Did you know that Michigan offers more biking trails than any other state? Featuring over 1,300 miles of trails, there is a trail out there for every bicyclist no matter what your skill level is. Biking is a great way to get outside and be active, while seeing all the beauty that Michigan has to offer. Imagine biking past Lake Michigan, vineyards, forests, and beaches. Whether you are into road biking or mountain biking, here are a few of my favorite bike trails in Northern Michigan to get out and ride on.
The beautiful Leelanau Trail is a 17-mile trail that connect Traverse City and Suttons Bay. This trail provides all the views of Northern Michigan you’d want to see including West Grand Traverse Bay, vineyards, farms, forests, and more. It is a paved off-road trail so in the summer it is perfect for biking, walking, or running. In the winter, many people will cross-country ski through the trail. Seventeen miles might seem like a far distance, so there are three different trailheads for parking so you can go as far as you want and then turn around.
If you are up for a long adventure, I highly recommend starting in Traverse City at the Cherry Bend Road trailhead, biking the 17 miles to Suttons Bay, and stopping for a drink and bite to eat at Boone’s Prime Time Pub. It is the perfect place to relax after 17 miles, and if you can, sit on their rooftop that provides a gorgeous view of Suttons Bay. Once you are rested, bike the 17-miles back! You might be exhausted, but it’s a great workout and the views and food are worth it.
Another beautiful trail in Traverse City is the TART Trail. This paved trail is 10.5-miles long and connects you to nearly all the best resorts, restaurant, shopping, and beaches along Traverse City. My favorite part of the trail starts near the State Park campground and heads east toward Acme. Along this part of the trail you can see beautiful views of East Grand Traverse Bay. Parking is available all along the TART trail, so this is the perfect one to ride if you only want to go a couple miles and turn around. If you are really up for a challenge, the Tart Trail connects to the Leelanau Trail, so if you are looking for a long cycling adventure try connecting the two of them and ride 27.5 miles to Suttons Bay.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
Experience all the beauty of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore while riding this 17-mile trail between Empire and Port Oneida. This trail has been adding on additional sections for years, and in 2016 it just finished construction to Bohemian Road. The trail is mostly paved, and some parts are a bit hillier than others, but it is still family-friendly for all ages to ride. Those who ride the trail can also access the Dune Climb. In the summer, the trail is perfect for biking, walking and running, but it is also a great trail in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Eventually, the trail will be 27-miles long connecting all the way up to Good Harbor.
Plan an adventure to Mackinac Island and you’ll see why people rave about this beautiful 8.3-mile trail. This trail may be harder to get to, but it is worth it. My favorite place to start off at is the Mackinac Island Visitor’s Center where you will then travel east. During your ride, you’ll see all the beauty of Mackinac Island including Lake Huron, The Mackinaw Bridge and the historic Arch Rock. You’ll also pass through Main Street where you can see the downtown area and make a pit stop for fudge, ice cream, or one of the many fantastic restaurants. If you are looking for a good place to eat while on the island check out our favorite Mackinac Island restaurants to visit. To ride a bike on Mackinac Island you can either pay a small fee and bring it with you on your ferry ride or rent one on the island. Also, don’t forget to bike up some of the more “secret” paths to see even more landmarks such as Sugar Loaf Rock.
The Betsie Valley Trail
Located along Crystal Lake and the banks of the Betsie River you can find the scenic Betsie Valley Trail. This 22-mile trail is a ride for all ages, but not all of it is paved with asphalt so if you plan on riding the entire trail, make sure you have a bike with wider tires. If you are looking for a smooth ride, try starting off in Frankfort to Beulah that provides beautiful views of Betsie Lake, Betsie River, and Crystal Lake. All throughout the trail you can find several restaurants and ice cream shops to grab a bite and rest at. The Betsie Valley Trail is beautiful at all times of the year, but definitely consider visiting in the fall for some beautiful foliage.