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

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

Last Update: 11-28-2020
Revision History

Jim Stamm 231-882-5673

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This guide provides the details for many
hiking trails in northwestern lower Michigan —
generally within an hour of Traverse City.

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


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



Click on image
for larger view



TRAILS / PATHS / AREAS COVERED (185)   MB = Mountain Bikes Allowed (49=26%)

ANTRIM COUNTY (15)
Antrim Creek Natural Area
Barnes County Park
Bauer / Polaczyk Preserve
Bellaire Walk/Bike Path MB
Cedar River Natural Area
Cosner Nature Preserve
Coy Mountain Trail
Elk Rapids Day Park
Glacial Hills Pathway MB
Grass River Natural Area
Jordan Valley Pathway
Maplehurst Natural Area MB
Mohrmann Natural Area
Torch Bay Nature Preserve
Warner Creek Pathway MB
BENZIE COUNTY (32)
 - View Benzie trailsheads
 at Google Earth
 -
Benzie Trail Guide Book
Almira Township Park
Aral Hills Trail
Betsie River Pathway MB
Betsie River Walking Trail
Betsie Valley Trail MB
Boekeloo Trail
Camp Arcadia Trail MB
Chestnut Trail MB
Crystal Lake Hills
Dry Hill Trail MB
Elberta Dunes South
Fruithaven Nature Preserve
Green Point Dunes
Homestead Dam
Inland Township Park
Lake Ann Pathway MB
Lower Woodcock Lake N.P.
Michigan Legacy Art Park
Misty Acres Preserve
Mud Lake Two-Track Trail MB
Old Baldy (Mt. Baldy) MB
Old Indian Trail
Pete's Woods MB
Platte Plains Trail
Platte River Branch Trail
Platte River Point Trail
Platte Springs Pathway
Railroad Point Natural Area
Ransom Lake Natural Area
Trapp Farm Nature Preserve
Upper Herring Lake
Zetterberg Preserve
CHARLEVOIX COUNTY (8)
Avalanche Preserve MB
Boyne Mountain Resort MB
Darnton Nature Preserve MB
Porter Creek Natural Area
Raven Ridge Preserve
St. Clair Lake-Six Mile Lake
Rogers Family Homestead
Wisser Saworski Pres. MB
CRAWFORD COUNTY (3)
Hanson Hills Rec. Area MB
Hartwick Pines S.P. MB
North Higgins Lake S.P. MB
GRAND TRAVERSE Co (46)
Battle Creek Area
Boardman Lake Trail MB
Boardman River Trail
Boardman Valley Preserve
Brown Bridge Quiet Area
Buffalo Ridge Trail MB
Bullhead Lake Area
Chandler Lake Pathway
Deepwater Point Natural Area
East Creek Reserve
Fife Lake Loop
Fisher's Run Trail MB
Grand Traverse
Commons Natural Area
Grand Traverse County MB
Civic Center Trail
GTNER on Boardman River
Halladay-Blackhurst-
Chowning Preserve
Hickory Meadows
Interlochen State Park
Kids Creek Park
Killingsworth Park
Long Lake – Fox and
South Island Preserves
[2]
Lossie Road Nature Trail
Lost Lake Pathway MB
Mall Trail MB
Maple Bay Natural Area
Mayfield Pond Park
Miller Creek Reserve
Muncie Lakes Pathway
Old Mission Point Park
Pelizzari Natural Area
Power Island Trails
Pyatt Lake Preserve
Reffitt Nature Preserve
Riley Woods
Sand Lakes Area MB
Silver Lake Rec Area
South Long Lake MB
TART Trail MB
Three Mile Trail MB
Timbers Recreation Area
Valley of the Giants
Vanderlip Creek
VASA Pathway MB
White Township Park
Yuba Creek Natural Area
KALKASKA COUNTY (6)
Cleary Hill
Rugg Pond Natural Area
Seven Bridges MB
Skegemog Swamp
South Boardman Preserve
Upper Manistee Headwaters MB
LAKE COUNTY Co (2)
Pine Valleys Pathway MB
Silver Creek Pathway
LEELANAU COUNTY (37)
Alligator Hill Trail
Bay View Trail
Chippewa Run Area
Clay Cliffs Natural Area
Cottonwood Trail
DeYoung Natural Area
Dunes to Lake Michigan
Empire Bluff Trail
Finton Natural Area
Fulton Park
Good Harbor Bay Trail
Greenan Bluffs Trail
Hidden Lake Trail
Houdek Dunes Area
Jeff Lamont Preserve
Kehl Lake Natural Area
Kettles Trail
Krumwiede Forest Reserve
Leelanau State Park
Leelanau Trail MB
Lighthouse West Area
North Manitou Island
Northport Trails MB
OWA Trail
Palmer Woods Reserve MB
Provemont Pond Rec. Area
Pyramid Point Trail
Shauger Hill Trail
Sleeping Bear Heritage MB
Sleeping Bear Point
South Manitou Island
Swanson Preserve
Teichner Preserve
Tweddle/Treat Farms
Veronica Valley Park
Whaleback Natural Area
Windy Moraine Trail
MANISTEE COUNTY (17)
Arboretum Trail
Arcadia Marsh Preserve
Big M Trail MB
First Creek Trail
Glen Park/Mineral Springs
Lake Bluff Trails
Little Manistee River Weir
Manistee Non-Motorized
Trail Park
MB
Magoon Creek Area
Manistee River Trail
Manistee Riverwalk
North Point Park
Orchard Beach Trails
Portage Point Woods
Red Hill Scenic Lookout MB
Spirit of the Woods
Taylor Norman Trail MB
MISSAUKEE COUNTY (2)
Missaukee Fitness Trail
Missaukee Mountain
OTSEGO COUNTY (1)
Pine Baron Pathway MB
WEXFORD COUNTY (12)
Briar Hill
Cadillac Bike Path MB
Cadillac Pathway MB
Carl T. Johnson Preserve
Clam River Greenway
Keith McKellop Walkway
Kenwood Heritage Park
MacKenzie Trail MB
Manton Pathways
Mitchell-Heritage Trail
Oliver Family Preserve
Waldeck Island Preserve
TRAILS
SPANNING
MORE THAN
ONE COUNTY
:
(4)
Cedar Run Creek Natural Area - Roughly 55% is in west Grand Traverse County and 45% in east
Benzie County
(MB)
North Country Trail - Mason, Lake,
Manistee, Wexford, Grand Traverse,
Kalkasksa, Antrim, Charlevoix,
Emmet, etc. (
MB: some parts)
Shore-To-Shore Trail -
Leelanau, Benzie, Grand
Traverse, Wexford
Kalkasksa, Crawford, etc.
White Pine Trail State
Park
- Wexford, Osceola,
Montcalm, Mecosta, and
Kent (
MB)

AREAS WITH MANY
TRAILS LISTED ABOVE:

Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve (6) in Benzie and Manistee Counties (MB)
  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (20) Benzie & Leelanau Counties

Special Notices about Benzie County

If you're looking for something in print, check out the Benzie County Michigan Trail Guide book.
It provides the details for over 30 trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and
snowshoeing in Benzie County, one of northwestern lower Michigan’s favorite counties.

You may also want to look at this document:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide
It provides printable maps for most of the county's trails in grayscale (a.k.a. black and white),
so they come out looking good from both a laser printer and (using just black ink) on an inkjet
printer. The maps should serve well to provide a good general idea of a trail’s route.
Print this entire document or just the trails you need.

Notes about the details on this page:

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

You might also:

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

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

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

Areas requiring a Michigan Recreation Passport:

Many state-run areas (such as state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, designated boating access sites, and parking lots at trailheads for non-motorized trails) require a Michigan Recreation Passport to use them. A designated site appears to mean an improved one, such as with a parking lot and restroom.

Several of the DNR sites and areas on this page now have this requirement. And the number of locations involved is expanding so be prepared for this at any DNR site.

See this Web page for more details.

Most scenic:

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

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

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

In the fall during full color, you will be rewarded with spectacular vistas from Deadman's Hill and Landslide Overlook on the Jordan Valley Pathway.

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

Cleary Hill is the highest point in Kalkaska County at 1476 feet. It's a hill you can walk to where there's a great nearly 360-degree view. It's said to be the best view from any of Michigan's lower peninsula county high points.

Briar Hill, being the highest point in Wexford County and Michigan's lower peninsula, and the most prominent in the whole state, likely does have a great view but until a lookout tower is put in it's very difficult to tell through all the trees and leaves. We await someone to send up a drone for likely a fantastic 360-degree view.

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

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

Very easy trails for those with limited mobility:

For those with limited mobility / walking capacity seeking flat, wide, paved or crushed gravel paths, check out the following. They may be short or long (do as much or as little as you like) but are very easy -- no hills or very gentle ones, and have an easy walking surface -- no single-track dirt paths. Many of these can also be done by those in a wheelchair. Three have U.A. (universally accessible) trails.

Almira Township Park
Walking Trail
Arcadia Marsh Preserve
(A U.A. boardwalk)
Bellaire Walk/Bike Path
Betsie River Walking Trail
(There's U.A. ramp and
sidewalk to the river.)

Betsie Valley Trail
(The whole trail is easy and
there's paved section from
Frankfort to Mollineaux Road.)

Buffalo Ridge Trail
Clam River Greenway
Grand Traverse County
Civic Center Trail
Inland Township Park
Walking Trail
Keith McKellop Walkway
Kids Creek Park
Leelanau Trail
Mall Trail
Manistee Riverwalk
(may require using a
stairway to access depending
on the section being used)
Missaukee Fitness Trail
North Point Park
(the paved Long Loop)
Old Baldy
(the U.A. Overlook Trail)
Ransom Lake Natural Area
(the western spur trail
along Ransom Creek to the
overlook at the southwest
corner of the lake
)
Silver Lake Recreational Area
(the paved walking loop section)
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
(any of the flat sections)
St. Clair Lake-Six Mile Lake
(the new U.A. trail)
TART Trail
Three Mile Trail
Timbers Recreation Area
(the new U.A. trail)

Hiking tips:

Free, prinable topographical maps:

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

AllTrails.com
  • Start with this map then move around on it and zoom in and out to explore the Traverse City area.
  • Or use the Trails.com trail finder to search by trail type by map. (Traills.com is now part of All Trails.)
Bivy.com — the best trails in Michigan
Cadillac Area Trails
Conservancies
City Parks - search for <XYZ> city parks, or just <XYZ> parks, or <XYZ> trails, where <XYZ> is the city in your area of interest.
Counties
Experience 231: Adventures – Places to hike, bike, paddle, snowshoe, XC-ski, and more in the 231 area code in northwestern lower Michigan
Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes – Places within the National Lakeshore
Get Off the Couch – Places to hike, canoe, kayak, bike, fish, and play in west Michigan (Mason, Manistee, Lake and Oceana Counties)
Huron-Manistee National Forest
Michigan DNR
   
Michigan State Parks, Forests, etc.
Michigan Trails
Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance
Michigan Trail Maps.com
MichiganTrails.us
MTB Project's Northern Michigan Trails page
Northern Michigan map to trails
Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association
Northern Michigan Trails.org
Northwestern Michigan Online.com
Outdoor Michigan.org
Pure Michigan - Hiking
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
    hiking trails
Spirit of the Woods Conservation Club
Top of Michigan Trails Council – involves Emmet, Charlevoix, and Cheboygan counties
Township Parks – At a search engine (like Google) search for: <XYZ> Township Parks where <XYZ> is the township in which you are interested. Below are just a few of many townships with lots of parks:
Trailforks.com — Michigan Trails
TrailLink.com — Michigan Trails
Traverse Area Recreation Trails (TART)
    Trails
Traverse City Area
Up North Michigan Trails
Up North Trails.org — Some of the many hiking, mountain biking, nordic skiing, horseback, motorcycle, ORV/ATV, and snowmobile trails in northern Michigan.



ALLIGATOR HILL TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

9 miles total, made up of several loops.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate — many easy to moderate hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, southwest of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

ALMIRA TOWNSHIP PARK WALKING TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Almira Township
[Added 6/3/18. Been there.]

Web page

Web page for all Almira Township parks

Trail maps

General trail map based on a photo taken on-site.
Good trail map based on a satellite image of the whole park.

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Mostly flat paved pathway somewhat following the perimeter of this township park, traveling in light woods or along their edge.

Length

1.0 miles made up to two connected loops, the main one is 0.6 miles long and the western woodsy one is 0.4 miles long

Hiking time

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – the paved path is mostly flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but very likely not as it's designated a "Walking Trail"

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Benzie County northwest of Lake Ann

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

There is no trailhead – one can access the trail at many places along its route. But there are two main parking areas:

Parking lot by the basketball court — From here walk north 130 feet or south 170 feet to access the trail.

Parking lot by the rear baseball diamond — The trail runs along the northeast side of the parking lot.

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

Directions

From downtown Lake Ann at the intersection of Lake Ann Road (2nd Street) and Maple Street (County Highway 610), take Maple Street west 1.8 miles to where it curves north and becomes Ole White Drive. Go north 0.8 miles to the entrance to the park on the left (west) side of the road. Turn in and go to one of the parking areas:

• Parking lot by the basketball court — go 0.2 miles to a T intersection. Turn right (north) and go 200 feet to the parking lot.

• Parking lot by the rear baseball diamond — go 0.3 miles to the parking lot.

There are restrooms scattered about the park.

More details

The walking trail is an 8-foot-wide paved pathway with benches scattered along its route.

This is a very nice, multi-use 42-acres park with three baseball diamonds, basketball court, volleyball courts, two tennis courts, playgrounds, swing sets, picnic tables, several pavilions, performance stage, and of course, the walking trail. Also included on the park property is the township office, fire and EMS station, county-operated recycling center, and the Veteran’s Memorial Pavilion.

ANTRIM CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail map

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

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

General idea

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

Length

2.5 miles of trails, made up of several loops.

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

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

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations

Parking area for the north entrance

Parking area for the south entrance

Directions

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARAL HILLS TRAIL (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

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

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

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

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map

General idea

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

Length

0.3 miles, one way

Hiking time

Maybe half an hour, round trip.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARBORETUM TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Easy trail through many species of trees.

Length

0.84 miles

Hiking time

30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Manistee County, southwest of Wellston.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

ARCADIA DUNES / C.S. MOTT NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 6/01/18. Been there.]

Web page

Web page
Web page #2

Trail map

Overall trail map (does not yet show the new Camp Arcadia Trail or the upcoming "Taylor Norman" Trail)

General idea

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

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

Fove of the trails are in southwestern Benzie County, generally NNE of Arcadia.
The upcoming "Taylor Norman" Trail is in northeastern Manistee County.

Road map

Road map

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

More details

This area contains six official trails:

Camp Arcadia Trail

Chestnut Trail

Dry Hill Trail

Old Baldy

Pete's Woods

"Taylor Norman" Trail

ARCADIA MARSH NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated July 31, 2019. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
(before the baordwalk)

Trail map

Trail map: sourrce #1, source #2 (improved version)

General idea

Easy, flat boardwalk along a man-made channel in the middle of Arcadia Marsh. Bowen's Creek somewhat parallels the path on the north side.

Length

0.9 miles, one way. (They say 0.75 miles but that's not correct.)
1.8 miles round trip

Hiking time

About an hour round trip

Difficulty

Easy, it's flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Manistee County, immediately south of Arcadia

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations
and directions

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

St. Pierre Road Trialhead — From Lake Street / Glovers Lake Road and M-22 in Arcadia, take Glovers Lake Road east 0.8 miles to southbound St. Pierre Road. Turn right (south) and go 0.5 miles to the parking lot on the right (west) side of the road.

More details

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

As of July 2019 – a universally accessble boardwalk has been built two feet above the former trail on the north side of the channel to accommodates changing water levels. The boardwalk greatly improves access for people of all ages and abilities and accommodates wheelchairs. They also added an access site and parking lot at the east end of the trail at St. Pierre Road. The boardwalk includes several "bump-out" areas with 14 benches, three observation platforms, and two fishing decks on Bowens Creek — one by each trailhead.

This trail is now 99% a boardwalk — starting at M-22, it crosses over where Bowen's Creek enters the marsh then heads straight east along a man-made channel to St. Pierre Road. The channel was dredged for roadbed fill for the Arcadia and Betsie River Railroad which ran along the south side of the channel (the opposite side of the channel for most the trail).

Bowen's Creek meanders through the marsh to the north. There are many birds that populate this area.and some have nesting areas near the boardwalk.

AVALANCHE PRESERVE RECREATION AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Boyne City Parks Department and the Boyne City Parks and Recreation Commission
(Also known as Avalanche Mountain Preserve and Avalanche Park)
[Updated July 16, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

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

Web page for just the mountain bike loop

Trail map

Trail map #1 – The best and official map based on a photo of a map posted on-site. The red line is hiking-only trail. The red-white line is the Disc Golf-Hiking trail. The light orange line is the mountain bike trail.

Other maps:
Trail map #2 – The dashed black line is the hiking-only trail. The dashed red line is the Disc Golf-Hiking trail (what this map calls the "Walking Trail"). The dotted black line is the mountain bike trail.
Trail map #3 – DOES show the stairs and the observation decks.
Trail map #4 – Does NOT show the stairs or the observation decks.

Mountain bike trail map – The red-dashed line is the mountain bike trail. The dotted-black line designates the hiking-only trail and/or the Disc Golf-Hiking trail.

Area brochure and trail map

General idea

A multi-use area mostly in a lovely woods with trails that go up to and along the ridge to the top of Avalanche Mountain. There is also a long set of stairs that lead to the peak.

Length

  • 300 vertical feet from the parking lot to the peak.
  • Stairway to the peak — 462 steps
  • Eastern hiking-only trail — perhaps 1 mile
  • Disc Golf-Hiking trail — 1.8 miles
  • Disc Golf-Hiking trail loop — 2.2 miles — called the "Walking Trail" on some maps — it includes the Disc Golf-Hiking trail and the western hiking-only trail
  • Mountain bike loop — 4.2 miles
  • Western hiking-only trail — 0.4 miles – it runs from from the peak to the base

Hiking time

Hiking via the Disc Golf-Hiking trail loop — perhaps 1.5 hours because of the hills involved.

Difficulty

A hilly area, the terrain is somewhat challenging and moderately strenuous. There's the rather steep climb on the western hiking-only trail, the climb up the long stairway, the long but steady climb via the eastern and southern sides of the Disc Golf-Hiking trail, and the rolling ups and downs of the eastern hiking-only trail.

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

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

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, on a somewhat parallel but separate and dedicated trail from the disc golf and hiking trails.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Charlevoix County on the south side of Boyne City

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations

The start of the west side of the Disc-Golf-Hiking loop —it's the service road going south near the southwestern corner of the parking lot. The start of the west side of the mountain trail loop is just a little west of this location.

The start of the eastern hiking-only trail and east side of the mountain trail loop —they start very close to each other just beyond the southeastern corner of the (paved) ice skating ring

The start of the east side of the Disc Golf-Hiking loop —going east near the southeastern corner of the parking lot

Directions

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

More details

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

The hiking trails...

If you want a quick climb to the top of Avalanche Mountain, from the middle of parking lot, head straight south across a meadow to the stairway – there are “just” 462 steps the top! There are benches along the way that will allow you to catch your breath. Take water and take your time, it's around 300 feet to the top!

At the peak of Avalanche Mountain the view that awaits you is well worth the effort. There is pair of observation decks with benches (and the western one even has a drinking fountain) from which you can view Boyne City, practically all of Lake Charlevoix, and even a sliver of Lake Michigan on a clear day. The peak rises to 1023 feet above sea level, or 439 feet above Lake Charlevoix, providing a very commanding view of any high point south of the Mackinaw Bridge.

Michigantrailmaps.com recommends skipping the steep climb of the western hiking-only trail to the observation decks, and instead begin your trek via the 462-step stairway to those viewing decks. Once there, pick up the Disc Golf-Hiking trail and continue your hike counter-clockwise along the ridge then down the northeastern side of the mountain.

However, climbing up the long stairway to the observation decks at the top will be a workout for most people. I recommned going clockwise, starting at the east side of the area going up along the left (northeastern) side and back of the mountain, then follow the ridge northwest to the peak. It's a much longer but a more gradual ascent.

You have two choices when starting on the east side of the mountain..

    1. The Disc Golf-Hiking trail, which is a two-track most of the way. Easier than the hiking-only trail, this trail goes steadily uphill to the back of the mountain then follows the level ridge from the back northwest to the mountain's peak. Note that this trail is also utilized by participants playing the 18-hole disc golf course.

    2. The eastern hiking-only trail, which is a single-track trail with lots of small ups and downs. For some fols it might be a good warm-up for the rest of the journey. After about 1 mile this hiking-only trail joins the Disc Golf-Hiking trail. This trail is longer and more work than the nearby Disc Golf-Hiking trail section.

On the eastern hiking-only trail and later on the Disc Golf-Hiking trail, there are scattered blue dots on trees that mark the trail and Hiker signs at key junctions.

Coming down you can take the 462 stairs OR the rather-steep western hiking-only trail (a two-track that becomes a service road) to the bottom. I think the stairs are more fun.

Mountain biking...

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

In the winter...

The hiking trails can be used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

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

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

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


BARNES COUNTY PARK

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page about the campground

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

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

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

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

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown, but likely.

General location

In northwestern Antrim County, immediately northwest of Eastport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

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

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

More details

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

Trail notes...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • There are a few benches scattered about the trails.

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

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

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


BATTLE CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Property map #1
Property map #2
Trail map

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

Varies with route taken

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, northeast of Williamsburg.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

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


BAUER / POLACZYK NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated April 20, 2020. Been there.]

This property has two preserves on it – the Bauer Nature Preserve and the Polaczyk Nature Preserve.

  • The northern (upper) area is sometimes referred to as the Bauer Preserve.
  • The southern (lower) area is sometimes referred to as the Polaczyk Nature Preserve.
  • The whole area is sometimes referred to as the Bauer / Polaczyk Nature Preserve or just the Bauer Nature Preserve.

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Property map – the original map showing the property's boundries. But for the most part, ignore the trails shown. The trails in the northern area are closed. In the southern area, Loop B has been abandoned and Loop A is drawn incorrectly.

Trail map — is for just the southern area as the trails in the northern area are closed. The former Loop B has just remnants left over, but the necessary corrections have been made to Loop A.

General idea

• Northern area trails — travel through upland forest and an old field.

March, 2018: There's an official sign by the road for the preserve. 200 feet south of that is another sign that says, "This parking area and trail spur are closed. Please use the parking area on Wilson Road." (They mean the southern area.) If you do explore this area there are no marked trails. Be sure to stay within the property boundaries and beware of deer hunters especially in the open parts underneath the power lines that bisect the area.

• Southern area trails — Loop B that followed a forested ridge has been abandoned. Loop A takes one to an overlook of the Intermediate (Dingman) River.

Length

• Northern area trails — 1.6 miles round trip (when the trails were open)

• Southern area trails — Loop A: 0.3 miles, spur to observation deck: 0.15 miles, so 0.6 miles round trip.

Hiking time

• Northern area trails — around an hour (when the trails were open)

• Southern area trails — 20 minutes

Difficulty

• Northern area trails — Moderate as it involves some short but moderately steep hills (when the trails were open)

• Southern area trails —Loop A and spur to observation deck – easy as they are flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northwestern area of Antrim County, SSW of East Jordan, east of Central Lake, and NNE of Bellaire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

The southern area includes a parking area, trailheads, and information kiosk.

Northern area — From the intersection of Cayuga Street (M-88) and Division Street in Bellaire, take Cayuga Street street east 0.25 miles to Derenzy Road (Fairground Road). Turn left (north) and go 5.3 miles to Old State Road. Turn right (east) and go 2.2 miles to Kidder Road. Turn left (north) and go 2.9 miles to Schroeder Road (making several bends and turns along the way). Turn left west and go 1.3 miles to just before the road turns north (and becomes Graham Road). Access the little parking area is on the left (south) side of the road. (Note that as of March, 2018 the parking area and trails are closed.)

Southern area — From the intersection of Cayuga Street (M-88) and Division Street in Bellaire, take Cayuga Street street east 0.25 miles to Derenzy Road (Fairground Road). Turn left (north) and go 5.3 miles to Old State Road. Turn right (east) and go 2.1 miles to Wilson Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 1.6 miles to the end (you’ll go past the end of the pavement on to the gravel part of the road). At the end is a sign for the preserve and an access road (that’s not plowed in the winter). Take the access road 350 feet northwest to the parking lot for the area.

More details

This 361.5-acre area features forested valleys, steep ridges, wetlands, and nearly 2200 feet on the Intermediate (a.k.a. Dingman) River near the headwaters of the Chain of Lakes.

  • Northern area trails trails — a 0.6-mile-long connected loop and a 0.5 mile-long spur trail in upland forest and old field. Note, as of March, 2018 the parking area and trails are closed.

  • Southern area trails — two connected loops:
    • Loop A – 0.3 miles long.
    • At the loops northwestern corner is the 0.15-mile-long spur (at post C with a <- on it)) which goes out to an observation deck with benches at the Intermediate (Dingman) River, a relaxing place to view the river, flora, and fauna.
    • Loop B – now abandoned — was 1.2 miles long, paralleled a creek, and the eastern portion traveled atop a forested ridge.
    • The trails are not marked save for a few posts with arrows.
    • This area is part of the Sunset Coast Birding Trail.

BAY VIEW TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

8 miles of trails, several loops

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Leelanau County, northeast of Glen Arbor.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

BELLAIRE WALKING AND BIKE PATH

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Overseeing
organization

Village of Bellaire
[Added December, 2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2

General idea

Paved path mostly following an an old railroad bed through the village of Bellaire and across the Intermediate River. Light woods around the trail outside of downtown.

Length

1.6 miles.

A few of many key points along the way going south to north. It's:
• 0.0 miles at the start of the path on Division Street.
• 0.3 miles from Division street west to the old railroad portion of the path.
• 0.8 miles to the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce parking lot between Thayer Lane and Cayuga Street.
• 1.0 miles to the parking area at the north end of Portage Drive.
• 1.1 miles to the center of the old trestle railroad bridge across the Intermediate River.
• 1.2 miles to a spur going west through Richardi Park.
• 1.25 miles to the Forest Home Avenue crossing.
• 1.6 miles to north end of the path at 4th Avenue.

Hiking time

About 50 minutes one-way.

Difficulty

Easy — it’s an old railroad grade.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

Just west of the very center on Antrim County and running through Bellaire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

It's not known if there are any official trailheads. But there are many access points to the path all along its route, and many places to park. Here are a few of the access points, with directions to the south and north end points of the path.

Division Street — south end of path — From the intersection of Cayuga Street and Bridge Street in downtown Bellaire, take Cayuga Street east 0.6 miles to Division Street (crossing the trail along the way at a crosswalk at 960’) .Follow the curve to the right (south) and go 0.5 miles to the start of the trail on the left (west) side of the road. (It’s just past the little State Farm Insurance office and at the northeastern corner of the Rotary Youth League Park.) No parking lot.

Bellaire Chamber parking lot (between Cayuga Street and Thayer Lane)

Parking area at the north end of Portage Drive

Parking at Richardi Park — at the east end of Antrim Street, then take the 500-foot connecting path to the east to connect with main path

4th Avenue — north end of path — From the intersection of Cayuga Street and Bridge Street in downtown Bellaire, take Cayuga Street north 0.8 miles to 4th Avenue. Turn right (east) and go 515 feet to the trail entrance on the right (south) side of the street. No parking lot.

More details

This walking and bike path travels through scenic wetlands, past the Antrim County Courthouse, over a classic railroad trestle bridge, and up a gentle railroad grade to the north end of the village. The path provides a relaxing route for recreation through the heart of Bellaire. One Web page said there are plans to extend the path south to the Grass River.

BETSIE RIVER DAY-USE PARK AND WALKING TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Weldon Township and the Michigan DNR
[Updated October 26, 2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map (based on a photo taken on-site then improved)

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Short woodchip nature trail that winds through lowland woods by the Betsie River

Length

0.3 miles
• Wooden ramp down to sidewalk: 150 feet
• Sidewalk to river: 325 feet
• Woodchip nature trail: 900 feet

Hiking time

10 minutes round trip.

Difficulty

Easy – it's all flat and the ADA-compliant ramp has a very gentle incline to it

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In southeastern Benzie County just northwest of Thompsonville

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

From the intersection of Lindy Road (County Road 602, a.k.a. Lincoln Street) and Thompsonville Road (County Road 669) in Thompsonville, take Lindy Road 0.3 miles west to 3rd Street. Turn right (north) and go 0.5 miles to Gallagher Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.1 miles to the parking lot on the left (southwest) side of the road. (FYI: Where the road turns north it becomes Wolf Road.) There's a small paved parking lot and a restroom.

More details

This is a short nature trail off the sidewalk that leads to the river in Weldon Township's Day Use Park. After going down the easy wooden ramp down to sidewalk, immediately on the left is the 900-foot-long, 3-foot-wide, woodchip trail that travels through lowland woods and comes out at the sidewalk again but next to the Betsie River. There are three benches along the way. The ramp and sidewalk are universally accessible. There's a small platform by the river to launch canoes.

From their Web page, "This park is an example of a floodplain forest community, with some elements of hardwood conifer swamp, shrub thicket, and residual effects of remote disturbance by previous homesteading. Being situated adjacent to the Betsie River and surrounded by a large area of forested undeveloped DNR property, the park demonstrates multiple species of flora and fauna."

BETSIE RIVER PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Updated June 1, 2019. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2 (from a photo taken onsite)

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

The mostly wooded trails here are marked with blue triangles. A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

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

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

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

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

BETSIE VALLEY TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR. Operated and maintained by Benzie County.
[Updated 10/15/2020. Been there.]

Web site

Web site #1
Web site #2

Trail map

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

Perhaps 9 hours total, (one-way).

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, both road and mountain bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

From Frankfort to Elberta the trails skirts the Betsie Bay.

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

Just before Mollineaux Road the trail crosses the outlet from Crystal Lake. For the three miles from Mollineaux Road to Beulah the trail runs along Crystal Lake and is compacted aggregate. (October, 2018 – a staircase was built in the Railroad Point area that goes up from this trail to connect with the northern tip of the loop part of the Mary Margaret Johnson Trail in the Railroad Point Natural Area. It's called the Charlie Kehr Memorial Trail Connector.)

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

BIG M TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Huron-Manistee National Forest / USDA Forest Service
[Updated 9/3/2019. Been there on parts of it. Many more pieces to be investigated.]

Web pages

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

Trail maps

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

General idea

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

Length

46 miles in many loops.

Some trail distance between posts...

  • 15-16 = 0.4 miles (approx.)
  • 16-17 = 1.8 miles (approx.)
  • 17-18 = 1.2 miles (approx.)
  • 22-23 = 1.0 miles (Swedish Fiddle north)
  • 23-24 = 0.6 miles
  • 24-25 = 0.9 miles (Gabriel's Horn)
  • 25-26 = 2.0 miles (Shanty Boy)
  • 26-27 = 2.0 miles (Road Monkey north)
  • 27-28 = 1.0 miles (Road Monkey west)
  • 28-29 = 1.0 miles (Sky Pilot west)
  • 29-30 = 0.9 miles (Sky Pilot middle)
  • 30-31 = 0.7 miles (The Firetower west)
  • 31-32 = 0.6 miles (The Firetower north)
  • 32-33 = 0.6 miles (Cheat Stick)
  • 33-34 = 3.0 miles (passing by 17)
  • 34-35 = 0.4 miles northwest side / 0.6 miles southeast side

  • 1-15 = 0.2 miles (approx.)
  • 1-35 = 0.2 miles
  • 2-22 = 2.0 miles (Swedish Fiddle south)
  • 4-23 = 0.9 miles (Bindle Stiff)
  • 9-32 = 0.4 miles (Barber Chair)
  • 17-33 = 2.0 miles (Bullwacker west)
  • 17-34 = 1.0 miles (Bullwacker east)
  • 18-16 = 0.3 miles (approx.)
  • 25-29 = 3.0 (NCT)
  • 30-33 = 0.3 miles (Sky Pilot east)

Loops

  • Catamount (Orange Trail): 16-17-18 = 3.0 miles
  • Corkpine (Blue Loop South): 35-34-35 = 1.0 miles
  • Oh Me II (Orange Loop): 8-9-10 = 2.0 miles
  • Lumberjack (Blue Loop North): 1-2-3-4-5-12-13-14-15-1 = 2.0 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate — Many moderately steep hills and plenty of gentler ones, too. Said one Web site, "an intermediate level trail system with plenty of both steep and long hills with a variety of wooded terrain to challenge every experience level." Steep is a term I'd use for mountain bikes and XC skiing, but not hiking. What's called Most Diificult on the maps is what I'd call moderate for hikers.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiing.
Snowshoeing ONLY if one does not disturb the groomed XC ski trails.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Seaman Road and M-55 on the north side of Wellston, take M-55 west 4.2 miles to Udell Hills Road. (It's 1.5 miles west of High Bridge Road.) Turn right (south) and go 3.4 miles to the park entrance and parking area on the right (west) side of the road. Restrooms.

More details

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

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

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

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

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

An invigorating biking trail, be prepared for many aerobic climbs. And it's well worth it for the 360-degree view of the Huron-Manistee National Forest from atop Cappers Peak (taking a modertaly steep trail starting near the trailhead and shelter and going WSW).

All trails can be hiked whenever there is not snow.

This site is maintained in winter and access road and parking lot are plowed. Snowshoers are cautioned to never disturb any groomed XC ski trails. There will also be fat-tire bikers in the winter.

There are numbered posts at each intersection and trail maps.

Groomed XC ski trails:

  • Big Wheel — intermediate
  • Camp 24 — intermediate
  • Catemount — most difficult (several moderately-steep hills)
  • Corkpine — easy (flat)
  • Double Bit — intermediate
  • Lumberjack — easy
  • Oh Me II — most difficult
  • Ryberg Road — easy

There are also many mountain bike / snowshoe trails — Barber Chair, Bindle Stiff, Bullwacker, Cheat Stick, Gabriel's Horn, Road Monkey, Shanty Boy, Sky Pilot, Swedish Fiddle, and The Firetower.



Post 17

Please note there are TWO Post 17s...!! They are about 100 feet apart. The northern one is at the southern tip of the Catamount loop. The southern one is at the interesection of the connector trail between Bullwacker and the Catamount loop. They really need to call these 17 north and 17 south.

Not very far north of Post 17 (either one) is one the two highest points in this area at 1050 feet, 300 feet above the elevation of the parking lot. When there are no leaves on the trees apparenly one can see quite a ways, especially to the west.



An invigorating loop for the hiker, 3.7 miles (miles are estimates):
  • Parking lot to Post 35 — 0.1 miles — flat
  • Post 35 to 34 — 0.4 miles (using the shorter northwest side) — flat
  • Post 34 to 17 — 1.0 miles — first 60%: a bit of uphill then flat. Last 40%: steady moderately-steep uphill
  • Post 17 to 18 — 1.2 miles — mostly downhill, maybe 15% uphill
  • Post 18 to 16 — 0.3 miles — 60% downhill, 40% uphill
  • Post 16 to 15 — 0.4 miles — all downhill
  • Post 15 to 1 — 0.2 miles — flat
  • 1 to parking lot — 0.1 miles — flat

After the steady moderately-steep uphill on the last part of 34 to 17 (on the Bullwhacker trail), take a break at Post 17 south and know that from here it's mostly (90% or so) downhill orf flat to the parking lot.


BOARDMAN LAKE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map

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

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

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

General idea

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

Length

Almost 3 miles (2013)

Hiking time

About an hour one way.

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes, too.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

The BRT (Boardman River Trail) uses this path to get from Medalie Park at the south to Hull Park at the north end of the lake.

BOARDMAN RIVER TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

A TART System trail. See here for their complete list of trails.
[Updated 6/06/2020. Been there.]

Web site

Web page

Trail map

Trail maps showing completed Section 1 and proposed Sections 2 and 3:
• Trail map 1 from 2011: source #1, source #2
Trail map 2 (date unknown)
Trail map 3 from 2014

Trail map showing completed Sections 1 and 3 and proposed Section 2:
Trail map 4 from 2018

Trail map showing only the completed Section 1:
Trail map 5 – based on a photo taken on-site

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

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

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

The Boardman River Trail (BRT) is made up of three sections;

The trail is mostly complete:.

  • Section 1 – as of November 2013, this section is complete, providing 7 miles of newly-constructed single-track trail connecting the North Country Trail (NCT) near Scheck's Place campground through to Mayfield Pond Park.
  • Section 2 – as of June 2020, the final route for the footpath of this section is still "in the works". But one can currently travel the general route using existing gravel/sand roads. Like the rest of the trail, it's marked with yellow triangles on trees and posts along the way.
  • Section 3 – as of September 2019, this section is complete from Beitner Road to the old YMCA south of Airport Road.

General idea

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

Length

24 miles total (when complete)
• Section 1 – 7.2 miles hiking (6.1 miles bikiing from Sheck's Place)
• Section 2 – 8 via gravel/sand roads. It will be perhaps 10 miles via the final foot trail.
• Section 3 – Just under 7 miles

Hiking time

Perhaps 10 to 12 hours. (when complete)

Difficulty

Easy to moderate — because of the many easy-to-moderate hills involved.

Open to mountain
bikes

Only in certain portions...

  • For section 1, mountain biking is allowed from Scheck's Place campground, through the Brown Bridge Quiet Area via Brown Bridge Road to the Brown Bridge Road canoe landing parking lot, and from there through the East Creek Reserve, and over to Mayfield Pond Park.
  • Section 2 — yes, at least via the gravel/sand roads it currently uses.
  • Section 3 — to be determined (but only in certain sections, it appears).

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. But the portions on roads – Brown Bridge Road, Mayfield Road, Garfield Road, Brown Town Hall Road, Perli Road, and Hoosier Valley Road, Beitner Road – could be problematic.

General location

In the central and central northern areas of Grand Traverse County, southeast and south of Traverse City, and both east and west of Mayfield.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Section 1 – There are numerous access points, the easist are at the various areas involved:

Section 2 — There are many access points:

  • Mayfield Pond Park.
  • Any place along the roads involved.
  • Other trailheads may be created when they establish the final footpath.

Section 3 — any of the access points for the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve (GTNER), Boardman Valley Nature Preserve and Boardman Lake Trail areas.

More details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Section 2 – from Mayfield Pond Park to Beitner Road – the final footpath is still under development. It will start by paralleling Swainston Creek, then turn and parallel the Boardman River. But one can currently travel the general route using existing gravel/sand roads. Like the rest of the trail, it's marked with yellow triangles on trees and posts along the way.

It starts at Mayfield Pond Park, goes around the north site of the pond, crosses the pond's outlet, heads WNW out to Brown Town Hall Road. From here, for now, this section uses existing gravel/sand roads – Brown Town Hall Road, Perli Road, several unnamed roads, Hoosier Valley Road, and Beitner Road. The route is WNW most of the way, then northeast for the last mile.

Section 3 – from Beitner Road to the north side of Boardman Lake. Some parts are still under development. It goes through the existing Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve (GTNER), Boardman Valley Nature Preserve, and Boardman Lake Trail.areas. Details for what the BRT does in each area are covered in that area's section on this page.


BOARDMAN VALLEY NATURE PRESERVE (a.k.a. Boardman River Valley Trail)

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Garfield Township
[Updated October 13, 2019. Been there.]

Web site

Web site

Trail maps

Trail map #1 - from a photo taken onsite, 2019. Shows just the northern part of this area, but shows both the main trail and the side trails.
Trail map #2 — shows just the main trail but no side trails

General idea

A pretty trail along the west side of the Boardman River, mostly in the woods

Length

1.3 miles for the main trail which is now part of the BRT (Boardman River Trail), 0.55 miles of side trails

Hiking time

35 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

Probably, now that the main trail is part of the BRT. The side trails likely do not allow bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Traverse City, take Airport Road to Racquet Club Drive in the Logan's Landing area (Boardman River valley). Take Racquet Club Drive south to the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. The reserve is accessed from the main parking lot by heading south along the east side of the soccer fields near the river. There's a restroom on the north side of the tennis courts and in the YMCA building.

More details

Also called the Garfield Township Boardman Nature Reserve.

As you enter the trail from the field there's post with a temporary trail map. Soon after that is Post#1 with another map.

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

This is the northern part of several trails along the west side of the Boardman River. At the southern end, this trail connects directly with the Fox Den Loop Trail in the northern part of the GTNER area at Post #2.

To continue exploring north, cross Airport Road and go into Medalie Park and follow the Boardman Lake Trail.

Update. August, 2016 – "South of the old YMCA at the south end of Racquet Club Drive, abandoned trails were cleared and re-opened, creating additional loops that skirt along side of scenic wetlands for a birders delight. The previously-established trail that follows along the Boardman River from the old YMCA to the Boardman River Nature Center is now incorporated into the 24-mile-long BRT (Boardman River Trail). which will eventually connect Traverse City to the North Country Trail.

BOEKELOO TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Boekeloo Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. The name comes from the fact that it starts at the end of Boekeloo Road and passes through the former Boekeloo property.
[Updated 7/17/2019. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

1.8 miles round trip.

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map of area

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

Extended trip and beach walk – More adventurous hikers can extend this hike to include the Old Indian Trail. Once at the Lake Michigan beach at the end of this trail, walk WSW 1.9 miles along the shore to the blue-tipped post where the Old Indian Trail comes out on the beach. From there hike that trail back to it’s parking lot (about 1.4 miles via the shortest route). You’ll need to “spot” a car here, of course. Total distance: 4.2 miles. But please do not do so unless you know where the blue-tipped post is and what to look for. You do not want to get stuck out on the beach not being able to reconnect to a trail! Also, with the record high water level in 2019, there may not be much beach here – so be prepared to walk in the water in places and/or up in the dunes a little during high water levels.

BOYNE MOUNTAIN RESORT

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Main Web page

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

Trail maps

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

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Ranges from easy to difficult depending on the trail taken

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

BRIAR HILL

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Overseeing
organization

Huron-Manistee National Forest / U.S. Forest Service

Briar Hill, at 1706 feet above sea level, is the highest point in Wexford County and Michigan's lower peninsula, and is the most prominent peak in the whole state.

Note that this is not an official trail but it follows an old fire tower road through the woods and very popular among those who love to climb to high points.
[Added 7/10/2018. Been there.]

Web page

There is no official Web page but there are several pages that talk about this hill. Here are three of those:
Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3

Trail map

Trail map — based on a terrain-view map

General idea

A path through very pretty woods to the highest point in Wexford County and Michigan's lower peninsula, and the most prominent peak in the whole state.

Length

0.6 miles one-way — perhaps 0.45 miles of it is following an old fire tower road and 0.15 miles is single-track trail

Hiking time

Less than an hour round trip

Difficulty

Moderate most of the way because of the gravel piles and light tree-fall to climb over or go around for half of the trip, and the moderately steep single-track trail from the half-way point to the ridge. The last 900 feet along the ridge is easy. See the "More details" section below for more details.

Open to mountain
bikes

No, only because it would be very difficult with all the tree-fall and gravel piles.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

No to XC skiing because it wold be very difficult with all the tree-fall and gravel piles.

Snowshoeing might work if the snow is deep enough. You will still have the tree-fall and gravel piles to contend with so it won’t be easy up to the half-way point. Past that you can try to follow the unmarked trail in the woods — at least you will not have all the gravel piles to climb over or go around. At the ridge the fire tower road to the peak will be easy.

General location

In central western Wexford County, southeast of Mesick, ENE of Yuma, and NNE of Harrietta.

Road map of area

Road map #1.

The peak is at: 44.366075, -85.67943

Road map #2 — close the Explore box and zoom in

Trailhead location

Trailhead location — at the intersection of Forest Roads 5006, 5007, and the old fire tower road. The GPS coordinates are: 44.3594703, -85.67737.

There’s no restroom, sign, marker, or any indication of the hill or the trail.

Directions

Coming from the north, such as from M-37 north of Mesick — From the roundabout at the intersection of northbound M-37 and M-115 east of Mesick, take M-115 southeast 2.0 miles to the seasonal, unsigned, gravel 15 1/2 Road (Forest Road (FR) 9784). Turn right (south) and go 1.3 miles to the intersection with the unsigned Michale (or Michael) Drive. Take the right (SSE) side of the fork staying on FR 9784 and go 0.7 miles to the intersection with FR 5007.

NOTE: FR 5007 was deep sand and bit too much for my Forester, I felt, so I went the alternate way below. But if you have good 4WD, high ground clearance, and good tires you can try this way. Take FR 5007 west 0.8 miles to the intersection with the unsigned FR 5006 and the old fire tower road. This is the trailhead. Park here off the road.

Alternate way from the north staying on mostly all gravel roads — Starting from the intersection of FR 5007 and FR 9784 (it was called 15 1/2 Road but here it’s now called 17 Road), take FR 9784 SSE for 0.9 miles to 19 1/4 Road. Turn right (northwest) continuing on 17 Road (FR 9784) and go 0.7 miles to an intersection. 17 Road (FR 5031) goes to the southeast. But turn right taking FR 5008 to the west and go 0.8 miles to an intersection. FR 5008 continues straight going WSW. But turn right (northeast) onto FR 5006 (15 Road) and go 1.1 miles to the intersection with FR 7694. (Note: at 0.3 miles along the way the road becomes sandy but is not very deep and easily do-able. At 0.7 miles along the road becomes gravel again.) At the intersection with FR 7694, it goes to the left (NNW). But go to the right (northeast) staying on FR 5006 and go 0.3 miles to the intersection with FR 5007 and the old fire tower road. This is the trailhead. Park here off the road.

This map shows the way. You'll see I also included a route taken by others — see the yellow line. That may be a shorter trip for some of you.



Coming from the southeast, for example from Cadillac via M-115 — From the traffic light intersection of M-115 and 13th Street WNW of Cadillac, take M-115 1.0 miles northeast to Boon Road. Turn left (west) and go 5.9 miles to 23 Road. Turn right (north) and go 4.9 miles to FR 5225. (Along the way 23 Road changes names a few times and turns west). Turn right (north) and go 0.8 miles to FR 5031. Turn right (north) and go 2.3 miles to FR 5008 (22 1/2 Road). Turn left (west) and go 0.8 miles to an intersection. FR 5008 continues straight going WSW. But turn right (northeast) onto FR 5006 (15 Road) and go 1.1 miles to the intersection with FR 7694. (Note: at 0.3 miles along the way the road becomes sandy but is not very deep and easily do-able. At 0.7 miles along the road becomes gravel again.) At the intersection with FR 7694, it goes to the left (NNW). But go to the right (northeast) staying on FR 5006 and go 0.3 miles to the intersection with FR 5007 and the old fire tower road. This is the trailhead. Park here.

This map shows the way.



Coming from the northwest, west, or southwest — From the intersection of M-37 and 24 Road southwest of Mesick (which is 3 miles north of 30 Road and M-37, and 4.7 miles south of the intersection of M-115 and southbound M-37 west of Mesick) , take 24 Road east and go 2.7 miles to the intersection with FR 9881. Bend to the right (southeast) and go 300 feet to another intersection. The small FR 7580 goes to the ENE. The gravel FR 7540 goes south. But continue southeast on the gravel FR 5227 and go 1.3 miles to an intersection. 15 Road (FR 5227) goes south from here. But keep going straight east — you are now on FR 5008 — and go 0.5 miles to another intersection. FR 5008 goes straight (ENE). But bend left (northeast) taking FR 5006 (15 Road) and go 1.1 miles to the intersection with FR 7694. (Note: at 0.3 miles along the way the road becomes sandy but is not very deep and easily do-able. At 0.7 miles along the road becomes gravel again.) At the intersection with FR 7694, it goes to the left (NNW). But go to the right (northeast) staying on FR 5006 and go 0.3 miles to the intersection with FR 5007 and the old fire tower road. This is the trailhead. Park here.

This map shows the way.


There are other ways in depending on where you are coming from.

As you can see from the directions above, the important thing no matter which way you come from and for the easiest way to the trailhead (mostly gravel and only some shallow sand) is to get to the intersection of FR 5008 (22 1/2 Road) and FR 5006. From there it’s just 1.4 miles north to the trailhead.

More details

Briar Hill is the highest point in Wexford County AND all of the lower Michigan peninsula at 1706 feet.

Depending on which site you look at, Briar Hill has a prominence between 896 and 1041 feet. If one chooses to measure from the Hodenpyl Dam Pond on the Manistee River, which has an elevation of around 780 feet above sea level, then I’d say the prominence of Briar Hill is around 926 feet. And if one measures from the Manistee River just below the Hodenpyl Dam, an elevation of around 750 feet, then the prominence of Briar Hill is around 956 feet. (Mount Arvon in Baraga County in the U.P. is Michigan’s highest point at 1978 feet with a prominence of 948 feet.) So Briar Hill is at least the second if not the first most prominent high point in the state.

Note that at the trailhead (the intersection of of FR 5007 from the east, FR 5006 from the south, and the old fire tower road going north) as some others have reported, there is no longer a “Street Closed 1000 Feet” sign or a Carsonite post that says "No Motor Vehicles”.

Trail Notes:

A very pretty woods with some nice deep valleys.

There’s not a lot of change in elevation, as you start at 1580 feet already. So it's a vertical distance of just 126 feet to the peak (1706 feet). Most of that comes on the foot trail after the half-way point and before reaching the ridge. If some switchbacks were put in on that trail it would be an easier climb.

The old fire tower road has no standing trees in a 30-feet-wide “path”. But it’s filled with gravel piles and scattered small fallen trees that must be climbed over or around for the first half of the trip. It’s not difficult but it is rather inconvenient. You can sometimes see the foot path of others — follow that for the best route.

At the half-way point another old road (called 22 Road on some maps) goes down a valley to the west to eventually connect with FR 9881. The intersection with this road makes a large triangle. Just before the upper (northern) point of this triangle, you can walk a few feet down to what looks like a land bridge that crosses the old west-going road. Take that and on the other side starts a single-track trail others have made in the woods that goes along to the left (west) of and somewhat parallel to the old fire tower road. It’s moderately steep and takes you to the ridge. Once at the ridge the foot path rejoins the old fire tower road. Take the road around 900 feet to the left (northwest) to the actual peak. From this point there are no gravel piles and it’s easy walking.

You can see the clearing / peak area at the end of that 900-feet-long path.

Although there is a small clearing at the peak, perhaps 70 feet in diameter, that’s enough to launch a drone but not enough for any good view through all the woods and leaves. Perhaps in late, fall, winter, and early spring one can glimpse a better view.

There is nothing to mark the peak but poke around in the light brush a little and you’ll find the four footings from the former fire tower. The survey reference marker (from 1931 and when they called this Brier Hill) is there, too, but it's flush to the ground and harder to find. Without all the brush it should be easier to find. (Others have, I never did.)

At the top you can walk the ridge to the northwest and southeast a little. At one point I did get a glimpse through the trees seeing perhaps over 7 miles to the NNE. Just enough to whet one’s appetite for more! Some say there are some “almost views” when the leaves are down.

From the ridge the slopes going down are fairly steep dropping 200 feet or more in elevation within easy eyesight.

With the return of a lookout tower to take one just above the tree tops the view from this peak should be fantastic. Myself and others are talking with the U.S. Forest Service about the possibility of putting in such a tower and making this trail more official, perhaps with the establishment of a Friends of Briar Hill organzation. What a great asset this trail and tower and view would be for the area and to all those who visit! In fact, it would be great to put in a whole system of hiking trails surrounding the hill, Some wilderness forest campsites would not hurt either.

Michigan County Highpoints

Here are three Web pages showing the high points in each Michigan County:
Web page #1 – shows photos of each
Web page #2 – with comments on getting to each
Web page #3 – with ascent reports and more

Looking at all the highpoints, as of July 2018 anyway, Cleary Hill in southeastern Kalkaska County has the best view. No other high point offers one as good, let alone with an almost 360-degree view. If a lookout tower or large enough clearing was put in at Briar Hill, I think the view from it would be even better!


BROWN BRIDGE QUIET AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Conservation District. Maintained by the City of Traverse City Parks and Recreation Department.
[Updated October 04, 2019. Been there.]

Web pages

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

Trail maps

Trail map #1 (shows both footbridges as well as Wadsworth Road correctly, all the numbered posts, the parking area at Post 7, and the short Boardman River Trail (BRT) segment from Post 15 out to Brown Bridge Road.

Trail map #2 (show both footbridges but shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly.)

Trail map #3
(does not show either footbridge and shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly but shows the Boardman River Trail (BRT) as it traverses through this area.)

Trail map #4
(does not show either footbridge but shows Wadsworth Road correctly)

Trail map #5 (does not show either footbridge and shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly)

Trail map #6 (does not show either footbridge and shows Wadsworth Road incorrectly)

Update, summer, 2019 - Using the new Brown's Landing Footbridge at the west end by the canoe/kayak launch and the Grasshopper Footbridge at the east end, tnow both he North and South areas can be combined into one large loop!

General idea

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

Length

Around 6.4 miles of trails total.

• North area – 3.7 miles of trails

• South area – 2.7 miles of trails

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

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

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

The area is about 11 miles southeast of Traverse City.

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

June, 2019 – With the February, 2017 installation of the Grasshopper Footbridge at the east end of the park, and the June, 2019 installation of the Brown's Landing Footbridge at the west end, the North and South areas now connect! One can now do all of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area as one large loop trail!!

At the east end of the South area,there's the Grasshopper Footbridge across the Boardman River near the outlet of Grasshopper Creek (between Post #3 and Post #4 on the south side and connecting to Post #5 on the north side).

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

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

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

At the west end of the North area, at from Post #13 or $14, walk south to the river, then use the new Brown's Landing Footbridge to cross the river. Go up the short hill and you are at the parking lot for the canoe/launch off of Brown Bridge Road. From here walk a mowed path 0.1 miles to the east to get back to the main parking lot and Post #1 for the South area. (You can also take another mowed path lower on the hill.)

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


BUFFALO RIDGE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Within the city limits the trail is owned by the City of Traverse City. Outside the city limits the trail is owned by Garfield Township.

A TART System trail. TART Trails works with the City and Township on trail projects. See here for their complete list of trails.
[Updated 5/10/2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2 — for the southern section of the trail from "School" road to Silver Lake Road.

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

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

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

General idea

Currently this "trail" is a 1.8 mile-long, hard-surface, ADA-accessible pathway connecting The Village at Grand Traverse Commons to West Middle School, Kids Creek Park, the new YMCA, and Creekside Drive near Sliver Lake Road. It starts by the TBA-ISD main office and conference center, passes near the Historic Barns Park and the Botanic Garden, then goes behind West Middle School, Great Wolf Lodge, Kids Creek Park, and the YMCA before ending at Creekside Drive near Silver Lake Road south of the Y.

Length

Currently 1.8 miles (2017)
The connector from the Kids Creek Overlook to Kids Creek Park is 0.2 miles long.

Hiking time

Under an hour one way.

Difficulty

Easy as it's mostly paved with only very slight hills

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes, too.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In Grand Traverse County on the west side of Traverse City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many places to access the "trail: (pathway, really). Here are two with parking:

North end by the TBA-ISD offices — In Traverse City, from the intersection of Silver Lake Road / 14th Street and Division Street (US-31 and US-37), take Silver Lake Road southeast 0.6 miles to Franke Road / Silver Drive. Turn right (north) and go 0.4 miles to the parking lot on the north side of the TBA-ISD offices. The pathway is the “sidewalk” on Silver Drive heading south.

Near the south end behind the new YMCA — In Traverse City, from the intersection of Silver Lake Road / 14th Street and Division Street (US-31 and US-37), take Silver Lake Road southeast 1.7 miles to the entrance to the new YMCA. Then left (east) and go to the southeast corner of the parking lot. From here is a very short connector to the trail.

More details

When complete the Buffalo Ridge Trail will be a 4.5-mile trail that connects the west and southwest areas of Traverse City.

Currently (2017) it's 1.8 miles long connecting The Village at Grand Traverse Commons with West Middle School, Kids Creek Park, and the new YMCA.

At the north end the “trail” (or pathway, really) starts just south at the intersection of Brown Drive and Silver Drive, which is on Silver Drive north of Silver Lake Road (by the TBA-ISD offices). (North of that the trail connects to (turns into) a standard sidewalk.) It looks like a wide sidewalk. From the north end...

  • The trail heads south paralleling Silver Drive.
  • At 0.3 miles along it intersects with the Barns Trail (which heads 0.7 miles southwest to Barnes Road),
  • At 0.4 miles it crosses Silver Lake Road and continues south paralleling Franke Road,
  • At 0.6 miles (west of the north Meijer parking lot) it turns and heads straight west to the track for West Middle School,
  • At 0.7 miles it turns and heads south along the eastern edge of the school property,
  • At 1.0 miles it turns west paralleling School Road,
  • At 1.05 miles it crosses School Road and heads south (behind, or west of, Great Wolf Lodge),
  • At 1.35 miles is a trail maintenance access road behind the new YMCA,
  • At 1.43 miles is the trail access for the public via the parking lot for the "Y",
  • At 1.5 miles is a very short spur to the Kid's Creek Overlook. Off of this is the 0.2-mile-long crushed-gravel connector to Kids Creek Park. The connector heads northeast connecting at Post 6 on the Kids Creek Park trail. Note that crushed-gravel Kids Creek Park trail is not open to bicycles and it's likely they are not allowed on the connector, as well.
  • Immediately after that the trail bends to the west.
  • At 1.75 miles the trail forks:
    • The north fork goes a few hundred feet and then parallels Silver Lake Road in front of the YMCA
    • The south fork goes a short ways to Creekside Drive by Silver Lake Road and ends at 1.83 miles.

BULLHEAD LAKE NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail maps

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

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

Assumed to be no.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map of the area

Trailhead location

Edgewood Avenue trailhead

Directions

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

More details

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

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

What the Web sites say about this area...

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

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

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


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

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

General idea

Urban paved path all around Lake Cadillac

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

CADILLAC PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

General idea

Very pretty, wooded, rolling hill trail.

Length

11.3 miles.

Hiking time

Perhaps 5.3 hours.

Difficulty

Moderate, with a few easier and a few harder sections

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to cross-country skiis; no to snowshoes.

General location

In southeastern Wexford County, northeast of Cadillac.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two trail access points:

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

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

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

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

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

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

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

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

CAMP ARCADIA TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In the Arcadia Dunes / C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 11-02-2018. Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail maps

  • Trail map #1 — Shows all pieces including the Abby's Woods spur and trailhead as well as the new Taylor-Norman Extension to this trail in Manistee County
  • Trail map #2 — Does not show the Abby's Woods spur or trailhead or the new Taylor-Norman Extension Trail
  • Trail map #3 — Does not show the Abby's Woods spur or trailhead or the new Taylor-Norman Extension Trail
  • Trail map #4 — Mainly shows Abby's Woods, the Abby's Woods spur trail, and the Abby's Woods trailhead

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Nice loop trail through rolling and wooded terrain.

Length

The main loop: 3.7 miles
Abby's Woods spur trail: 0.3 miles
The new Taylor-Norman Extension Trail in Manistee County: 1.1 miles

Hiking time

Perhaps 1.6 hours for just the main loop

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes,

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, NNE of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

There are now two trailheads:

St. Pierre Trailhead — From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 8.5 miles to St. Pierre Road. (It’s 0.3 miles past (south of) Joyfield Road.). Go south 0.1 miles on St. Pierre Road to the parking lot on the left (east) side of the road. The sign there says “Arcadia Dunes: St. Pierre Trailhead.” Parking; possibly a seasonal Port-a-Pottie. Note that the Chestnut / Dry Hill trails also use the St. Pierre Trailhead and parking area but they separate from the Camp Arcadia Trail.

Abby's Woods Trailhead — (It's just 0.4 miles south of the St. Pierre Trailhead.) From the intersection of M-22 (Lake Street) and M-115 (Forest Avenue) in Frankfort, take M-22 south 8.5 miles to St. Pierre Road. (It’s 0.3 miles past (south of) Joyfield Road.). Go south 0.5 miles on St. Pierre Road to the parking lot on the left (east) side of the road. The sign there says “Arcadia Dunes: Abby's Woods Trailhead.” Parking; no restroom.

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

More details

Named for Camp Arcadia who helped build the trail.

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

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

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

At Point E the Abby's Woods spur trail, added in 2017, connects from an eastern part of the main trail to the new Abby's Woods trailhead.

The southern tip of the loop passes right by Taylor Road – at Point D – this is a good place to spot a car if you only want to do half of the loop. The location is 0.2 miles west of St. Pierre Road, and just before Taylor becomes very narrow and goes downhill to the west. It's here that the new (as of 2018) Taylor Norman Extension Trail starts, heading down to the trailhead at Norman Road and Point F. (That section is all in Manistee County.)

Just west of the southern tip of the loop is a area where the trail offers a pretty view to the southwest of Taylor Road in a valley as it winds downhill. It feels a bit like Kentucky. The new Taylor Norman Extension Trail takes you into nearby valleys.

CARL T. JOHNSON NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Cadillac Area Land Conservancy
[Added 7/23/2019. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2 (an improved version)

General idea

A nice path through a pretty woods of mostly maple and beech with many other varieties scattered about (and signs for several).

Length

1.0 miles of trails. Mainly one big loop with one small “short-cut”.

Hiking time

About 30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy as it's flat.

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In southeastern Wexford County, SSW of Lake Mitchell and WSW of Lake Cadillac and the city of Cadillac.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location

33 Road trailhead

Directions

From the intersection of M-55 and M-115 WSW of Cadillac, take M-55 WSW 2.5 miles west to 33 Road. Turn left (south) and go 0.5 miles to the parking lot for the area on the left (east) side of the road.

More details

The area is 40 acres. As of July, 2019, the eastern portion of the loop in the woods is a wide wood-chipped path. The western portion just outside the woods is a mowed two-track.

The trail starts as a two-track from the southeastern corner of the parking lot and goes east along the north side of a row of trees. At 350 feet in one comes to the main loop. One can go east following a wood-chipped path through the woods, or turn north and follow a mowed two-track between the woods and a pine plantation. The trail is not marked but is easy to follow. There are signs along the way talking about forest management and some of the trees in the area. The trail map also shows where the tree signs are.

They hope to make an even larger loop here expanding into the northwestern corner of the property.

CEDAR RIVER NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail maps

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Antrim County, east of Bellaire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

CEDAR RUN CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, owned & managed by Long Lake Township.
[Updated September 3, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail maps

Trail map #1 – shows the main trail system as of September, 2018; made from a photo taken on-site (in the rain)
Trail map #2 – based a photo of the on-site map, then much improved and updated

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

Looking at Trail Map #2:

  • The green lines show the main trail system which is unmarked but does have numbered posts at junctions along the way with trail maps. Most of these trails follow old two-tracks or a railroad. The Post 1-2-3-4 trail, the Post 3-6 trail, and the section southeast of Post 7 and north of Point B are single-track paths.
  • There are no posts at point A and B.
  • The posts at points C, D, and E are not marked, but post D has a sign on it that says "No Horses"
  • The trail between the unmarked posts C, D, and E is a possible future trail that is suspended indefinitely. The orange line shows a rough idea of how this trail can be used.
  • The solid red lines show alternate trails – these are present and maintained but not marked in any way.
  • The dashed red line shows an "unofficial" trail where no distinct path is present yet it may still be hiked.

See the More Details section below for help with getting around on all of the trails.

General idea

Nice trails traveling mostly through woods but with scattered areas of open space, in both highland and lowland, and surrounding Cedar Run Creek. One section follows an old railroad. There's also 1500 feet of frontage on Cedar Lake and access to the lake.

Length

5.5 miles of trails

  • 4.2 miles – main trail system (green lines)
  • 0.5 miles – alternate trails (solid red lines)
  • 0.8 miles – possible future trail (orange line)

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate. Many of the trails follow former two-tracks or a railroad, or are single-track paths with relatively easy hills. But there are a few very short, moderately steep hills here and there, such between Posts 2 and 3, and just south of Point B (see Trail Map #2).

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County AND northeastern Benzie County, northeast of the village of Lake Ann. Roughly 55% (the eastern portion) of the property is in Grand Traverse County and 45% (the western portion) in Benzie County.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two trailheads / access sites:

Cedar Lake Road trailhead location East entrance, Grand Traverse County — the main entrance with parking, a bench, and a porta-potty

  • Directions from Lake Ann – From the intersection of Maple Street (CR 610) and (southbound) Lake Ann Road / 2nd Street, take Maple Street east 0.3 miles to (northbound) Lake Ann Road. Turn left (north) and go 2.5 miles to Cedar Run Road. Curve right (east) and go 2.0 miles to Cedar Lake Road. Turn right (south) and go 0.7 miles to the trailhead on the right (west) where the road turns east. There's parking on the south side of the corner.

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

Tucker Road trailhead location West entrance, Benzie County — an alternate access site with parking, and a porta-potty

Four-wheel-drive and high ground clearance is helpful but not required for driving on Tucker Road. (Sometimes in the spring before the road is restored after the winter the road is in rough shape.)

Directions from Lake Ann – From the intersection of Maple Street (CR 610) and (southbound) Lake Ann Road / 2nd Street, take Maple Street east 0.3 miles to (northbound) Lake Ann Road. Turn left (north) and go 1.5 miles to Fowler Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.5 miles to Tucker Road. Turn left (north) and go 0.2 miles to the parking area on the right (east) side of the road. (A few hundred feet before that, you'll pass by the old entrance — a short access road on the right (east) leading downhill about 100 feet to a large metal gate.)

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

More details

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

The property consists of 316 acres of mostly woods with some open space. There's 1500 feet of frontage on Cedar Lake as well as access to the lake at Post 2 at the northern end of the lake. This area surrounds Cedar Run Creek, which starts in Cedar Lake and flows through this property for 1.5 miles (on its way to the Cedar River and South Lake Leelanau). Most of the trails parallel the creek or its tributary in some way.

The Cedar Lake Loop (Posts 1-2-3-4-1)

This is a 0.9 mile loop trail on the northwest side of Cedar Lake starting at the Cedar Lake Road entrance. It includes a nice overlook of Cedar Lake at a deck accessed by taking a short path downhill from Post 2. The portions of the trail from Post 1 to 2 and Post 4 to 1 are relatively easy two-tracks. The portion from Post 2 to 3 to 4 is a single-track path with easy to moderate hills. At Post 3 is a four-way intersection with other trails. There's a bench at Post 4.

Post 4 to Post 5

The trail from Post 4 to Post 5 follows an old two-track.

Low River Trail from Post 3 to Post 6

From Post 3 go south to take the lovely Low River Trail, a single-track path that travels the lowland along Cedar Run Creek. It comes out at Post 6 which is not far from a footbridge for the creek. There's some very tall perhaps old growth down by the creek. There's a bench along the way. This is one of my favorite trails here.

Alternate Short-cut Trail around Post 4

Depending on the route one is taking this short-cut may be handy. Go west from Post 4 about 600 feet. This is Point A. On the left (south) is the Alternate Short-cut Trail. It goes south a few hundred feet then curves to the east and comes out at the four-way intersection at Post 3. (Note, before heading east on this trail, one can also follow the valley south a few hundred feet to connect with the Low River Trail.)

Alternate Northern Border Trail from past Post 4 to Post 5

At around 800 feet west of Post 4 (or 200 feet west of Point A) is an old two-track going to the right (north) a short ways downhill to a red gate. At the gate going west (to the left) is the Alternate Northern Border Trail, a single-track path. It parallels an old logging road, has been cleared of trees, and is easy to follow. It joins back with the main trail at Post 5. It’s much more interesting than the main two-track path.

At Post 5roughly here — there are two choices, both eventurally connect to the Old Grade Loop:

  • Post 5 to Post 8 — go to Post 8 by following the old logging road WSW that crosses the creek and connects with the western part of the property. It starts as a 5-foot-wide cut in the land that goes downhill 0.1 miles past Post 6 to the Cedar Run Creek valley where there's a bench and a small wooden footbridge across the creek. From there the trail goes WSW 0.4 miles and connects with the Old Grade Loop at Post 8, the southern end of the Old Grade section of a former railroad that passed through this property. Along the way, the trail goes up and down a gentle hill then crosses a small creek flowing north into Cedar Run Creek.

  • Post 5 to Post 7 — go to Post 7 by staying on the two-track. It slowly curves to the north, goes down a moderately steep hill, at Point B (see Trail Maps #2) crosses a lowland area (where there's a small pond to the southeast), becomes a single-track path, goes uphill, then later turns sharply west, goes downhill, and connects to the east side of the Old Grade Loop at Post 7.

The Old Grade Loop (Posts 7-8-9-10-E-D-C-7)

This is a 1.8-mile loop trail the west side of which follows the Old Grade (the abandoned Manistee & Northeastern railroad bed). This is a nice hike for those coming in from the west side of the property. Head from Post 11 to Post 10 to get started.

Post E to Post D — As of September 2018 this section is not finished and may never be as it's been removed from the maps. Nonetheless it can easily be hiked but the route is a bit "tricky" at the northern end of the loop. The following details will help.

When coming from Post 10, walk east 0.1 miles to Post E (see Trail Map #2 –that post is not marked)..

They started a single-track trail going east from Post E to the back (east) side of the ridge, then turn sharply to the north and walk through the woods around a mile to the meadow up near Post D. But that path does not go far. It can be hiked a short ways following hiker tags (circular silver and red hiker symbols nailed to trees) but it soon dies out once it turns north.

So for now, from Post E follow two-track that curves then heads north. It straddles the western edge of the natural area's boundary so please be respectful of that.

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

At around 0.3 miles north of Post E the trail bends to the right (northeast) leaving the two-track and the woods (where there are several metal fence posts) and enters an open field. The unmarked path goes NNE through the field, then after 0,1 miles it slowly curves ENE past the north end of a stand of trees. A few hundred feet past that you'll see Post D at the eastern edge of the field at the woods near the start of a valley.

(Should they decide to finish the trail from Post E to D, it will be mostly a single-track path through the woods and only go through open field just south of Post D. In that field there are a few unmarked posts in place indicating the north end of this section. Ignore those for now – the trail goes south into the woods a little ways then ends. In the woods if you see a post with arrows to 9 and 10, ignore it, as this is from the old map and no longer valid.)

Please see this photo for a rough idea of the route at the north end of the loop around Post D.

At Post D — The trail follows an old two-track going southeast and downhill into the woods. At about 0.1 miles along the way is Post C where the trail connects with the north end of the Old Grade part of the trail. (There's a hunter's blind here on the east side).

From here the trail follows the Old Grade south to Post 7. Along the way Cedar Run Creek crosses under the trail. (Interesting tidbit — the culverts used at the creek crossings appear to be old boilers from the steam engine days.)

At Post 7 — there are three choices:

  • Post 7 to Post 5 — go southeast 0.6 miles to Post 5. Do so by heading east. Along the way the trail goes uphill, turns sharply to the right (south), becomes a single-track, goes downhill, at Point B (see Trail Map #2) crosses a lowland area, becomes an old two-track, goes uphill, then slowly curves to the east.

  • Post 7 to Post 8 — go straight (SSW) 0.6 miles on the Old Grade to Post 8. Along the way at about 0.2 miles sharp eyes will spot The Cabin through the woods on the west shore of the creek. After the second creek crossing about half-way along there's a very small pond/marshy area. Near the end is a much larger pond, created, it appears from when the railroad was put through the area.

  • A third choice in the alternate cabin trail on the way to Post 8 — go southwest on a single-track trail that parallels the creek. This trail is 0.2 miles long and goes past the footbridge to The Cabin before turning east and reconnecting to the Old Grade Loop.

At Post 8 — There's a bench here and two choices:

  • Post 8 to Post 5 — go east 0.5 miles to Post 5. Along the way the trail crosses a small creek flowing north, goes up and down a gentle hill, then at 0.4 miles along crosses Cedar Run Creek where there's a small wooden footbrdge and a bench. Past the creek the trail passes by Post 6 and goes uphill to Post 5.

  • Post 8 to Post 9 — go west 0.1 miles to Post 9. This follows the east end of the former Fowler Road from many years ago.

At Post 9 — Turn right (NNE) and go 0.3 miles to Post 10.

At Post 10 — There there are two choices:

  • Post 10 to Post E — go east 0.1 miles to Post E.

  • Post 10 to Post 11 — go west 0.3 miles to Post 11 at Tucker Road and the west entrance.

Cedar Run Creek / Cedar Lake Loop

For those coming in from the east side of the property, a nice 2.0-mile loop hike that's mostly single-track trail is the following:

  • Start at the Cedar Lake Road entrance and walk west from Post 1 to Post 4, then a little further to connect with and take the Alternate Northern Border Trail.
  • At Post 5, go down to just past Post 6 and check out the footbridge across the creek. There's a bench there, too.
  • Come back up the trail just a little to Post 6 and take the Low River Trail. Take that all the way to Post 3.
  • Turn right (east) and hike to Post 2.
  • Take the short lake-access trail to relax on the overlook deck by the lake.
  • Hike back up to the main trail, then to Post 1, then east to the parking lot.

CHANDLER LAKE PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

None found

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

2.0 miles of trails

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

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

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

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

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

Trail Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • At Junction 6:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHESTNUT TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail maps

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

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Nice loop trail through rolling and wooded terrain.

Length

2 mile loop.

Hiking time

Around an hour.

Difficulty

Moderate — there are many easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes,

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, NNE of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

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

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

More details

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

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

CHIPPEWA RUN NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Updated May 5, 2018. Been there.]

Web pages

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Easy trail along the Chippewa Run stream and among woods (hardwoods and pines) and old orchards.

Length

1.34 miles of trails.
• The main loop and the connecting trail to it from the trailhead at the parking lot is 1.0 miles, round-trip
• The Crossover trail bisectimh the main loop is 0.07 miles long
• The southern loop (on the other side of M-22) is 0.25 miles, round-trip.
• The path that connects from the east end of Fisher Street to the main trailhead at the parking lot is 0.17 miles long.

Hiking time

40 minutes for the main and southern loops, round-trip

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the intersection on M-72 and M-22 in Empire, take M-22 north 0.7 miles to the entrance to the parking area on the left (northwest) side of the street just south of the creek. No restroom.

In winter, if the parking lot on M-22 is not plowed, start by the Empire Museum (at M-22 and LaCore Street) and take LaCore Street 0.3 miles north to Fisher Street. Turn right (east) and go 850 feet to the end of the street by the recycling bins. Park there. There's a 0.2-mile path from there going east that connects to the main trailhead at the parking lot.

More details

There are paths on both sides of M-22. There are several ecosystems represented here and it's a birder's paradise. There are also many species of trees and wildflowers. The Chippewa Run stream runs through the property before flowing over and into South Bar Lake.

The southern loop trail (on the southeast side of M-22) is marked with yellow squares on trees or color-tipped posts. There's a beaver pond just east of the south end of this trail. During high-water times this pond may extend quite a ways to the south, maybe all the way to the levee built for the Empire and Southeastern Railroad that cut off this pond from its other half to the south.

The main loop and its connectort to the trailhead (on the northwest side of M-22) is marked with yellow squares on trees or color-tipped posts. The northeastern part of the main loop travels through a nice section of pines.

CLAM RIVER GREENWAY

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

1.6 miles.

Hiking time

50 minutes one-way

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to both

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

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

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

CLAY CLIFFS NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

About an hour, round-trip

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, northeast of Leland.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

CLEARY HILL

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Overseeing
organization

The property involved on state (or federal) land, but other than being logged off occasionally it is not maintained by any organization. The property is part of the Camp Grayling Military Reservation (US Army or Michigan National Guard). It is open to the public.

Cleary Hill is the highest point in Kalkaska County at 1476 feet.

Please note that this is not a traditional or official trail but a hill you can walk to where there's a great, nearly 360-degree view.
[Added 7/01/2018. Been there.]

Web page

There is no official Web page but there are several pages that talk about this hill.
Web page #1
Web page #2 — showing the topology

Ascent reports:
Report #1
Report #2

Trail map

Trail map — based on a satellite photo then added to by me

The walking route is 0.6 miles north on a sandy road to clearing on the left (west) where there’s a very short two-track made by loggers going northwest. Cleary Hill is easy to see just 0.3 miles away as the hill to the WNW. From the road take the two-track. It does not last long and soon you are walking through knee-high brush. There is no trail going to the peak but you can see it easily and just "follow your nose" to the top.

Be very careful with your footing as there are lots of low-cut stumps and small logs, branches, and sticks on the ground from when they logged the area (perhaps 2014). These are not easy to see in the summer with all the brush.

General idea

Terrific, almost 360-degree view for many miles from Kalkaska County’s highest point.

Length

0.9 miles one-way — 0.6 miles on a sandy road, 0.3 miles in light brush.

Hiking time

1 hour round trip.

Difficulty

Easy then moderate. The sandy road is flat and pretty easy. Going through the light, knee-high brush uphill is moderate and careful footing is needed to avoid the stumps and logging debris hiding in/under the brush.

Open to mountain
bikes

No. A mountain bike would work on the sandy road but could not be used on the hill with all of the logging debris.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

No. Although both would work on the sandy road they would difficult on the hill with all of the logging debris.

General location

In southeastern Kalkaska County, southwest of Grayling and northwest of Higgins Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location, at Point B

In June 2018 with a Subaru Forester I had no trouble getting to Point B (see map). Beyond that the sand was too deep in spots to go any further. So park at Point B where's there's a T intersection with a logging road going to the right (east). Others have parked at Point A but I saw no need to as the road from Point A to Point B was no worse than any of the other roads up to this point.

If needed, here is:
Trailhead location, at Point A — where the unsigned road going north past the peak intersects with 10 Point Road.

Directions

From Grayling: From the 4 Mile Road exit (exit #251) on I-75 (about four miles south of Grayling), take 4 Mile Road west 3.0 miles to Military Road. Turn left (south) and go 3.0 miles to 7 Mile Road. Turn left (west) and go 4.0 miles to Kalkaska County Line Road. (Along the way 7 Mile Road is paved for the first mile then gravel after that.). Here is that intersection. See "To continue" below for the rest.

From Fife Lake: From the intersection of State Street and Ingeroll Road on the northeast side of the lake and southeast of the village, take Ingeroll Road east 7.9 miles to M-66. Turn left (north) and go 1.0 miles to West Sharon Road. Turn right (east) and go 4.8 miles to where the road curves to the southeast (by the intersection with Military Road). It becomes Fletcher Road. Continue southeast. Then 5.1 miles later Fletcher curves and goes straight east. Go 7.8 miles to Corvus Trail Road. Turn left (north) and go 1.0 miles to 7 Mile Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.5 miles to the intersection with Kalkaska County Line Road. See "To continue" below for the rest.

--> To continue: From the intersection of Kalkaska County Line Road and 6 Point Road (west) / 7 Mile Road (east), turn right (north) and go 2.0 miles to the unsigned 10 Point Road (west) / 5 Mile Road (east). (There are some sandy spots along the way but decent all-wheel-drive should handle it fine.) At this five-way intersection, looking to the left (west) — there is 10 Point Road headed west (going WSW at the beginning), and another road going northwest. Take 10 Point Road headed west and go 1.2 miles to an unsigned road going north. That's Point A on the map. Turn right (north) and go 0.5 miles to a T intersection where there is a logging road to the right (east). Park off the road, here. Going any further would be very difficult because of the deep sand in the road ahead. (Please do not attempt to do so unless you have very good ground clearance, very good tires, and very good 4WD.)

More details

Cleary Hill is the highest point in Kalkaska County at 1476 feet. As this is not a traditional trail but just a sandy road and then a climb up a short hill, it's not going to be for everyone. But you will be rewared with a view you are not likely to find anywhere else in northern lower Michigan – nearly 360-degrees and seeing at least 10 miles away. Here are comnents from the ascent reports of two others that have done this:

  • "I was rewarded with the best view from any Michigan county highpoint in all directions from a prominent mound, unlike many of the flat Michigan county highpoints."
  • "I was rewarded with an outstanding 360-degree panorama, the best of this trip and perhaps the best in all of the Michigan Southern (lower) Peninsula"

One can see the Manistee River Valley to the north, northwest, and west, many smaller peaks, and to the ESE the Crawford County Highpoint – see below.

A photo atop Cleary Hill taken in 2007 shows it was still tree-covered at that time. So we are very fortunate that around 2014 they clear-cut the high point and the hill leading up to it (on the east side). Had they not done so there would be a very poor view, if any.

There are actually two peaks here about 400 feet apart and both are accessible. The southern peak is around 1465 feet above sea level in small flat area and the northern one is 1476 feet in more of a mound. There's a "saddle point" in between them. (Near the top there's a clearer path through the taller shrubs in between the two peaks going up to the saddle point.) Cleary Hill has a prominence of 206 feet (the height it rises above the surroung flat land). That's not a lot, but it's enough to offer that great view.

Here is Cleary Hills peak's location on Google Maps and its GPS coordinates: 44.599203, -84.883435

Cleary Hill is the Camp Grayling Military Reservation (US Army or Michigan National Guard) but there are no signs or fences or any indication you are on the reservation. It is open to the public and can be accessed any time of year.

Crawford County Highpoint

By the way, just 4.5 miles away to the ESE is Portage Lake Lookout, the Crawford County Highpoint at 1540’. One can easily drive up with good 4WD via Annis Pit Road – the piece of it coming from the southeast via Tower Hill Truck Trail. The ascent reports say the remnants of the former lookout tower still exsit, but alas, the tower itself is gone. (Such a shame – this would be a great spot for one.) The area at the top is covered with trees and I found no view, nor did I find any reference to one online. There is a communication (not cellular) tower up there, though.

Here is that peak's location on Google Maps and its GPS coordinates: 44.578348, -84.798088

Here is the peakbagger.com Web page for Portage Lake Lookout.

Michigan County Highpoints

Here are three Web pages showing the high points in each Michigan County:
Web page #1 – shows photos of each
Web page #2 – with comments on getting to each
Web page #3 – with ascent reports and more

At the first Web page the photo of Cleary Hill was taken in 2007 before the area was cleared of all the trees. Looking at all the other highpoints it's easy to see Cleary Hill has the best view. No other high points offer one as good, let alone one with an almost 360-degree view.

Briar Hill, is the highest point in lower Michigan at 1706 feet and is said to be the most prominent in the whole state. If a lookout tower or large enough clearing was put at its peak, I think the view from it would be even better than Cleary Hill!


COSNER & BENNETT-BARNES NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 4/01/2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2 — newer map shows only Loop B. Also shows how Bennett Creek travels through the southeastern corner of the trail loop
Trail map #2 — older maps that shows both Loop A and Loop B

General idea

Pretty trail through the woods and down along Bennett Creek.

Length

Two loop trails:
• Loop A: 0.4 miles (This loop is not shown on the most recent maps on the Web page and in the information kiosk. The path for it may exist but it is unmarked. It traverses an old field.)
• Loop B: 0.8 miles — the "Bennett Creek Trail"

Hiking time

About half an hour.

Difficulty

Easy. (But there is one very short, moderately steep hill on the east side of the creek.)

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern Antrim County, south of East Jordan.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the Intersection of Water Street (C-48) and Lake Street (M-66) in East Jordan, take M-66 south 2.8 miles to the parking lot for the area on the left (east) side of the road. (It’s just past the entrance to the Wagbo Farm that’s on the right (west) side of the road.)

More details

This 131-acre area is a good place to watch for migrating birds who have returned to the area. You might see the coyote, deer, or fox that have been spotted on the preserve. The woodland, wetland, and grassland habitats here are home to many plant and animal species.

At the two junctions with the former Loop A are signs directing you to the Bennett Creek Trail (Loop B). Most of the trail travels through hardwood forest. In the cedar swamp near Bennett Creek there are boardwalks — a 300-foot boardwalk before the south bridge across the creek and a 130-foot boardwalk after the north bridge. (Bennett Creek is part of the Jordan River watershed. It empties into the Jordan River shortly after crossing the eastern property boundary) There are few other footbridges over very minor creeks. There's a bench just north of the north bridge across Bennett Creek.

The trail is unmarked save for the two signs but it's not hard to follow if you have a print-out of Trail Map #2 and know where the trail crosses the creek.

COTTONWOOD TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

Cottonwood self-guided tour brochure

General idea

Rolling dunes loop trail with great views.

Length

1.7 mile loop

Hiking time

Around an hour (with no stops)

Difficulty

Moderate — several small sand dune hills.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

COY MOUNTAIN TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Helena Township, Antrim County
[Updated 2015. Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

Hardwood forested ridge trail.

Length

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

Hiking time

Less than an hour (with no stops)

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

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

CRYSTAL LAKE HILLS (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Crystal Lake Hills” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization.
[Updated July 21, 2020. Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's very likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

1.4 miles round trip.

Hiking time

A little over an hour round trip.

Difficulty

Moderate — the trail winds steadily up a gentle hill (about 300 vertical feet) most of the way to the top. There's a good amount of tree-fall across the trail, especially on the Southern Trail, and more every year.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

In western central Benzie County, northeast of Frankfort.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

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

This is an "unofficial" trail on National Lakeshore property that winds steadily uphill most of the way through a scenic mature forest. Some trees at the top appear to be over 100 feet tall.

Please be aware...

July, 2020
The Southern Trail is no longer recommended as it's now just too full of tree-fall. It's somewhat challenging to get through and only the more adventurous hikers will appreciate it.

The Northern Trail (through Points A-G-F) is still passable but there's fair amount of tree-fill to step over or walk around. But it, too, is no longer the nice hike it once was. Even the portion from the road to Point A is seeing more tree-fall each year.

In 1990 whan I first visited this trail, the tree-fall was relatively minor so this was a fairly easy walk in the woods. In 2008 when I first wrote about this trail, the tree-fall was not bad . Even in 2018 there was bit more, but nothing one could not easily step over, go under, or walk around. Now in 2020, only the Northern Trail is recommneded. And know that there will be more tree-fall each year, so it too, will become less and less "fun". The tree-fall is not likely to ever be cleared unless the SBDNL decides to make this an official trail.

Casual hikers will not enjoy this trail as much as regularly-maintained ones. And it is not recommneded for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Therefore, this trail is not for everyone. But it's very pretty and a good aerobic hike.

Trail Notes...

This trail does not get used often but it is marked with yellow dots on trees. "Follow the Yellow Dot Trail!" The intersection for the Southern Trail at the bottom (Point A) is marked in yellow on a large tree. Two major turning points at the top (Points E and F) are indicated with yellow marks on trees.

There is no clean and clear path. But the bottom portions follow an old logging road and for 85% of the way the trail is easy to follow by staying in the center of the “V” of the shallow valley between the hills on each side.

If you are going to take the Southern Trail (to do the full loop), a compass is recommended for a few sections (near Points C, D, E, and F) where there's no easy valley to follow. And on this side of the loop there's a little more treefall to step over and walk around than on the Northern Trail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Point E – about 1350 steps (perhaps 2700 feet) along the Southern Trail – you're at the western-most part of the Southern Trail. You should see a set of double yellow dots on a tree indicating a turn in the path.

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

Point F – where the Southern and Northern Trails connect.

  • If you came via the Southern Trail — this point is perhaps 3100 feet from M-22. You can sort of spot this point by the small cluster of trees somewhat on its own, and it includes a smaller tree with a triple trunk. On that tree are yellow dots indicating the end of the Northern Trail and a turn in the loop path. It's in a flat area at the top of long valley that heads to the east (the Northern Trail). Note that finding Point F for the first time may be a little tricky unless someone else in your group comes up the Northern Trail, as well, and meets you at the top.

  • If you came via the Northern Trail — this point is perhaps 2800 feet from M-22 and is the western-most part of the trail. In a flat area where the valley and path die out, there's a small cluster of trees somewhat on its own, and it includes a smaller tree with a triple trunk. On that tree are yellow dots indicating the end of the Northern Trail and a turn in the loop path.

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

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

What do I do now?

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

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

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


DARNTON FAMILY NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Little Traverse Conservancy
[Updated July 15, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1: source 1, source 2 — shows topology
Trail map #2 — based on a photo taken on site, which is based on a satellite photo. I added the numbers so it would be similar to Trail map #1.

NOTE: As of July, 2018 the trail system is still under construction. See "Trail notes" in the "More details" section below. Watch to see when the "Trail system under construction" sign is taken down by the entrance to the trail.

General idea

Very pretty area with trails taking you via rolling hills through old farm fields, a hardwood forest, pine plantation, and wetlands around Porter Creek.

Length

Distances are from trail map #1 (trail map #2)

3.4 miles (3.3) of trails. If you did them all, round trip: 4.6 miles (4.5). The Web page for this area says 6.5 miles of trails but that's not correct.

• 1 to 2: 0.43 miles (0.40)
• 2 to 3 short way: 0.36 miles (0.34)
• 2 to 3 long way: 0.52 miles (0.42)
• 3 to 4: 0.25 miles
• 4 to 5: 0.55 miles
• 5 to 6 short way: 0.27 miles (0.30)
• 5 to 6 long way: 0.66 miles (0.50)
• 6 to 7: maybe 0.06 miles
• Loop at 7: 0.30 miles

This is an “out and back” trail with two alternate routes along the way between Posts 2 & 3 and between Posts 5 & 6, as well as a loop past Post 7.

Hiking time

2.3 hours round trip if you did all of the pieces

Difficulty

Moderately easy going up and down relatively easy rolling hillds

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but not likely

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

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

More details

205 acres. The trails here take you through rolling terrain and varied habitats, including a mix of old hay fields, northern hardwood forests, pine plantations, and conifer swamp wetlands surrounding an unnamed stream and Porter Creek– a trout stream and important tributary to Lake Charlevoix. Expect sweeping views of the surrounding valleys. Quoting a friend, "It is gorgeous! Rolling hill farm country with a very nice trail system and some great views."

This area is part of the Sunset Coast Birding Trail.

Trail notes...

As of July, 2018 the trail system is still under construction. There are a few short boardwalks at the beginning of the trail. Between Posts 1 and 2 the trail climbs steadily uphill. Between Posts 1 and 3 is mostly meadow and there's a mowed path through the grasses, the trail is marked with blue-tipped posts, and there's a post at each numbered point. Along the way there are very pretty views of the surrounding hills, valleys, and farms.

Between Post 3 and Post 4 (which is not in place yet) the single-track trail is mostly in the woods and not marked in any way. Two-thirds of the way between Posts 3 and 4, at the eastern-most part of that section the trail dies out at the SSW side of a small valley (of ferns in the summer). If you cross from one side of the valley to the other, yor can head northwest via an old two-track. to where Post 4 will be – there are some stone foundations of two small former structures just to the west of where I think it will go on an old two-track (which appears to be an extension of Dyer Road).

Using the satellite image aspect of Trail map #2 you might be able to find your way to an open field north of Post 4. But for now it's likely best to turn around at the small valley perhaps 0.15 miles post Post 3.


DEEPWATER POINT NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, owned & managed by Acme Township.
[Added August 3, 2019. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: sourrce #1, source #2 (improved)

General idea

Easy trails through nice forest and old pine plantation to woodsy yet sandy Lake Michigan shore.

Length

0.7 miles of trails

Hiking time

Less than 30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – it’s mosly all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, immediately north of Acme, ENE of Traverse City, on the east side of East Bay.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations
and directions

Shore Road Trailhead — From the intersection of US-31 and westbound M-72 in Acme, take US-31 north 0.1 miles to Acme Road. Turn left (north) and go 740 feet (2 blocks) to Shore Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.2 miles to where the road turns to the north. There’s a parking lot on the left (south) side of the road.

More details

From the GTRLC Web page, "The 17 acre property also includes trails that meander through mesic northern forest and aging pine plantation. There’s 1000 feet of undeveloped frontage on East Grand Traverse Bay. The shore is beautiful & rustic making it a nice stop for kayakers touring East Bay. The shore is only a short walk from the parking area making it a great place to explore on foot or enjoy a quiet day at the beach."

Nice tall pines, here. Some of the main paths are wider and covered in wood chips; others are just single-track trails. The trails are fairly easy to follow and there are some blus dots on trees for the main trails. Near the shore expect a very short bit of downhill. In the southeastern corner of the property are some more "rugged" trails over to the shore. There's a fair amount of foliage at the shore but you will find some sandy spots, too.

DeYoung NATURAL AREA on CEDAR LAKE

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Leelanau County, NNW of Greilickville.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

More details

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

• East side –

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

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

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

• West side –

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


DRY HILL TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail map

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

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

10 mile loop

Hiking time

Perhaps 5 hours

Difficulty

Moderate – there are many easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, northeast of Arcadia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

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

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

More details

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

DUNES TRAIL to LAKE MICHIGAN

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

3.5 miles round-trip

Hiking time

3 to 4 hours

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location (at the foot of the Dune Climb)

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

EAST CREEK RESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

Varies with route taken

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Northern loop trailhead —

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

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

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

More details

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

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

Notes about the Southern loop trail...

There are now trail maps at each junction.

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

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

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

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

Notes about the Northern loop trail...

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

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

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

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

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


ELBERTA DUNES SOUTH NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Owned and managed by the Village of Elberta. Protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 10/15/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Rough Trail map

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

In western central Benzie County, immediately south of Elberta.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

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

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

ELK RAPIDS DAY PARK / WALK of ART

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Day Park
Web page #1
Web page #2

Walk of Art
Web page
Brochure

Trail map

Trail map (based on the May, 2016 brochure)

General idea

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

Length

Around 0.8 miles of paths and trails

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

Easy – the paths are mostly flat with few easy hills

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown, but likely yes

General location

In southwestern Antrim County, just south of Elk Rapids

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

1.5 mile round trip.

Hiking time

About an hour.

Difficulty

Moderate – a few easy to moderate hills.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern corner of Leelanau County, south of Empire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

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

FINTON NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Updated August 9, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source #1. source #2

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

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

Length

0.6 miles round trip

Hiking time

18 minutes

Difficulty

Easy, it's flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, northeast of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

More details

This is a wide path, an old two-track, actually, in a pretty woods. The trail is marked with purple blazes on trees.

"A magical walk through a place of purity." There are cedars, hemlocks, and white birches. Many of the birches here are covered with lichen, which are sensitive to air pollution, so an abundance of lichen indicates clean air. Historical high water levels caused the soil here to bog up and slide away. You’ll also notice boulders deposited by retreating glaciers and the raised ridges running along the ground that indicate past lake levels of Lake Michigan.

FIRST CREEK NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Village of Copemish
[Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

1 mile loop.

Hiking time

25 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – trail is flat the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

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

FISHER'S RUN TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Long Lake Township
[Updated 5/09/2020. Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

Trail map – based on a photo taken on-site, but then improved.

General idea

Easy hike through pretty woods.

Length

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

Hiking time

30 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – trail is mostly flat the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

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

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

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

More details

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

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

As the trail is used a lot by bikers, the first few inches of topsoil is missing and there a A LOT of exposed "tree feet"!

FRUITHAVEN NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

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

Aerial map

Aerial map

Trail map

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

Moderate – many easy hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, southeast of Frankfort.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FULTON PARK (NATURAL AREA)

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

Roughly 0.3 miles

Hiking time

About 20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but likely not

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

GLACIAL HILLS PATHWAY and NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

GTRLC Web page
Friends of Glacial Hills Web sie

Trail map

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

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

General idea

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

Length

31.5 miles of trails in several loops.

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

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

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

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

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

In western central Antrim County, northwest of Bellaire.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

At each access site...

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

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

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


GLEN PARK / ONEKAMA MINERAL SPRINGS

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Overseeing
organization

Onekama Township
[Added 5/05/2020. Been there.]

Web page

PDF document for park – source 1, source 2
Web page – for the historical marker

Trail map

Rough trail map (based on a satellite image I drew upon.)

General idea

Very pretty loop trail paralleling the spring-fed Glen Creek in a nice hilly woods.

Length

0.7 miles

Hiking time

25 minutes

Difficulty

Moderate, as there we some moderately steep sections and one very short strenuous piece.

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes but some parts might be a bit challenging for XC-skiers

General location

In western central Manistee County, less than 0.5 mile northwest of downtown Onekama, not far from the north shore of Portage Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

Main trailhead and parking – From the intersection of Main Street (M-22) and Mill Street in downtown Onekama, take Main Street 0.4 miles northwest to 4th Avenue. Turn right (northeast) and go 330 feet to a tiny parking area for the park on the left (northwest) side of the road. Parking for a handul of cars. No restroom.

There is also access to the upland trail about 0.2 miles further up 4th Avenue. Parking for a few cars. No restroom.

More details

The trail is not marked, but it’s a relatively easy-to-follow single-track trail through the woods. Going clockwise, start out by down a few steps then crossing a small footbridge over Glen Creek. This western half of the trail stays close to the creek. There are few boardwalks where needed over wet areas. A little over 0.1 miles along there’s another footbridge over the creek to the other side. There’s a small pavilion-like structure over the mineral springs. But there’s no getting to the upland trail from here (unless you’re a mountain goat), so cross back over the bridge to continue.

Somewhere around 0.3 miles along you’ll come to an area above where the spring arises from underground, and so are able to loop around and go to the other side of the creek.

Soon you’ll become fairly high above the creek on its eastern side. There is one point where this trail crosses a ravine and there a very short strenuous piece. But there’s a moderately steep switch-back up the tiny valley that can be used to avoid the steep part.

Roughly half way along on this upland trail is a somewhat short set of stairs leading up to the alternate access on 4th Avenue. Not too far past that one can see the second footbridge and the small roof over the mineral springs. It’s easy to see where kids slid down the hillside to get down to that. (It won’t be easy getting back up!). Continuing on, you’ll slowly come down from the hill to wind up at the main trailhead by the first bridge.

There are several benches along the way. There’s a historical marker at the trailhead talking about this area and the springs.

From some Web pages about the area...

"Originally known as Onekama Springs because of the mineral water that bubbled up in and around the area, the site was purchased by lumberman Augustine W. Farr in 1880. In 1882, he deeded it to the Onekama Lumber Company, of which he was president; Farr and Charles Secor, treasurer of the Lumber Company, were both active in the development of the Glen, where the first bona fide resort in Manistee County rose and fell during the late 1800's.

“Several natural springs were discovered and upon testing, it was discovered the water contained sizable amounts of bicarbonates of lime, magnesia, iron, and soda. It was reported these properties gave the mineral water exceptional medicinal qualities. In an effort to develop this resource (and to increase the value of adjoining lakefront properties) the Onekama Lumber Company commenced construction of a large resort hotel near the springs. This brought people from all around the country to experience what was believed to be the rare combinations of the curative and health-giving properties of the springs."

"The area around the springs was platted Glen Park in 1916 and was later deeded back to Onekama Township for public access. Today, Glen Springs is one of the most picturesque places in Michigan."


GOOD HARBOR BAY TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
[Updated June 29, 2019. Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

2.8 mile loop

Hiking time

A little over an hour.

Difficulty

Easy – Flat the whole way. There are some tree roots to watch for especially on the soutthern leg.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

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

More details

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

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

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

Update, June, 2019 — with Lake Michigan being very high this year, the water table has risen. Add to that spring and early summer rains — both have caused the wetland "ponds" in this area to be even wetter, larger, and deeper. The whole trail is doable with one detour — just over half-way along but before the footbridge on the eastern leg is a long, narrow seasonal pond that's very high this spring and early summer, flooding the path and boardwalks there. But not to worry, as there is a single-track detour trail going around the pond to the west. Follow the small red and orange flags. A few other spots to watch 1) water was near the bottom of the footbridge on the eastern leg, but nothing to worry about, and 2) water was up to the bottom of the boardwalk on the western leg. but it's still doable.

GRAND TRAVERSE COMMONS NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by the Grand Traverse Conservation District and Garfield Township.
[Updated April 30, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2
Trail map #2: source #1, source #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4
Trail map #5

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More details

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

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY CIVIC CENTER TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by the Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation
[Updated April 30, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

1.0 miles long

Hiking time

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – it’s mostly flat but there are a few slight hills on the western portion

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location

The path can be accessed many places along its route. Perhaps the best parking spot for the path is off of Titus Avenue at the south end.

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

Directions

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

More details

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

Called a trail, it's actually a paved path around the perimeter of an urban park, mostly in trees – a mixture of hardwoods and pines. There's a footbridge on the western portion over an entrance road.

GRASS RIVER NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Main Web site for the area
Web page #2

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

7.5 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Main parking location by the nature center

Directions

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

GREEN POINT DUNES NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Updated 10/17/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

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

Length

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

Hiking time

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

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Benzie County, south of Elberta.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

GREENAN BLUFFS TRAIL (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

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

General idea

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

Length

1.65 miles, one way, 3.3 miles round trip.

Hiking time

Around 2 hours, round trip.

Difficulty

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

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

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

More details

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

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

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

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

GTNER (BOARDMAN RIVER NORTH and SOUTH AREAS)

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Overseeing
organization

This area is officially known as the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve (GTNER) and is managed by the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
[Updated October 13, 2019. Been there.]

Web site

Main Web page
Keystone Rapids & Boardman Pond Trails
Sabin & Beaver Pond Trails

Trail map

Overall trail maps

  • Trail map #1 – From 10/2019 after the the dam removals, showing all the new trails, especially those just south and north of Cass Road. It also shows the BRT (Boardman River Trail) as it travels completely through this area. It does NOT show any of the the numbered posts, unfortunately. This map is based on thie trail map from the main Web page then corrected and improved.
  • Trail map #2 – old map from before the dam and pond removals but showing all the numbered posts.
    • source #1 – original version
    • source #2 – improved version showing Post #25 in its NEW location

North-end trails (north of Cass Road and on the west side of the river).

  • Fox Den section map (north of former Sabin Dam)
  • Sabin Pond section map (south of former Sabin Dam)
  • Beaver Pond section map (just north of Cass Road) – this section has changed quite a bit with the removal of the Boardman Dam. Most notably, the removal of the beaver dam and the rerouting of the trail to the west siide of the river and going under the new Cass Road bridge. See Trail Map #1.

  • NOTE: See the UPDATES in the More details section below about the changing trails.

South-end trails (south of Cass Road):

  • Boardman Pond section map – on the west side of the river. With the removal of the Boardman Dam the pond is now gone. This trail here is still in place and now, to the north, it connects with the trail in Beaver Pond section, and to the south, it no longer ends at Post #15 but keeps going. connecting with the trail in the Oleson Bridge .
  • Oleson Bridge Trail – map #1 and map #2 – on the west side of the river. What's not shown in these maps is the new connection, just north of Post #24, to the Boardman Pond section trail up at Post #15. But that's shown on Trail Map #1.
  • Lone Pine section map – a spur going north from Post #18 on the east side of the river
  • Keystone Rapids section map – on the east side of the river. This trail connects to the Oleson Bridge Trail at the Oleson Bridge. What's missing is the Meadow Trail that somewhat parallels the Keystone Rapids Trail to the east but is shown on Trail Map #1.

  • Lone Pine, Oleson Bridge, and Keystone Rapids sections – map #1 and map #2 – old maps before the dam removals.

  • NOTE: See the UPDATES in the More details section below about the changing trails.

General idea

Several miles of trails along the Boardman River, mostly in the woods, broken into two sections, north and south of Cass Road

Length

North-end trails (north of Cass Road) — three connecting trail loops that are 1.4 miles one-way.

  • Fox Den Trail: 0.4 miles one-way from Post #5 to Post 2
  • Sabin Pond Trail: 0.5 miles one-way from Post #9 to Post #5
  • Beaver Pond Trail: around 0.5 miles one-way following this route: Post #9, 10, 11, 12 to Cass Road bridge

South-end trails (south of Cass Road) — five trails that cover 3.6 miles one-way.

  • Boardman Pond Trail: around 1.2 miles one-way, from Cass Road to the connection with the Oleson Bridge Trail north of Post #24
  • Oleson Bridge Trail: 0.8 miles one-way
  • Lone Pine Trail: 0.8 miles one-way (from post #18 to Post #16)
  • Keystone Rapids Trail: 0.4 miles one-way
  • Meadow Trail: < 0.4 miles one-way

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Mostly easy – the trails are mostly flat, but there are many small hills (some moderately steep) and some boardwalks along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

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

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

NOTE: See the UPDATES in the More details section below about the changed trails.

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

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

  • 1.5 miles south of Airport Road to the entrance for the Grand Traverse Conservation District on the left (east) side of the road. Restrooms, drinking fountain. Grand Traverse Conservation District office and Bpardman River Nature Center parking lot. Use this to access to the Fox Den Loop and Sabin Pond Loop trails.

  • 2.1 miles south of Airport Road to the entrance to the parking lot on the left (north) side of Cass Road. Meadows Pavilion trailhead and parking lot. Pavilion and picnic tables but no restroom. Start at Post #9 to access to the Sabin Pond trail (and north on the BRT) and Beaver Pond trail. To go south on the BRT, from the southeastern coner of the parking lot, follow the small gravel road southeast a short ways; soon the BRT heads straight south near the edge of the woods.

  • 2.5 miles south of Airport Road to just after it crosses the river to the parking lot on the north side of Cass Road. Or use the parking on the parking lot on the south side of Cass Road. Use either lot to access the Beaver Pond and Boardman Pond section trails. To do so, walk across the Cass Road bridge. On the north side, at the west end of the guardrail, is a small, brown GTNER sign. From here walk 50 feet north to connect with the trail. It's label BRT (Boardman River Trail) with a yellow-tipped post. To the left (northwest) is the Beaver Pond trail section. To the right (southeast) is the Boardman Pond trail section.

  • 2.6 miles, crossing the Boardman River, to Keystone Road. Turn right (south) and go:
    • 1.0 miles to the Lone Pine trailhead and parking lot on the right (west) site of the road. From here you have access to the middle of the Lone Pine Trail.
    • 1.3 miles to the Oleson Bridge trailhead and parking lot on the right (west) site of the road. From here you have access to the Lone Pine Trail (southern end), the Oleson Bridge Trail, the Keystone Rapids Trail (northern end), and the Meadow Trail (northern end).
    • 1.8 miles to the Keystone Rapids trailhead and parking lot on the right (northwest) site of the road. (Note that Keystone Road becomes Beitner Road as it curves slowly west.) There's a restroom at the southeast parking lot. From here via to opening in the wooden fence is access to the southern end of Keystone Rapids Trail and the Meadow Trail.

More details

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

Please note that the BRT (Boardman River Trail) weaves its way through this whole area and is marked with downward-pointing yellow triangles painted on trees (or orange triangular markers) and yellow-tipped posts. In some cases it shares existing trails or parallels existing trails, and some places it is the ONLY trail.

North-end trails (north of Cass Road):

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

While in the Sabin Dam area, be sure to visit the Boardman River Nature Center.

From the Nature Center and Post #5, take the stairs and/or follow the service road down to the river by the former Sabin Dam site where there's a platform. From here the Fox Den Loop Trail goes off from the left (north). Then at Post #3 going clockwise, it crosses Jack's Creek and then a cattail marsh via a long boardwalk, then returns to the Sabin Dam area but closer to the river. On the north end of the loop north of Post #2, it connects directly to the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve, a trail that continues along the west side of the river to the YMCA just south of Airport Road in Traverse City. The BRT uses the east part of the Fox Den Loop from Post #3 to Post #2. Bikes are allowed on the BRT part.

Also from the Sabin Dam area, the Sabin Pond Trail goes to the right (south) along the west side of the river. AAt its south end it connects to the Beaver Pond Trail which also continues south to Cass Road.

From Post #6 by the Nature Center to Post #9 at the Meadows Pavilion, there is a new trail that's part of the BRT. It uses the upland part of the Sabin Pond Loop and is sometimes under the power lines. It's marked with yellow-tipped posts and yellow downward-pointing triangles. At Post #7 it rejoins the main trail.

UPDATE: August, 2019: In 2018 they have removed the Sabin Dam and the Sabin Pond and reworked the area both north and south of the dam all the way down to Cass Road. They have rerouted the river through its original river bed. Access to the Fox Den Loop Trail is very similar to before the dam removal. Post #4 was taken down but there's a small plaform by the river about where it should be. Access to the Sabin Pond Loop Trails going south from the former Sabin Dam area is as before.

UPDATE: May, 2019: In 2017 they removed the Boardman Dam at Cass Road and the Boardman Pond south of the road, and reworked the area both north and south of the dam. They have rerouted the river through its original river bed on the far west side of the former split channel and through the former Beaver Pond. There's a new bridge over the river. Access to the Beaver Pond Trail from the Cass Road parking lots has changed, see the "Trailhead locations and directions" section above.

At the northwestern corner of the southern loop just west of the footbridge of the Beaver Pond Trail, there's a new BRT trail piece that goes from there north to the Meadows Pavilion near Post #9.

At the western end of the southern loop of the Beaver Pond Trail, the old trail is still there but is now harder to find, and there's a new trail just west of that with a nice footbridge over a creek.

From the southwestern part of the southern loop of the Beaver Pond Trail, the trail continues and goes under Cass Road on the west side of the river. It connects with the Boardman Pond section trail, This trail is part of the BRT and is marked with downward-pointing yellow triangles on trees and yellow-tipped posts.

South-end trails (south of Cass Road):

This southern half of the GTNER area contains four trails which connect to each other, and go along the Boardman River from Cass Road south to the Beitner Bridge (at the east end of Beitner Road).

The Boardman Pond section trail...

UPDATE: May, 2019: In 2017 they removed the Boardman Dam at Cass Road and the Boardman Pond south of the road, and reworked the area both north and south of the dam. They have rerouted the river through its original river bed on the far west side of the former split channel. There's a new road bridge over the river. Access to the Boardman Pond section trail from the Cass Road parking lots has changed, see the "Trailhead locations and directions" section above.

UPDATE: September, 2019: The Boardman Pond section trail now goes under the Cass Road bridge on the west side of the river and continues all the way to the Oleson Bridge Trail, connecting at Post #25. Along the way it uses part of a gravel road, part of the former Boardman Pond Trail, and some new trail pieces. As this trail is part of the BRT, it's marked with downward-pointing triangles on trees and yellow-tipped posts. Sometimes the biking part of the trail is separate from the hiking part.

At the southern end, it's hard to see the intersection of this trail and the Oleson Bridge Trail, as you are out in the open under some major power lines and there are no markers other than the post you just went by for the BRT. But walk east under the power lines and soon should see Post #25. Now you are the northwestern area of the major loop of the Oleson Bridge Trail. The BRT part of the trail heads south from here to Post #24 and beyond.

The Oleson Bridge Trail is aptly named as via the Oleson foot bridge it connects the Oleson Bridge Trail with both the Lone Pine Trail and the Keystone Rapids Trail (going south from the bridge) on the east side of the river.

The Lone Pine Trail is a spur that starts at Post #18 near the Oleson Bridge and goes along the east side of the river for 0.8 miles, then ends at Post $16.

The Keystone Rapids Trail goes along the east side of the river from the Oleson Bridge Trail at Post #21 at its north end to the Keystone Rapids trailhead, Post #26, and parking lot at Beitner Bridge (at Beitner Road) on its south end. It's along this stretch that you'll find the "famous" Keystone Rapids.

The Meadow Trail, at the north end starts at the canoe/kayak launch turn-around at the Oleeon Bridge trailhead just east of Post #20. It somewhat parallels the Keystone Rapids Trail but goes through meadow and woods on the east side up above the river and ends at the Keystone Rapids trailhead. It's part of the BRT that travels through this area. It's marked with downward-pointing triangles on trees and yellow-tipped posts

Once section 2 of the Boardman River Trail (BRT) is complete coming from Mayfield area, it will come out at the Keystone Rapids trailhead.

For fun, see also the Brown Bridge Quiet Area for trails much further upstream on the Boardman River along the former Brown Bridge Pond.


HALLADAY-BLACKHURST-CHOWNING NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map (using a photo of trail map at the site)

General idea

Pleasant trail through a mostly pine forest.

Length

Around 2 miles.

Hiking time

About an hour.

Difficulty

Moderate. There are several easy to moderate hills along the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Grand Traverse County, NNE of Kingsley.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Traverse City, take Garfield Road south around 9 miles to Voice Road (which is 2.8 miles past River Road), then turn left (east) and go 0.5 miles and watch for the preserve on the right (south) side of the road (before the intersection with Summit City Road).

More details

This rolling forested and grassland preserve was once a pasture for cattle; but now, bear and other wildlife roam. The property is being restored to a native tree woodlot by managing the old pine plantation.

HANSON HILLS RECREATION AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Grayling Recreation Authority
[Updated April 04, 2019. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Mountain biking trail page with map and details
Mountain biking trail map

Nordic skiing / hiking trail page with map and details
Nordic skiing / hiking trail map

General idea

An area with many recreational opportunities – mountain biking, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, downhill skiing, tubing, and more.

Length

• Mountain biking – over 20 miles of inclusive single-track trails
• Nordic skiing / hiking – over 20 miles of groomed, wooded trails
• Snowshoeing – 4.5 miles of inclusive trails

Hiking time

Varies with activity / trail / route taken.

Difficulty

Moderate. It sounds as if there's a mix of easy to at least moderate trails.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In western central Crawford County, WSW of Grayling.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Main parking area, 7601 Old Lake Road, Grayling, MI

Directions

From Grayling — take M-72/M-93 southwest 0.8 miles to Old Lake Road. Turn onto that road and follow it for 1.4 miles to the entrance to the area. Turn left (southwest) and go 0.2 miles to the main parking area.

More details

In the winter this area offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoe trails, fat tire bike trails, and over 35 km (22 miles) of groomed nordic ski trails.

During the spring, summer, and fall months they offer mountain biking on over 20 miles of beautiful single-track trails that tour through a vast oak forest. They have two signature disc golf courses that challenge all levels of players. Hike or run on over 35 km (22 miles) of wooded trails that doubles as their nordic ski trails.

An entry fee/donation is recommended. A $2.00 donation is recommneded for mountain biking. I assume the same is good for hiking and snowshoeing. A daily nordic ski pass is $10 for adults and free to those 12 and under.

Hiking trails use the nordic trails in the summer.

HARTWICK PINES STATE PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there on part of it. More parts to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Web page #4
Web page #5
Au Sable River Trail
Mertz Grade Trail
Old Growth Forest Trail
Ski/Mountain Bike Trails

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Topographical map

General idea

Beautiful forest trails over rolling hills.

Length

Several trails totaling over 20 miles, ranging from 0.25 to 7.5 miles in length.
• Aspen Trail: 3 miles
• Au Sable River Trail: 3 miles
• Bright and Glory Lakes Trail: 0.25 miles
• Deer Run Trail: 5 miles
• Old Growth Forest Trail: 1.25 miles
• Mertz Grade Trail: 2 miles
• Weary Legs Trail: 7.5 miles

Hiking time

Varies with trail / route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate, depending on the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, on specific trails only, such as Aspen, Deer Run, and Weary Legs Trails. See one of the trail maps, for details, too.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing: yes, but on specific trails only,
Snowshoeing: yes, but on specific trails only,

General location

In central Crawford County, NNE of Grayling.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

There are many access points to the trails here. The main one is...

Main parking area and visitors center

Directions

NNE of Grayling, and almost straight east of Traverse City and Kalkaska.

Coming north or south of Grayling — take I-75 to exit 259 (north of Grayling), then take M-93 (Hartwick Pines Road) northeast 2 miles to the park's main entrance.

Coming from Traverse City and Kalkaska — take M-72 to Grayling. At the three-way intersection of M-72 / James Street / McClellan Street in town, turn left (north) on McClellan Street (this is also Business 75 and M-93). Go 2.6 miles to Hartwick Pines Road and turn right (heading northeast) -- you're still on M-93 and Business 75. After 1.4 miles you'll cross over I-75 (this is exit 259). Here Business 75 ends and the road is (still) called Hartwick Pines Road and M-93. Keep going -- 2.1 miles further is State Park Drive on the left (north) -- the main entrance to the park. Enter here and go 0.3 miles to Monarch Drive. Turn right (east) and go 0.5 miles to the main parking area; the visitors center is a short walk nearby.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The largest state park in Michigan's northern lower peninsula, Hartwick Pines is rich in scenic beauty and different habitats. It contains the largest stand of virgin (Old Growth Pines) white pines remaining in the lower peninsula — along the Old Growth Forest Foot Trail. The park also has good mixture of other forest types that typically grow on the sandy soils found in this part of Michigan. Several small lakes, the East Branch of the Au Sable River and its associated streams and wetlands further add to the diversity that makes this park very attractive to wildlife. They offer a very nice Visitor Center here as well as Logging Museum. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. year round. restroom at the visitors center.

HICKORY MEADOWS

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Conservation District.and Garfield Township
[Updated 5/30/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Brochure for the area with an old trail map

Trail map

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

Two older maps that do not show all of the trails but do show the groomed XC ski loop in blue in the southwestern corner:
Trail map #2
• Trail map #3: source #1, source #2 (these also show some distances)

General idea

Mostly easy trail through upland forests.and meadows.

Length

2.6 miles total miles of trails. That includes the 0.8-miles-long grommed XC ski trail in the southwestern corner.

Hiking time

Depends on the route taken.

Difficulty

Mostly easy – with several easy hills along the way and some short, moderately-steep hills on the eastern part of the northern loop.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

A groomed XC ski trail is available in the southwestern corner of the property. To access this, use the west Randolph Street trailhead.

It's likely the hiking trails can be used for XC skiing and snowshoeing but they are not groomed.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two entrances with parking lots...

M-72 trailhead location — In Traverse City from the intersection of M-22 and M-72 (at west bay), take M-72 west 0.8 miles and watch for a gravel drive (a driveway to a former farm) on the left (south) side of the highway. Turn in here – there's a parking lot 250 feet in. Two trails start from here. No restroom.

Randolph trailhead location — In Traverse City from the intersection of Randolph Street and Division Street, take Randolph Street west 1.3 miles to the parking lot for both Hickory Meadows (and the Hickory Hills ski area just north of that).

There are two other "walk-in" entrances, one on Randolph Street and the other on Wayne Street – those can be seen on the trail maps.

More details

The hiking trail and a groomed XC ski trail meander through upland forests.and pleasant meadows. There are trail maps at each junction.

As of August, 2016, the universally-accessible trail heading east from the Randolph Street trailhead now extends all the way through the East Meadow portion of the property to the intersetcion with the connector to the northern loop, very close to the Wayne Street trailhead. This compacted, crushed gravel surface enables ease of access for users of all mobility.

NOTE: Immediately to the west (at the west end of Randolp Street) is the Hickory Hills Ski Area (downhill and XC) and Disc Golf Course (in the summer) in beautiful woods and rolling hills owned and run by the City of Traverse City. See these sites for more details – Web site #1, Web site #2, Web site #3.

HIDDEN LAKE TRAIL (not an official name or trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Property in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “Hidden Lake Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization. The name comes from the fact that the trail ends at Lake Michigan near Hidden Lake.
[Updated July 11, 2019. Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Easy woodsy trail following old logging railroad past Hatt Pond and Hidden Lake to Lake Michigan at the foot of the east side of the dunes at Pyramid Point

Length

1.1 miles of "main" trails, 0.6 miles of alternate trails

Hiking time

About an hour, round trip, main trails only

Difficulty

Easy, it's flat the whole way

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

In western Leelanau County, northeast of Glen Lake and Glen Arbor, and northwest of Little Traverse Lake

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Main trailhead and parking – From the intersection of M-22 (Harbor Highway) and County Road 669 (Bohemian Road) – northeast of School Lake, west of Little Traverse Lake, NNW of Maple City, and ENE of Glen Arbor – take County Road 669 north 1.1 miles to Lake Michigan Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 2.4 miles to a turn-around at the end of the road. The trail starts in the northwest corner.

Alternate trailhead and parking – From the intersection of M-22 (Harbor Highway) and County Road 669 (Bohemian Road) – northeast of School Lake, west of Little Traverse Lake, NNW of Maple City, and ENE of Glen Arbor – take County Road 669 north 1.1 miles to Lake Michigan Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 1.5 miles to Good Harbor Drive. Turn right (north) and go 0.8 miles to a turn-around at the end of the road. The trail starts near the northwest corner.

This alternate parking spot is handy if you want to do less trail and more beach, such as walking the shore around Pyramid Point.

More details

This trail follows an old logging railroad bed north to Lake Michigan, right next the bottom of the east side of the dunes at Pyramid Point. From the main trailhead, along the way...

  • at around 0.1 miles some power lines cross overhead.
  • at about 950 feet along, if you want to explore – walk straight east 300 feet, through a field and then some pines, and you'll come to the west side of Hatt Pond.
  • Pyramid Point Trail connector, if needed – about about 0.5 miles, going off the left (west) is a "deer trail" type path. It ends about half-way, but just keep walking WSW through the field. At 0.2 miles you'll intersect with an eastern part of Pyramid Point Trail. This might be handy if you're doing a much longer hike here.
  • at around 0.8 miles along, Hidden Lake "hides" in the trees to the left (west) about 150 feet.
  • at 0.9 miles along (220 feet from to Lake Michigan) is a four-way trail intersection. From here, you can:
    • walk 0.5 miles ESE to the alternate trailhead and parking spot.
    • walk 220 feet NNE to Lake Michigan. There's a 10-foot moderatly-steep hill to go down to get the beach.
    • follow the "main" trail to the left (WNW). It immediately passes along the north side of Hidden Lake, curves to the north, and after 0.2 miles arrives at an easy access to Lake Michigan beach, right at the foot of the steep hill that goes up to the Pyramid Point dunes.

The main trail starts out as a gravel two-track, slowly becomes a wide gravel single-track, then eventually becomes a footpath.

Alternate trail on the west side of Hidden Lake...From the four-way trail intersection, if you follow the "main" trail to the left (WNW), after it passes by the north side of Hidden Lake, but a few hundred feet before reaching the beach, an alternate trail goes to the left (southwest then south). It quickly becomes a deer path, and passes by (just 150 feet away from) the west side of Hidden Lake. It ends soon after that in a cedar swamp. (For those of you that are half mountain goat (we won't discuss how that happened), you can take a trail leading out of here climbing southwest up onto the dunes.)

Beach walk — A fun idea for those that like to walk shorelines — From the beach at the end of the main trail, walk the shore 1.7 miles all the way around Pyramid Point to a set of stairs coming down from the end seasonal road south of the camp. See here for a map of this route. For the first half of the trip, along the northern shore, it's a mix of sand and pebbles and stones, and for a few areas near the steepest part of the bluffs, you'll probably have to go slightly into the water. After that, for the second half, it appears to be a nice sandy beach.

Update: July, 2019 — With the record high water level this year, I would expect that the narrow beach here will be mostly submerged. Therefore it's likely this beach walk is only feasible when Lake Michigan is at its lower levels.


HOMESTEAD DAM on the BETSIE RIVER

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page – but only for the boat launch at the dam.

Trail map

None found, and it's very likely none exists. But no map is needed as the route here is easy to follow. It simply travels along the north side of the river and heads generally west rom the Homestead Dam to the US-31 river access site. At several places there are two parallel paths — one along the river and another further away often on higher ground.

Also, see this document of printable grayscale trail maps. For this trail it provides a map of the area and shows the river along this trail, if that helps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Trail travels along the north side of the Betsie River downstream (west) from the Homestead Dam through the woods with some easy hills.

Length

Approximately 2.7 miles round trip.

Hiking time

Around 1.5 hours round trip.

Difficulty

Fairly easy with a few small hills. There can be mud near the running springs along the trail so wear boots as the soggy ground can pull regular shoes right off. You'll encounter a few small creeks – there are logs and/or rocks to help you to cross.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but XC skiing might be difficult.

General location

In central southern Benzie County, southeast of Benzonia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

From the traffic light in Benzonia (M-115 west and US-31), take US-31 south 0.9 miles south to Love Road. Turn left (east) and go 1 mile to Dam Road. Turn right (south) and go 0.6 miles to the parking lot for the Homestead Dam. Restroom.

More details

Wooded, mostly flat, unmarked trail travels west (downstream) along the north side of the Betsie River from the Homestead Dam to US-31. At several places there are two parallel trails – one along the river and another further away often on higher or drier ground. During a few key times of year (such as salmon and steelhead runs), expect to encounter several “fisherfolk” along the way.

HOUDEK DUNES NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Area includes both woodsy and sandy trails, and few small hills, as well as an observation deck at Houdek Creek.

Length

3.5 miles of trails total in several connected loops. 2.95 miles if you take just the outer parts of all loops, making one major loop.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken. Under two hours for the major loop.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Leelanau County, northeast of Leland.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Leland, from the intersection of M-22 and River Street, take M-22 north 5.2 miles (and 0.8 miles past CR 626 (Eagle Hwy)) and look for the Houdek Dunes Conservancy sign and parking lot on left (west) side of road. No restroom.

More details

Stands of bright, healthy, white birches — many over a century old. Lots of maples, oaks, and pines. One particularly ancient and impressive maple. Some dunes here and there. Lady slippers in the spring. Observation deck at Houdek Creek.

INLAND TOWNSHIP PARK WALKING TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Inland Township
[Updated 10/26/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map (based on a satellite image then improved). Even without the map the route is easy to follow as it just hugs the perimeter of the L-shaped park.

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Flat. paved pathway around the outside edge of this township park, traveling either along the edge of woods or sometimes in them.

Length

0.8 miles

Hiking time

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy – the entire path is flat

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but very likely not as it's designated a "Walking Trail"

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central eastern Benzie County, south of the village of Lake Ann

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

There is no trailhead – one can access the trail at almost any place along its route. One can park pretty much anywhere off of the park's gravel road. A reasonable place to park is just north of the basketball court at the east end of the park's U-shaped main road. There's a porta-potty at the north end of this little area. Here is that location:

One possible parking location

From here walk 200 feet south (past the basketball court) to the trail.

Update summer, 2019 — they paved the whole pathway!

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

Directions

From downtown Lake Ann at the intersection of Lake Ann Road (2nd Street) and Maple Street (County Highway 610), take Lake Ann Road south 3.0 miles the entrance to the park on the left (east) side of the road. (There's a second entrance 300 feet further south). Turn in and go 800 feet east then south to the suggested parking area just north of the basketball court.

More details

The walking trail is an 8-foot-wide paved pathway with benches scattered along its route.

This is a nice, multi-use park with a playground, tetherball, volleyball court, basketball court, horseshoe pits, baseball diamond, picnic tables, grills, pavilion, plenty of open space, and of course, the walking trail.

INTERLOCHEN STATE PARK – PINES NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR. Inside the Interlochen State Park.
[Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page for trail
Official Web page for Interlochen State Park
Another Web page for the State Park

Trail map

Park map #1
Park map #2
Pines Nature Trail Interpretive Brochure
Trail map from brochure

General idea

Easy trail through tall, old growth forest and many pines and evergreens.

Length

1.0 miles.

Hiking time

25 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In western central Grand Traverse County, SSE of Interlochen.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Rough location of trailhead

Directions

From the intersection of US-31 and M137 (north of Interlochen), take M-137 south through town around 2 miles to the main entrance to Interlochen State Park on the left (east) side of the road. Once in the park, follow the signs to camp site 334 (in the west-most row of sites). There's a tiny parking lot (for two cars) between sites 334 and 336. The trail starts threre on the west side of the camping road. (Or you can park at the shower/bath house over by Duck Lake that's not far away, or in the main lot and walk the paved camping road over to the trail.) Restrooms nearby.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to enter since the trail is inside the Interlochen State Park. Some "old growth" white, red, and Norway pine and hemlock that have never been cut, including many over 100 feet tall and one that's 150 feet tall, are still standing along the trail. The oldest are around 300 years old!

Interlochen State Park is located on two fishing and swimming lakes: Green Lake and Duck Lake. Michigan's first state park, it was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1917 as a 200-acre public park to preserve one of the last virgin pine stands for the people of Michigan.

JEFF LAMONT PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Updated August 9, 2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail mapsource #1, source #2

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Short, east trail through forested wetland, including maple, hemlock, and beech.

Length

0.15 miles, one-way (0.3 miles round-trip)

Hiking time

Around 10 minutes round-trip

Difficulty

Easy as it's all flat (but with occassional tree feet (roots) to watch out for.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northern tip of Leelanau County, north of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Northport, from the intersection of Nagonaba Street and M-201 (Mill Street), take M-201 north 1.6 miles to Kilcherman Road. Go straight (north) 1.0 mile to where the road bends to the west and becomes Christmas Cover Road. Go 0.8 miles west to the tiny parking area for the preserve on the right (north) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Jeff Lamont adored Leelanau, but tragically, died of cancer just after his 21st birthday. So the coming together to create this preserve helped his friends and family remember and heal. Together, they preserve this land in his memory.

Currently there is only one short trail at the south end of this 40-acre property. Certainly the opportunity exists to put in more trails in this beautiful, forested area.

The single-track trail is marked with yellow blazes on tress and travels along the raised ridge indicating a past lake level of Lake Michigan. There are wetlands on either side. There's a sign and a bench at the end.

Just 0.5 miles to the west is the Christmas Cove Beach on Lake Michigan, a public township park.

JORDAN VALLEY PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
(Sometimes called the Jordan River Pathway)
[Updated October 5, 2018. Been there on part of it. More parts still to be investigated.]

Web page

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

See also:
Deadman's Hill Loop Trail
Warner Creek Pathway-Pinney Bridge
Jordan Valley 45 Chapter of the North Country Trail

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map of the area from the North Country Trail brochure
Jordan River Pathway and the Warner Creek Pathway
Jordan Valley trails — from a photo taken onsite
Jordan River Valley Pathway — from a photo taken onsite
Deadman's Hill Loop Trail topographical map

General idea

Moderate to rugged hiking along the very scenic Jordan River in the Mackinaw State Forest.

Length

18 miles in one large loop. This includes most of the 3.2-mile-long Deadman's Hill Loop trail.

Hiking time

10 hours at least because of the ruggedness of this trail.

Difficulty

Moderate to rugged.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, although several sections are not suitable and would be quite difficult for XC skis.

General location

In eastern central Antrim County, north and northwest of Alba.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
sirections

There are three main access points:

  1. Pinney Bridge – From the north side of Mancelona, take M-66 north eight miles to Pinney Bridge Road. Then right (east) and go around 1.8 miles and watch for signs for the (hike-in only) Pinney Bridge Campground and the trail at Pinney Bridge.

  2. Deadman's Hill – 6.7 miles north of Mancelona on US-131 is the small village of Alba. From Alba take US-131 north 6.0 miles to Deadman's Hill Road. Turn left (west) and go 1.7 miles to the main parking area on the west side of a loop at the end of the road. Restroom. (Deadman's Hill Road is paved then becomes a two-lane gravel road.) From the parking lot walk 250 feet up a slight hill on a wide gravel path to the spectacular Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook at the wooden fence. The view is to the west of the Jordan River Valley. It is a similar but much more open view that from Landslide Lookout. Visit here on a sunny day in the middle of October for the best color.

  3. Landslide Lookout – From Alba (6.7 miles north of Mancelona on US-131), take Alba Road (C.R. 620) 0.9 miles west to Harvey Road, then right (north) and go 1.5 miles to the small Landslide Lookout parking lot. Restroom. (Harvey Road is a seasonal road, a single-lane gravel road, and most of the way but it's in good enough shape that 4WD should not be needed.) From the parking lot, follow the wide gravel path 750 feet northwest to the wooden fence at the lovely view to the west of the Jordan River Valley from the Landslide Lookout. Visit here on a sunny day in the middle of October for the best color.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The Jordan Valley Pathway is a moderate to rugged scenic hiking trail that winds through the Mackinaw State Forest. It may be poorly marked in spots. In includes a loop that begins at Deadman's Hill Overlook — which offers a spectacular vista of the surrounding countryside and the Jordan River floodplain. A second breathtaking vista is the Landslide Lookout.

Deadman's Hill Loop — If you just have a few hours, check out this shorter loop. It's a single-track trail 3.2 miles long in the northeastern part of the main loop, starting and ending at the Deadman's Hill Overlook. Because of the hills involved, be sure to hike this in a counter-clockwise direction. The trail is marked with blue blazes on trees and has numbered posts with maps at junctions along the way. The two section with hills, Post 1 to Post 2 and Post 3 to Post 14 are water run-off valleys that can be wet and covred with leaves.

  • Post 1 to Post 2 — 0.5 miles long. It starts at the northern end of the main parking lot. It goes down a moderately steep grade with exposed roots much of the way. Going down is easier than going up. (You don't want to end your hike going up this.)
  • Post 2 to Post 3 — 0.8 miles long. It's relatively flat but with a few small to moderate hills. There are a few roots to watch out for. There's a small observation deck overlooking where four creeks merge before entering the Jordan River. There are a few footbridges over creeks and some very short boardwalks over wet areas.
  • Post 3 to Post 14 — 0.7 miles long. It's a steady uphill climb but it's a relatively easy hill. There are some exposed roots along the way. There's a short, moderate hill just before the end of this section.
  • Post 14 to Post 1 — 1.2 miles long. It's mostly flat with a few light hills. No roots to worry about. It comes out at the southern end of the wooden fence by the overlook. A nice "cool down" path back to the start.

The main loop — from the trailhead at Deadman's Hill Overlook to the Pinney Bridge Campground it's 8 miles in one direction (northern route) and 10 miles in the other (southern route). Jordan River Road may be used as a shortcut for day hikers to connect one part of the trail to the other..Along the way you will encounter the Jordan River and its tributaries several times along the hike and be treated to "wistful vistas" of the Jordan River Valley.

The Jordan River is Michigan's first waterway to be officially designated as a Wild and Scenic River.

11.2 miles of this Pathway is used as part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. From the northern most point of this Pathway, follow the North Country Trail 1.2 miles to connect with the Warner Creek Pathway.

See also the Jordan Valley information section of the North Country Trail listing at the Web page.


KEHL LAKE NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Easy hiking in wonderful, old woods along Kehl Lake.

Length

Two loops totaling 2.2 miles.

Hiking time

1.3 hours to cover both trails.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northeastern tip of Leelanau County, NNE of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map. (On some maps Kehl Lake may show as Leg Lake.)

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Northport, take M-201 north 2.5 miles to Snyder Road. Turn left (north) and then at the "T" with Sugar Bush Road, turn right (east). Follow Sugar Bush Road – it takes a sharp left turn to the north and becomes Kehl Road. Stay on Kehl Road. After 2 miles you'll pass Ottis Road on the right. Shortly past that, on the left, you'll see the Conservancy sign for Kehl Lake Natural Area and the parking area on the left )west) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Kehl Lake is also called Leg Lake on some maps. The Ojibway called it “Midassaigan” meaning “Legging Lake." Near the tip of Leelanau County peninsula, this area combines the best of Leelanau, with features such as inland lake shoreline, towering mixed forest, important wetland habitat. At the far north end of the trail loop is a viewing platform that keeps you dry and suspended over a dynamic wetland ecosystem. An old woods, with some trees over 100 years old. There are white pines here as tall as 120 feet and 4 feet in diameter.

KEITH McKELLOP WALKWAY

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2 (see the orange trail)
Trail map #2 (see the dotted-green path)

General idea

Urban concrete walkway that hugs the northeastern shoreline of Lake Cadillac

Length

1.3 miles.

Hiking time

40 minutes one-way

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No, nor road bikes. But inline skates are allowed.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown, but quite likely.

General location

In the southeastern corner of Wexford County, on the west side of downtown Cadillac, and northeastern end Lake Cadillac

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

The walkway can be access at several places. Three such locations are:

Chestnut Street west access — In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.6 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street.

Chestnut Street east access — In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Pine Street and Mitchell Street, take Pine Street WSW 0.1 miles to Lake Street. Bend to the right, heading straight west on Chestnut Street and go 0.2 miles to the parking lot on the left (south) side of the street.

Lake Street access — In downtown Cadillac, from the intersection of Cass Street and Mitchell Street, take Cass Street 0.1 miles southwest to Lake Street. Keep going, taking the 90 degree curve to the left, then immediately on the right (west) is the entrance to the parking lot.

More details

The walkway starts at the intersection of South Street and Lake Street just west of the Family Fare grocery store. It hugs Lake Cadillac heading north, northwest, west, and southwest and ends at a loop turn-around next to the east end of Sunset Lane.

At the southeastern end the walkway connects directly to the White Pine Trail, a paved pathway for bikers and hikers. In the middle, the walkway intersects with the southern end of the Clam River Greenway.

This walkway is for walking, jogging, strolling, and inline skating, that is, foot traffic only, so you won't be dodging bikes or skateboards. There are public restrooms at the southeastern end and by the boat launch, and there are several parking areas along the route. Leashed pets are welcome (but please pick up after them).

Lake Cadillac is always in view as you are never more than a few yards from the water.

Gaslights border this downtown sidewalk that hugs the northeastern shore Lake Cadillac shoreline, including a picnic and swim area, fishing docks, and the Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion. It connects to the Cadillac City Park, City Boat Launch, Blackburn Skate Park, Sound Garden (via the Clam River Greenway), and Veteran's Memorial. There are many scenic views and several recreational opportunities along the way, such as a playground that is handicap accessible, a skate park, and the unique "Sound Garden".

There are historic markers strategically placed along the walkway and are very informative. The markers include pictures and information on the Cobbs & Mitchell Lumber Mills, The Clam Lake House (early hotel), Mason House (first office of the founder of Cadillac, George Mitchell), Cadillac Boat Club, Acme Truck Plant, and the Cummer-Diggins Mill.

KENWOOD HERITAGE PARK

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Web page #1 and Web page #2 for the disk golf course

Trail map

Trail map #1 – a very rough idea of the trails based on walking around with no compass or GPS

Area map: source #1, source #2 – see the rust-colored trail at the north side of the west end of the lake. It is very inaccurate, shows the general location only, and incorrectly labels the trail as the Kentwood Trail.

Disk golf course map for the 18-hole course: source #1, source #2

General idea

Multi-use recreational area on Lake Cadillac with beach, boat launch, playground, picnic area, disc golf course, volleyball, some walking paths in the woods, and more.

Length

Maybe 1.3 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Easy, as it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown but very likely

General location

In the southeastern corner of Wexford County, west of the city of Cadillac, on the northern side of the west end of Lake Cadillac

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

There are two parking areas, on by the lake, and one by the volleyball court...

Lake-side parking — From the intersection of North Boulevard and M-118 on the west side of Lake Cadillac (at the channel connecting the lake with Lake Mitchell), take North Boulevard east 0.7 miles to the main parking area on the right (east) side of the street.

Volleyball court parking — From the intersection of North Boulevard and M-118 on the west side of Lake Cadillac (at the channel connecting the lake with Lake Mitchell), take North Boulevard east 0.9 miles to gravel road on the left (north) side of the street. Turn left (north) and go 350 feet to the parking area.

Use the volleyball court parking lot if you are going to walk on the trails.

More details

Kenwood Park is a multi-use recreational area on Lake Cadillac with a scenic, sandy swimming beach, playground, boat launch, picnic areas, two disc golf courses (a 9-hole and 18-hole), sand volleyball court, and some walking trails.

The beach and boat launch are on the lake-side of the street. Across the street is the other section with numerous picnic shelters, playgrounds, disc golf course, a sand volleyball court, and the walking trails.

There are all sorts of paths north, northwest, and west of the volleyball court as part of the 18-hole disc golf course on this west side of the park. The walking trails are separate from those, but somewhat intermingle, and are mostly north of the disc golf course.

To get to the walking trails, from the volleyball court, drive or walk 0.2 miles north on the dirt road loop (that goes around through the disc golf course). At the northern tip of this road you'll see a red gate. Start here. The trails are not marked and no trail map could be found online or on-site. Use the trail map above for a rough idea. The disk golf course map above will help where you interect with those areas.

You will be treated to stands of towering white and red pines complemented by oaks, maples, poplars, and elms. The trail travels through the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area within William Mitchell State Park. This path is separate from but just east of the Mitchell-Heritage Nature Trail.

KETTLES TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL)
[Updated April 3, 2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1

Web page #2

Web page #3

Web page #4

The trail route is finished but there is no Web page for it at the SBDNL site just yet.

Trail map

Trail map #1 - source #1, source #2
Trail map #2 — shows both the main trail as well as several other trails in the area

The main path starts at Baatz Road...
• a 0.8 mile-path goes northeast that connects to the "bottom" (southern end) of a loop.
• along the way, at 0.5 miles from the parking lot, there is a 0.3-mile-long spur that goes southeast to the Kettle Bog.
• at the northern end of that path is the 1.0 mile-long loop that extends to the north.
• at the northwestern corner of the loop, 300 feet to the north is access to the trail via Lanham Road (a seasonal two-track) coming in from the west.
See Trail notes in the More details srcion below, for more.

General idea

Deeply rolling hills with many kettles (large, deep depressions with steep banks left by receding glaciers), some wet, some dry, in a lovely woods.

Length

2.1 miles of trails. Doing all pieces together is a 3.2 miles round-trip.

Hiking time

About 1.7 hours.

Difficulty

Most of the sections are moderately easy to moderately steep. There are two short sections that are slightly more difficult (shown in red on the first trail map).

If you take the alternate route north of the loop, at about 0.2 miles east of Lanham Road, there is a short section that's quite strenuous going downhill and not suitable for the general public. It's doable, just take your time. The vertical drop is a lot in a short distanace. Fortunately, doing that piece is no longer needed with the route of the new northern leg of the loop added in 2018.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southern central Leelanau County, southwest of Maple City, east of Empire, and southeast of Glen Lake

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two access points:

Baatz Road Trailhead — From the northern intersection of M-72 and County Road 669 (southwest of Maple City and east of Empire), take 669 north 1.0 mile to Baatz Road (called Kasson Center Road to the east). Turn left (west) and go 1.2 miles to the entrance to the parking lot on the right (north). There is no signage, as yet, other than a post with a No Off-Road Vehicles sign. There is a gravel parking area for seven vehicles (one handicap) 110 feet from the road. There is an empty trailhead kiosk waiting to be filled at the parking lot.

Lanham Road access location — From the northern intersection of M-72 and County Road 669 (southwest of Maple City and east of Empire), take 669 north 1.0 mile to Baatz Road (called Kasson Center Road to the east). Turn left (west) and go 1.3 miles to the northbound Fritz Road. Turn right (north) and go 1.5 miles to Lanham Road. This becomes a seasonal (not plowed in the winter) two-track, and four-wheel-drive is recommended but not required. Turn right (east) and go 1.1 miles to a small clearing where you can park. From here
• Walk east from here on an old two- track to view a large kettle and then, if desired, continue on to take the alternate route north of the loop.
• Walk south from here on an old two-track 300 feet to connect with the northwestern corner of the main loop;

More details

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

This trail is on a piece of parkland in the Bow Lakes area that is inland several miles and separate from the rest of the national lakeshore. This area was added to the lakeshore in 1982 because of the unique glacial topography, including dry kettles, kettle bogs, lakes, wetlands, and a bog. (Kettle formations are deep, often steep-sided depressions left by the glaciers when they retreated.) This trail has natural features not found elsewhere in the park and is the only place in the mainland SBDNL where kettles can be found.

As of June, 2019 – The trail system appears more or less finished but the trails are unmarked, at the monent — but the main trail is easy to follow. Expect another overlook by the large kettle bog sometime in the future.

September, 2018 — from the Baatz Road trailhea voluntters have built a 4-foot-wide, 0.2-mile-long universally accessible trail of compacted, fine, crushed stone through a meadow and into the woods to a small overlook above a kettle (although it's hard to see in the summer).

Trail notes from May, 2016 and updated in 2019 – I explored this area before the trails were fully developed and again in 2019. These notes will help. Most of the trails follow old two-tracks. I hiked this starting at both access points over two different days.

The southern trail – starting at the Baatz Road Trailhead...

From the parking area, head northeast across a mostly open meadow following the new universally accessible trail (of crushed, compacted stone) to near the edge of the woods (less than 0.2 miles). At an intersection there is a sign that says, "<- Trail / Lookout ->". The UA trail continues into the woods about 150 feet to an overlook at the top of a kettle (that's hard to see in the summer). The main trail follows a mowed path with blue "feather" markers in the ground going north. Just before entering the woods that path joins with a single-track path coming from the southwest. The woods begin at 0.3 miles from the parking lot. Once in the woods, the main trail follows a two-track and is a relatively easy downhill all the way (0.8 miles from the parking lot) to the junction with the southern end of the northern trail loop. There's a sign there: <- Trail -> / 1 mi-Loop.

Note: Those following the main trail, can go in either drection around the loop.

But for those who plan to take the alternate route north of the loop (as seen on Trail map #2), do the loop in a clockwise direction – head northwest from the junction. This because the very steep slope on the northern part of the alternate loop trail is slippery and climbing up it is quite strenuous. And getting to the steep slope from the northeastern corner of the loop (Point A) is tricky and very difficult to describe, because there is currently no trail there. But by going in a clockwise direction, you get to go down the steep slope, and there's a deer path most of the way from the bottom of that to the northeastern corner of the loop (Point A).

More details about the trails of either choice are covered below in "The northern trail loop" section.

Along the way...

  • At about 0.4 miles along (160 feet before the spur mentioned below) is an old two-track on the left (north) that looks more like a deer path. It's not part of the official trail. It's around 0.35 miles long, and skirts the hills along and above the east side of a double kettle. (See Trail map #2.)

  • At 0.4 miles along and a bend in the trail is a short spur to the right (south) that goes a few hundred feet into the bottom of a kettle. It's worth a few minutes to experience being at the bottom of a dry kettle. (See Trail map #2.)

  • At 0.5 miles along is the intersection with a spur of the main trail that goes over to the Kettle Bog. There is a sign there that says "Bog ->" and a wide valley going down to the right (southeast). Bend to the right walking downhill through some new-growth trees but following the former two-track. At about 250 feet there's an old, narrow two-track on the left (northeast). A two-feet-diameter rock somewhat marks this intersection. From here you have two choices...

    1. Take the 0.1-mile-long old two-track, which is not part of the main trail. You'll go over a small hill, then steadily downhill to the western part of the bog. Be sure to stop before entering the bog‚ as this path leads right into it! You can walk a little ways past this point near the edge of the bog along a small ridge. But to see the main part of the bog, you'll have to scramble uphill a bit heading southeast. In a few hundred feet you'll be treated with a nice view of the bog. (Climb up a little further, and you can join the main trail, if you like.)

    2. Follow the main trail (an old two-track) which goes through a small depression, curves to the right, climbs a moderately steep hill, then curves left. Now you're on a ridge where the trail is flat (more or less). Walk about 0.1 miles and you'll come to a "T" with a two-track going off on a ridge to the right (southwest). (See Trail map #2.) At this point, you are at a rather unique location with a kettle to the west, a kettle to the south, and the Kettle Bog to the northeast. Neat! (A bog overlook may be added here somewhere, but it's a bit too far from the bog to see it very well in the summer with all the foliage.) Keep going on the main trail downhill until the two-track dies out in a small clearing, but there's a simple path heading north about 100 feet down a moderate steep slope right to the edge of the southern edge of the bog. An overlook is planned here. This spur is around 0.3 miles long.

      About the Kettle Bog — It's 4 acres, somewhat tadpole-shaped, with the central area being a marshy island. There's even a 20-feet-diameter hole of water southeast of the center in the "island". It's a fun place to hang out and listen to the wildlife. And being like a large bowl, there are nice echoes, such as when a startled sandhill crane cries out!

The northern trail loop – starting at the Lanham Road access...

Alternate route – for those who plan to take the alternate route north of the loop (as seen on Trail map #2), do the loop in a clockwise direction.

Head east from the Lanham Road access. This because the very steep slope on the northern part of the loop trail is slippery and climbing up it is quite strenuous. And getting to the steep slope from the northeastern corner of the loop (point A) is tricky and very difficult to describe, because there is currently no trail there. But by going in a clockwise direction, you get to go down the steep slope, and there's a deer path most of the way from the bottom of that to the northeastern corner of the loop (point A).

Walking east, you'll soon find yourself on a ridge and are treated to a dry kettle on the right (south), and a deep, steep slope into a large valley on the left (north) in which Pothole Lake (a kettle lake) resides about 1000 feet to the northeast. The trail turns south then bends to the east where there's a very quick (steep) descent, at least 50 feet. With the loose rocks and leaves, it's a bit slippery – step carefully. The two-track dies out soon past the bottom of that steep hill. From here, follow a single-track "deer path" to the northeast. There are some short, moderate hills along the way. Just past a brown NPS boundary marker, it dies out about 100 feet (at a tall broken stump) (west of) before reaching the two-track. But just head east, and you'll soon encounter the old two-track running north-south in a shallow valley – Point A on Trail map #2. Mark well your position at this point and how to get back to the deer path in case you intend to to go back this way – which you will not need to do if you do the full loop.

So now you're on the old two-track running north-south that's the east side of the loop. Turn right (south). The trail is easy, with a few mild hills. At around 0.1 miles along is a dry kettle on the left (east). At 0.15 miles along is the intersection with the main trail.

Main trail – Those following the main trail, from Lanham Road go south 300 feet following at old two-track to tne intersection with the main loop. There's a sign "<- Trail ->". From there you can go in either drection around the loop.

Let's go clockwise. Going SSE from the intersection it's downshill on a single-track trail and moderately steep for about the first half. It's around 0.25 miles to the intercsection with an old two-track. From there, turn south and soon on the right (west) are two kettle lakes (at least during wetter years) At 0.35 miles along you come to the junction at the southern end of the loop. There is no sign here, at present.

At the junction is the intersection with the northern end of the southern trail coming from Baatz Road. To continue on the loop, turn right (northwest). It's a steady easy to moderately steep uphill climb for 0.4 miles, then downhill the last 0.1 miles. You end at the Lanham Road access. At 300 feet before the end you pass by the intersection for the east-going section of the loop.

__________________________

Something extra to explore, outside the scope of any of the main trails, yet still in the lakeshore property...

1. Pothole Lake access #1, maybe someday

On the alternate route north of the loop (as seen on Trail map #2), just east of the base of the steep hill, there's a small valley to the north. On the east side of this is a deer path going north. Just 0.2 miles straight north from here is Pothole Lake, and if used enough folks may find a way to easily get down to the lake.

2. The trail to Bow Lake, and Pothole Lake access #2use this map...

Go to the loop's extreme northeastern corner (Point A). It''s easiest to go south and take the new section of main trail on the north side of the loop then go north to Point A. From here, ttake the old two-track going north. It follows the contour of the hills above and along the east and north sides of Pothole Lake, and beyond.

It's perhaps 0.15 miles to the east side of the lake (Point B) from the Point A. From here, you can see the kettle that Pothole Lake is in, but not the lake itself because of all the foliage. One map I found indicates an old two-track going down to the lake from this area, but little evidence of this could be found. But, there is a point on the east side of the lake where there is a small, sharp, narrow valley going uphill to the east, and a wide open slope on the west going down to the lake. It's here where the two-track to the lake might have been. If you follow a shallow valley going west, in about 400 feet you can reach the lake. (A good place to start is at the north end of the "wide open slope".)

It's 0.3 miles from Point A to the north side of a saddle point on the north side of the lake, the trail bends to the north. Then in about 300 hundred feet later is the remnant of a two-track heading northeast downhill in a shallow valley. (Point C). The path is hard to see but the valley is obvious.

Spur – If you go north from Point C, soon the two-track dies out and the trail becomes a deer path. You can take it north from Point C around 0.15 miles, and along the way it passes by a small kettle lake on the left (west). Soon after that the path is hard to find. The small kettle lake is worth a look if you have a few minutes. Otherwise, ignore this spur trail.

Back at Point C, this time take the path going northeast in the shallow valley downhill. It's perhaps 0.1 miles down to the south end of swampy area once part of a lake here. (Point D). (Along the way is another path going uphill to the south which we'll ignore.)

Spur – At Point D, one can walk maybe 0.1 miles on an old two-track going to the northwest then north before the tracks die out (but the clearing for the old road can still be made out). We'll ignore this, too.

Instead, from Point D, go east. It curves around the bottom of the old lake, then soon heads NNE following a fairly-clear two-track with some easy hills along the way, and a short, moderate one at the end before coming out at the southwestern corner of a small field (Point E). It's 0.4 miles from Point D to Point E. (Also near Point E is a path going south which we'll ignore.)

From here, walk 150 feet northeast in the field to where an old track goes into the woods. From there, walk northeast around 200 feet through the woods. Just before coming out of the woods (Point F) near the southwest corner of another open field, you'll see a narrow, twin-track trail (looks as if it was made by an ATV) going north. Take that 70 feet to where it connects with a clear two-track going east-west. Take that two-track going west then northwest 600 feet to an open area by Bow Lake (Point G). From here it's just 250 feet down to the lake. (Late May 2016, the water level is perhaps two feet above a "normal" level, consisent with many inland lakes in the area.)

Note: 500 feet northeast of the lake there's still a private residence whose owners also use the lake. At the lake are a few crude benches, a picnic table, a square platform in the lake, and more. Please be respectful of this shared-use area and their belongings.

From the Lanham Road access to Bow Lake...
• 0.6 miles to Point A via northern section of the main trail (it's 0.4 miles to Point A using the more difficult alternate route)
• 0.4 miles from Point A to Point C
• 0.1 miles from Point C to Point D
• 0.4 miles from Point D to Point E
• 0.3 miles from Point E to Bow Lake
1.8 miles one way, 3.6 miles round trip


KIDS CREEK PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Garfield Township and the Grand Traverse Conservation District..
[Updated 2/19/2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1: source #1, source #2 — showing the new connector to the Buffalo Ridge Trail.
Trail map #2: older map not showing the connector

General idea

Short partially-wooded trail along Kids Creek and Olseon mill pond between Kohl's and Great Wolf Lodge on US-31. And now there's a short connector path from it to the Buffalo Ridge Trail.

Length

0.75 miles

Hiking time

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

In Traverse City, on US-31, use the parking lot and enter the trail between Kohl's and Bed Bath & Beyond. No restroom.

(Or access the park from the non-motorized trailhead along the US-31 bike path – "a great spot to pull off from the path, park your bike, and take a walk around the stream.")

More details

A "little gem of a park" between Kohl’s and the Great Wolf Lodge in US-31 in Traverse City, complete with marked trails, wooden bridges, boardwalks, and the Olseon mill pond (which is stocked with fish). There's even the old grist mill near the pond. Kids Creek meanders through the park. On the east end there's a bridge that connects the park directly to the west part of the Mall Trail bike path.

Added in 2017 is a crushed-gravel path connecting the westernmost part of the Kids Creek trail loop (near the southwestern corner) to the Buffalo Ridge Trail. It appears to be about 650 feet long.

KILLINGSWORTH PARK

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Overseeing
organization

East Bay Charter Township
[Added summer, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2 (then scroll down to Killingsworth Park)

Trail map

Trail map (made from a photo of the sign on-site)

General idea

Two connected loops of trails, all in pretty rolling hills and woods, and that go by six, small, unnamed lakes.

Length

1.26 miles of trails, with two short connecting spurs to local residences. 1.33 miles round trip, if you do it all.

Hiking time

About 40 minutes round-trip

Difficulty

Easy to moderate, as there are rolling hills throughout the property.

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiis
No to shoeshowing

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead on Chandler Road — 2807 Chandler Road

Directions

• Directions from the west: From the intersection of 4 Mile Road and Potter Road southeast of Traverse City, take 4 Mile Road 0.5 miles south to North Arbutus Lake Road. Turn left (east) and go 1.2 miles to East Arbutus Lake Road. Turn left (north) and go 0.3 miles to Highview Road. Turn left (northwest) and go 0.6 miles to Chandler Road. Turn left (west) and go just 200 feet to the entrance to the park on the (right) north side of the road.

• Directions from the north: From the intersection of High Lake Road and Supply Road (County Road 660) southeast of Traverse City, take High Lake Road south 1.0 mile to Highview Road. Turn right (west) and go 0.4 miles to Chandler Road. Turn right (west) and go just 200 feet to the entrance to the park on the (right) north side of the road.

More details

A 50-acre parcel that's a lovely place for a nature walk or family picnic. There is a pavilion, tiny playground, and restroom. Lovely woods and rolling hills. You'll pass nearby six, small, unnamed lakes, some of the which appear to be in kettles. There are maps at junctions and end points. The trails easy to follow and marked with hiker signs.

KRUMWIEDE FOREST RESERVE

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Leelanau Conservancy. See their complete preserve list.
[Updated 10/19/17. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
(made from a photo taken on-site)
Trail map #3 (shows topology)

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Mostly wooded trail in the valley, up on the ridge, and the hills in between at the former Krumweide farmstead.

Length

1.9 miles of trails
• Forestry Loop: 1.6 miles
• Ridgeline Trail: 0.3 miles
• Doing the loop but taking the Ridgeline Trail, bypassing the back side of the Forestry Loop: 1.4 miles

Hiking time

About an hour

Difficulty

Moderate. There are gentle to moderate hills along the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central northern of Leelanau County, east of Glen Arbor, northwest of Maple City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Glen Arbor, take M-22 northeast 5 miles to Wheeler Road. Turn right (southeast) and go 2.3 miles to the entrance to the reserve on the left (east), parking (for a few cars) is in the former driveway. The entrance to the trail starts here. No restroom.

More details

The trails are marked with blue blazes on trees.

The main Forestry Loop is a wide path that makes a large, irregularly-shaped loop. (It resembles a mirror image of Lake Michigan.) At the top, the Ridgeline Trail is a narrow foot-path along the top of the ridge that one can take as a recommened alternate route.

Trail notes...

When you first enter, just a few hundred feet from the road you encounter the middle of the long, relatively straight, western part of the Forestry Loop going left and right (north and south). You can go either way to begin your journey. Going to the right (south, counter-clockwise) is recommened as the climb up is much more gradual that way.

Going south, the path travels along the valley for a while, goes steadily uphill, and eventually goes through a wide pass in the ridge, then wraps around the back, and finally reaches the top of the ridge (that parallels the valley and Wheeler Road).

At the top, you have a choice —

You can go to the southeast following the wide path of the Forestry Loop which goes steadily back down the back-side of the ridge and then back up to where it intersects with the northen end of the Ridgeline Trail.

Or, for a much more interesting and scenic route, go straight north and take the Ridgeline Trail — a narrow foot-path along the top of the ridge. (About half way along you'll encounter a huge boulder (called an erratic) on the west side of the trail, left here when the last glacier receded.) Near its north end it turns to the east, goes down hill, and connects with the Forestry Loop.

From here the path goes through a narrow pass down (west) a moderately steep hill before reaching the valley where the trail is flat. Then it travels south back to the short "driveway" out to the road. Sharp eyes may detect where the former farm buildings were along this last stretch.

This trail, area, and whole valley are especially beautiful in the fall when the colors are at their peak. It's perhaps the best time to appreciate this trail.

From the Web site, "Located in the western part of Cleveland Township, much of the 110-acre Krumwiede Forest Reserve consists of a glacial moraine forming the high ridge between two very scenic wooded and pastoral valleys: Starvation Valley, an ancient glacial drainage channel which forms the course for Wheeler Road; and Bohemian Valley, the more fertile farmland to the east along County Rd. 669."


LAKE ANN PATHWAY

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Very nice rolling-hill trail through the woods and goes by two small lakes and the Platte River.

Length

5.3 miles in total, comprised of two loops:
• East loop (round trip) — on the east side of Reynolds Road – 1.8 miles
• West loop (round trip) — on the west side of Reynolds Road – 3.5 miles

Hiking time

• East loop — about an hour.
• West loop — 2 hours.

Difficulty

• East loop — easy – it's mostly flat.
• West loop — moderate — there are many easy to moderate hills throughout the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, but in winter it’s primarily for cross-country skiing — snowshoers and winter hikers should walk to the side to not disturb the XC ski track.

General location

In northeastern Benzie County, southwest of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

From Lake Ann at the intersection of Maple Street (County Highway 610) and 1st Street, take Maple Street 1.1 miles west to (southbound) Reynolds Road. Turn left (south) and go one mile to the gravel access road (for the pathway and the state forest campground) on the left (east) – take that 300 feet to the parking lot on the left for the trail system.

From Honor, take US-31 east about 8.5 miles to Reynolds Road. Turn left (north) and go about 4 miles. After crossing the narrow Platte River, watch for the gravel access road (for the pathway and the state forest campground) on right (east) side of the road – take that 300 feet to the parking lot on the left for the trail system.

Restrooms are available in the campground..

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The woodsy east loop winds gently along the Platte River and the Lake Ann shoreline. The west section is a large loop (with two shortcuts) through wooded, rolling terrain and goes next to Shavenaugh Lake, Mary’s Lake, and the upper Platte River

LAKE BLUFF TRAILS

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Lake Bluff Audubon Center, a.k.a. Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary
[Updated 9/10/2018. Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Trails through gently rolling forests, open fields, and exploring the bluff near Lake Michigan. And an 5-acres arboretum.

Length

1.46 miles for all the trails
• Jackfern Trail: 0.70 miles
• Ridge Trails: 0.19 miles
• Beach Path: 0.13 miles
• Bluff Trail: 0.12 miles
• Cottonwood Path: 0.32 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to modearte. A few easy hills on some trails.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, NNE of Manistee.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking location

Directions

Located at the. Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary, a.k.a. Lake Bluff Audubon Center.

From the north side of Manistee at US-31 (at the Burger King), take Lakeshore Drive (M-110) north about 1.5 miles (going past the Orchard Beach State Park). The Center / Sanctuary is located on the left (west) side of the road at 2890 Lakeshore Road. There's a restroom in the area just south of the Lake Bluff Center building.

More details

There are three sets of maintained trails:

  • On the east side of the street there are three interconnected trails running through gently rolling mature forests, open fields, and wetlands.
  • On the west side of the street and north of the Center, the Beach Path goes to the beach on Lake Michigan. Near the beach, the Bluff Trail leads off from the Beach Path and goes south along the Lake Michigan bluffs.
  • On the west side of the street and south of the Center is the Cottonwood Path and loop. This area is also an arboretum with over 70 different tree and shrub species. There are signs with details for many of the trees. Michigan's largest giant sequoia and it's largest sycamore maple are here, as well as a the former Michigan champion cottonwood.

LEELANAU STATE PARK

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Updated 11/01/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2
Web page #3
Lake Michigan/Mud Lake Loop

Trail map

Park / Trail map #1 - source #1, source #2
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Trail map #4 — based on a photo taken onsite

General idea

The large Southern section – rolling hill trails through mature forest, some parts along Mud Lake, and with a Lake Michigan overlook and beach access. The small Northern section includes the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, but there are no official trails other than some gravelly paths along the lake.

Length

5.35 miles made up of several connected loops.

The two main loops are:
• Lake Michigan Loop Trail: 1.2 miles
- Cathead Spur to Lake Michigan beach from 2: 0.25 miles
- Manitou Overlook Spur to the overlook (4 to 5): 0.1 miles

• Mud Lake Loop Trail: 3.35 miles
- Maple Ridge Cutoff: 0.2 miles
- Tamarack Cutoff: 0.5 miles
- Pot-Hole Ridge Siding: 0.4 miles

Section

Distance

1 to 2

0.75 miles

2 to 3:

0.2 miles

2 to 4:

0.1 miles

4 to 5:

0.1 miles

4 to 6:

0.05 miles

6 to 7:

0.3 miles

7 to 13:

0.2 miles

7 to 8:

0.3 miles

8 to 12:

0.5 miles

8 to 9:

1.3 miles

9 to 10:

0.15 miles

9 to 11:

0.25 miles

10 to 11:

0.25 miles

11 to 12:

0.4 miles

12 to 13:

0.25 miles

13 to 1:

0.25 miles

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Moderate. There a several easy to moderate hills throughout the trail system. There is one short, very steep hill going up from Post 9.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northeastern tip of Leelanau County, NNE of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Southern section trailhead and parking location – with the hiking trails: From Northport, go north about 4 miles to Densmore Road. To get there, take M-201/Mill Street north out of town. It becomes County Road 640/Woolsey Lake Road. Later, where County Road 640 splits off to the right, go straight and the road becomes County Road 629/Woolsey Lake Road. Take this to Densmore Road (Airport Road). Turn left (north) and go 0.9 miles to the parking lot. Restroom.

Norrthern section parking location – with the lighthouse (at lighthouse point) is another 4.3 miles past (north of) the Southern section (Densmore Road) at the end of County Road 629. Restrooms.

More details

Being a state park, a Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The Leelanau State Park is located at the tip of the little finger on the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula — the word "Leelanau" is the Native American word for "A Land of Delight" – the park has the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum, a rustic campground along Lake Michigan, two mini cabins, 8.5 miles of hiking/skiing trails, and a picnic area. Petoskey stones can be found along the shoreline.

In the Southern section, the trail system is made up of two main loops, the Lake Michigan Loop Trail and the Mud Lake Loop Trail, and are what's shown on the park's map at the trailhead. The trails are marked with color-tipped posts and there are trail maps at the junctions.

Along the Lake Michigan Loop, the 0.3-mile Cathead Spurs leads out to the beach on Lake Michigan and the Manitou Overlook Spur goes uphill (and up stairs) to an overlook.

Along the Mud Lake Trail loop are two cross-over or connecting link trails, the Maple Ridge Cutoff and the Tamarack Cutoff, which allows you to divide this loop into three smaller ones. There's also the alternate 0.4-mile Pothole Ridge Siding (9 to 10 to 11) at the northesteast corner, which offers the steepest hill in the park (though it's quite short), and is very scenic atop the ridge of a dune. (There are no long distance views, however.)

Some kettles, some with ponds, and few other lowland ponds were found in the northeastern area of the park.

When done hiking, be sure to explore lighthouse point and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum at the Northern section of the park.

LEELANAU TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

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

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

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

General idea

Bike and hike path along former railroad that goes from Carter Road in Greilickville (immediately northwest of Traverse City) all the way up to Sutton's Bay, passing through vineyards, orchards, meadows, farmland, forests, pastures, and rolling hills.

Length

17.0 miles

Hiking time

Around 7 hours, one-way.

Difficulty

Easy, and it's paved the whole way.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to XC skiers. In the winter, the trail is groomed by volunteers from (at least) the Cherry Bend trailhead north to Birth Point Road, and from the 4th Street trailhead in Suttons Bay south to Revold Road.

General location

In the southeastern area of Leelanau County, between Traverse City and Suttons Bay.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many places to access the trail. The three main trailheads are:

Cherry Bend Road trailhead location
Fouch Road trailhead location
4th Street (Suttons Bay) trailhead location

Keswick Methodist Church, on Center Highway between Fort and Revold Roads, welcomes trail users to use their lot.

See the main Web site for more details about restrooms, parking, BATA's Bike-n-Ride transportation program, Edible Trails, and more.

More details

Officially, the trail starts at Carter Road near its east end in Greilickville (just north of the intersection of M-72 and M-22) which is where it connects to Traverse City's TART Trail, At the northern end, the trail now extends to Dumas Road, which is two miles north of the 4th Street trailhead in Suttons Bay. The trail uses a route via streets to get through Suttons Bay.

Primarily a road bike path, this non-motorized pathway runs along Leelanau County's former railroad corridors, passing through rolling hills, lush forests, picturesque orchards, peaceful meadows, and an aquatic medley of streams, lakes, and ponds. There is also a handful of vineyards within a short distance of the trail along the way. (I'm just sayin'.)

The Michigan portion of US Bicycle Route 35 extends 501-miles from Sault Ste. Marie in the north to New Buffalo in the southwest corner, passing through our area along the TART Trail and Leelanau Trail.

LIGHTHOUSE WEST NATURAL AREA

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page #1
Web page #2

Trail map

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

Guide to all Leelanau Conservancy Natural Areas

General idea

Relatively short trail through an array of habitat to the undeveloped shore of Lake Michigan.

Length

1.2 miles of trails. Doing the loop, ignoring the cross-over trail and going out to Lake Michigan beach and back, is 1.3 miles round-trip.

Hiking time

About 45 minutes

Difficulty

Easy to moderate.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In the northeastern tip of Leelanau County, NNE of Northport.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From Northport, go north 7.8 miles to Cathead Bay Drive (almost to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse). To get there, take M-201/Mill Street north out of town. It becomes County Road 640/Woolsey Lake Road. Later, where Co. Rd 640 splits off to the right, go straight and the road becomes County Road 629/Woolsey Lake Road. A little later it becomes County Road 629/Lighthouse Point Road. Keep going to Cathead Bay Drive. Turn left (west) and go 375 feet to the entrance and parking on the right (north). No restroom.

More details

From the Web site — At the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula neat the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. comprised of 42 acres with 640 feet of undeveloped shoreline along Lake Michigan, this area provides an array of habitat for over 100 species of our "feathered friends" — from beautiful songbirds to broad-winged raptors.

There are several environments here, including: cobble beach at Lake Michigan wetland, open and shrubby land, and light woods. Just past the western tip of the Birding Loop trail is a set of stairs to help down a short but steep bluff. Don't trip over the large boulders just past the stairway!

LITTLE MANISTEE RIVER WEIR TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
“Little Manistee River Weir Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an official trail or maintained by any organization.
[Added spring, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page for the weir. There is no Web page for the trail.

Trail map

None found, and likely none exist

General idea

Easy and very pretty trail along the edge of the Little Manistee River northwest of the weir

Length

0.5 miles

Hiking time

0.5 hours round-trip

Difficulty

Easy – it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, although the access road and parking lot may not be plowed in the winter.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, ESE of Manistee, and east of Stronach

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location (at the weir). The trail starts at the obseration deck

Directions

From south of Manistee: From the intersection of US-31 and Stronach Road (at the BP gas station just south of Manistee), take Stronach Road east 0.9 miles to Filer City Road. Turn right (southeast) and go 1.1 miles to 4th Avenue (Stronach Road) in the village of Stronach. Turn right (east) and go 1.3 miles to Old Stronach Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.8 miles to the intersection with Carty Road. Turn left (east) — you are still on Old Stronach Road — and go 2.4 miles to the entrance to the weir on the left (north) side of the road. Turn left (north) and go 0.2 miles to the parking for the weir.

More details

The weir (officially the Little Manistee River Weir Trail Egg Collection Facility, Fisheries Division, Michigan DNR) is a very fun place to visit when they are holding fish (trout and salmon, typically spring and fall) for the purpose of collecting their eggs which are taken to hatcheries, then later as fingerlings used to stock Michigan's lakes and rivers. Check out the weir's Web page for more details.

The facility is handicap accessible, has sidewalks around much of it and an observation deck at the river by the weir, and two restrooms by the parking lot.

Once you check out the operation at the weir, take the simple, single-track trail starting at the the obseration deck and paralleling the southwest side of the river. It's a relatively short, but very pretty, partially wooded trail. Early on, look in the tall pines across the river for an eagle's nest.

A variety of wildlife inhabit the riverside forest mix here of pine, cedar, and hardwood. Some of these are: bald eagles, osprey, raven, turkey, and woodpecker; beaver, mink, red fox, and whitetail deer; frogs, skink, toads, and turtles.

LONG LAKE – FOX and SOUTH ISLAND NATURE PRESERVES [2]

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Long Lake Area Preserves map #1
Long Lake Area Preserves map #2

South Island trail map #1
South Island trail map #2

General idea

These are two wooded islands in Long Lake in northwestern Grand Traverse County.

Fox Island – has no trail infrastructure, and has an undeveloped shoreline — it's mostly enjoyed from the beach
South Island – Short loop trail around the perimter of the island

Length

Fox Island – no trail infrastructure (the island is10 acres in area)
South Island – 0.5 mile loop (the island is 13.8 acres in area)

Hiking time

Fox Island – n/a (no trail infrastructure)
South Island – maybe 25 minutes

Difficulty

Fox Island – unknown
South Island – unknown, assumed pretty easy

Open to mountain
bikes

Fox Island – no
South Island – no

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Fox Island – maybe, snowshoeing, anyway
South Island – maybe, snowshoeing, anyway

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead locations

Fox Island – no trailhead
South Island – Trailhead location

Directions

The closest Long Lake public access to the islands is the Crescent Shores Road boat launch — at the east of Crescent Shores Drive off of West Long Lake Road

Crescent Shores Road access – light-duty boat launch at the east end of the road, short dock in the summer, roadside parking 500 feet west of the lake on the south side of the road, no restroom

Directions: From the intersection of north end of West Long Lake Road and North Long Lake Road (County Road 610) where North Long Lake Road makes a 90 degree bend, and south of the northwest corner of Long Lake – take West Long Lake Road south 0.5 miles to Crescent Shores Road. Turn left (east) and go 0.6 miles to the end of the road.

From the Crescent Shores Road boat launch:

  • The western tip of Fox Island is 0.8 miles to the ESE
  • The western tip of South Island is 0.9 miles to the southeast

More details

Visit these two small islands by boat using the Crescent Shores Road boat launch. South Island has a seasonal dock at its west end. Both islands are covered with northern hardwood forest and provide a habitat for bald eagles and an array of plant life. Fox Island has 3,000 feet of undeveloped shoreline, South Island — about 3450 feet.

LOSSIE ROAD NATURE TRAIL

Back to Trail List

Overseeing
organization

Whitewater Township, Grand Traverse County.
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2
Trail map #3
Road and trail map #4

General idea

Mostly flat, wooded trail was former right-of-way for Lossie Road. Travels between Cook Road (at the west) and Skegemog Point Road (at the east).

Length

1.8 miles, one way

Hiking time

Less that an hour, one-way.

Difficulty

Mostly easy on two-track type of trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, northeast of Williamsburg.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Access the trail from either Cook Road or Skegemog Point Road:

  • Cook Road — From US-31 northeast of Traverse City, take M-72 east approximately 5.5 miles to Cook Road (called N. Broomhead on the south side of M-72). Then left (north) go 1.5 miles and watch for the trail access on the right (east) side of road. It's immediately south of the driveway for 7392 Cook Road. Cook Road access. No restroom.

  • Skegemog Point Road — From US-31 northeast of Traverse City, take M-72 east approximately 7 miles to Skegemog Point Road. Then left (north) and go 0.6 miles and watch for the trail access on the left (west) side of road. Skegemog Point Road access. No restroom.

More details

This trail was the former right-of-way for Lossie Road between Cook Road and Skegemog Point Road. The trail crosses the south end of the Battle Creek Natural Area. There is a footbridge spanning Battle Creek. At Cook Road the trail is a grassy and flat two-track. The trail appears to be mostly in the woods. At Skegemog Point Road the trail is a narrow and slightly hilly two-track. (To be investigated.)

LOST LAKE PATHWAY

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan DNR
[Been there.]

Web page

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

Trail map

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

General idea

Relatively flat, sometimes sandy trail through the woodlands and around Lost Lake.

Length

6.3 miles, broken into two loops.
Southern loop: 2.4 miles.
Northern loop: 3.9 miles

Hiking time

About 3 hours round trip.

Difficulty

Easy. A few minor ups and downs along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northwestern Grand Traverse County, northwest of Interlochen.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

East of Interlochen, from the intersection of US-31 and Gonder, go north on Gonder about a mile and watch for parking lot on left (west) side of road. No restroom.

More details

A Michigan Recreational Passport is required to use this area.

The trail starts near the northeast corner of the parking lot. It returns in the northwest corner. The trail goes through the woods, along Lake DuBonnet, around the Lake Dubonnet State Forest Campground, along the outlet for the Lake, then via a gravel road, crosses the outlet dam (which is the Platte River, by the way). After crossing the outlet, look on the west side of the road where you'll find the start / end point to the second part of the trail. This 3.9 mile loop takes you through some nice rolling terrain with many pines and hardwoods, and near a few wetlands and Lost Lake. As you can see from the trail map, there are several two-tracks that criss-cross this area. Coming back, after doing the northern loop and the crossing the outlet, you can immediately go up a short feeder trail to connect to the southern loop. or go a short distance south on the gravel road and watch on the left (east) for short feeder trail to marker No. 2. From there go south to take the western part of the southern loop, past Christmas Lake, and back to the parking lot.

See here for more trail details.

LOWER WOODCOCK LAKE NATURE PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC). See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list.
[Added 8/31/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

At present (8/26/2020): a nice wooded trail from high above Lower Woodcock Lake descending slowly along the slope down to the lake.

Length

1.1 miles round trip. A more extensive trail system is being planned.

Hiking time

Round trip — about 30 minutes.

Difficulty

Moderate — it's flat at the top, then moderately-easy hills going down to the lake.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes..

General location

In northeastern Benzie County, southwest of Lake Ann (the village and the lake), and just north of Bronson Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

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

Trailhead
location
and
directions

Burnt Mill Road trailhead (roughly) [Redo this when Google Maps updates to include the parking lot.]

From the southwest, at the intersection of US-31 and northbound County Road 669 by the Platte River State Fish Hatchery – Take CR-669 north 2.0 miles to Bowers Road. Turn right (east) and go 0.5 miles to Oakley Road. Turn right (east) and go 1.0 miles to Burnt Mill Road. Turn left (north) and go 0.7 miles to the parking area on the right (east) side of the road.

From the northeast in downtown Lake Ann at the intersection of Maple and First Streets – Take Maple Street west 1.7 miles to Burnt Mill Road. Turn left (south) and go 2.1 miles to the parking area on the left (east) side of the road.

More details

This 230-acre property is a "true gem within the Platte River watershed. It contains the entirety of undeveloped Lower Woodcock Lake, a picturesque 22-acre lake surrounded by beautiful forest. About 70 percent of the property – including portions of all four sides – borders state forest. Such contiguity is critical for wildlife corridors, recreation and other factors." It also contains most of the small, unnamed outlet stream that flows from Upper Woodcock Lake to Lower Woodcock Lake, the entire stretch of another unnamed outlet stream from Lower Woodcock to Platte River, and a full half mile of frontage on the Platte River itself. The preserve is a mix of northern hardwood forest, conifer swamp, and pine plantation.

The initial trail here is only 1.1 miles long in total but a more extensive trail system is being planned. The current path was something that was quickly put in just before the preserve opened. All in the woods, the trail takes you across flat land to the beginning of a loop at Junction #1, then slowly descends from the high ridge above the western side of the lake along the slope down to the lake — where there’s a very short spur to a scenic overlook and bench. The single-track trail is marked with purple blazes on trees.

An unofficial footpath leads north beyond the bench at the scenic overlook going a quarter mile along the northwestern corner of the lake. Based on the little pink marker flags seen on this path, it looks as if this will be part of the trail system being developed.

The 22-acre Lower Woodcock Lake is wild all around, 30 feet deep, and has a 0.8-mile shoreline length. Expect a soft, mucky shore around much of the lake, and a steep hill at the western side.

Fishing and certain types of hunting and are allowed in accordance with state regulations.

PLEASE NOTE: A boat launch or dock will be installed sometime in 2021 for non-motorized boat access on the lake. Until that time, visitors are strongly discouraged from bringing in their own boats. The shoreline is very mucky and unstable. Proceed at your own risk.

MACKENZIE CROSS-COUNTRY and MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Huron-Manistee National Forest
[Updated 10/3/2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1 (shows miles (page 1) and kilometers (page 2). This map has two errors on the page showing miles: the distance between Posts 14 and 19 should be 0.22 miles, and the distance between Posts 15 and 16 should be 0.04 miles)
Trail map #2 (errors corrected and the map improved)
Trail map #3 (made from a photo of map taken on-site; I added Post 22 based on what was seen in another map; shows kilometers)
Trail map #4 (shows the 0.7 km-long trail from Post 21 to Post 22 that connects these trails to the Caberfae Ski Area; shows kilometers)

General idea

Many loops through rolling hills and very pretty pines and hardwoods of the Huron-Manistee National Forest

Length

10.1 miles with varying length loops

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken

Difficulty

Mostly easy to moderate, with a very more strenuous sections. Note that easiest trails can still have some gentle hills. One can do a large loop of all easy sections, or if you wish, expand that loop, or take some alternate pieces, to include "more difficult" and "most difficult" sections.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes. (Hikers should be aware of this.)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing — yes as that's this trail's primary use in winter. Some trails are groomed in the winter.
Snowshoeing — maybe, but do not disturb the XC tracks

General location

In southwestern Wexford County, west of Cadillac, south of Mesick, and ENE of Wellston.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Located just west of the Caberfae Peaks Ski Area.

Take M-55 to Caberfae Road (a.k.a. 13 Mile Road):

  • From the west – east of Wellston from the intersection of M-55 and M-37, go east on M-55 for 5.3 miles to Caberfae Road (north), a.k.a.13 Mile Road (south).

  • From the east – from Cadillac, take M-55 about 13 miles west to Caberfae Road (north), a.k.a.13 Mile Road (south).

At Caberfae Road, turn north and go 2.3 miles to 11 1/4 Road. Turn right (northwest) and go just 350 feet to 38 Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.9 miles to the entrance (FR 9833) on the left (south). Parking and the trailhead are just 400 feet in. Restroom.

More details

The varied terrain of this trail system is said to be an "outstanding Nordic trail set in a beautiful hardwood forest" and a “fantastic for a family outing.” In the winter the trail connects to, and is accessible from, the Caberfae Peaks Ski Area.

Cross-country skiing and mountain biking are the primary use for this trail system. Hikers and snowshoers should be aware of this. Some trails are groomed for cross-country. Snowshoers should take care not to walk in the XC ski tracks.

The trail system is very well marked with blue diamond-shaped blazes and numbered posts with maps at each junction.

Most of the trails are wide enough to easily accommodate passiing slower bikers or XC skiers.

Most trails are designated one-way and are dangerous if skied or biked the opposite direction.

Two other rules:
1) Yield the right of way to hikers, oncoming bikers, and skiers.
2) Give warning well in advance when overtaking bikers, skiers, and hikers.

MAGOON CREEK NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Also known as Magoon Creek Park.
This is a Filer Township Park/Natural Area and is maintained by the township.
[Added fall, 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page (shows all of Filer Township's parks)
Web page #2 (with trail map)
Web page #3 (with trail map)

Trail map

Trail map #1 – source #1, source #2
Trail map #2
(made from a photo of the sign on-site)

General idea

Mostly easy trails, and all but the beach trail are in the woods. The beach trail parallells the Lake Michigan beach up on a short ridge. In the southwestern corner, the trail takes you easily to the beach where Magoon Creek empties into Lake Michigan.

Length

2.0 miles of trails

Hiking time

An hour if you hiked all pieces..

Difficulty

Most of the trail is flat, but there are two short, moderately steep hills. One is just south of the beach parking lot, it's eroded a lot and full of roots. The other is on the well-used alternate "volunteer" trail just north of the southeastern corner.

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown, but it appears not.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes, except the two short, moderately steep hills will be "challenging" on XC skiis.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, SSW of Manistee and WSW of Stronach.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead at the Beach Parking Area

Directions

From the intersection of US-31 and Merkey Road on the south side of Manistee, take US-31 0.5 miles to Red Apple Road. Tunr right (west) and go 3.9 miles to the entrance to the park. (Along the way, Red Apple Road turns south). Turn right (west) to go into the park. You can park here at the entrance, at the Beach Parking Area, or the Picnic Parking Area. There are restrooms and a hand-pump for drinking water by Picnic Parking Area

More details

Magoon Creek Park has 97 acres with 2,300 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. There are woods, rolling hills, valleys, a creek, dunes, and and the Lake Michigan beach. It's a great spot for an afternoon picnic. The Picnic Area has many picnic tables and a covered pavilios nestled high atop a 150-foot bluff. From here, the view is spectacular. You can see the dunes to the south and Manistee's north pier Lighthouse to the north. Go for a hike, explore along the creek, relax on the beach, and more.

The trails are single-track, and expect for the beach trail, all in the woods. The trails are marked with white-tipped posts, most of which are numbered. During the summer, there are supposed to be booklets in the mailbox at the northeast corner of the trail system, on the north side ot the Trail Parking Area, by the trail map sign. These booklets are prepared by Filer Township and give information that corresponds to the numbered posts. If there are no booklets, you can also check with the Visitor's Bureau at 310 1st St., Manistee, MI 49660, or call 877-626-4783 or 231-398-9355.

A few trail notes...

From the picnic area, cross the parking area, past the large rock with a placque, the beach trail start here and follows an old road gradually downhill. Along the way, rhere are a couple of sandy turnoffs from this trail leading to the beach at the right (west). At the south end, this trail intersects with the Lower Trail Connector. Keep going straight to reach Magoon Creek.

From here:

  • follow the creek down to its mouth at Lake Michigan beach. This is a nice sandy beach with noe dune climbing involved. The creek outlet is sandy and shallow, making for a nice place for children to wade.
  • follow the creek up until you reach a small bridge (which is private). Take a left turn at the bridge and follow this trail (the two small side trails from the beach trail will come in on your left) until you come to the small triangle junction with the main loop at posts 18-20. Keep going east and in the southeast corner near post 31 you'll find the old Wojczechowski homestead site where the foundation is still intact.

From here, you can:

  • follow the main trail through switchbacks up the hill
  • continue on the level for another 200 feet, and then follow the less-used and unofficial trail which heads east then turns and goes uphill. It rejoins the main numbered trail near post 37.

MALL TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map

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

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

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

General idea

Paved path from Traverse City along US-31 (aka Division Street) from 11th Street to the Grand Traverse Mall (South Airport Road).

Length

2.4 miles – 0.3 miles from 11th Street to 14th Street, and 2.1 miles from 14th Street to South Airport Road.

Hiking time

About an hour..

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes, and road bikes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes (assumed), if it's not plowed in the winter. But there will be many plowed driveways and a few streets to cross.

General location

In central northern Grand Traverse County, the trail travels from the west side of Traverse City to southwest of it (by the Grand Traverse Mall).

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many access points. Three major ones (right along US-31) are

  • 11th Street and US-31 (Division Street) — location at Google Maps — note, there's no nearby parking. No restroom.

  • 14th Street and US-31 (Division Street) — location at Google Maps — a good starting location with plenty of parking. No restroom.

  • South Airport Road and US-31 — location at Google Maps — a good ending location with plenty of parking nearby. No restroom.

More details

Primarily a road bike path. From 11th Street to 14th Street the path is partially wooded and runs along the west side of the street. From 14th Street south to South Airport Road the path runs on the east side of the street and is very open.

MANISTEE NON-MOTORIZED TRAIL PARK

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Overseeing
organization

This City of Manistee park is a collaboration of the City of Manistee Non-Motorized Transportation Committee and the Shoreline Cycling Club.
[Updated October, 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Official Web page

Trail map

Trail map

General idea

Easy wooded trails primarily designed for classic cross-country and skate skiing.
There is a separate snowshoeing trail.
All trails can also be used for mountain biking and hiking during the summer.

Length

Winter:
• 3.8 miles of groomed cross-country trails. (Purple: 1.2 miles, Red: 1.4 miles, Yellow: 0.8 miles, and White: 0.4 miles)
• A 1 mile snowshoe trail (the Blue trail) that's also dog-friendly. (Blue)
Summer:
• 4.8 miles of trails for mountain biking and hiking during the summer.

Hiking time

2 hours if you hiked all trails.

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat. "Excellent beginner skiing but it's also fun more advanced skiers blasting around on the flats."

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-county skiing — yes, as that's the trail system's primary purpose. Use the Purple, Red, Yellow, and White trails.
Snowshoeing – yes, but only on the designated snowshoe trail — the Blue trail.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, ESE of Manistee and East Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

M-55 Trailhead

Directions

From the intersection of M-55 and US-31 north of Manistee (in Parkdale), go 3.1 miles to the entrance to the park on the left (north) side of M-55 (about 0.1 miles past Franklin Road). No restroom as of 10/2016, but one is planned. (The address is 2106 Caberfae Hwy, Manistee, MI 49660.)

More details

All trails travel through the woods.

Note: During the winter, no snowshoeing, winter hiking, or dogs are allowed on the cross-county trails (Purple, Red, Yellow, and White). However, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and dogs ARE allowed on Blue snowshoe trail. (Summer hiking and mountain biking are allowed on all trails during the summer.)

The cross-country trails (Purple, Red, Yellow, and White) are a 9-foot-wide mowed path in the summer, and groomed in the winter for two-way traffic. The Blue trail snowshoe trail is an unmarked single-track track that is very difficult (at present: 10/2016) to follow during non-winter months.

See this Web page for current skiiing conditions.

This Web page says — "This is a four-season City of Manistee Park for mountain biking, walking, running, and cross-country skiing. Expect trails that are fun and challenging for beginners and advanced users alike. (Just remember, there are no hills.) The Mountain Bike (MTB) Skills Park is for people of all ages and abilities to improve their MTB skills in a safe and approachable environment."

MANISTEE RIVER TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

Huron-Manistee National Forest (part of the U.S.Forest Service) and the Manistee River Trail Association (if it still exists)
[Updated 6/01/2020. Been there on parts of this.]

Web page

Official Web page
Manistee River Trail Brochure with Trail Map PDF
Another Web page for the trail

Trail map

Trail & road map #1 — source #1 and source #2 — The Manistee River Trail is the red-dashed trail. The solid black line is the North Country Trail, This map shows the OLD route for the NCT at the north end (just before and after Beers Road) and does not show the connector trail to the Manistee River Trail. It also does not show the suspension footbridge across the river near the north end of the Manistee River Trail and its related parking lot.

Trail map #2 – The Manistee River Trail is the green trail. The purple trail is the North Country Trail, if needed. At the north end, the yellow trail loosely shows the connecting trail from the NCT ar the west, across the river via the suspension footbridge, and on to the Seaton Creek Campground. Note that this map shows the OLD route for the NCT at the north end (just before and after Beers Road).

Trail map #3 — The Manistee River Trail is the dotted orange trail. The dotted red trail is the North Country Trail. This map shows the NEW route for the NCT at the north end (with the main trail going northeast and a spur going north to the Marilla Trailhead). It also shows the connector from the NCT at the west to the Manistee River Trail at Point #2 (suspension footbridge). And it shows the connector from the Manistee River Trail at Point #2 east to the Seaton Creek Campground (Point #3).

• Regardnig the North Country Trail (NCT) — at the northern end of this section, the OLD route for the main trail crossed Beers Road at the Marilla Trailhead and went north. Maps #1 and #2 show this. Now, that piece from the Marilla Junction north to the Marilla Trailhead at Beers Road is just a spur. The NEW route for the main trail of the NCT bends to the northeast just past the Marilla Junction, goes down a long steady hill, crosses Blueberry Lane (at the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead), and runs parallel to Beers / Hodenpyl Dam Road along its southern side — as the NCT heads east to M-115. Maps #3 shows this.

• Regardnig the NCT to MRT connector trail at the northern end — for details about that, see the Directions section below, and see under "Via the suspension footbridge".

General idea

Very scenic, wooded, and hilly trail along the eastern side of the Manistee River.

Length

Roughly 10 miles (one-way)
• 9.6 miles from the east side of the Little Mac suspension footbridge to the Red Bridge access.

At the northern end:
• Add 1.4 miles if you are starting from the Seaton Creek Campground..
• Add 1.1 miles if you are starting from the NCT at its intersection with the connecting trail (about 0.7 miles northeast of the Marilla Junction) and follow that connecting trail to the MRT via the suspension footbridge

Hiking time

5 hours.minimum.

Difficulty

Moderate, to be sure, There are several, short, moderately-steep pieces along the way.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In eastern central Manistee County, southwest of Mesick, and northeast of Wellston.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are a variety of places to access this trail along the east side of the river. The three main access points are:

  • Seaton Creek Campground — ESE of the at the northern end of the trail.

    Starting here is only practical if you are also camping here, or maybe if you are coming from the east and don't want to drive around to the suspension footbridge. There is a 1.4-mile connector trail from the campground to the Manistee River Trail by the suspension footbridge

    From Mesick, take M-37 south about 6 miles to 26 Road (near Yuma). Turn right (west) and go 1.7 miles to O'Rourke Drive (a.k.a. S. Hodenpyl Road on some maps). Turn right and go northwest 1.3 miles to Forest Road 5993 (a.k.a. McClush Road on some maps). Turn right and go 0.4 miles to the campground. There is a day-use parking fee.

    Campground area at Google Maps. Restroom.

  • Via the Little Mac suspension footbridge — at the northern end of the trail.

    This large footbridge is 0.4 miles downriver from the Hodenpyl Dam and accessed from Upper River Road. This is the most practical access to the northern end of the Manistee River Trail for most folks and is the start of the main part of the trail. (Note that from here one can also connect to the North Country Trail and Seaton Creek Campground, if need be.)
    From Mesick, take M-115 west around 1.7 miles (crossing the Manistee River) to Hodenpyl Dam Road. Turn left (southwest) and go 4.6 miles to what's now called Blueberry Lane on the left (southeast). (It's incorrectly called Hodenpyl Dam Road on some maps.) You'll see the Consumer Energy sign for the Hodenpyl Dam. Take Blueberry Lane and go 0.5 miles to Upper River Road, then turn right (west) and about 0.2 miles. There a few small areas to park off the road. The closest place is where the power lines cross the road. A very short path to the bridge leads downhill from this parking area.

    Parking and trailhead location. No restroom. (Note that not far away, there is a pit toilet at the Hodenpyl Dam parking lot at the south end of Blueberry Lane,).

    When it was built in 1996, this was the largest wooden suspension bridge in Lower Michigan and is known as "The Little Mac." It's 245 feet long.

    Connecting to the North Country Trail...

    • To connect to the North Country Trail to head south, follow the MRT/NCT connector trail. It's still called the Manistee River Trail, it's marked with white blazes on trees, and it heads southwest along the northwest side of the river, loosely parallel to Upper River Road for 0.8 miles, then north through the woods for 0.3 miles. It connects to the NCT roughly 0.7 miles northeast of the Marilla Junction.

    • To connect to the North Country Trail to head north, start by following the MRT/NCT connector. It's still called the Manistee River Trail, it's marked with white blazes on trees, and it heads west along the north side of the river, parallel to Upper River Road. Follow it for about 0.3 miles to where it, and the road, cross over Woodpecker Creek (very close to where the creek joins the river). From here, follow the Woodpecker Creek Trail (also marked with white blazes on trees) 0.7 miles north then east, along the creek and through the woods out to Blueberry Lane. From here, take the road 0.2 miles north to the NCT Hodenpyl Dam Trailhead at the north end of Blueberry Lane. If needed, see North Country Trail for more details.

  • Red Bridge — at the southern end of the trail.

    It's directly east of Brethren 8.4 miles on Coates Highway where it crosses the Manistee River.

    Or, from dowtown Mesick, take M-115 west 0.4 miles to southbound M-37. Turn right (south) and go 7.7 miles to 30 Road. Turn right (west) and at 3.4 miles where it turns to the south now it's called Coates Highway (Brethren Highway on some maps). Take that 1.5 miles to where Coates Highway heads west. Turn right (west) and go 1.5 miles to Red Bridge.

    The parking area for the south end of the trail is on the east side of the bridge on the south side of the road.

    Parking location. The trail starts on the north side of the highway across from the parking area.

    Not far away, there's a parking lot for boaters on the south side of the highway on the west side of the bridge that includes potable water and a pit toilet.

    If you will be connecting to the North Country Trail, access to it is just west of bridge on the north side of the highway. See North Country Trail for more details.

More details

Like the river, this scenic foot path meanders along the east side of the Manistee River between the Hodenpyl Dam (souhwest of Mesick) and Red Bridge (at Coates Highway).

The trail stays fairly close to the river the whole time, traverses several wetlands, and there are several small bridges crossing creeks. There are several small waterfalls alone the way, and one "larger" waterfall near the northern end that is very popular with many hikers. Several observation sites along the trail provide hikers with views of the Manistee River and surrounding area. There are several campsites dispersed along the trail.

This trail connects to the North Country Trail (which runs along the bluff on the west side of the river) at both ends making a nice 23-mile backpacking loop. Connection points between the two trails are near the suspension footbridge on the northern end and Red Bridge at the southern end.

Upper River Road on the west side of the river is a good shuttle road, if needed. One can also use Beers / Marilla Road / Coates Highway as a paved shuttle route (it's longer but takes about the same travel time).

See also:


MANISTEE RIVERWALK

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Overseeing
organization

City of Manistee
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page #1

Trail map

Trail map #1
Trail map #2

General idea

Boardwalk / sidewalk along the south side of the Manistee River behind the quaint downtown area

Length

1.5 miles, one-way

Hiking time

40 minutes, one way.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Perhaps snowshoeing if the walk is not cleared in winter.

General location

In southwestern Manistee County, in the city of Manistee along the south side of the river "behind" downtown out to Lake Michigan.

Road map of area

Road Map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are many access points to access the pathway, many along River Street in downtown Manistee, and several places west of downtown. Some typical access points at the ends of the pathway are:

  • Mason Street — At the east end of the pathway just northeast of the bridge at US-31 (Cypress Street) there's a small parking lot off Mason Street. Google Map of location

  • Another common access point on the east end is from the parking lot behind the House of Flavors restaurant, at River Street and US-31 (Cypress Street). There are stairs there down to the pathway. Google Map of location

  • A common access point on the pathway's west end is on the southwest side of the river channel near Lake Michigan at Douglas Park near the boat launch at the west end of First Street. Google Map of location

There are public restrooms available downtown and Douglas Park.

More details

This urban pathway (boardwalk / sidewalk) runs along the south side of the Manistee River behind River Street's quaint Victorian shops in the downtown area. In fact, it starts just east of US-31 and goes all the way to the Lake Michigan beach, where the river empties into the lake. Extend your "trip" if you like and walk the south pier to the beacon on Lake Michigan.

Along the way are mile markers, benches, picnic areas, interpretive signs, private docks, drawbridges, charter fishing docks, nearby businesses, restaurants, and boats large and small traveling the river. There are lights at the eastern section so you can easily stroll the downtown sections after dark on a summer evening.

The Riverwalk now features mileage markers every tenth mile, so fitness walkers can gauge their distance. The Manistee County Historical Society also has markers posted along the way denoting sites of interest and importance from the area's golden era of logging.

MANTON AREA HISTORIC PATHWAYS, GARDENS, and WATERWAYS

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Overseeing
organization

Unknown, perhaps the Village of Manton
[Added May, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

None found

Trail map

Trail map (based on a photo taken on-site)

NOTE: This map shows the mill pond as it once was, before it was drawn down with the removal of the Manton Millpond Dam sometime between 2010 and 2012. The removal of a dam returned the creek to its original channel. The dam was located where the footbridge is now across the Manton Creek.

General idea

Woodsy nature trail, part of which follows the course of Manton Creek going past the historic Mill Pond area, and part of which travels through a nice pine forest.

Length

1.6 miles of trails, 2.3 miles round-trip if one does all of the trails

Hiking time

About an hour

Difficulty

Easy, it's all flat

Open to mountain
bikes

The Path Trail and bottom (south section) of the South Loop, which follows a former two-track – likely: Yes.
Everything else: No

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes to both

General location

In northeastern Wexford County, on the north side of the Village of Manton

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

Cedar Street trailhead – From the intersection of Main Street (westbound old M-42) and Business 131 (N. Michigan Avenue) in Manton, take Business 131 north 0.5 miles to Cedar Street (just north of the DNR office and just south of the Manton Dairy Bar). Turn left (west) and go about 0.1 miles to the railroad tracks. If there are orange cones in the road before the track, you'll have to just park off the road before the track. Otherwise, on the other side of the tracks is a parking area on the left (south).

41 1/2 Road (Sturtevant Street) trailhead – From the intersection of Main Street (westbound old M-42) and Business 131 (N. Michigan Avenue) in Manton,, take Main Street west 0.5 miles to Sturtevant Street. Turn right (north) and go 0.7 miles to the west entrance on the right (east) side of the road. Pull in here and in 200 feet is a parking area.

More details

The Mill Pond Recreation Area, or Manton Area Historic Pathways, Gardens, and Waterways as it's now called, is a fancy name for a simple nature trail in a 41-acre area that's open year 'round, daily, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Explore the creek and pond – From the parking area at the east side by the railroad tracks, follow the former two-track west, which is the bottom (south section) of the South Loop and later the Path Trail. It's partially tree-lined and parallels the course of Manton Creek (a.k.a. Cedar Creek) as it flows northwest through the property. Roughly half-way along, as of May, 2017, beavers have built a long. C-shaped dam, and a nearby lodge. (They perhaps miss the large mill pond that was once there a little ways downstream.) You'll pass by wetland that was the start of the former mill pond. Eventually you'll come to a footbridge over Manton Creek (which is on its way to the Manistee River). Just beyond that is what's left of the mill pond, it's a mere fraction of its former self. Past that is the west side parking area and west entrance.

In its heyday, mill operations on the pond included the Manton Millpond Grist Mill.

Explore the woods – From the parking area at the east side by the railroad tracks, on the north side of the two-track, is the entrance to the north and south loop trails through the woods. It's a five-wide path covered in pine needles through mostly pine forest, and a few weltand areas. There are two small bridges over minor creeks.

If there are gardens, as the name suggests, no garden areas where seen during May, 2017.

Here's more about Manton Creek from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

MAPLE BAY NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. See the complete GTRLC nature preserve list. Onwed by Grand Traverse County.
[Updated 2016. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: source #1, source #2

General idea

Relatively short but scenic woodsy trails to undeveloped shoreline on Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay.

Length

0.8 miles of trails. 1.6 miles if you do all the pieces. You can extended your hike with a walk along the beach.

Hiking time

Depends on the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy, all flat except the initial 0.2-mile trail has a short, gentle hill.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Grand Traverse County, SSW of Elk Rapids.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

Northeast of Traverse City, from the intersection of US-31 and M-72 in Acme, take US-31 north 5.6 miles to the green sign marking the Maple Bay Natural Area on the left (west) side of the road. (It's 0.9 miles past Angell Road. A red barn can be seen on the (right) east side of US-31.) Turn into the gravel farm road and follow it 0.4 miles to a metal gate and the parking area.

More details

This 450-acre property straddles both sides of North US-31, known for its beautiful sunflowers planted on both sides of the highway and wonderful hiking trails leading to a popular beach. Besides forest and beach, the area features vernal wetland and wet meadow. It's home to many indigenous and migrating birds and animals.

The access road travels past Maple Bay Farm (including a farm house, root cellar, sugar shack and pole barn building) on the west side of US-31 to a parking area on top of a bluff where forests meet agricultural fields. Doing the trail, you'll descend the bluff to its foot then leads through forest to a beautiful 2,600 feet of undeveloped shoreline and beach on East Grand Traverse Bay.

Extend your hike with a walk along the beach.

MAPLEHURST NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and Mliton Township
[Added June 15, 2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map — found at junction posts along the way and is correct. It's based on a photo taken on-site. Please note that the one posted at the parking lot is NOT correct!

General idea

Very pretty, mostly wooded trail in the hills above Torch Lake, but also access to the beautiful, undeveloped Lake Maplehurst.

Length

3.7 miles of trails via two connected loops, one long spur, and one short spur (down to the lake).
A “typical route” would be to take the two loops, skip the long spur on the east side, but go down to the lake and back — about 3.3 miles.

Hiking time

1 hour and 40 minutes for the “typical route”.

Difficulty

There are mostly easy hills throughout the trail system but with some moderately steep ones now and then.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

Just west of Torch Lake, ENE of Kewadin in southwestern Antrim County.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the intersection of US-31 and Dexter Street/Ames Street in Elk Rapids, take US-31 north 3.4 miles to Winter Road. Turn right (east) and go 2.4 miles to the entrance on the right (southwest) side of the road. (Along the way, Winters Road changes to Waring Road.) Enter and go just over 0.1 miles to the parking lot. Port-a-pottie.

More details

This property encompasses 389 acres, 150 of which are steep hardwood forested bluffs (about 250 feet about Torch Lake) that drain into that lake. The area surrounds the beautiful, 60-acre, spring-fed, undeveloped Lake Maplehurst. From 1955 until 2011 it was home to Camp Maplehurst, a summer camp beloved by generations of campers and counselors. Its position on high ground means visitors have views of Torch Lake, Elk Lake, and Grand Traverse Bay.”

A wonderful setting for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, there is also extensive waterfront area that allows fishing, swimming, and non-motorized boating. There is no access to the lake from the trailhead for motorized watercraft. People will need to carry or wheel their kayaks, canoes, and paddle-able fishing craft down to the lake from the parking area, which is about a quarter-mile slightly downhill.

Abou two-thirds of the first or western loop is in the woods, where it's a single-track trail. The rest is a path in the meadow. All of the second or eatern loop is in the woods, where it's a four-feet-wide trail. The meadow parts are flat or very gentle hills. The parts in the woods are a series of relatively easy hills with an occassional short but moderately steep hill. The trail is marked with blazes on trees, and there are posts at each junction with maps. There are stone benches scattered throughout the trail system. Old two-tracks criss-cross the property and trails.

Heading off of Post 4 is a short spur that at present appears to have little value. For its last 500 feet it uses an old-two-track and parallels a small spring. It ends where another two-track crosses it and goes a short ways down to Torch Lake Drive. So via that, it provides a convenient, alternate access. Perhpas in the future the trail system will be extended to use this spur.

MAYFIELD POND PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Paradise Township
[Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

None found.

General idea

Short but scenic and wooded trail that circles an historic mill pond and crosses Swainston Creek.

Length

(Perhaps) 0.7 mile loop

Hiking time

25 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate — one moderate hill on the southwest portion of the loop. Easiest to do if you hike the loop counter-clockwise.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central Grand Traverse County, north of Kingley, on the west side of the village of Mayfield.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking area location

Directions

Near Traverse City, from the intersection of Garfield Road and Hammond Road, take Garfield Road south 8.0 miles (or 1.3 miles south of River Road) to Mill Street in the the small village of Mayfield. Turn right (west) and go two blocks to the entrance to the park and a small parking lot.

More details

This park is the Mayfield Historic Mill Site with a former mill pond that's part of Swainston Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. The loop trail circles the pond and is wooded much of the way. The west portion of the loop rises over 100 feet above the pond and offers a nice view of the area. To get up the hill, you can go either way on the loop, but it's best to go counter-clockwise. On the north end, after crossing the creek, the trail goes gradually uphill via an old logging road. At the southern end of the loop has a moderately steep path with some stairs to descend.

Section 1 (from the east) of the Boardman River Trail (BRT) ends at this park. Section 2 of the BRT, when completed, will leave from here heading generally west.

MICHIGAN LEGACY ART PARK

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Overseeing
organization

Michigan Legacy Art Park,  a non-profit 501(c)3 organization
[Added 5/6/2020. Been there.]

Web page

Web site

Trail map

Trail map

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Hilly path through pretty woods with several outdoor sculptures relating to Michigan’s cultural legacy.

Length

1.65 miles, made up of three connected loops (with a few short-cuts)
• Access-For-All Trail: 0.2 miles
• Amphitheater Trail: 0.15 miles
• Ridge Trail: 0.5 miles
• Stockade Trail: 0.8 miles

Hiking time

Around an hour, assuming you make no stops along the way

Difficulty

Moderate — there are several moderately-steep sections throughout the park. There are a few, short, more-strenuous pieces.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes. Snowshoers should take care not to damage groomed XC ski trails. Skiers always have the right-of-way.

General location

In southern central Benzie County just east of Thompsonville within the Crystal Mountain Resort.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location, 44.52010, -86.00295

Directions

From the intersection of Lindy Road (County Road 602, a.k.a. Lincoln Street) and Thompsonville Road (County Road 669) in Thonpsonville, take Lindy Road 2.3 miles west to M-115. Cross the highway, enter Crystal Mountain Resort, and go 0.25 miles to Mountain Drive. Turn left (southwest) and go 0.25 miles to main intersection on the property (Mountain Drive with Washtenaw Drive and Mountain Center Drive). Turn right (west) on Mountain Center Drive and go 0.5 miles to Mountainside Drive. Turn right (north) and go slightly over 0.1 miles to the entrance to the park on the left (north) side of the road. Parking for perhaps 20 vehicles. Restroom. (There are signs all over to guide you along the way.)

More details

Admission: there's a suggested donation of $5 per adult, $10 per family, and children are free. Deposit admission fee in the green pipe at the trailhead. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash. Note that there is free admission for all during the pandemic.

The park resides on the property of Crystal Mountain; the land is generously leased from them for $1 per year.

There are fun summer concerts in the outdoor forest amphitheater here via an easy walk from the parking lot.

In the winter months there are groomed XC ski trails. Hikers are required to wear snowshoes as boots damage the groomed ski trails. Skiers always have the right-of-way and move fast on the trails, .

From Wikipedia

"The Michigan Legacy Art Park is a 30-acre outdoor sculpture park located near Thompsonville, Michigan, on the grounds of Crystal Mountain Resort. It is open year-round and includes 49 works of art and over 1.6 miles of hiking trails.

The Michigan Legacy Art Park was founded in 1995 by artist David Barr. It is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Barr was awarded the Governor's Michigan Artist Award in 1988. In his acceptance speech, he told the audience of his desire to create a Michigan Art Park – a place where artists could tell the story of our state in and through the fundamental materials of nature. In his assessment of our state at that time, there was something missing – a place that expresses Michigan's history through the arts. Illustrations or artifacts of that history already existed, but he wanted contemporary artists to bring that history to fresh and vivid life.

Michigan Legacy Art Park inspires awareness, appreciation, and passion for Michigan's history, culture and environment through the arts. The mission is primarily fulfilled through an outdoor sculpture collection that expresses Michigan's history and extensive educational opportunities."

Besides the 49 outdoor sculptures there are 31 poetry stones throughout the park along the trail

The trail is really a wide path. At each junction there are posts with maps. It's recommended to take the route in a counter-clockwise direction, because except for the purposely very easy Access-For-All Trail, there are moderately steep hills throughout the park. Coming back on the Ridge Trail down to the Amphitheater is one of the steeper parts of the trail, reinforcing the preferred counter-clockwise direction. The Amphitheater Trail is easier going down than up.

At the northwestern tip of the trail system, take a short spur to the golf course for a nice view of Benzie County to the northwest. Just past this point along the trail at the Barn Chair sculpture there's a pretty view of the Betsie River Valley.


MILLER CREEK NATURE RESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

Garfield Township and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
Also known as the G.T. Crossings Trail System.
[Updated 2/19/2018. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map #1 – Old and does NOT show the new western addition
Trail map #2 – Old and does NOT show the new western addition
Trail map #3 – Old and does NOT show the new western addition
Trail map #4 – Old but shows the new western addition as it was proposed.
Trail map #5 – Most complete. It's based on a photo taken on-site 7/2020 and shows the new western addition as implemented, which includes a long boardwalk and several other new pieces of trail.

General idea

Partially open but mostly wooded trail system south and east of Aldi, Home Depot, and Walmart in Traverse City, down along Miller Creek and passing through mature forest, open meadows, and cedar swamps.

Length

3.5 miles of trails in several loops.

Hiking time

Varies with the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate. Most of the trail is flat, but there's a short mild hill as you go from being just behind the shopping area down to the Miller Creek area.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

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

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are three access points:

  • A trailhead and a small parking area at the southwest corner of (and behind) the Aldi's/ Planet Fitness building on South Airport Road. Parking and trailhead location. No restroom.

  • A trailhead and parking lot at the east end of on Crossing Circle Drive behind (east of) BAM and Home Depot by the Resurrection Life Church.  Parking and trailhead location. No restroom.

  • At the old Sabin Elementary School on Cass Road (just north of Hartman Road). Parking location. Walk through the former playground area and look for the trail access location at the edge of the woods just northwest of the west end of the school. No restroom.

More details

The trails passes through a former red pine plantation, takes boardwalks over a cedar swamp, skirts the edges of open meadows behind the stores, apartments, condominiums, and homes of the G.T. Crossings shopping area, and follows Miller Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. There are maps at the junctions. Expect lots of dog walkers.

New in 2017 on the west side of the property is a viewing platform by the small fishing pond and a nearly quarter-mile-long boardwalk that crosses two creeks as it meanders through cedar swamp.

MISSAUKEE FITNESS TRAIL (a.k.a. N.E.W. (Nature's Exciting Wonders) Fitness Trail)

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Overseeing
organization

Missaukee Conservation District
[Added December, 2017. Area to be investigated.]

Web page

No official Web page was found.

Unofficial Web page #1
Unofficial Web page #2

Trail map

Trail map #1 – source #1, source #2
Trail map #2 – Brochure for the N.E.W. (Nature’s Exciting Wonders) Missaukee Fitness Trail & Native Gardens and shows a trail map on the last page.

General idea

Short, easy "fitness" trail next to the Missaukee County building and through the woods nearby.

Length

0.9 miles

Hiking time

About 0.5 hours if you did all the pieces

Difficulty

Unknown but it appears to be all flat, so: easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Unknown but very likely not

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Unknown but likely.

General location

In western central Missaukee County just north of Lake City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
location
and
directions

Parking lot location. From the intersection of M-66 (Main Street, Morey Road) and M-55 (Park Street, Houghton Lake Road) in downtown Lake City, take M-66 north 1.0 mile to Sanborn Road. Turn left (west) and go 0.15 miles to the entrance to the Missaukee County building on the right (north) side of the road. Turn in there and park. The trail supposedly starts at the northeast corner of the parking lot.

More details

The Missaukee Conservation District says, "This stacked loop is handicap accessible, there are benches throughout, and 10 interpretive stations. It is close to town and the Missaukee County Park. Dogs are welcome, we just ask that you clean up after them. The trail is accessible 24 hours a day though it does not have lighting."

MISSAUKEE MOUNTAIN XC TRAILS

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Overseeing
organization

Lake City and the area ski club
[Area to be investigated.]

Web page

Missaukee Ski Mountain Web page
Web page #2

Trail map

None found.

General idea

Hilly and wooded cross-county ski trails available for summer hiking use.

Length

5.2 miles

Hiking time

Varies with route taken.

Difficulty

Unknown.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Cross-county skiing: yes.
There is likely some snowshoeing available in the area.

General location

In western central Missaukee County, north of Lake City.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Parking area location. Apparently, the trail starts here ((to be investigated.))

Directions

From Lake City take M-66 north approximately 4 miles to Missaukee Mountain Road, then turn left (west) and go about 0.6 miles to Missaukee Mountain. Restrooms availabe in the little ski lodge (if it's open).

More details

In the winter, the downhill ski runs at Missaukee Mountain are open on weekends and Christmas break, depending on snow conditions.

The cross-country ski trails range from beginner to expert, with paths from a half a mile to two miles long.

The trails are open for walking during the off-season.

From the geocaching.com Web site – "The trail begins from the parking lot and (goes) behind the ski lodge, it has markers along the trail so avoid the temptation to bushwhack."

MISTY ACRES: THE BORWELL PRESERVE

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map: sourrce #1, source #2

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Pretty loop trail through hardwoods down to the Betsie River, and travels along the edge of a deep ravine of a creek that flows to the river.

Length

Around 1 mile, more that half of it in a loop.

Hiking time

Less that 30 minutes.

Difficulty

Easy to moderate – there are a handful of small and gentle hills along the trail.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In central southern Benzie County, west of Thompsonville and SSE of Benzonia.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

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

Directions

From the traffic signal in Benzonia (US-31 and M-115 west), take US-31 south 7.3 miles to County Line Road (also called Smeltzer Road on some maps). Turn left (east) and go 2.2 miles to the parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. No restroom.

More details

Once the Misty Acres farm, this beautiful 600-acre area is still in the planning stages. The future for more trails and other features is being studied. The farm here is currently available to view via appointment – it's home to a small herd of cattle – Belted Galloways from Scotland. The property straddles the Benzie-Manistee County line, has 360 acres of hardwood forest, and 6200 feet along the Betsie River.

The trail travels along the edge of a deep ravine for a creek that's a tributary of the Betsie River. You get some glimpses of the river before the trail circles back through the woods. It's a well-marked with purple blazes, so helpful for staying on trail when it's covered with leaves or snow.

MITCHELL-HERITAGE NATURE TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

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

Web page

Trail Web page
Another Web page about this area and trail
Mitchell State Park Web page

Trail map

• Mitchell State Park Road / Trail map: source #1, source #2 (which shows the correct parking location in the Kenwood Heritage Park)
Mitchell-Heritage Trail map

General idea

A pretty and easy woodchip path around the wetland area of the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area..

Length

2.5 miles

Hiking time

Depends on the route taken.

Difficulty

Easy.

Open to mountain
bikes

No.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In southeastern Wexford County, west of Cadillac, and northwest of the western end of Lake Cadillac.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead
locations
and
directions

There are two parking areas and access points:

Kenwood Heritage Park parking and trailhead location – At an area in the west part of Kenwood Heritage Park. From M-115 and North Boulevard, take North Boulevard 0.7 miles northeast to Rose Avenue on the left (northwest) side of the road. Turn on to Rose Avenue and got 520 feet looking for the start of the trail on the left (southwest). Park in the grass. Restrooms are available at the beach-side of Kenwood Heritage Park (across North Boulevard).

Johnson Center parking and trailhead location – At the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center at the northeast corner of M-115 and North Boulevard at the west end of Lake Cadillac. Enter off of M-115, 300 feet north of the intersection with North Boulevard. Restrooms inside the Center.

More details

Trails lead through wetland from the two parking areas to a woodchip path with bridges and boardwalks that loop around the Cadillac Heritage Nature Study Area.

A vehicle permit may required to park at the Johnson Center, as it's in Mitchell State Park..

MOHRMANN NATURAL AREA

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Overseeing
organization

Managed by Antrim County as forest land under a management agreement with the Antrim Conservation District
[Updated May, 2017. Been there.]

Web page

Web page

Trail map

Trail map (based on a photo taken on-site)

General idea

Pretty, wooded trail, that passes by a creek in the northeast, and crosses two creeks in the southwest

Length

Maybe 1 mile total

Hiking time

Roughly half an hour

Difficulty

Easy, as it's all flat (excetp for one tiny moderate hill)

Open to mountain
bikes

No (assumed)

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes

General location

This area is in western central Antrim County, north of Bellaire, on the northeast side of Intermediate Lake.

Road map of area

Road map

Trailhead location

Trailhead location

Directions

From the east side Bellaire at the intersection of Cayuga Street and Derenzy Road (Fairgrounds Road), take Derenzy Road north 3 miles to Intermediate Lake Road. Turn (left) west and go 1.7 miles to the entrance to the park on the right (north) side of the road. No restrooms.

More details

This 105-acre rustic park features numerous forestry features, creeks, and an abundance of wildlife. It offers fishing, nature trails, hunting, and a picnic area. It is open all year around. Fish Creek flows through this property, and it's joined by another creek along the way. There are three footbridges crossing over creeks on the Red Trail. The Blue Trail loop in the northeastern corner passes through private property — please be respectful of that. In the southeastern corner of the Blue Trail loop, there is currently (May, 2017) no sign to tell you to turn here. (If you go to the east, there's a footbridge over a creek — that's the wrong way.)

MUD LAKE TWO-TRACK TRAIL

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Overseeing
organization

On state land so it's this property is owned and managed by the Michigan DNR. “Mud Lake Two-Track Trail” is a name used for reference only on this Web page. This is not an "official" trail on any organization.
[Been there.]

Web page

None found, and it's likely none exist.

Trail map

Rough trail map

Also see this document of printable grayscale trail maps:
Printable Trail Maps for the Benzie County Trail Guide

General idea

Technically a two-track, this trail that travels the former Manistee & Northeastern railroad along the Platte River and Mud Lake to Lake Ann (the lake not the village) in a very pretty and woodsy, undeveloped area.

Length

1.6 miles round trip.

Hiking time

Less than an hour round trip.

Difficulty

Easy — most of the trail is flat, but there is one small hill and some parts of the trail are sandy.

Open to mountain
bikes

Yes.

Open to XC skiing
and snowshoeing

Yes.

General location

In northeastern Benzie County, south of the village of Lake Ann.

Road map of area

Road map

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

Trailhead
location
and
directions

From Lake Ann – at the intersection of Lake Ann Road (2nd St) and Maple Street (County Highway 610), take Lake Ann Road south 2.2 miles to just before the unsigned Buckley Road on the left (east). (If you come to Douglas Drive on the left (east), you’ve gone 0.4 miles too far south). The starting point is the two-track on the right (west) side of the road, 200 feet north of Buckley Road.

From downtown Honor – take US-31 east 9.2 miles to Lake Ann Road (County Highway 665), turn left (north) and go 2.5 miles to the two-track on the left (west) side of the road. Along the way on the right (east) you'll pass Douglas Drive at 2.1 miles