and farms developed but were never very productive. It was a challenge to make a living by plowing land characterized by glacial drift and wetlands. During the depression of the 1930s, it became im ...

Deadman’s Hill Road
Alba, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

Deadmans Hill is a beautiful vista with a sad story. One of the most beloved viewing points for leaf peppers in the Lower Peninsula is something of a memorial to a young logger named Stanley Graczyk.The twenty-one-year-old was a fun-loving lumberjack in the early 1900s, known as Big Sam to his friends and fellow loggers. On May 20, 1910, Big Sam was to marry his childhood sweetheart and on that morning he was working the steep ridges of the Jordan River Valley with his crew. Poor Stanley never even made it to the altar. He was driving a team of horses and a Big Wheel loaded with timber down the ridge when the huge cart slipped out of control and ran over him, killing him instantly. Its b ...

Deadman’s Hill Road
Mancelona, MI
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Region: Northwest

Note: The Jordan River Pathway has been re-routed around a wetland area. A map of the new trail can be downloaded from this page. You can read about the re-route in a Trail Talk blog by Jim DuFresne. To order a Jordan River Pathway Map Guide with the re-route map click on our eshop.The Jordan River Pathway is one of the most popular weekend backpacking trips in Michigans Lower Peninsula and once on the trail its easy to understand why.Located north of Mancelona, this 18.8-mile trek is a loop, eliminating complicated transportation arrangements, and features a walk-in campground near its halfway point. The fact that it is a two-day walk makes it an ideal weekend outing for backpackers fr ...

Wilco Road
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Few trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore lead to a more spectacular view at the end as does this short path to the edge of Empire Bluff. The bluff rises more than 400 feet above the sandy shoreline of Lake Michigan and puts you in a lofty perch to view a large chunk of the national lakeshore.Add six interpretive posts and an accompanying brochure that explains the natural and geological history of the area, and you have one of the best short hikes in the state.The round trip is only 1.5 miles, but is rated moderate due to the amount of climbing involved. You also have to keep an eye out for poison ivy, commonly seen in the open areas along the way, and should definitely refra ...

Lake Michigan Road
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Within Sleeping Bear Dunes, a park of towering dunes and rolling ridges, Good Harbor Bay Trail is the rare exception. This 2.8-mile loop is almost entirely flat, a trail where a change in elevation is better measured in inches not feet. A small strip of beach dunes is encountered in the beginning but the rest of Good Harbor Bay is an easy walk in the woods with the extent of the scenery being the trees themselves.People new to the sport of Nordic skiing love this trail. Its level contour - the grade never exceeds 10 percent - and the abundance of lake-effect snow off the bay makes it easy to master the kick-and-glide technique of traditional cross-country skiing. The forested landscape t ...

15310 N. Lighthouse Point Road
Northport, MI 49670
United States

Phone: (231) 386-5422
Region: Northwest

Crowning the tip of Michigans little finger like a diamond ring is Leelanau State Park, a 1,350-acre unit of spectacular views that are seen along miles of lakeshore, from platforms on top of dunes, even from the tower of a lighthouse. The park, located in Leelanau County and guarding the entrance of the Grand Traverse Bay, is separated into two main regions. The smaller section preserves the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula and includes the campground, day-use area and historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse.Located to the south along Cathead Bay is the bulk of the park. This undeveloped area, a rolling terrain of low dunes forested in hardwoods of maple, beech, white ash and birch, contains mo ...

Densmore Road
Northport, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 386-5422
Region: Northwest

Although there are five named trails in the undeveloped Cathead Bay area of Leelanau State Park, the system basically forms a 4-mile loop using the Lake Michigan Trail and Mud Lake Trail, with three crossover spurs in the middle. Loops as short as 1.5 miles are possible and the most popular hike is the Lake Michigan Trail combined with the Manitou Overlook cutoff and spurs to the beach and the observation deck. This loop is an easy hike of 2.2 miles.The trek described here is the longest one in the park, combination of the Lake Michigan/Mud Lake Loop along with the spurs to the beach, overlook and Pothole Ridge. This 5-mile loop makes for a pleasant three-hour walk or even a full day out ...

207 W. River Street
Leland, MI 49654
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Click here to order a detailed map and a guide to North Manitou Island.More than just transportation, the 11-mile ferry ride from Leland sets the mood for visitors arriving at the North Manitou Island. Located in Lake Michigan, North Manitou is wild, isolated, and remote, qualities that make it the premiere destination for backpackers in Michigans Lower Peninsula.The 14,753-acre island is 7.7 miles long, 4.2 miles wide and laced with 30 miles of designated trails and secondary trails. North Manitou is the most northern section of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and managed as a wilderness with a ban on motors, off-road vehicles, mountain bikes, and pets.No services or supplies are ...

207 W. River Street
Leland, MI 49654
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Click hereto order a detailed map and a guide toSouth Manitou Island.Part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, South Manitou Island is located 18 miles west of Leland and is the southernmost island of a Lake Michigan archipelago that stretches northeast to the Straits of Mackinac and includes North Manitou Island and Beaver Island.South Manitous most impressive features are the perched dunes along its west side that rise more than 400 feet above Lake Michigan and the lighthouse, boathouses and other historic buildings of a former U.S. Lifesaving Station. Scattered inland are old farmhouses, barns, a schoolhouse and other remains of the islands agricultural past while just offshore ...

Basch Road
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

The first time I hiked Pyramid Point Trail in the 1980s I met a hang glider at the spot high above Lake Michigan known as the Lookout. We talked briefly as he finished setting up his colorful wings and then he leaped into that mass of blue that was below us.The hang gliders are long gone now but that blue panoramic that they leaped into is still there. In an area of the state known for its stunning views of sand dunes, islands and the pastel blues of Lake Michigan, Pyramid Point is one of the best. Part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the point is a 2.6-mile trail that also traverses old farm fields and century-old beech-maple forests.But to many the trails most unique asp ...

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

When most people stop along Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore its to enjoy the spectacular overlooks of Glen Lake or Lake Michigan, have a picnic or hike the Cottonwood Trail. But the 7.4-mile scenic road also provides access to a second trail that receives light usage even at the peak of the busy summer season.Shauger Hill Trail is a wooded 2.1-mile loop with a trailhead and parking area near the contact station at the beginning of Scenic Drive. The hilly trail passes through a climax beech-maple forest, red pine plantations and a few small clearings and twice crosses Shauger Hill Road as well as Pierce Stocking Drive.In the spring the trail is an ex ...

Hyland Road
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore features sweeping panaromas, towering dunes or long stretches of deserted shoreline. The Valley View Trail has none of those. In the past this short trail led to a handful of backcountry campsites, tucked away in a quiet and often overloaded area of the park and surrounded by an impressive forest of hardwoods. But the ridge that the trail climbs and follows was hit hard during the great wind storm of 2016 that resulted in so many fallen trees that the National Park Service decided it was not worth the manpower and cost to remove the timber.  Thus what was an easy walk is now considerably more challenging and not recommended for families as it was ...

Welch Road
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

After a stunning trek like the Empire Bluff Trail or the Dunes Trail, the scenery along the Windy Moraine Trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore may seem, well, ho-hum at best. But arrive in early October with your children in toll and this foot path is a delightful afternoon walk. In the winter the trail at times can be a wild downhill run on Nordic skis.The 1.5-mile loop is located opposite of Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and basically climbs its namesake moraine, a nearly 300-foot high ridge, before descending back to the trailhead. Along the way are nine numbered posts that corresponds to an interpretive brochure stocked at a trailhead map box or can be downloaded from this ...

M-32
Gaylord, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

This is an easy mountain bike ride through two of Northern Michigan's most scenic river valleys. The route is almost entirely forest roads and old two-tracks and crosses through two distinctly different valleys separated by a low ridge of hills. You begin on the Warner Creek Pathway that sidles a small valley dominated by O'Briens Pond. A short segment of the North Country Trail (NCT) leads south to Jordan River and Pinney Bridge Roads, which winds through the wild and beautiful Jordan River Valley. The entire route to the Pinney Bridge State Forest Campground is a 12-mile, point-to-point ride or a 24-mile day if you backtrack to the Warner Creek Pathway Trailhead on M-32. To shorten t ...

4971 County Road 612
Grayling, MI 49733
United States

Phone: (989) 348-5989
Web site: http://www.forbushcorner.com
Region: Northwest

In 1981, Dave Forbush turned the 80-acre family farm into a Nordic ski center by leasing the rolling, forested state land that surrounds much of it. This allowed him to design and build 40 kilometers of trails that come winter are groomed by the largest fleet Pisten Bully groomers in the state. Since then Forbush Corner has emerged as a small but unique ski center, a haven for amateur racers and active recreation skiers who gladly skip the glitz at night of the large ski resorts for the best groomed tracks during the day. Grooming tracks for diagonal striding or packing a lane for skating means an almost effortless glide for advanced skiers. For beginners, tracks guide the skis, allowi ...

4971 County Road 612
Grayling, MI 49733
United States

Phone: (989) 348-5989
Web site: http://www.forbushcorner.com
Region: Northwest

The heart of the trail system at Forbush Corner lies on the east side of Roberts Road and is occasionally referred to as the East Trail System. Roberts Road is a dirt road that is not plowed during the winter allowing a two-way trail to link the East Trail System with the West Trail System. A two-way trail departs from a Start sign near the warming shelter and immediately comes to a well-posted junction that provides access to Lil Coaster and Rollercoaster. Further along the trail, it climbs to a prominent oak tree where there is a junction with Badlands Trail and Rollercoaster followed by two more junctions that provide access to Flatlands Trail and Rollercoaster a third time. The two- ...

4971 County Road 612
Grayling, MI 49733
United States

Phone: (989) 348-5989
Web site: http://www.forbushcorner.com
Region: Northwest

The West Trail System at Forbush Corner lies on the west side of unplowed Roberts Road and is 11.5 kilometers of groomed track divided among five loops ranging from Easy to Most Difficult. The heart of the system is commonly referred to as the West Trail and Back Forty, an 8-km loop  that is rated More Difficult and begins at the starting gate near the warming shelter off of County Road 612. Departing from these loops are the system’s Most Difficult loops; Lit Stinker Trail and Screamer Trail. In the northern half of the system is Green Trail, an Easy loop that forms a 3.5-km from the starting gate.

Bell's Bay Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720
United States

Phone: (231) 547-6641
Region: Northwest

Two things to know before visiting Fishermans Island State Park; Michigans state stone is not really a stone and Fishermans Island isnt really an island.Petoskey stones, Michigans state stone, are actually petrified coral, leftover fragments of the many coral reefs that existed in the warm-water seas from Charlevoix to Alpena some 300 million years ago. Today beachcombing for the fossil with its honeycomb-like pattern is one of the favorite summer activities in Michigan and few places are popular among Petoskey hunters as Fishermans Island State Park. The 2,678-acre park just southwest of Charlevoix features five miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline and a park road that provides ea ...

3871 Hurd Rd.
Metamora, MI 48455
United States

Phone: (810) 797-4439
Region: Southeast

Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area is a 723-acre state park in the southwest corner of Lapeer County whose main feature is Lake Minnawanna, an 80-acre impoundment. Surrounding the lake and developed areas of the park is a rolling terrain that ranges from heavily wooded ridges and open fields to wetlands and is laced by almost 5 miles of trails. Metamora-Hadley is a lightly used park whose busiest period is a series of Halloween-Harvest Festival staged on most October weekends for campers. The same holds true for its trail system. Arrive in the middle of the week and you’ll probably encounter only a handful of other hikers. The trails attract few skiers in the winter as they are not groom ...

State Road
Luther, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 775-9727
Region: Heartland

Silver Creek Pathway has been a gradual work in progress, an evolving trail that is now considered well worth the wait by visitors to this corner of Lake County. What began as a short path for campers in the 1970s is now a 4-mile loop that extends between two state forest campgrounds and follows both sides of the scenic Pine River. The key to the trail’s development was the installation of a pair of bridges that allow hikers and others to cross the river and return to the trailhead. The first arrived in 1985 when the Department of Natural Resources purchased what was then the Baxter Bridge, a one-lane, iron-trestle structure the Michigan Department of Transportation was replacing acro ...

7 Mile Road
Baldwin, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 775-9727
Region: Heartland

Before even hoisting their packs for an overnight trek to Lost Lake, some hikers think their already lost. At the Pine Valleys Pathway parking lot there are signs and directional arrows for snowmobiles, off-road vehicles, and cross-county motorcycles, leading many to wonder whether they are even at the right trailhead.But half hidden in the back of this staging area for motorized activity is what youre looking for; the start of the Pine Valleys Pathway. Before there were snowmobilers and four-wheelers racing through this section of the Pere Marquette State Forest, there were hikers and skiers.Pine Valleys was built in the mid-1970s when Nordic skiing was booming in Michigan and the Fores ...

County Road 597
Kalkaska, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 258-2711
Region: Northwest

What did we expect? Hike in a swamp in the middle of the summer, and there’s going to be something trying to land on us. In this case, deerflies in Skegemog Swamp. My family was hustling down the trail, each of us waving one hand above our head in an attempt to keep these voracious flies from landing, when suddenly we all put on the brakes. Whoa! Red dots along the trail, thousands of them, which could only mean one thing. Raspberry heaven! We were the fastest one-armed pickers you ever did see. Besides being a wild berry paradise, Skegemog Swamp is also one of the most scenic wetlands in Michigan with one of the driest trails to it. The area is protected as the Skegemog Lake Wildlife ...

Yuba Road
Elk Rapids, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 938-1350
Web site: http://www.acmetownship.org
Region: Northwest

Hidden in a valley between two ridges, relatively close to US-31 but oblivious to those zipping along the state highway, is a wonderful, nature reserve with a mile of designated trout stream, wetlands, rare plants, wildlife, even a pair of nesting bald eagles. The key to exploring Yuba Creek Natural Area is just knowing its there.Purchased by Acme Township in 2002 with help from the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Yuba Creek is a 413-acre preserve that features more than 5000 feet of its namesake stream, a mix of open and shrub-dominated wetlands, upland hardwood forest and abandoned orchards. Although Yuba Creek, a designated trout stream, no longer supports the fish due to a ...

4167 M-137
Interlochen, MI 49643
United States

Phone: (231) 276-9511
Region: Northwest

One of the first things most visitors notice in Interlochen State Park is the well-preserved Big Wheel, the device the loggers used to haul timber out of the woods at the turn of the century. Its a bit ironic, of course. Interlochen was one of the first state parks preserved because loggers and their big wheels had passed it over.The 200-acres of virgin white pine that somehow escaped the lumbermens axes were preserved as Michigans second unit in 1917 by the state legislature, which paid $60,000 for the land, the price of timber on it. Although its trees were spared, there was a large sawmill located near Interlochens northern campground that produced barrels from logs that were floated ...

US-27
Ithaca, MI
United States

Phone: (517) 641-4903
Region: Heartland

The Maple River State Game Area is mid-Michigan’s largest contiguous wetland complex, an extensive area of floodplains, lowlands, and marshes along the Maple River that begins in Gratiot County and spills into Clinton County. The 9,000-acre game area is divided into two sections with the West Unit containing most of the acreage but no established trails other than short access trails for handicapped hunters. Hiking opportunities are available in the East Unit, however. Straddling US-27, the East Unit features pools and diked-in ponds that serve as the water basin for the Maple River and attract migrating birds. Hiking along dikes is easy and the spectacular congregations of birds amon ...

Wildwood Road
Interlochen, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 922-5280
Region: Northwest

Located just inside the Grand Traverse/Benzie county line, not far from the Lake Ann Pathway, Lost Lake is another pathway connected to a state forest campground, providing campers with a place to hike or ride their mountain bikes. In the winter it attracts a fair number of cross country skiers. Unlike Lake Ann, Lost Lake Pathway is not nearly as hilly. Its non-threatening terrain makes it an easy ride and a popular destination for even the most novice mountain biker.The trail system totals almost 6.5 miles with the perimeter being a 6.3-mile outing that passes three lakes and several open bogs. Most of the loop, however, is a relatively level ride through the woods.By starting at the La ...

Meredith Grade Road
Meredith, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 426-9205
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Back in the mid-1980s, Trout Lake Pathway was a war zone. At the time, Michigan was struggling with the explosion of rampant, unregulated off-road vehicle use. ORVers were using this remote recreational area in the northwest corner of Gladwin County and had tore up its sandy slopes, widened the trails into race tracks and were four-wheeling it through delicate cedar swamps and streams.Beginning in 1987, DNR conservation officers staged a campaign to clean-up the area and crack down on the illegal off-road use. Today the woods are quiet and the land is healing. Left behind are reminders of what it took to win this war huge cement barriers placed where ORVers were entering Trout Lake, dir ...

2142 N. Genesee Road
Flint, MI 48509
United States

Phone: (810) 789-8567
Web site: http://www.geneseecountyparks.org
Region: Southeast

In the 1960s Forbes and Martha Merkley operated a dairy farm just outside the city limits of Flint. Here the urbanization of Buick City was held in check by a farm and the Merkleys love for their gently rolling landscape that included not only pastures but meadows, mature woodlots, wetlands and ponds. Eager to preserve their property, the couple donated 383 acres to Genesee County and in 1970 For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum opened as a county park.Today the preserve features seven miles of trails, two nature centers, a picnic area and a handful of gardens. For-Mar is a popular field trip for local school groups and an excellent destination for families looking to combine a natural ...

2142 N. Genesee Road
Flint, MI 48509
United States

Phone: (810) 789-8567
Web site: http://www.geneseecountyparks.org
Region: Southeast

Adjacent to the DeWaters Education Center, between posts No. 47 and No. 48, is a sign announcing you are on the “Edge of the Woods Trail.” It’s unclear what route the sign is actually marking but the name is very appropriate for this hike in For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum. This 2-mile route, a combination of a dozen short segments, leads you through the most interesting sections of the preserve; the wooded floodplain of Kearsley Creek and the collection of ponds and wetlands in the heart of the park. Along the way you pass a wetland observation tower, a historic windmill and, if it’s Sunday, can stop and view the Corydon E. Foote Bird Museum. For much of this hike you ar ...

686 Tawas Beach Road
East Tawas, MI 48730
United States

Phone: (989) 362-5041
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Tawas Point State Park in Iosco County is a small unit at only 183 acres and it contains a big campground, a modern facility with 193 sites and four cabins spread across three loops. That doesn’t leave much room for trails. But the park’s lone trail, while short, is a scenic and very interesting hike, especially if you are a birder. The park preserves the end of Tawas Point, a two-mile spit that separates Tawas Bay from Lake Huron. The tip of the point is a jagged hook of sandy beaches, wetlands and small dunes and it is this unique sand dune ecosystem and its location as a major landfall for birds migrating across Saginaw Bay that make Sandy Hook Nature Trail a popular destination ...

6260 East Lake Drive
Haslett, MI 48840
United States

Phone: (517) 676-2233
Web site: http://www.ingham.org/PK/Home.htm
Region: Heartland

There are Ingham County Parks on Lake Lansing but Lake Lansing-North isnt one of them. The 410-acre preserve is across the street from the popular lake and features the usual day-use facilities that most parks do; picnic shelters, volleyball and basketball courts, a softball field and two playgrounds. But the vast majority of the park has been left in its natural setting, an intriguing mix of pines, mature oak\maple woodlands and extensive wetlands and marshes, accessed by a 5-mile system of foot paths and boardwalks.Originally known as Pine Lake, Lake Lansing served as a hunting and fishing ground for Indian tribes before the first European settlers arrived in 1836 and built a cabin on ...

6260 East Lake Drive
Haslett, MI 48840
United States

Phone: (517) 676-2233
Web site: http://www.ingham.org/PK/Home.htm
Region: Heartland

Lake Lansing North is an amazing park because of the extensive wetlands scattered through it and the Green Trail is by far the most interesting way to explore. It is a 3.3-mile loop that includes the longest boardwalks in the park and most of the interpretive plaques that were funded by the Michigan Non-Game Wildlife Fund. Entitled "Habitat: A Place Called Home," the plaques examine the various habitats you pass through, who is living where and why “Wetlands Are Not Wastelands.” Good stuff to pass onto your children. The Yellow Cut-off spur shortens the loop to a 2.4-mile hike while still allowing you to explore the largest patches of wetlands. But overall the Green Trail is such an ...

6260 East Lake Drive
Haslett, MI 48840
United States

Phone: (517) 676-2233
Web site: http://www.ingham.org/PK/Home.htm
Region: Heartland

The Blue Trail is the longest loop in Lake Lansing – North County Park at 3.8 miles and also the newest. It was completed in the early 1990s after a development company granted the Ingham County Parks Department permission to construct part of the loop across private property. Though shorter, I find the Green Trail to be a more interesting hike as it includes more segments along and even across the wetlands that make Lake Lansing – North such an usual county park. You can also shorten the Blue Trail to 3.2 miles by following the Orange Cut-off.

Loosemore Road
Port Austin, MI 48467
United States

Phone: (989) 551-8400
Web site: http://www.huronnaturecenter.org
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Located at the tip of the Thumb, less than a mile from the sandy beaches of Saginaw Bay, Huron Nature Center Wilderness Arboretum is a 280-acre oasis of woods and wetlands in an area of the state known mostly for sugar beets and navy beans.A portion of the land has been owned by the county since 1941 and always jealously guarded by the local chapter of the Federation of Womens Clubs. During a half century of stewardship, the Federation called the original 120 acres a Wilderness Arboretum and vigorously opposed all proposals and attempts to develop the area.Strip malls, trailer parks and navy beans be dammed. The tract was too rare to let farmers plow it or developers attack it with bulld ...

15675 Headlands Rd
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
United States

Phone: (231) 348-1704
Web site: http://www.emmetcounty.org
Region: Northwest

The largest forested tract in the vicinity of Mackinaw City is The Headlands, an Emmet County park that spans over 600 acres and features 2 miles of shoreline on Cecil Bay and the Straits of Mackinac. This unique park includes 4.3 miles trail, two rental houses, outstanding views of the Mackinac Bridge and an interesting history.The park is the former vacation retreat of the McCormick family, who amassed its fortune by inventing the reaping machine in the 1800s and then creating International Harvester. Roger McCormick established the area in the late 1950s when he hired a helicopter and dropped 50lb. sacks of flour to mark the boundaries of the property he wanted to purchase.The Headlan ...

Krause Road
Petoskey, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

Located just southeast of Petoskey, the Skyline Trail is a short hike to an observation deck with a view of the rolling country of Emmet County and Lake Michigan. The first half of the hike is a steady downhill trek of only 0.75 mile to the deck. You then turn around and climb the steep ridge back to the trailhead off of Krause Road.The land was acquired by the city of Petoskey with help from the Little Traverse Conservancy and a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Land Trust Fund. The trail has since been incorporated into the North Country Trail so its possible for the energetic to hike much further in either direction.Skyline Trail is also open to mountain bikers and makes an in ...

903 Wilderness Park Drive
Mackinaw City, MI 49718
United States

Phone: (231) 436-5381
Region: Northwest

Wilderness State Park in Emmet County may have cabins for rent, a boat launch, two campgrounds and a day-use area on Lake Michigan, but for most visitors the outstanding feature is its undeveloped nature. The 10,500-acre unit, the largest state park in the Lower Peninsula, contains more than 26 miles of shoreline, a dedicated natural area and a vast network of trails that attract those who want to photograph wild flowers, identify birds or spend a day hiking or mountain biking through its forested terrain of pines and hardwoods.Michigan began acquiring the park in the early 1900s and in 1922 named it Emmet State Game Area before dedicating it Wilderness State Park in the mid-1930s. Altho ...

903 Wilderness Park Drive
Mackinaw City, MI 49718
United States

Phone: (231) 436-5381
Region: Northwest

The largest piece of contiguous, undeveloped land in the Lower Peninsula is Wilderness State Park, a 10,500-acre tract that includes a rugged interior ranging from mature hardwood forests and vast wetlands to a high point called Mt. Nebo. Winding across this vast park is a 38-mile network of trails with 11.4 miles designated as part of the North Country Trail, the national trail that winds from North Dakota to New York.Despite all the acreage and miles of trail, Wilderness didnt become a haven for backpackers until 2008. Thats when the staff unveiled a pair of walk-in campsites located in two of the most remote corners of the park.One of them is perched at the end of a point on the north ...

903 Wilderness Park Drive
Mackinaw City, MI 49718
United States

Phone: (231) 436-5381
Region: Northwest

One of the most interesting day hikes in Wilderness State Park and certainly the driest is this loop that combines Nebo Trail, Old South Boundary Trail and the trail known as Swamp Line Road with several short nature trails. The entire hike is an 8.35-mile day but it is well marked and there is little elevation gain, making it an easier trek that most hikers accomplish in three to five hours. Some wet sections can be encountered along Old South Boundary Trail in the spring and after a heavy rainfall but the mud is rarely impassable. You are in low-lying wet areas so insect repellent is a must in May, June and early July. Along Nebo Trail is a three-sided shelter that makes a great plac ...

903 Wilderness Park Drive
Mackinaw City, MI 49718
United States

Phone: (231) 436-5381
Region: Northwest

Three short trails can be linked together at Wilderness State Park to make for a delightful day hike of 4 miles though a variety of terrain and natural features. The trek includes following a stream where there is a considerable amount of beaver activity, climbing to the top of Mount Nebo for a glimpse of Lake Michigan, and exploring small ponds laden with wildlife. Best of all, the main trailhead is located just a step away from the park’s two campgrounds—one situated along the sandy shore of Big Stone Bay, and the other in a grove of mature pines. Combine a night in the campground with the day hike in the morning and an afternoon spent on the bay’s beautiful beaches, and you’v ...

903 Wilderness Park Drive
Mackinaw City, MI 49718
United States

Phone: (231) 436-5381
Region: Northwest

Pondside Trail is a 0.25-mile loop around Goose Pond, with interpretive posts numbered clockwise. It also provides access to three other trails; Red Pine Trail, Big Stone Creek and Wilkenhs Trail. The trailhead for Pondside Trail is located a short walk from the Pines Campground entrance and is marked by post No. 1 and a large display map.

2475 M-119 Hwy
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 347-2311
Region: Northwest

In the middle of the resorts, summer cottages, shopping areas and marinas that line Little Traverse Bay from Petoskey to Harbor Springs is Petoskey State Park. This 303-acre sanctuary may not be large but its amazing what it offers; some of the most secluded modern sites in the state, a beautiful beach, good hunting for Petoskey stones, and even a trail system.Originally of the W.W. Rice Company, the City of Petoskey purchased the land in 1934 and named it the Petoskey Bathing Beach. Eventually the city sold the beach to the State of Michigan and in July, 1979 the first campers arrived at Michigans newest state park. Theyve been arriving ever since as Petoskeys State Parks two campground ...

2475 M-119 Hwy
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 347-2311
Region: Northwest

One of the most popular names for a trail along Lake Michigan is Old Baldy, a dune that everybody climbs for the view of the Great Lake below. Petoskey State Park is no exception.Its Old Baldy Trail is probably the most popular path in the park, a 0.5-mile loop that climbs to the top of the dune. The trail is picked up at a trailhead opposite of the Campers Registration Office near the entrance of the Dunes Campground. There is limited parking around the trailhead.This is a great hike for very young children who will finish with a great sense of accomplishment. But keep in mind the views are from an observation deck reached on the way and not at the top.

2475 M-119 Hwy
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 347-2311
Region: Northwest

Portage Trail is the longest path in Petoskey at a mile from one end to the other. Older park maps show it as a partial loop but the actual marked trail extends from Dunes Campground to Tannery Creek Campground, crossing the park road to a forested area of some surprisingly steep hills.The trail picks up its name from the fact that historians believe in 1672 Father Jacques Marquette, the famous Jesuit priest and explorer, portaged his canoe through the park traveling from Lake Michigan to Round Lake. Father Marquette founded Sault Ste. Marie in 1668, St Ignace in 1671 and then went on with Louis Jolliet to become the first Europeans to see and map the northern portion of the Mississippi ...

2475 M-119 Hwy
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 347-2311
Region: Northwest

Petoskey State Park has a limited ski trail system that often serves as a place where locals go for a quick outing. Everybody else who has driven this far north usually searches for something more extensive.The 1.5-mile loop is posted with blue markers and is occasionally groomed when there is snow and staff available. The ski trail is ideal for novice and beginners as it winds through the closed campgrounds, into the woods and then back along the unplowed park road. Even after recent snowfalls the trail is popular enough that there is often a good set of skier-set tracks for classic skiing.When the trail enters Tanner Creek Campground at the south end of the park there will be tracks ev ...

8258 South Ayr Road
Alanson, MI 49706
United States

Phone: (231) 348-0998
Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52259_28277-22423--,00.html
Region: Northwest

Oden State Fish Hatchery was built in 1921 and from the beginning was a popular stop for people traveling US-31 to view trout in the raceways and pools. In 2002 the state built a new hatchery a half mile to the north and then spent $2 million to turn the original site into the Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center with trails, displays and a viewing chamber that puts visitors eye-to-eye with a trout.The original hatchery building is now a visitors center with an information area on fishing in Michigan along with a video of hatchery operations and a collection of mounted fish including the state record brown trout, a 34-pound, six-ounce monster.The most interesting exhibits are in an adjacent ...

Maxwell Road
Petoskey, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

McCune Nature Preserve is a beautiful 168-acre tract located east of Petoskey in Emmet County. Originally homesteaded by Allan Purchis, the property was donated to the Little Traverse Conservancy in 1984 by Allan and Virginia McCune of Petoskey.Harwood forests dominate the terrain but McCune also contains red pine plantations, open meadows and cedar swamps. The preserves most impressive feature, however, is its 3,400 feet of frontage along Minnehaha Creek. The spring-fed stream flows 10.5 miles from near the Emmet/Charleviox County border north to Crooked Lake, splitting McCune in half along the way. Its cold, clear waters support a brook trout fishery.Winding through the preserve is a 2 ...

Robinson Road
Harbor Springs, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

First impressions can often be misleading and cross-country skiing at Goodhart Farms is a case in point. From the winter trailhead you begin in an open and very flat field where often the groomed ski trail is wind swept and hard to see. Not the most appealing sight for Nordic skiers. But within minutes you are striding through deep snow in the woods and before the afternoon is over you’ll thrill to the exhalation of several downhill runs. Don’t let the view from the parking lot deter you. Goodhart Farms is a delightful place to ski. Skiers at Goodhart Farms. One of the Little Traverse Conservancy’s largest tracts at 645 acres, Goodhart Farms Nature Preserve is located 9 miles no ...

600 Birchwood Drive
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
United States

Phone: (231) 348-2755
Region: Northwest

Birchwood Farms is a large country club and resort community located 3.6 miles north of Harbor Springs off of M-119. Spread across the 1,600-acre development are 27 holes of golf, heated pools, tennis courts, hundreds of homes and during the winter 8.5 kilometers of ski trails groomed for classic skiing.This is golf course skiing but the rolling nature of the terrain and the woods that surrounds much of the complex makes the skiing much more interesting than is normally associated with fairway trails. Plus the trails are well groomed by The Outfitter (www.outfitterharborsprings.com), an excellent outdoor shop in Harbor Springs that also rents out Nordic skis and snowshoes.Birchwood Farms ...

Standish Avenue
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 347-2500
Web site: http://www.petoskey.us/departments/parks-a-recreation
Region: Northwest

Flowing for more than 15 miles from Walloon Lake to Little Traverse Bay and splitting Petoskey in half is Bear River, boosting some of the finest whitewater in the Lower Peninsula. Within its final mile, just blocks from the city’s famed Gaslight Shopping District, the Bear River drops 75 feet in a series of rapids, swirls and even a small waterfall. This is whitewater that attracts the interest of thrill-seeking kayakers. With some sections rated Class III in difficulty. But the river and rugged gorge it created at the end is also the focal point of the trail system of the Bear River Valley Recreation Area, Petoskey’s newest park. Dedicated in 2011, the 36-acre recreation area stre ...

l3991 Tallman Road
Grand Ledge, MI 48837
United States

Phone: (517) 627-7351
Web site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/departments/parks-department
Region: Heartland

Lincoln Brick Park may contain only 90 acres and less than 3 miles of trails, but acre for acre its as scenic and historically interesting as any park in central Michigan. The parks name comes from the Lincoln Brick Company, the last of five companies that made bricks here for more than a century until 1949. In the center of the park you can still view the remains of the brick factorys original boiler room, the warehouse where sand was stored, and a kiln that in its heyday was capable of producing 40,000 bricks a day.Most of Lincoln Brick is composed of heavily wooded bluffs that border the parks most dominant feature; more than 6000 feet of the Grand River, Michigans longest river. Scat ...

13991 Tallman Road
Grand Ledge, MI 48837
United States

Phone: (517) 627-7351
Web site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/departments/parks-department
Region: Heartland

The best, and longest, hike in Lincoln Brick County Park is this 2.2-mile walk that combines Beechnut, Cherry Ridge, Deer Run, and Tallman Trails. There is a little climbing towards the end of Deer Run but otherwise this is still an excellent outing for families with young children.With the many crossover trails it would be easy to shorten this hike if somebody gets unexpectedly tired. On county park maps and the trail signs at the parking area, Deer Run is shown as stopping at the junction with Heron Hollow. But the trail continues south of that to skirt the neck of land between the Grand River and Fraziers Pond. In fact this is the most interesting stretch of Deer Run.

245 S. Williams Street
Bellevue, MI 49021
United States

Phone: (517) 627-7351
Web site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/departments/parks-department
Region: Heartland

Located in the quaint village of Bellevue is Dyer Kiln Historic Site, where you can see the remains of the first limestone kiln in Eaton County. In the 1800s the kiln was used to burn the rock for the production of cement, and among the buildings still held together by Bellevue mortar is Michigans state capitol in Lansing.The limestone used in the kiln was mined across the street in the West and East Quarries. The abandoned limestone quarries, long since flooded into small lakes, are today the centerpiece of Keehne Environmental Area, an Eaton County park named for Edward Keehne.At 17 acres, Keehne Environmental Area is not big, not developed with waterslides or playscapes, not even that ...

133 Fitzgerald Park Drive
Grand Ledge, MI 48837
United States

Phone: (517) 627-7351
Web site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/departments/parks-department
Region: Heartland

Blended together on 78 acres bordering Michigans longest river is a bit of nature, a lot of history and a riverbank lined by 270 million-year-old sedimentary rocks that are the most impressive cliffs in the Lower Peninsula. Fitzgerald County Park is best known as the home of the Ledges ancient sedimentary rock outcroppings lining the Grand River but the park offers a wide range of facilities, even a nature center, and year-round recreational opportunities.The Ledges have attracted people to the area throughout history, beginning with Chief Okemos, a legendary Indian who led his tribe to the river of the Big Rocks each spring to hunt and tap trees for maple syrup. Later the area was kno ...

133 Fitzgerald Park Drive
Grand Ledge, MI 48837
United States

Phone: (517) 627-7351
Web site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/departments/parks-department
Region: Heartland

The ancient sedimentary outcroppings that tower above the Grand River is the only place in the Lower Peninsula - other than climbing walls - where somebody can lace up a pair of rock shoes and dip their fingers into a chalk bag. That's on the north side, where at the City of Grand Ledges’ Oak Park climbers set ropes and tackle routes with names like Rocket Man and Second Thoughts. Hikers head to the south side where the mile-long Ledges Trail skirts the base of the cliffs, linking Fitzgerald County Park with Island Park. Except for the initial descent to the river, this point-to-point path is a level and easy stroll that provides both a close view of this unique geological formation a ...

2280 Boyne City Road
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-7523
Region: Northwest

Young State Park surrounds Horse Point at the east end of beautiful Lake Charlevoix, also known at one time as Pine Lake, Long Lake and a place frequently fished by a youthful Ernest Hemingway. The authors family owned a summer cottage on nearby Walloon Lake, but Hemingway occasionally spent his days on Lake Charlevoix, where he liked to fish for trout in Horton Creek.The park is a 563-acre unit in Charlevoix County and a mix of wooded lowlands, cedar swamps and 1.5 miles of lakeshore. The wooded area is covered in hardwoods, aspen and balsam firis and traversed by a 5.5-mile trail system that is level and easy to follow. Despite the extensive cedar swamps, the trails provide dry footing ...

2280 Boyne City Road
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-7523
Region: Northwest

Young State Parks shortest trail, the White Birch Nature Trail, is its most popular during the summer and for good reason. The first half of the 1.5-mile loop skirts Lake Charlevoix, providing easy access to the water and good views of Boyne City and Avalanche Peak towering above the west shore.White Birch is popular among campers and families who want to explore the park beyond the beach and day-use area. The trail is closed to mountain bikes and the walk is short, level and usually dry even in the spring. Despite its name there is no brochure or interpretive signage along the path.The trailhead for White Birch is located adjacent to the boat launch in Terrace Campground and from the lo ...

2280 Boyne City Road
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-7523
Region: Northwest

During the winter Nordic skiing is the most popular activity in Young State Park. The trails are not groomed but due to its close proximity to Boyne City they are usually skier-set and more than adequate for classic skiing.With very little change in elevation, the skiing is easy and ideal for novice skiers with a fear of downhill runs. Overall the skiing at Young state Park is a woodsy experience with an opportunity to spot a whitetail deer or two.Trail post No. 0 across the road from the park headquarters serves as the winter trailhead and marks a Nordic system composed of Spruce Nature Trail, Deer Flats Nature Trail and segments of unplowed park road.Skiing is in a counter-clockwise di ...

Old Horton Bay Road
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

Lucky Boyne City. It lies at the east end of beautiful Lake Charlevoix and is guarded on by scenic high hills. On the south side of town is Avalanche Peak, a nearly 1,000-foot high point that provides some of the most panoramic views in the Lower Peninsula.On the north side of Boyne City is The Hill. While not quite as high, The Hill still provides views of Lake Charlevoix and the ridges that make it such an incredible body of water and is accessed by a 2.5-mile trail system that, despite the preserve being relatively new, is well marked and easy to follow.Originally part of the Grunow Farm, the tract was purchased by the Herzog brothers Gene and John and their friend and fellow orthop ...

US-31
Charlevoix, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

Lying adjacent to US-31, one of the busiest roads in Charlevoix County, yet relatively obscured is Susan Creek Nature Preserve, the perfect escape. The 223-acre preserve consists of three separate tracts and features a 1.5-mile loop that winds through hardwood forests, meadows, black ash swamp and cedar thickets, making it an outstanding area to sight wildlife. The trail also include a pair foot bridges that span across scenic Susan Creek.The Little Traverse Conservancy preserve provides trail access to the adjacent 55-acre Taimi Hoag Nature Preserve owned by Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Together the two tracts contain 278 acres, 0.75 miles of Susan Creek and more than 1.5 ...

Chandler Road
Boyne Falls, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

Spring Brook Pathway is a somewhat obscured trail, hidden among the heavily wooded Chandler Hills near the Charlevoix/Otsego/Cheboygan County border. Often overlooked except by locals, the pathway is a delightful winter route thanks to all that elevation.The trail consists of two loops with the first one winding through a low-lying cedar swamp that surrounds gurgling Spring Brook. The second loop climbs to the top of a ridge where there are views of the rugged terrain that make this corner of Charlevoix County so unique and once home to Thunder Mountain Ski Area.The first loop makes for a short and easy outing of 1.5 miles. The entire trail, including backtracking the segment that connec ...

Maple Grove Road
Charlevoix, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

The best views at Charles A. Ransom Nature Preserve in Charlevoix County arent along its trails but in the parking area, standing on your bumper if you can. The trailhead is located on the top of a ridge making it the highest point of this 80-acre preserve at an elevation of 973 feet, or 320 feet above Lake Michigan. Everything else is downhill including its trails.Donated to the Little Traverse Conservancy in 1976, the Ransom tract includes 1.5 miles of trails with the perimeter of the system forming a loop of 1.2 miles. Most of it is a walk in the woods dominated by ash and basswood sugar but there is 20 acres of grassy meadows and shrubs that was once a farm field. In the summer you c ...

1129 Wilson Street
Boyne City, MI 49712
United States

Phone: (231) 582-6597
Web site: http://www.cityofboynecity.com/avalanche-preserve-recreation-area-188/
Region: Northwest

The mountain bike trail at Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area is a 4.2-mile loop that winds around - and climbs over - the 1,023-foot-high namesake ridge that rises above Boyne City. This is an intriguing ride but a challenging one as the trail is a narrow single track with more than its share of tree roots and rocks. Novice and even intermediate cyclists should be prepared to hop off their bikes and walk a few steep downhill sections their first time on the trail.The trail has no posted direction of travel but the loop is described here in a clockwise direction from the warming shelter. This allows you to ride most of the loop before arriving at the observations decks near the top, an e ...

32911 Willow Road
New Boston, MI 48164
United States

Phone: (800) 477-3182
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com
Region: Southeast

Of the four interpretive trails Long Bark is the longest at 2 miles and the most interesting walk, as a portion of it follows the Huron River. The theme of the trail is forest ecology, and its 15 numbered posts correspond to an interpretive brochure available at the nature center.

Forest Highway 9300
Marenisco, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 358-4724
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Even in Michigan mountaintop camping is possible. There are many places scattered across the Upper Peninsula where you can pitch a small tent on knobs and open ridges and then spend an evening watching the sun set over acres of forests, river valleys or entire lakes. Wolf Mountain in Ottawa National Forest is such a place and it’s an ideal high camp for those with short legs. The 1,826-foot summit is the highest point in Gogebic County and a gorgeous place to enjoy long views to the south and west in a relatively undeveloped area.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

To order Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails Water Routes, the 184-page guide to the wilderness island, Click Here.Isle Royale is one of the most unusual national parks, not just in Michigan or the Midwest but in the country.It is one of the smallest at only 210 square miles and has one of the lowest numbers of visitors, a mere 17,000. It is the only national park in the country to completely close down in the winter and is also one of the most costly to visit as special transportation is needed to reach the isolated island.But most of all, Isle Royale has become a paradise for wilderness enthusiasts, particularly backpackers. The 45-mile-long island is laced with 165 miles of foot t ...

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The Greenstone Ridge, the backbone to Michigan’s unique island national park, is also responsible for the state’s best long distance hike; the 42.5-mile Greenstone Ridge Trail. This is the trail where many hikers first break-in their shoulders hauling their gear and become backpackers for the rest of their lives.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Few backpackers who have walked the Minong Ridge Trail will argue that this 29-mile route is one tough trek. Minong Ridge is not only the most challenging stretch of the Isle Royale’s 161-mile trail system, but arguably the hardest hike in Michigan. No other trail in Michigan uses cairns so extensively. Along many open stretches you are simply hiking from cairn to cairn and at times it’s easy to miss the next one.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The Feldtmann Ridge Trail is another one of Isle Royales great walks, a 10.3-mile trek across the high ridge from Feldtmann Lake to Siskiwit Bay. Because of a major forest fire in the 1930s, large stretches of its crest are open, providing sweeping views of the islands most remote corner. Halfway across it is an old firetower that you can ascend for even better views.When combined with the Feldtmann Lake Trail, a 8.5-mile walk to Feldtmann Lake Campground, the 4.8-mile Island Mine Trail and a portion of the Greenstone Ridge Trail, this trail is the highpoint of a three-day, 20.8-mile circuit thats one of the most scenic in the park.But best of all, Feldtmann Ridge experiences far fewer h ...

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The Rock Harbor Trail is probably the busiest trail in the park. In midsummer, when the Ranger III pulls in, a stampede often results as hikers scurry down the trail to secure a shelter or campsite at Three Mile or Daisy Farm Campground. The first portion of the Rock Harbor Trail, the 7.2-mile trek to Daisy Farm, is an incredibly scenic walk along the bluffs of the shoreline, with constant views of the water. The 3.9-mile segment to Moskey Basin swings inland and is more difficult but not nearly as laborious as it used to be.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Originally Native Americans used this route to portage their birchbark canoes across the Island, from Chippewa Harbor to McCargoe Cove. The Civilian Conservation Corps built this trail in the 1930s, and today the northern portion from Lake Richie to McCargoe Cove is frequently used by anglers, hikers, and canoeists. Not as many hikers travel along the southern portion, because it dead-ends at Chippewa Harbor. Most hikers arrive on either the Greenstone Ridge Trail or the Rock Harbor and Lake Richie Trails and head north or south on Indian Portage at this point.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Mount Franklin Trail is often the entry ramp for hikers tackling the Greenstone Ridge Trail. From a junction with the Rock Harbor Trail, it runs 2 miles to the ridge, passing the Tobin Harbor Trail along the way. Mount Franklin, with its incredible views, is actually 0.3 mile west on the Greenstone Ridge Trail. But the trail also serves as a leg of a popular day hike for visitors staying at Rock Harbor.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Phone: (906) 482-0984
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/isro
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The trails in and around Rock Harbor and the eastern end of the park offer the most variety of any on Isle Royale. For an afternoon of craggy coastline and pounding Lake Superior surf, the Albert Stoll Memorial Trail travels east of the lodge to the end of Scoville Point. This easy loop of 4.2 miles begins at Rock Harbor Lodge and travels 2 miles east to rugged Scoville Point. The trail winds back and forth between the forest and the shoreline, where craggy bluffs and sharp cliffs are testimony to Lake Superior's power and persistent erosion.

M-109
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://sleepingbeartrail.org
Region: Northwest

The first section of the Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritageopened in 2012 to rave reviews. This4.3-mile segment is anchored at one end by charming Glen Arbor and at the other end by the popular Dune Climb. In between, it passes views of Lake Michigan, towering sand dunes and the century-old storefronts of the restored company town of Glen Haven.Best of all, most of the route stays away from M-22 and M-109, busy roads in the summer, the reason itis by far the most popular stretch of the Heritage Trail.In the winter,Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes (friendsofsleepingbear.org) grooms the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from Empire to Glen Arbor, including this stretch,for classic skiers, skaters and s ...

6585 Lake Harbor Rd
Muskegon, MI 49441
United States

Phone: (231) 798-3711
Region: Lake Michigan

The "Dune Climb Stairway" at P. J. Hoffmaster State Park is no easy climb. It's 193 steps to the end, a viewing platform on top of a dune, 190 feet above the lake. So tiring is the climb for some people that the park staff has built benches along the stairway. No easy stroll but a magnificent view. From the observation deck there is a panorama of Lake Michigan and its shoreline beach, but most of all there are dunes, almost every which way you look. Well forested or wind-blown, these steep hills of sand make up the majority of Hoffmaster's 1,200 acres. Most visitors know they are viewing a portion of the worlds most extensive set of freshwater dunes but don't realize these are among the ...

6585 Lake Harbor Rd
Muskegon, MI 49441
United States

Phone: (231) 798-3711
Region: Lake Michigan

The best place to learn and study about Michigan's amazing sand dunes is at P. J. Hoffmaster State Park, where you can combine a visit to the Gillette Visitor Center, Michigan’s Sand Dune Interpretive Center, with a hike through the various life zones of a dune along the Homestead Trail. The Gillette Visitor Center was built in 1976 as a bicentennial project to serve as an interpretive center to the state’s most noted natural treasure. The two-story center is literally overshadowed by a huge, windblown dune that can be viewed from a glass wall on the west side of the lobby. Beginning from the visitor center parking lot is this 2.7-mile loop known as the Homestead Trail. The Homest ...

Thornton Road
Stevensville, MI 49127
United States

Phone: (269) 426-4013
Region: Lake Michigan

Grand Mere State Park is a 985-acre unit in Berrien County that lacks the amenities found in most other state parks along Lake Michigan, including a campground and even direct access to its mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. It attracts only a fraction of the visitors that flock to parks such as Warren Dunes or Hoffmaster. Yet from a naturalist’s point of view Grand Mere is one of the most inquiring set of dunes in the state, an area so ecologically diverse that it 1976 it was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Congress. The glaciers that scooped out the Great Lakes 10,000 years ago also carved out a number of smaller depressions along the western edge of the state, whic ...

239 Commerce Blvd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
United States

Phone: (800) 345-8621
Region: Northwest

There is great cross-country skiing all around the city of Gaylord and right in the middle of it as well. Aspen Park is a 100-acre city of Gaylord park whose rolling terrain of hardwoods and hemlocks is only four blocks from a K-Mart in the heart of town. Its Northwoods setting is even more produced because the park is adjacent to the city elk pen, a 105-acre enclosure that contains a herd of more than three dozen animals.Winding through the park are five paved trails that total 2 miles and are groomed for classic Nordic skiing. Even better theyre lit with the trailside lights popping on at 6 a.m. until daylight and again at dusk until 11 p.m.Night skiing is some of the best entertainmen ...

Wildwood Road
Indian River, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 732-3541
Region: Northwest

Located in the upland forests along the hilly border of Cheboygan and Emmet Counties, Wildwood Hills Pathway is an 11-mile trail system of three loops that is true to its name. The pathway winds through a heavily forested tract of rolling hills and is composed primarily of abandoned two-tracks and even old railroad beds, resulting in wide paths with easy curves and gentle ascents.The area was the site of Wildwood, a town that dates back to 1880s when Old State Road was constructed between Petoskey and Onaway so loggers could access the timber in the area. Originally called Mentor Corners, Wildwood received a post office in 1882 and by the turn-of-century was a good size town with a schoo ...

Boyne City-Charlevoix Road
Boyne City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 347-0991
Web site: http://www.landtrust.org
Region: Northwest

Tucked away in the ridges above Lake Charlevoix is Nathan Barry Driggers Memorial Preserve, a 75-acre tract with a colorful history that is now owned and managed by the Little Traverse Conservancy.Traditionally known as Lake Charlevoix Farm, the nature preserve includes a pine plantation, open fields, and high, forested ridges with views of Lake Charlevoix. Meandering across the property is 1.5-mile trail system that is open to hikers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and mountain bikers.The main house, now adjacent to the preserve property, was originally built by a veteran of the Civil War and eventually the farm evolved into the main dairy serving Boyne City. Throughout its history it ...

09223 McSauba Rd
Charlevoix, MI 49720
United States

Phone: (231) 547-3267
Web site: http://www.cityofcharlevoix.org/city-departments/TheCityofCharlevoix-ParksandRecreationMt.McSauba.html
Region: Northwest

Named after a local Indian chief, who probably never downhilled in his life, Mt. McSauba Recreation Area dates back to 1956 when 10 fathers approached city officials about starting a ski club to give children something to do in the winter.The city donated a steep dune on the north side of town, the fathers each tossed $100 into a kitty to purchase equipment and locals pitched dirt that summer to increase the height of their new ski hill. When the first snow arrived somebody backed up a Ford Model T, deflated a rear tire, rigged a tow rope off it and pulled the first skiers up the slopes.Theyve been skiing at Mt. McSauba ever since, making it one of the oldest downhill areas in the state. ...

Sand Hill Trail
Black River, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 724-5126
Web site: http://www.fonsp.org
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

What visitors see first at Negwegon State Park is only 50 yards from the parking area; a crescent-moon bay framed in by a sandy shoreline and the turquoise waters of Lake Huron and unmarred by beach blankets and beer coolers. It’s such an amazing scene that this as far as most people go in the 3,738-acre park in Alcona County. But beyond the beautiful sandy beaches and 6.5 miles of undeveloped shoreline, Negwegon is a mixture of lowland areas and small ridges with pockets of wetlands and meadows mixed in with stands of mature pine forests, hardwoods and aspen. An abundance of wildlife, from bald eagles and wild turkeys to whitetail deer and black bears, thrive in the area. Acquired i ...

17030 Bush Rd.
Chelsea, MI 48118
United States

Phone: (734) 475-3170
Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/eddycenter
Region: Heartland

Located among the rolling hills of Waterloo Recreation Area, between Jackson and Ann Arbor, is the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. Originally a nature center that was closed due to state budget constraints, the facility was reopened in 1989 as a tribute to Gerald Eddy and reflects his career in geology and his dedication to preserving Michigans natural areas.With touch-screen computer games and interactive displays geared for children, the center is a wonderful destination for families, who can then top off the afternoon with a hike along one of the centers six trails; Old Field (O.8-mile), Lowland (1.1 miles), Spring Pond 1 mile), Bog Trail (1.5 miles), Oak Woods (1.3 miles)and Lakevie ...

1775 Port Austin Road
Port Austin, MI 48467
United States

Phone: (989) 738-8663
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

The Campers Trail is the most scenic path in Port Crescent State Park. The trail, a 2.3-mile loop with a 0.3-mile cutoff spur, lies in an area of the park completely surrounded by water, with the Pinnebog River to the west, the Saginaw Bay to the north, and the Old Pinnebog River channel everywhere else. The access point used here is from the campground where a chimney monument and display recount the story behind Port Crescent, the town.By using the cutoff spur, you can shorten the hike to either a 1.3- or 1.1-mile walk, but you would then miss some of the overlooks. The entire loop is an easy trek with only gentle climbing that can be handled by children as young as 5 or 6 years old.Hi ...

River Road
Oscoda, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 362-8961
Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Strung along the towering bluffs above the Au Sable River is the Highbanks Trail, a skiing and hiking route that was developed through the Corsair Ski Council and the Huron National Forest. This is a point-to-point trail, and without two vehicles, its almost impossible to avoid backtracking. At times the route also winds close to River Road, and the sound of cars speeding by occasionally breaks up the peaceful tranquility of the wooded path.But the drawbacks are hardly worth considering when compared with what the Highbanks Trail has to offer: outstanding scenery and views, the possibility of spotting a bald eagle during the spring and summer and an opportunity to learn about the life of ...

Monument Road
Tawas City, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 362-2001
Web site: http://www.n-sport.com
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

The first hill was a gentle slope, the second hill long and twisty. Before we had a chance to catch our breath we were speeding down a third hill, a short but steep run. Wham! Bam! Thank you Maam!No time to stop and chat. On the backside of Corsair Ski Trail we were flying through the woods, using the momentum from one hill to climb the next, expending little or no effort. This wasnt skiing, it was a roller coaster ride. We got rhythm now, said Gary Nelkie as we flew past another yellow caution sign and braced ourselves for the downhill run that followed.Some people ski Corsair Trails because of its location, a mere 90-minute drive from Saginaw, even less from Bay City. Some come because ...

850 West Osterhout Rd
Portage, MI
United States

Phone: (269) 329-4522
Web site: http://www.portagemi.gov
Region: Heartland

Bishops Bog Preserve Trail, a 1.2-mile, point-to-point trail with much of it a floating trail, is part of the Portage South-Central Greenway, a series of five parks that total 483 acres and are linked together by 6 miles of trail, a fourth of it floating on bogs and marshes. The parks included in this hike are West Lake Nature Preserve, South Westnedge Park, Bishops Bog Preserve, and Schrier Park and only once, while hiking from park to park, do you have to cross a road.The centerpiece of the greenway is Bishops Bog. The 152-acre relict bog is a holdover from the last Ice Age and harbors a number of climactically cool-region plants extremely rare for this part of the state. With its exte ...

2104 S. Briggs Rd
Middleville, MI 49333
United States

Phone: (269) 795-9081
Region: Heartland

The rugged terrain, inland lakes, interesting bogs, and unusual depressions known as Devil’s Soup Bowls provide Yankee Springs Recreation Area with ideal hiking qualities. Its location, almost centered between the urban areas of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek, makes it a popular park with everybody. Yankee Springs has more than 16 miles of designated hiking trails but few of the routes are loops. One of the few that is, Hall Lake Trail, is also one of the more scenic walks in the park when combined with the connector to the Devil Soup Bowls for a 3.4-mile outing. There is no longer an overlook from Graves Hill, foliage now blocks out all views except in late fall and winter ...

Reserve Road
Houghton Lake, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 275-5151
Region: Heartland

Lost Twin Lakes is a 3.4-mile loop that was built in the mid-1980s. It remained a soggy, lightly-used pathway until 1999 when members of Boy Scout Troop 944 turned the trail into an Eagle Scout project and constructed a series of bridges and boardwalks over the wettest parts.Thanks to the Scouts, the trail is a much drier hike now but still remains relatively obscure. Much of that is due to its remote location. Part of the Au Sable State Forest, the trailhead is south of Houghton Lake along Reserve Road (County Road 400), a winding dirt road with few signs.This pathway is for people who like to walk in the woods.The main attraction of Lost Twin Lakesarethe century-old white pines scatter ...

3351 Mundy Rd
White Lake, MI 49349
United States

Phone: (231) 652-9298
Web site: http://www.countyofnewaygo.com/Parks
Region: Heartland

The Birch Grove Schoolhouse wasbuilt in the late 1870s for students buttodayserves as a pleasant place to stay for hikers and backpackers walking the Birch Grove Trail - North Country Trail (NCT) Loop.The 9.8-mileloop was completed in 2007 when the Birch Grove Trail was pieced together, a 6.4-mileroute of forest roads, old railroad grades and foot paths diverting from the NCT in Newaygo County. The new trail not only connected its namesake schoolhouse to the national trail but also Diamond Lake County Park and Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary, the only wildflower sanctuary in the national forest system.This description begins at Diamond Lake. Originally a company retreat for the Steelcase ...

Elm Valley Road
Sawyer, MI 49125
United States

Phone: (269) 426-4013
Region: Lake Michigan

In1879 and only seven years after the countrys first national park, Yellowstone, was established, Edward K. Warrenwaspurchased Warren Woods. Warrenat the time was apartner of a general store in Three Oaks andknew that the woods represented one of the last surviving stands of virgin beech and maple left in the state. Everything else had been logged.Warrenheld onto the area, despite financial problems, and eventually hedeveloped a process that substituted turkey-wing feathers for the increasingly scarce whalebone in womens corsets. He set up the Warren Featherbone Company and made a fortune at the turn of the century. He promptly used much of his profits to buy duneland along Lake Michigan ...

138th Avenue
Saugatuck, MI 49453
United States

Phone: (269) 637-2788
Region: Lake Michigan

Saugatuck Dunes State Park’s 14-mile network of footpaths is divided into three basic loops referred to on park maps as North Trail, Beach Trail, and South Trail. All are wide paths and well marked with location maps at almost every junction. The loop described here is a combination of the North Trail, a beach walk and a return via Livingston Trail. The 3.4-mile outing offers hikers a pleasant mix of open dunes, stands of pine and hardwoods, impressive overviews of Lake Michigan from high, sandy bluffs and a stroll down an uncluttered beach for more than a mile. A midday hike on a summer weekend results in encounters only with the kind of wildlife that wears bathing suits and carries ...

3560 Memorial Dr.
Muskegon, MI 49445
United States

Phone: (231) 744-3480
Region: Lake Michigan

Often overshadowed by the hiking at P. J. Hoffmaster State Park,Muskegon State Parks 12-mile trail system isno less impressive than its better known sisterparkjust to the south of it.This hike is a 4.2-mile loop combining two of the parks most scenic foot paths; Dune Ridge Trail and Devils Kitchen Trail. Located in the southern half of the park the two trails wind through a series of unique intracoastal dunes, a sea of shifting sand that lies between two large bodies of water: Lake Michigan and Muskegon. The trek is described from the trailhead in the Snug Harbor Day-use Area but can also be hiked beginning in Channel Campground or at post No. VII opposite a day-use parking area along th ...

1687 M-119
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 348-8280
Web site: http://www.trailscouncil.org
Region: Northwest

One of the most beautiful paved paths in Michigan, the 23-mile Little Traverse Wheelway provides cyclists, inline skaters, walkers and joggers with a smoothpath, incredible scenery and a non-motorized link between three of the most popular resort towns in northern Michigan; Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs.Much of the trail skirts Little Traverse Bay, featuring open views of the water. Just north of Charlevoix is a half mile stretch ofboardwalk through an intriguing wetland while the path between Petoskeys Bayfront Park to Petoskey State Park follows the original Little Traverse Wheelway dating back to the 1880s. A gate over the trail at the east end of Bayfront Park replicates th ...

Reynolds Road
Lake Ann, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 922-5280
Region: Northwest

Lake Ann Pathway lies in the Pere Marquette State Forest and is known primarily as an excellent Nordic ski trail, featuring many loops and a rolling terrian. What started out as an interpretive trail in the late 1970s is now a popular multi-use trail with mountain bikers and hikers enjoying what skiers love; the scenic overlooks from the trail and the quiet nature of the area. In less than 4 miles, you view four lakes, skirt three bogs, and follow a stretch of the Platte River. From swamps and lakes to a trout stream, few trails in southern Michigan display so much water in such a short distance.The hiking season runs from early May to late November, but keep in mind that the low-lying s ...

M-72
Grayling, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 826-3252
Region: Northwest

Most of the people who know and visit Wakeley Lake are anglers looking for a quality fishing experience. Because of special regulations such as walk-in access, the lake has developed a loyal following of fishermen who stalk its waters for trophy bluegill, bass, and northern pike.The same regulations that allow the lake to produce 12-inch bluegill also make the area surrounding it a hikers delight. Walk-in access means that there are no motor homes or off-road vehicles in this 2,000-acre tract of the Huron National Forest.For trail users, includingmountain bikers muchof the year and backcountry skiers in the winter, Wakeley Lake Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Area makes for a quiet outingaro ...

M-37
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 223-7322
Web site: http://www.peninsulatownship.com/parks
Region: Northwest

Old Mission Peninsula is20-mile long finger that splits Grand Traverse Bay in half and isbest known for its cherry orchards and vineyards. But at the tip of it are a pair of parks that combine for 650 acres on the 45th Parallel, include a historic lighthouse and are laced by almost 10 miles of trails.The 120-acre Lighthouse Park preserves the very tip of the peninsula and is home to Mission Point Lighthouse. Built in 1870, the lighthouse lies halfway between the North Pole and the Equator and for 63 years warned mariners of the rocky and dangerous waters at the north end of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. In 1933, it was replaced with an automatic buoy light just offshore and in 2008 ...

M-23
Rogers City , MI 49779
United States

Phone: (989) 734-2543
Web site: http://www.friendsofthompsonharbor.org
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Conveniently located right on US-23, the main route up the sunrise side of Michigan,Thompsons Harbor is an undeveloped and lightly used state park that contains miles of spectacular Lake Huron shoreline. The 5,247-acre park includes 7.5 miles of Great Lake shoreline and is the largest unit on the east side of the state but isbest known for having the worlds largest population of dwarf lake iris.Despite two master plans that recommended everything from a lodge to a swimming pool, development of Thompsons Harbor has been almost nonexistent since its dedication. For the most part the facilities at the park are limited to a trailhead parking area, two vault toilets, and a pair of rustic cabi ...

N8391 Sand Point Rd
Munising, MI 49862
United States

Phone: (906) 387-3700
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/piro
Region: Eastern Upper Peninsula

The towering sandstone cliffs known as the Pictured Rocks rarely fails to impress whoever passes through this far north. First it was Ojibway tribes who would honor the spirits of such a grand creation by leaving behind tobacco. Then French Voyageurs paddling canoes laden with furs and early scholars like Henry Rowe Schoolcraft who in 1820 wrote that the bluffs were some of the most sublime and commanding views in nature.And finally a nation. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed landmark legislation that made Pictured Rocks Americas first National Lakeshore. They are that stunning.Towering 200 feet above the worlds largest freshwater lake, the multicolored cliffs extend along 12 o ...

1505 Sand Point Rd
Munising, MI 49862
United States

Phone: (906) 387-3700
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/piro
Region: Eastern Upper Peninsula

In one of the most spectacular regions of the state, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you have one of the most spectacular paths to hike, the Lakeshore Trail. The 42.4-mile trail, part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, is unquestionably one of Michigan’s classic hikes. This is a trek is a walk between two towns, Grand Marais and Munising, past lighthouses and shipwrecks, giant sand dunes and towering standstone cliffs, beaches on Lake Superior and beaches 200 feet above it. Most backpackers utilize public transportation to be dropped off at the Grand Sable Visitor Center and then hike from east to west, ending back at their vehicle at the Munising Falls parking area. ...

4490 Beach Rd.
Cheboygan, MI 49721
United States

Phone: (231) 627-2811
Web site: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=441
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Acre for acre, Cheboygan State Park might be one of most underused units in the Lower Peninsula, a park that contains almost 5 miles of Great Lakes shoreline yet attracts less than 50,000 visitors annually. For hikers who take the time to visit this park and are willing to endure soggy socks, that means a scenic beach walk and a bit of solitude with few if any other people around.The 1,250-acre park features a day-use area and swimming beach in its southwest corner along Duncan Bay and a modern campground with 76 sites just north of it. Other than that Cheboygan for the most part is either low-lying forest and cedar swamps or Lake Huron beach and windswept dunes. Its a place where soggy ...

M-22
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Platte Plains Trail isa 15-mile network of trails with four trailheads and a walk-in campground. The shortest route to White Pine Campground is a 1.2-mile walk that begins at the end of Peterson Road. But the most scenic route and the one described here begins at Platte River Campground and is commonly referred to as the Lasso Loop. This hike is a 7.2-mile walk, with White Pine Campground reached in 2.8 miles.With its easy hiking and ban on mountain bike use, Platte Plains is one of the best destination in the Lower Peninsula for anybodys first overnight adventure in which all thats needed is strapped to their back. Surprisingly, for a park as overrun as Sleeping Bear Dunes can be in the ...

Lake Michigan Road
Manistee, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 723-2211
Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/hmnf
Region: Lake Michigan

With the Michigan Wilderness Act of 1987, the federal government declared the Nordhouse Dunes area of the Manistee National Forest a wilderness, the only area designated as such in the Lower Peninsula.Nordhouse Dunes is not a large tractonly 3,450 acresnor is it a pristine setting. The area is crisscrossed in places by old logging tracks and Forest Service roads.True wilderness or not, though, there is no question that this niche of windblown dunes, wetlands, and rolling hills of hardwoods and conifers is a unique spot for southern Michigan and even for the western side of the state, which is famous for having the worlds most extensive set of freshwater dunes. The most striking feature o ...

Thoreson Road
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Bay View Trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is better known as a destination for cross-country skiers than hikers, primarily because of its link to Homestead Resort. The downhill ski resort also rents Nordic ski equipment as well as offer chilled skiers a place to warm up and re-fuel after their outing. During the summer, the lack of impressive dune scenery that the rest of the park is so well known for has many hikers looking elsewhere for a trail to explore.But uncrowded paths is only one of Bay Views charms. The trail systempasses through a mix of beech-maple forest, old farm fields and pine plantations whileat its north end features historic barns, farmhouses and a one-r ...

Traverse Bay Road
Torch Lake, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 599-2036
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org/protected-land/torch-bay-beach/
Region: Northwest

Torch Bay Nature Preserve is a leg stretcher. Located just off US-31 between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix, the 40-acre preserve is overlooked by most speeding their way north despite its brown sign along the state highway. Need to stretch? This park is an ideal stop.The preserve includes mature forested dunes, a dune-swale complex, beach ponds and more than 700 feet of Grand Traverse Bay beach. Extending across it is a limited trail system with the majority of it being the nearly mile-long Torch Bay Nature Trail. Amenities are meager but do include an unimproved boat launch ideal for launching kayaks or paddleboards.The wooded tract was destined to become a subdivision of upscale homes in 1 ...

Old Dixie Highway
Atwood, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 533-6265
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org/protected-land/antrim-creek-natural-area/
Region: Northwest

Antrim Creek Natural Area is a 156-acre tract that lies just south of the Charlevoix/Antrim County Line and only 1.5 miles from US-31. Its most notable feature is the nearly one mile of Grand Traverse Bay shoreline, the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline remaining within the entire 132 miles of the bay between Norwood and Northport.But for the historian and the naturalist the Antrim County park is an intriguing place to take a hike. Antrim Creek is home to an array of natural diversity including hardwood forest, forested wetland, conifer swamp, shrub thicket, meadow, wet meadow and coastal dunes. It supports a wide range of flora and fauna including tow endangered plants; Pitchers ...

1031 W. Dexter Trail
Mason, MI 48854
United States

Phone: (517) 676-2290
Web site: http://www.inghamconservation.com
Region: Heartland

Kitty corner to the Ingram Conservation Center is a working farm called Rolling View. How appropriate.In the agricultural heart of Ingham County, the Ingram Conservation District property is a 200-acre green space that is scattered with remnants of its farming past, from old barns to equipment abandoned in fallow fields. But the center also features wetlands, ponds, hardwood forests and wildlife that thrives there. Winding across the tract is a 5-mile network of foot paths that provides urban dwellers an opportunity for a walk in the country.Split by Dexter Trail Road, the tract was purchasedby the state in the early 1900s to showcase Michigans abundant wildlife. In 1917 it became the Ma ...

Sturgeon Valley Road
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
United States

Phone: (989) 983-4101
Region: Northwest

One of the most popular campgrounds in Pigeon River Country State Forest is Pigeon Bridge. Located in the heart of this 105,049-acre tract, the campground has 10 rustic sites overlooking the Pigeon River, making it a favorite with trout fishers, who toss flies, spinners, and worms in an effort to entice brookies and browns.But the campground is also frequented by hikers as it serves as the trailhead forthe Shingle Mill Pathway, a system of five loops that passes through some of the most scenic portions of the Pigeon River Country. Even better, the longest loops (10 and 11 miles) can be covered in 6 to 7 hours by most hikers, m ...

16th Avenue
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49799
United States

Phone: (906) 635-5281
Web site: http://www.greatlakesallergy.com/index.php?page=Algonquin_Ski_Trail
Region: Eastern Upper Peninsula

Although located in Lake Superior State Forest and groomed by the Michigan DNR, the Alognquin Cross County Ski Trail is a community trail. After the DNR built the 9-mile pathway in 1987, a surge of local support resulted in making Algonquin the first state-operated trail to be equipped with permanently installed lights for night skiing. Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club and other civic groups donated money. All-Phase Electric Company provided the lights, Edison Sault Electric sent out a work crew to bury the wires and cables underground. The volunteers turned Algonquin's first loop into 1.6 miles of illuminated trail. The 30 lights are so indiscreetly positioned among the trees you hardily no ...

8765 Hammel Rd.
Brighton, MI 48116
United States

Phone: (734) 426-8211
Web site: http://www.metroparks.com/Huron-Meadows-Metropark
Region: Southeast

When it is cold in Southeast Michigan but theres no snow serious Nordic skiers head to Huron Meadows Metropark for a workout on Bucks Run.In 2012 the Huron-Clinton Metropark in Livingston County purchased four snowguns and began doing what Mother Nature wouldnt at times; make snow. The park staff used the guns to create a small, white mountain and then transported the snow to Bucks Run where they groomed it into a mile-long loop with a skating lane and tracks for classic skiing.Viola! Skiing even when the lawn at home is brown and grassy.But when there is snow in this corner of the state thats even more reason for everybody to grab their skinny skis and visit Huron Meadows. Since the lat ...

Guernsey Lake Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 922-5280
Region: Northwest

You dont have to go far to replace the traffic, summer crowds, or the relentless commercialization of Traverse City with woods and a bit of quiet. A short drive but a world away - from northwest Michigans largest urban area is the Sand Lakes Quiet Area, five small lakes surrounded by rolling hills of oak and pine. This 2,800-acre tract does not posses the stunning scenery of nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes but it is quiet, thanks to a ban on motorized activity. It is also a great overnight escape from the city as Sand Lake No. 1 features walk-in campsites and vault toilets.Part of the Pere Marquette State Forest, Sand Lakes was designated a non-motorized quiet area in 1973. There are actuall ...

Broomhead Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 922-5280
Region: Northwest

In the summer there are eight ways to access the 12.3 miles of trails in the Sand Lakes Quiet Area. But what are forest roads in July are snowmobile trails in January or two-tracks covered with so much drifting snow theyre impassable without four-wheel drive.In the winter the only maintained trailhead, the only one they plow, is off of Broomhead Road and when wearrived in the middle of the week and there were no other vehicles in the parking lot werealized wehad this 2,800-acre preserve to ourselves.A true winter wilderness.Part of the Pere Marquette State Forest, Sand Lakes is a tract of forested rolling hills and small lakes that was designated a quiet area in 1973. The area does not p ...

M-37
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 223-7322
Web site: http://www.peninsulatownship.com/parks.html
Region: Northwest

Old Mission Peninsula, which stretches 18 miles from the heart of Traverse City to the 45th Parallel, was covered by white pine, beech, maple and hemlock forests when Rev. Peter Dougherty arrived in 1839 to establish a Presbyterian mission for Chippewa and Odawa Indians. Those that followed him discovered the finger of land was ideal for growing fruitand eventually vineyards and orchards replaced the forests. In the 1970s a housing boom changed the landscape again as more than 100 subdivisions popped up among the farms and vineyards.Today a string of natural areas and parks provide glimpses into what the peninsula looked like a century ago or even more. Pelizzari Natural Area, only 2 mil ...

6500 Alden Hyw
Bellaire, MI 49615
United States

Phone: (231) 533-8314
Web site: http://www.grassriver.org/
Region: Northwest

We love boardwalks. Wooden trails keep our socks dry, our boots clean, and our kids out of the doghouse when they inadvertently wear their tennis shoes on a muddy outing. But most of all, where there is a boardwalk there is usually a swamp, marsh, or bog surrounding it.Thats the best part exploring these environments that are packed with interesting plants and wildlife without being knee-deep in black ooze. At the Grass River Natural Area there is an abundance of boardwalks in fact, some trails are nothing but boardwalks, because a good slice of this 1,443-acre park is either sedge meadow, marsh, or cedar swamp.The Grass River itself is only 2.5 miles long and just chest deep. Its a cr ...

Ranch Rudolf Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 922-5280
Region: Northwest

In 1990s Muncie Lakes Pathway was a battlefield overtrail use conflicts, withequestrians and mountain bikers andNordic skiers and snowmobilerswaging war. Today the 9.8-mile trail system is one of the most popular in the Grand Traverse County, thanks to its proximity to trail-crazy Traverse City and the hard work ofthe Michigan DNRand user groups to educate their members and separate their trails. The area, a slice of the Pere Marquette State Forest that includes the scenic Muncie Lakes and the Boardman River Valley, is still covered with trails, including the North Country Trail, the Shore-to-Shore Horse Trail and Snowmobile Trail No. 5. Add gas and power line corridors and handful of ol ...

1785 N. East Silver Lake Rd
Traverse City, MI 49684
United States

Phone: (231) 941-1620
Web site: http://www.garfield-twp.com/silverlakepark.asp
Region: Northwest

The Silver Lake Recreation Area is a 84-acre park in Garfield Township with a split personality. The east half of the recreation area has the usual park-like amenities; tennis and basketball courts, picnic tables, three covered pavilions, grills and a large playscape for children, all located in a large grassy open area. In 2013 the township added a fenced dog park.The west half of the park is a natural gem. Reached only by descending the bluff overlooking the West Branch of Silver Lake (also known as Dryer Lake and Mud Lake) this area contains extensive wetlands, mix forests more than a mile of trail and a small lake that is so well hidden from the rest of the park they named it that; H ...

Old US-131 & US-131
Fife Lake, MI
United States

Phone: (866) 445-3628
Web site: http://www.northcountrytrail.org/gtr
Region: Northwest

To order the new17- by 11-inch trail mapto the Fife Lake Loop Trail click onthe MichiganTrailMaps.coms eshop.Michigans newest backpacking adventure is the result of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club discovering a more scenic route for their segment of North Country Trail (NCT), Americas longest trail spanning 4,600 miles from North Dakota to New York. The original NCT swung north from the Manistee River west of US-131 but in 2010 club members began exploring, the east side of the highway. What they discovered were scenic vistas on river bluffs, crystal clear lakes, towering pines and a much more interesting terrain.The reroute required a year of planning with actual construction of the 12.8 ...

Mayfield and Wadsworth Roads
Mayfield, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 941-0960
Web site: http://www.natureiscalling.org/
Region: Northwest

Half hidden in a rugged woods east of Mayfield is East Creek Reserve, a lightly used park that includes ridges that rise almost 140 feet above the scenic Boardman River tributary. The 560-acre reserve, owned by Rotary Charities and managed for public use by the Grand Traverse Conservation District, was established in 2001 and today features more than 4 miles of trails open to hiking and mountain biking. Passing through the park is the Shore-to-Shore Horse Trail.The reserve is also open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing though winter access is much more limited. Mayfield Road, one of two access roads to the park, becomes Snowmobile Trail No. 510 from December through March and is im ...

1450 Cass Rd.
Traverse City, MI 49685
United States

Phone: (231) 941-0960
Web site: http://natureiscalling.org/parkland/grand-traverse-natural-education-reserve/
Region: Northwest

When it comes to hiking in the fall we prefer trails with boardwalks and planking and wooden stairways and bridges. They allow you to focus on the changing colors while walking through marshes and along ponds, ensuring your boots stay dry and your feet warm during an otherwise chilly time of year.The Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve has both. The 525-acre reserve has 7 miles trails with lots of boardwalks, one more than 900 feet long, and 19 sets of stairways along with lots of marshes and ponds in an area of the state that has lots of color in October.Within the long, narrow park are a marsh, swamp, level terrain, upland forest, pine forest, creek, river, and an active beaver po ...

Beitner Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 941-0960
Web site: http://www.natureiscalling.org/
Region: Northwest

In 1909, the Keystone Dam,the third dam in what today is the Natural Education Reserve, was built across the Boardman River and when itwashed out ina heavy rainstorm in 1961 it not only changed the course of the river but also the destiny of the area.Without the Keystone Dam, the 12-acre impoundment behind it disappeared, leaving behind a half mile stretch of whitewater, some of the most impressive whitewater in the Lower Peninsula. Even more significant to many was Consumers Powers offer after the catastrophe to sell the entire area, including the still standing Boardman and Sabin Dams, to Grand Traverse County for $1. The county accepted the offer and in 1976 the Natural Education Rese ...

Pyatt Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

In 1990, Pyatt Lake was destined to become a subdivision, having already been subdivided into 10-acre parcels and approved for septic systems when the newly formed Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy made it the focal point of its first attempt in land preservation.Located just off Bowers Harbor in the heart of Old Mission Peninsula, Pyatt Lake represented one of the most botanically diversed, privately-owned properties in the region. At times locals referred to the shallow, boggy body of water as Traverse Citys Walden Pond.Within two years the conservancy raised almost $100,000 for the initial 60-acre purchase in 1992 and have since expanded the preserve eight times to 159 acres. A ...

M-22
Leland, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9669
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org/
Region: Northwest

On USGS topographical maps Leelanau Countys most noted geographical landmark is labeled Carp River Point. To everybody else the distinctive point that juts into Lake Michigan just south of Leland is not a carp but a whale.Whaleback catches the attention of anyone scanning Lake Michigan from afar. To many the distinctive ridge looks like a beached whale, one they can spot standing in Lelands Fishtown, on a high point in northern Leelanau County or from several beaches in the area, particularly Good Harbor Bay which the point encloses to the north. Encompassing 117 acres and 3700 feet of lakeshore, Whalebacks bluffs tower 300 feet above Lake Michigan and has long been used by sailors as a ...

Ranch Rudolf Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 941-0960
Web site: http://www.natureiscalling.org/
Region: Northwest

Brown Bridge Quiet Area is a 1,310-acre preserve located 11 miles southeast of Traverse City and is the result of two monumental events; the year they built the Brown Bridge Dam and the year they removed it.When the Boardman River was dammed in 1922 the City of Traverse City purchased the land surrounding the new impoundment called Brown Bridge Pond. The 150-acre reservoir and the forested bluffs that enclosed it remained an obscured city parcel until the 1980s when waves of ORVers tore up the fragile terrain and seriously eroded the high banks along the north side. City officials and local conservation groups immediately began plotting a new future for the area. The first thing they did ...

M-22
Leland, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org/
Region: Northwest

Clay Cliffs Natural Area is another one of those wonderful Leelanau Conservancy preserves that is small, easy to hike and has a trail system that leads to a stunning view of Lake Michigan. Wedged between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau with shoreline on both, the 104-5-acre tract contains less than 1.6 miles of trail yet in that short distance you skirt towering bluffs, enjoy two stunning panoramas and in the spring are greeted by a palette of wildflowers.Much like Whaleback Natural Area just to the south on M-22, Clay Cliffs is a forested drumlin sculptured by glaciers and later waves resulting in 200-foot bluffs of glacial debris that rises dramatically above Lake Michigan. A portion o ...

M-22
Leland, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org/
Region: Northwest

At 342 acres, Houdek Dunes is Leelanau Conservancys largest and most diverse preserve. The landscape ranges from hardwood forests featuring some of the largest white birch trees in northern Michigan to Houdek Creek, a spring-fed trout stream and the primary tributary flowing into northern Lake Leelanau. Then there are dunes. These hills and mounds of sand are the result of glacial sediments being exposed 4,000 years ago when the ancient Lake Nippissing receded. The trails skirt active blowout dunes, cross stretches of open sand scattered with tracks and climb forested backdunes to views looking down.The dunes form a barrier between Houdek Creek and upland hardwood forests whose foliage i ...

Kehl Lake Road
Northport, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org
Region: Northwest

The 279-acre Kehl Lake Natural Area north of Northport features 2,500 feet of undeveloped shoreline along the 74-acre lake, paths that wander through an extensive hardwood-conifer swamps and excellent birding, including the opportunities to spot a blue-headed vireo or Blackburnian warbler. But for many visitors the most impressive sights are above them; old growth white pines and towering hemlocks whose needles and branches reach for the sky. Even the preserves Old Birch, whose branches hasnt spouted foliage in years, makes you pause and wonder at its massive trunk.The lake and the trees first captured the attention of Ottawa and Chippewa tribes who used the area for seasonal settlements ...

Green Point Road
Frankfort, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

Sand dunes, a shipwreck and, if the evening is clear, a sunsetover Lake Michigan; Green Point Nature Preserve is one of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancys most impressive efforts. Acquired in 2005, the 242-acre preserve is south of Elberta in Benzie County and contains nearly 3 miles of trails that wind through stands of brilliant white birch, beech-maple forest that is carpeted in the spring with wildflowers and open meadows. But it is the more than 2,100 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline and the high bluff bordering much of it that makes Green Point Dunes so spectacular.The vistas are the result of a glacial moraine extending east to west and separating the Herring Lakes watershed ...

Pierce Stocking Drive & M-109
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a 7.4-mile, one-way loop within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore that is often called the slowest, shortest, but most scenic stretch of pavement in the state. The speed limit is only 15 miles per hour on this single lane road but it passes four stunning overlooks that include the national lakeshores famous perched dunes, Lake Michigan shoreline and Glen Lake. So spectacular is the scenery that most people dont want to leave the road and pass up the Cottonwood Trail that departs Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at stop No. 4.Thats a shame.Cottonwood Trail is worthy of having a trailhead along the drive, featuring several scenic viewing points of its own. ...

Stover Road
Bellaire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 533-8363
Web site: http://www.antrimcd.com
Region: Northwest

Since the late 1990s, Cedar River Natural Area has been a protectedand quiet place to soak in the natural world, from wildlife to wildflowers. Some of its trails have been there even longer but who knew?Managed by the Antrim Conservation District, officials readily admit that the preserve, located on the doorstep of Bellaire, is probably the least known trail system in Antrim County. The 193-acre natural area stretches between the Antrim County Fairgrounds east to Burrel Road and features 1.5 miles of the designated blue ribbon trout stream and 3 miles of trails.The trails wind through a variety of habitat, including wetlands, cedar swamps, stands of hemlock, and riparian forest along th ...

Swamp Road
Elberta, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

Anchoring the northeast corner of Arcadia Dunes-C.F. Mott Nature Preserve, more than 4 miles from Lake Michigan, Petes Woods lacks the impressive dunes or views of Baldy Trails or the miles of rugged single track that mountain bikers crave at DryHill Trail. But come May there is not a better place to experience the explosion of spring wildflowers than this patch of rugged woods.Swamp Road may lead to the 135-acre tract but Petes Woods is a second growth, beech-maple forest crowned by century-old trees. Stewardship of the preserve includes the removal of garlic mustard, an invasive species, which improves the diversity of the understory. In short, more wildflowers. During the brief window ...

Esch Road
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

Officially, Otter Creek is a 4.6-mile loop and part of the Platte Plains Trail, a nearly 15-mile network that stretches from the Platte River Campground to Esch Road and includes four trailheads, a walk-in campground and 4 miles of incredibly beautiful beach along Platte Bay. But while Otter Creek is connected with Bass Lake Loop and thus Lasso Loop, for most hikers its a distinct outing on its own.Otter Creek is described here as a 5.7-mile trek that combines the trail, a segment of Bass Lake Loop and portions of Aral and Deer Lake Roads, narrow, seasonal two-tracks. This route leads along both sides of the creek as well as the shorelines of three pristine lakes: Otter, Bass and Deer.Fo ...

M-22
Arcadia, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

Primarily because of their location along the shorelines, its estimated that more than 80 percent of the original Great Lakes marshes have been destroyed. Along Lake Michigan in the Lower Peninsula, about 15 remain today, which is the reason Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy put such a high priority on restoring and preserving Arcadia Marsh.Located in Manistee County, the 400-acre marsh borders Arcadia Lake and is fed by Bowens Creek. In the late 1800s, a railroad grade was constructed through the marsh. Then, in the 1950s, the water level was lowered to improve agricultural potential and twice Bowens Creek has been diverted, resulting in a stream that is now very shallow and heav ...

M-22 & St. Pierre Road
Arcadia, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

Complementing Dry Hill Trails in Arcadia Dunes-C.S. Mott Nature Preserve and sharing the same trailhead is Camp Trails. Dry Hill, a nearly 10-mile loop, was designed by mountain bikers as an intermediate run of quick rolling hills and numerous long uphill sections. In contrast, Camp Trails is a ride of only 3.7 miles and is laid out over fairly level terrain, making it much more appealing to those just getting into off-road cycling. Both are multi-use trails enjoyed by hikers much of the year and snowshoers in the winter. Camp Trails were built in 2014 with volunteer help from the trail's namesake Christian camp, Camp Arcadia. Located near the town of Arcadia, the camp was founded in 1 ...

M-22
Elberta, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

Established in 1991 by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Upper Herring Lake Nature Preserve is a180-acre tract featuringa nearly mile-long trail that winds through five habitats: old field, planted pine, young northern forest, northern wet meadow and northern shrub swamp, before ending in a small upland section surrounded by marl pit ponds.Its this variety of habitats that allows Upper Herring Lake to provide a variety of birding opportunities. In the spring visitors can listen for bitterns and rails in the wet meadow and shrub swamp or spot woodcock darting overhead in the old fields. Waterfowl gather in the marl pit ponds while sandhill cranes are among the birds that nest ...

Herron Road (County Road 604)
Elberta, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

For more than 50 years since William McKinley purchased 551 acres north of Upper Herring Lake in 1945, his family operated Fruithaven Orchard on a spread that was a mix of orchards, fields and forested ridges. When the McKinleys were ready to give up their agrarian way of life in the late 1990s, developers from southern Michigan made an offer to purchase the farm with plans to build a pair of 18-hole golf courses, hotel and an airstrip.Sparing the area from commercial development was paramount to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC). The conservancy first convinced the family to apply for Purchase of Development Rights funds through the state of Michigan. But when the app ...

10th Street & Main Street
Frankfort, MI
United States

Phone: (800) 882-5801
Web site: http://www.betsievalleytrail.org
Region: Northwest

As the 20th century began, the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railway extended from the Ohio city to Elberta, where rail ferries transported the trains across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wis., or Menominee in the Upper Peninsula. When the trains departed nearby Beulah for Elberta, they followed Crystal Lake and within a few miles made a sharp swing southwest at a bend in the shoreline that locals referred to as Railroad Point. The name stuck even after rail service had disappeared by the 1980s. What eventually replaced the boxcars were cyclists, hikers and other trail users on one of the most scenic sections of the Betsie Valley Trail in an area that was eventually preserved as Rai ...

Mollineaux Road
Elberta, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

In 1998, with the help of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Benzie County secured a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant and purchased 66 acres on Railroad Point, the largest undeveloped parcel remaining on Crystal Lake. Railroad Point Natural Area has since been expanded twice, most recently in 2012, and now includes 209 acres that extends from the shores of Michigans ninth largest lake south to the Betsie River, a state-designated Natural and Wild-Scenic River.When combined with the adjoining, state-owned Crystal Lake Outlet property, the preserves protect 4,300 feet of lake frontage or more than half of Crystal Lakes publicly-owned shoreline. Inland Railroad Point f ...

M-22
Elberta, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 929-7911
Web site: http://www.gtrlc.org
Region: Northwest

Tiny Elberta, population 372, is located on a small peninsula, surrounded by Lake Michigan to the west, Betsie Lake to the north and Betsie River to the east. Anchoring the village to the south is a towering ridge that rises almost 260 feet above everything else.A big dune in a little town overlooking a spectacular beach.Long used by locals as a recreation area, the tract was purchased by the village of Elberta, with assistance from the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, in 2010. The following year Elberta Dunes South Natural Area was dedicated as a 58-acre preserve.Squeezed between M-22 and Lake Michigan, Elberta Dunes So ...

Boon and Seeley Roads
Cadillac, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 775-9727
Web site: http://www.facebook.com/cadillacpathway
Region: Northwest

Sometimes you have to drive five or six hours to the Upper Peninsula to find enough snow to justify stepping into your Nordic skis. And sometimes Heikki Lunta is smiling down on you and all you have to do is drive an hour or two to find well-set tracks.If the Yopper snow god is smiling, then head to Cadillac Pathway.This 11.5-mile network of six loops is neither the most scenic trail in Michigan nor the most challenging. It doesnt even have a skating lane. But for classic skiers, especially those on the western side of the state, its often the quickest destination to the first ski of the season.The pathway is on the edge of Cadillac, less than two miles from US-131, yet part of the Pere ...

Forest Haven Drive & M-22
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 326-5134
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/slbe
Region: Northwest

In a region that already boosts some of the states most scenic paths, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is destined to be the crowning jewel when its finished.The seed for the paved trail was planted in 2005 when the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee pitched the idea to the National Park Service. It was noted that while Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore had more than 100 miles of hiking trails and even 9 miles of equestrian trails, none were paved and suitable for recreational use by cyclists, wheelchair users, runners pushing baby strollers and rollerbladers.After years of reports, studies and environmental assessments, a 27-mile trail through the park was on the drawing board, e ...

Cherry Bend Road
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 941-4300
Web site: http://www.traversetrails.org
Region: Northwest

The Leelanau Traildates back to 1903 when the Traverse City, Leelanau Manistique Railroad completed the line to Northport as part of a new car ferry service across Lake Michigan to the Upper Peninsula. The Leelanau Scenic Railway was the last to use the rails. After the service ceased operations in the early 1990s, the Leelanau Trail Association (LTA) was formed in 1994 to purchase 15 miles of rail corridor from Traverse City to Suttons Bay. Almost immediately there was heated opposition by property owners leading to numerous court cases over the proposed trail.But LTA volunteers forged ahead and by 1997 had paved more than four miles of the trail at its north and south ends and establi ...

M-22
Empire, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org
Region: Northwest

The 110-acre Chippewa Run Natural Areadoesnt have sand dunes or long stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline but does feature an interesting history and a variety of habitats that make for excellent birding. Chippewa Run is a groundwater-fedstream that flows a mile west into South Bar Lake and is named for the Anishinaabek tribes or Chippewa Indians who staged seasonal hunting and fishing encampments along it. Early settlers cleared much of the land and planted orchards on both sides of the creek. Eventually, the tract became known as the Gateway to Empire and when it was at risk of becoming a housing development the Leelanau Conservancy led a successful campaign to purchase the area. Chi ...

County Road 629 and Cathead Bay Drive
Northport, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org
Region: Northwest

Leelanau State Park andLighthouse West Natural Areapreserve 230 acres of the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, which includes the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse. But the bulk of that, along with all the visitor amenities, is in the state park. The natural area is only 42 acres and 640 feet of shoreline along Lake Michigan.But to thousands of songbirds and broad-winged raptors that migrate to nesting grounds in the Upper Peninsula and Canada, Lighthouse West is a blessing, a stopover for food and rest before crossing the wide expanse of Lake Michigan. And for birders, the preserve is a place to see more than 100 species during the spring and fall migrations.During the spring migration fr ...

Cherry Bend Road (County Road 633)
Traverse City, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org/
Region: Northwest

Louis DeYoung farmsteadstraddles Cherry Bend Road, less than 2 miles from M-22, and what was once the Manistee and Northeastern Railroad that is now the popular Leelanau Trail. To generations of locals, the buildings, especially the large barns, indicated they were either escaping the urban clutches of Traverse City or would soon be home again.The farmstead dates back to the 1860s when Henry Campbell cleared the land and then diverted a stream to power a water wheel. DeYoung purchased the farm in 1925 as a 26-year-old newlywed and remained on it for almost 80 years. A true innovator, DeYoung turned the water wheel powerhouse into a machine shop that included light bulbs before standard e ...

Point Betsie Road
Frankfort, MI
United States

Phone: (517) 316-0300
Web site: http://www.nature.org
Region: Northwest

Built in 1858, the Point Betsie Lighthouseis located on a wide sweeping point just off M-22, 5 miles north of Frankfort. The red and white tower and lightkeepers house is framed in by a pair of green pine trees behind it and often a deep blue sky above it, with the Lake Michigan surf rolling in on one side and golden sand everywhere else. In the evening, locals and tourists alike arrive at the beach to watch the sun dip into the shimmering horizon of Lake Michigan in what has become Benzie Countys most enduring summer tradition.But Point Betsie is more than a picturesque lighthouse or a place to watch sunsets. It is also a natural wonder, a dynamic mosaic of shifting sand dunes and Lake ...

M-22
Leland, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org
Region: Northwest

Farm stands are a common sight along M-22 but none have been such an enduring sign of fresh produce as the pale yellow roadside stand near Little Traverse Lake. For more than a half century, Sonny Swanson stocked that hut with strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, pumpkins and whatever else he nurtured from the rich soil of his adjacent farm and in the process became one of the most beloved farmers on the Leelanau Peninsula.Swanson died in 2008 at age 89 and a year later the Leelanau Conservancy was already committed to preserving the farm and one of the largest stretches of undeveloped shorelines remaining along Little Traverse Lake. The fundraising effort resulted in the conservancy purc ...

Lime Lake Road
Leland, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9669
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org/
Region: Northwest

In 1977, Martha Teichner joined CBS News and filed her first story with legendary Walter Cronkite sitting at the anchor desk and since then has reported the news from across the world.The winner of eight Emmy Awards is based in New York City as a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, but the shores of Lime Lake in Leelanau County are always in her heart. Teichner was born in Traverse City and for 10 years lived with her family on the lakes northeast shore in the shadow of Sugar Loaf Mountain, where her father was a ski instructor.In 1996, the news correspondent donated her familys 20 acres near the lake to the Leelanau Conservancy in memory of her parents and Teichner Preserve was establ ...

1687 M-119
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Phone: (231) 348-8280
Web site: http://www.trailscouncil.org
Region: Northwest

Formed in 1854, the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad began in Richmond, Indiana and reached the Straits of Mackinac in 1882 when the segment known as the Fishing Line was opened from Petoskey to Mackinaw City.The railroad first haul logs and served to accelerate the settlement of Northern Michigan, a largely wilderness region in the mid-19th century. Then the GRI turned to tourism when it teamed up with the Michigan Central Railroad to build the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in 1887. At the height of its service in the early 1890s, the GRI had a fleet of 66 locomotives and 3,100 cars and had expanded to Cincinnati, Ohio to become the longest north-south line in the country.Eventually a ...

M-119
Petoskey, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 348-8280
Web site: http://www.trailscouncil.org
Region: Northwest

The North Western State Trail the Fishing Line portion of the Grand Rapids Indiana Railroad from the 1880s extends 32 miles from near Petoskey to Mackinaw City. But the crowning jewel of the trail is the segment from the Spring Lake to Alanson. This 7.5-mile stretch would be for the most scenic and interesting portion of the rail trail whether it was paved or not.But it is, much to the joy of those who arrive with road bikes, inline skates or two toddlers in a dual stroller.Resurfaced in 2012 as a 10-foot wide asphalt path, the trail begins at Spring Lake Park on M-119, skirts the shores of four inland lakes, passes through the lakeside hamlets of Conway and Oden and provides access t ...

Wheeler Road
Glen Arbor, MI
United States

Phone: (231) 256-9665
Web site: http://leelanauconservancy.org
Region: Northwest

There are no spectacular views from Krumwiede Forest Reserve.There are no panoramas of Lake Michigan or islands or golden dunes towering above the shoreline. In the middle of the summer, when the foliage is thick and green, there are no views at all. But in October, climb the ridge that dominates the 110-acre tract and the hardwoods will be burning with autumn reds, yellows, oranges and purples.At times like this every step of your hike is a sight to behold.Located almost due east of Glen Arbor and within a mile of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in three different directions, Krumwiede is Leelanau Conservancys first forest reserve.When the Krumwiede family donated a conservation ...

534 W. Grand River Ave
Okemos, MI
United States

Phone: (517) 853-4608
Web site: http://www.meridian.mi.us
Region: Heartland

This 74-acre woodlot was originally called Van Atta Woods Park when the initial 62 acres were purchased by Meridian Township in 1973 followed by additional enlargements over the years. In 2009 when the final acre was added from the family of Ted Black and the park was renamed after the well-known environmental advocate. Charlie “Ted” Black (1914-2007) began his career as a wildlife biologist before conducting postdoctoral research under Aldo Leopold, the founding father of wildlife ecology. Black made this slice of Meridian Township his home and was well known as an avid birder who field-identified more than 2,000 species over the course of his life. Black and his wife traveled the ...

Frost Street
Dowagiac, MI
United States

Phone: (517) 655-5655
Web site: http://www.michigannature.org
Region: Lake Michigan

Often referred to by the Michigan Nature Association as its jewel in the crown, Dowagiac Woods is the largest MNA sanctuary in the Lower Peninsula. The 384-acre wooded preserve is located just west of the city of Dowagiac in the northwest corner of Cass County.Bordered on the east by the Dowagiac River, the sanctuarys dominant natural communities are floodplain forest, southern hardwood swamps and mesic southern forests. But Dowagiac Woods is best known for its diverse and profuse display of wildflowers from mid-April to mid-May when more than 50 species of plants will be in bloom.It was a wildflower that lead to preservation of the area when a MNA member reported in 1975 that the Blue-E ...

M-97 & Sunset Drive
Roscommon, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 275-5151
Region: Northwest

The Red Pine Natural Area covers 164 acres, but it is the 34-acre grove of virgin pines in the middle, most of them red pine, that makes the preserve so unusual. Thestand of old-growth pine is composed ofhuge 200-year-old treeswith some of the white pine rivaling the trophies at Hartwick Pines State Park. But whileHartwick Pines attract thousands of visitors every year, at Red Pine Naturalk Area youre often bethe only one on the trail.Winding through thestand of ancient trees is the Red Pine Pathway, aninterpretive trail with 16 stops correspondingtoa brochure that can be downloaded from this site. The loop path is often referred to as a 1.3-mile or 1.5-mile hike but we found it to be a ...

Industrial Park Drive
Grayling, MI 49738
United States

Phone: (800) 937-8837
Web site: http://grayling-mi.com/attractions/historical-sites-2/wj-beal-planting
Region: Northwest

To reach Beal Plantation you head east on M-72 and just beyond the I-75 overpass turn into the Grayling Industrial Park.Within this cluster of warehouses, offices and manufacturing plants, across the street from AuSable Construction and next door to the Alro Steel loading docks, is a small tract of woods.There is a reason for that. Youve arrived at a historical site, what many believe is the oldest documented tree plantation in North America.In 1888, not long after lumberjacks had turned most of Northern Michigan into a wasteland of stumps, William Beal arrived in Grayling and set up an 80-acre experiment tree station here on the edge of town. Beal planted 41 species of trees and experim ...

33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI 49953
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Most people follow the Big Carp River Trail in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park from east to west. Theybegin the day on a high rocky bluff overlooking the rugged landscape of an ancient mountain range. They endit on the shores of Lake Superior, the worlds largest freshwater sea. In between we followed an entire river from its beginning to its end.There are more than 2,000 miles of foot trails in Michigan but none quite like the Big Carp River Trail in the heart of this nearly 60,000-acre wilderness.This well-worn trail is a 9.6-mile hike from the mountains to the sea.It begins at the most popular spot in the park, the Lake of the Clouds overlook, and ends at one of the most remo ...

County Road F-32
Harrisville, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 362-8961
Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

True to its name, Hoist Lakes Foot Travel Area is indeed a place for foot travel whether your feet are strapped to snowshoes or cross-country skis in the winter or are in hiking boots the rest of the year. Banned from this 10,600-acre track of the Huron National Forest are mountain bikes, horses, motorized vehicles and boats with outboard motors.Set up in 1976 to provide a quiet oasis from our motorized society, Hoist Lakes is large enough to contain more than 20 miles of trails and a handful of walk-in campsites, making it the destination for two ideal backpacking outings for the weekend. Hoist Lakes East Loop begins from the eastern trailhead and described below is the Byron Lake Loop, ...

33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI 49953
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

This is the crowning jewel of trails not only in the Porkies but in all of Michigan and possibly in the Midwest. The Escarpment combines a high rocky bluff and alpine-like vistas with views of the parks rugged interior, Upper Carp River Valley and, of course, the center piece of the park; Lake of Clouds. Unlike the tourists who simply drive to the overlook and look down, the Escarpment Trail provides you with view of the famous lake from several different angles, and if the day is clear, you can easily fill your camera with stunning digital images by the time you return to M-107.The only drawback is that the Escarpment is a point-to-point trail. You begin here, you end up over there; 4.4 ...

33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI 49953
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The Overlook Trail offers one of the few loops into the rugged interior of the park that is under 10 miles in length, making it an ideal dayhike for those with only a few hours left on their itinerary. The trail begins and ends off M-107, climbs to nearly 1,500 feet and passes two viewing areas that provide a glimpse into the heart of the Porkies.All this on a hike thats less than 4 miles long. Dont be mislead by the short distances, however. This is still a challenging trek with long steep climbs and poor footings in many places.

County Road 519
Wakefield, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The East River Trail and the West River Trail are actually two separate paths but when combined, as they usually are, they form another scenic loop in the Porkies and the best trek for families with young children. The outing packs in adventure, stands of virgin hemlock, waterfalls and great scenery almost every step of the way along a loop that is less than 3 miles long. This could very well be the best short trail Michigan has to offer. It is certainly one of the most spectacular spots in our state. In its final mile before emptying into Lake Superior, the Presque Isle descends more than 100 feet and in doing so has carved a rugged and steep-sided gorge and filled it with waterfalls. T ...

M-72
Mio, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 826-3252
Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/hmnf/
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

Wolf Creek is described by the National Forest Service as a semi-primitive experience. Yet its main trailhead is located right in the heart of Mio, Michigan. This is an unusual trail to say the least.Part of the Huron National Forest, the Wolf Creek Trail was rebuilt in 2012 and today totals 4.8 miles along four loops with most of them adjacent to the systems main feature almost 3 miles of the Au Sable River.In the summer, many hikers begin at a bustling DNR canoe launch and picnic area, right off M-72/M-33 and within a stones throw of Mios two major canoe liveries. But within minutes of the parking lot, the canoe crowd disappears, replaced by a foot path winding through the woods and p ...

33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI 49953
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/porkiesvc
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the beloved Porkies to many backpackers, is not only Michigans largest state park at 59,020 acres but its also the most rugged and the wildest. In the Porkies you have the states third highest peak, a healthy population of black bears and an area large enough to contain entire rivers, 25 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, and the only ridges rugged enough in Michigan we can possibly call mountains.You can drive around the perimeter of the park and to its most famous viewing point, the Lake of the Clouds overlook. But to experience the heart and soul of Michigans only state-designated wilderness you need to lace up your hiking boots, leave your ve ...

Cauchy Road
Mio, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 826-3252
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

A hidden gem in the woods. Loud Creek Cross-Country Ski Trail dates back to 1984 when a group of locals approached the Huron National Forest rangers in Mio about building a trail system for their skinny skis. They formed the Loud Creek Nordic Ski Club, found the ideal tract of flats and hills 2 miles southeast of Mio, laid out a variety loops and then raised the $7,500 needed to purchase a used Bombardier groomer.The Nordic club never had more than 30 members and most of the time it was a faithful dozen or fewer who cleared the brush in the fall, built trail signs and impeccably groomed the 7.5-mile network of trails inthe winter, all to the delight of those of us who stumbled across it. ...

South Boundary Road
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Lost Lake Trail extends from South Boundary Road to Government Peak Trail and along the way passes a yurt, a backcountry campsite and, of course, its namesake lake; a small, remote, and beautiful body of water. There is some climbing and a steep descent along this route but much of it is eliminated if youre only going to the lake itself, a moderately easy round-trip hike of 4 miles.By spotting a vehicle or arranging transportation, you can continue north on Government Peak Trail on the one of the best routes across the park. The hike would be a 6-mile crossing of the Porkies that would include the opportunity to camp at Lost Lake or have lunch and swim at scenic Trap Falls if the day is ...

Summit Peak Road
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

These two trails plus a portion of Little Carp River Trail form a pleasant half-day hike along a route that is scenic but not nearly as heavily traveled during the summer as the Escarpment or the Mirror Lake trails. Throw in the 1.4 miles that people with only one vehicle have to hike along Summit Peak Road from one trailhead to other and this outing is a 6.2-mile day.It is an easier hike if you start with Beaver Creek Trail at the parking area at the end of Summit Peak Road. Keep in mind, however, parking is very limited here and the lot is often filled on a clear day. If thats the case, consider parking at the Lily Pond Trailhead and beginning with the park road.

M-72
Curran, MI
United States

Phone: (989) 739-0728
Region: Lake Huron (Includes the Thumb)

To order a Reid Lake Foot Travel Area trail mapclick here.Reid Lake is a lovely little body of water that was privately owned until 1966 with some of the surrounding land still being farmed in the early 1960s, as is evident by the open fields and even a small orchard. Eventually the U.S. Forest Service purchased 3,700 acres, designated it a non-motorized foot travel area in 1975 and then turned to the Youth Conservation Corps to help build a 6-mile trail system around the lake.In 1991 the USFS added Little Trout Lake to increase its acreage to more than 4,000 acres and in 2002 began expanding the trail system and series of backcountry campsites. Today the Reid Lake Foot Travel Area inclu ...

Summit Peak Road
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The North and South Mirror Lake Trails provide a route that crosses the heart of the Porkies, beginning from Summit Peak Road and ending at the Lake of the Clouds Overlook. The highest point is quickly reached along the southern portion, but the northern half features the most climbing, especially if you are hiking into the lake from the Escarpment.The South Trail is the shortest and easiest route to popular Mirror Lake with its three cabins and seven backcountry campsites, a trek of 3 miles. North Mirror Lake Trail is often used as a return to the M-107 for backpackers who begin on the Lake Superior or Big Carp River Trails. For that reason, it will be described from south to north, by ...

South Boundary Road
Wakefield, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Pinkerton Trail is the shortest route to the cabins and campsites near the mouth of the Big Carp River, a popular destination for many hikers. Others choose Pinkerton Trail to bypass the rugged west end of the Lake Superior Trail. The trail itself is 2.6 miles, making the journey to the mouth of the Big Carp River a one-way trek of roughly 4 miles. But Pinkerton is also a scenic walk, passing through impressive stands of virgin hemlock and crossing several bridged streams and creeks along the way.

33303 Headquarters Rd
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Cross Trail is probably the least traveled route in the park. It connects the Lake Superior Trail at the mouth of the Big Carp River with the Little Carp River Trail near Greenstone Falls. It is a 4.5-mile trek, but most backpackers choose to follow Little Carp River instead, a longer hike (7.3 miles to the Greenstone Falls) but a much more scenic route. Or if they are entering the park, they reach the Big Carp River via Pinkerton and Lake Superior trails, a 4-mile walk.Cross Trail is level for the most part but can be wet, especially in the middle when it crosses Memengwa Swamp, and at times is hard to follow. But since there are usually few people on the trail, chances of spotting wild ...

South Boundary Road
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

When the water is up or during spring runoff, there is no finer trail for waterfall lovers than the Union Mine Trail. But its a great walk any time of the year for those intrigued by the copper mining history of the Porcupine Mountains. One of two interpretive trails in the park, Union Mines originally featured 14 numbered posts that correspond to an informative brochure, a brochure that by July was often out at the trailhead parking lot. The park has since replaced the posts with 10 interpretive plaques that feature more text and photos. In short, more colorful mining stories and history.Union Mine is only a 1.1-mile loop but it descends 100 feet in the beginning, meaning you need to cl ...

South Boundary Road
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The Nonesuch Mine site includes an abandoned copper mine and the remains of a small ghost town in the southeast corner of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, just off South Boundary Road. The mine was rather aptly named, as the extremely fine character of its copper deposits was unlike any othervein found in the region and made traditional mining techniques incredibly inefficient and costly.Ed Less is given credit for discovering the Nonesuch on the Little Iron River in 1865 and within two years the Nonesuch Mining Company was extracting copper from a pair of shafts. But as a mining operationthe Nonesuch sputtered at best over the next 45 years, opening and closing five different times, ...

M-107
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Correction Line Trail is a well-traveled route that connects Big Carp River Trail, 4 miles from Lake Superior or 5 miles from the Lake of the clouds Overlook, to Mirror Lake. Its commonly used to form a loop from Lake Superior to Mirror Lake and back to M-107.By combining portions of Lake Superior Trail and Big Carp River and returning on Correction Line and North Mirror Lake Trail, backpackers can undertake a 21-mile, two to four-day trip through some of the most scenic sections of the Porkies.

M-107
Ontonagon, MI
United States

Phone: (906) 885-5275
Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Deer Yard and Superior loops can be combined for a 3.5-mile ride that will be gentle on the mind and easy on the cardiovascular system. The loop may be limited in mileage but features two of the three rental cabins White Birch and Whitetail that can be accessed on a mountain bike. This ride begins with the Superior Loop at the winter trailhead across M-107 from the ski lodge and covers the perimeter of the system.There is also a trailhead 0.2 mile further west along M-107 while from the rental yurts in Union Bay Campground there is an access trail that leads west to Superior Loop.


United States

Chapel Rd
Shingleton, MI 49884
United States

Region: Eastern Upper Peninsula

The Lakeshore Trail is one of Michigan's classic backpacking treks, a 42.4-mile walk from Grand Marais to Munising. But if you don't have four to five days to spare or the desire to haul a backpack for 40-plus miles, the Chapel Basin Loop is the perfect alternative. The hike begins and, more importantly, ends at Chapel trailhead parking lot, 14 miles east of Munising. The entire loop is a 10.4-mile walk over generally level terrain, making it either a long dayhike or an easy overnight outing. There are also several ways to shorten this trek, but in doing so you'll miss the extraordinary scenery that has made this national park so famous and the loop such an exceptional walk. The first ...

9791 N Lakeshore Dr
MI 49460
United States

Region: Lake Michigan

There is a tendency to visit Kirk Park in the summer and head straight to the beach. You park in the picnic area, jump out of the car and hightail it down a paved path to Lake Michigan where you jump into the surf, roll in the sand or get scorched by the sun. Then you go home, usually waterlogged, sunburnt and with half a dune in your bathing suit. That's why a unique time - some say the best time - to visit this Ottawa County Park is spring or fall. With no people, no bugs and no August temperatures to tempt you into the water, you'll discover the rest of this natural area and it's a gem. At 68 acres and with 2,000 feet of lake front, Kirk Park is not large. In fact, it's basically on ...

120 E Lake St
Petoskey, MI 49770
United States

Region: Lake Michigan

There is a tendency to visit Kirk Park in the summer and head straight to the beach. You park in the picnic area, jump out of the car and hightail it down a paved path to Lake Michigan where you jump into the surf, roll in the sand or get scorched by the sun. Then you go home, usually waterlogged, sunburnt and with half a dune in your bathing suit. That's why a unique time - some say the best time - to visit this Ottawa County Park is spring or fall. With no people, no bugs and no August temperatures to tempt you into the water, you'll discover the rest of this natural area and it's a gem. At 68 acres and with 2,000 feet of lake front, Kirk Park is not large. In fact, it's basically on ...

Eagle Harbor Shortcut Road
Eagle Harbor, MI
United States

Region: Western Upper Peninsula

In 2001-02 the Nature Conservancy purchased 1,531 acres southeast of Eagle Harbor that included a half mile of shoreline on Lake Bailey, steep wooded slopes and rare plant communities. But the crowning jewel of the tract was the rocky knob of Mt. Baldy. Originally known as Lookout Mountain, Mt. Baldy earned its new name because of the way high winds have shaped the vegetation and rocky terrain at its highest elevations.

North Union Street
Manchester, MI 48158
United States

Region: Southeast

The Leonard Preserve is the largest unit in Washtenaw County's Natural Areas Preservation Program, large enough to include nearly a mile of River Raisin shoreline. Located on the edge of Manchester, Leonard is spread over 259 acres and includes rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands, former pasture land and prairie and oak savanna. This diversity of habitats provides for good wildlife viewing, particularly whitetail deer. The preserve is easily explored on foot via a 4.2-mile network of trails that begin from a trailhead on North Union Street, northwest of Manchester. Trails are a mix of mowed pathways, wooded foot trails and old farm lanes.

M-72
Traverse City, MI
United States

Region: Northwest

Hickory Meadows is a classic urban trail system that is perched high above city neighborhoods but bounded on three sides by even taller hills. It offers 2 miles of unpaved paths that wander over hills, across meadows and through woodlands. Overall the hiking is easy but the park is located at the foot of the Hickory Hills Ski Area where the ambitious can finished their outing with a 230-foot climb to the top of Hickory Hill itself. In the summer, Hickory Meadows is a popular destination for hikers, dog walkers and families looking for an easy outing on their mountain bikes. In the winter cross-country skiers arrive to follow the well-marked trail system along skier-set tracks.

3799 Bald Mountain Rd.
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
United States

Region: Southeast

Can you escape in Auburn Hills, in the heart of Oakland County’s Automation Alley technology district and home of Chrysler’s world headquarters? You can in the middle of a fall afternoon at Hawk Woods. Less than a mile from I-75 – less than a half mile from the Palace of Auburn Hills – is this 80-acre preserve of woods, ponds, wetlands and streams and a 3-mile trail system of interpretive paths.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Region: Western Upper Peninsula

One of the most popular dayhikes on Isle Royale is the 5.1-mile loop formed by Daisy Farm, Mount Ojibway, and a portion of the Greenstone Ridge Trail. The walk involves climbing several ridges, including the Greenstone, but the views from Mount Ojibway Lookout Tower are excellent.

Riggsville Road
Pellston, MI 49769
United States

Region: Northwest

The 10,000-acre University of Michigan Biological Station is spread between Douglas and Burt Lake with most of it open to the public. Spread across the Station is a trail system with the most interesting paths being the Gorge Trails that skirt and dip into a ravine more than a 100 feet deep in places.

North Leroy Road
Fenton, MI 48430
United States

Region: Southeast

The Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary doesn’t feature towering dunes, cold-water trout streams or a golden beach along Lake Michigan. But it’s still one of Michigan Nature Association’s most popular preserves for a reason all real estate agents will appreciate; location, location, location. The 155-acre sanctuary and its 4.5 miles of foot paths is located within the city limits of Fenton. For those who live in and around this Genesse County town of almost 12,000 residents, Dauner Martin is a quick escape into the woods for a little trail running, to soak up fall colors or enjoy the first wildflowers of spring after a long dreary winter.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Lane Cove Trail and the campground at its north end are the only avenue hikers have to the Five Fingers of Isle Royale, that special area of long, narrow bays and fiordlike coves. This is an excellent first-night destination out of Rock Harbor for any backpacker hiking the Greenstone and anxious to escape the bustle of campgrounds like Daisy Farm.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Region: Western Upper Peninsula

By renting a canoe or joining the MV Sandy at Rock Harbor Lodge, you can combine a water cruise with hiking and visit some of the most interesting spots on the Island. One of them is Lookout Louise, a favorite among visitors. The lookout spot provides the most spectacular view in the park, but most of the mile-long trail is a straight, uphill climb.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Region: Western Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming Trail winds from Malone Bay Campground to Ishpeming Point on the Greenstone Ridge, ascending three major ridges along the way. The steady climb makes this 7.3-mile hike more difficult than most trails on the Island but it provides access to Malone Bay, a wonderful and scenic place to spend a night or two.

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Region: Western Upper Peninsula

The East Chickenbone Trail begins 0.7 mile from McCargoe Cove Camp¬ground and swings around the east end of Chickenbone Lake to the Greenstone Ridge Trail. It is often combined with part of the Greenstone and Indian Portage trails for a pleasant 7-mile day hike around Chickenbone Lake from McCargoe Cove.
showing 1 through 20 of 308

Algonquin Cross Country Ski Trail

Distance:
Loops of 2.4 to 8.8 miles
Type:
Cross-country skiing, mountain biking
Terrain:
Hardwoods and wetlands
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Sault Ste. Marie

Antrim Creek Natural Area

Distance:
2.1 miles
Type:
Foot path, Nordic ski trail
Terrain:
Grand Traverse Bay, shoreline dunes
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Atwood

Arcadia Dunes: Baldy Trails

Distance:
3.1 miles
Type:
Multi-use trail
Terrain:
Sand dunes
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Frankfort

Arcadia Dunes: C.S. Mott Nature Preserve

Distance:
1.5 to 10 miles
Type:
Multi-use trails
Terrain:
Sand dunes, forested ridges
Difficulty:
Easy to challenging
Nearest City or Town:
Frankfort

Arcadia Dunes: Camp Trails

Distance:
3.7 miles
Type:
Multi-use trail
Terrain:
Hardwood forests, meadows
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Arcadia

Arcadia Dunes: Dry Hill Trails

Distance:
2.1- and 9.9-mile loops
Type:
Mountain bike single track
Terrain:
forested ridges
Difficulty:
Moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Arcadia

Arcadia Dunes: Pete's Woods

Distance:
1.5 miles
Type:
Foot path
Terrain:
Forested ridge
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Elberta

Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve

Distance:
1 mile
Type:
Foot path
Terrain:
Wetlands
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Arcadia

Aspen Park

Distance:
0.55 to 5.0 miles
Type:
Paved trails, single track
Terrain:
Flat to rolling woods, meadows, Elk pen
Difficulty:
Easy to moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Gaylord

Aspen Park: Aspen Single Track

Distance:
5.0 miles
Type:
Single track
Terrain:
Flat to rolling woods
Difficulty:
Easy to moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Gaylord

Aspen Park: Paved Trails

Distance:
1.65-mile loop
Type:
Paved trails
Terrain:
Woods, meadows, Elk Pen
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Gaylord

Aspen Park: Ski Trails

Distance:
1.7 miles
Type:
Groomed classic skiing
Terrain:
Flat to rolling woods
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Gaylord

Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area

Distance:
2 to 4.2 miles
Type:
Multi-use Trails
Terrain:
Forested ridge
Difficulty:
Moderate to challenging
Nearest City or Town:
Boyne City

Avalanche Preserve: Mountain Bike Trail

Distance:
4.2 miles
Type:
Mountain bike trail
Terrain:
Forested ridge
Difficulty:
Challenging
Nearest City or Town:
Boyne City

Avalanche Preserve: Walking Trail

Distance:
2.2-mile loop
Type:
Two-tracks
Terrain:
Forested ridge
Difficulty:
Moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Boyne City

Bald Mountain Recreation Area

Distance:
0.1 to 4.8 miles
Type:
Dirt paths
Terrain:
Woods, wetlands, small lakes
Difficulty:
Moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Lake Orion

Bald Mountain: Graham Lakes Trail (Orange Loop)

Distance:
3.6-mile loop
Type:
Multi-use trail
Terrain:
Woods, ridges, small lakes
Difficulty:
Moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Lake Orion

Bald Mountain: White/Blue Loops

Distance:
3.6-mile loop
Type:
Multi-use trail
Terrain:
Woods, wetlands, small lakes
Difficulty:
Moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Lake Orion

Bay City SRA: Lagoon Trail & Chickadee Nature Trail

Distance:
0.9 and 0.45-mile loops
Type:
Interpretive trails
Terrain:
Inland lakes, wetlands
Difficulty:
Easy
Nearest City or Town:
Bay City

Bay City SRA: Tobico Marsh & Frank N. Andersen Nature Trail

Distance:
4.8 miles
Type:
Multi-use trail
Terrain:
Tobico Marsh
Difficulty:
Moderate
Nearest City or Town:
Bay City

showing 1 through 20 of 308
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