Saturday, Sept. 17 to Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
With more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails that connect communities, provide health and economic benefits, and attract outdoor enthusiasts, it’s no wonder Michigan is known as "The Trails State." Hikers, bikers, equestrians, off-road vehicle (ORV) users, kayakers and snowmobilers find enjoyment on the many inter-connected state trails. There are hundreds more miles of local, county and federal trails in Michigan.
To showcase these resources, Gov. Rick Snyder recently proclaimed Sept. 17-24 as the state’s third official Michigan Trails Week. The declaration originated in 2014 to highlight Michigan's trail system; this year, the weeklong celebration culminates on Saturday, Sept. 24, which is National Public Lands Day.
According to a 2013 report by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, outdoor recreation generates $18.7 billion in consumer spending in Michigan, generating approximately 194,000 jobs a year. In addition, at least 63 percent of Michigan residents participate in outdoor recreation each year.
Find your trail adventure!
Get out and enjoy the many state, county or local trail or trails in Michigan. Whether walking a familiar trail, hiking a more challenging Upper Peninsula trail, running a hilly course or bicycling a paved linear trail, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy our state’s outstanding trail system. Michigan Trails Week is the perfect time to get started!
Here are just a few highlights of trails across the state:
Jump on the Iron Belle Trail, the longest designated state trail in the nation, and hike or bike your way between Belle Isle Park in downtown Detroit and Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. Explore pristine forests, paddle cool rivers and visit charming towns all across the state. The 791-mile bicycle route is 64 percent complete and utilizes existing multi-use trails. In the Upper Peninsula, the route follows U.S. 2, a designated national bicycling route. Visit www.michigan.gov/ironbelle to learn more.
Michigan is home to a wide variety of hiking trails across the state, which showcase Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. A number these trails are maintained by the DNR and can be found in Michigan state parks, state forest lands or wildlife preserves. Many of these trails make unbelievable day hikes, including the Jordan Valley Pathway, Blind Sucker Creek Pathway, Mason Tract Pathway and Shingle Mill Pathway.
Mountain bikers in Michigan recently scored a major win with the opening of the first 5-mile loop of the DTE Energy Foundation Trail near Chelsea. Located in the heart of the Waterloo State Recreation Area, the cutting-edge, sustainable trail is open to mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers and cross-country skiers and has been made possible by an innovative partnership between the DNR, the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association and a $255,000 grant from the DTE Energy Foundation.
In July, community members and trail enthusiasts celebrated the completion of the 22-mile William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail improvement project. The trail was named after the late William Field, who led the effort and had the vision to develop one of the first “Rails to Trails” parks in the state. The paved trail winds through rural and wooded terrain and through the communities of Hart, Mears, Shelby, New Era, Rothbury and Montague.
Michigan offers trails for boaters and paddlers too. The DNR is in the process of developing a policy to include water trails - some overseen by other entities and some yet to be developed - into a statewide system. The 30-year plan will help develop a state system of water trails. Helping lead the charge is the Land Information Access Association.
Michigan has the largest rail-trail system in the nation. Across the state, more than 2,600 miles of old railroad lines have been converted for recreational use.
Michigan is constantly upgrading its ORV trails, using dollars generated by the sale of ORV licenses and trail permits to fund restoration of existing trail and link even more communities.
Michigan Trails Week events
MI-TRALE fall senior ORV ride at Twin Lakes State Park (Houghton County) Thursday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Join Twin Lakes and MI-TRALE for a senior citizens ORV ride from Greenland to Twin Lakes State Park to enjoy fall colors, the beauty of the Bill Nicholls trail and the scenic triple trestles. A pasty lunch will be provided upon arrival at Twin Lakes State Park. To register for the ride or volunteer, contact Kim Sims with MI-TRALE at 863-528-5156. For more information about the park or the event, call 906-288-3321.
Geocaching at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park (Keweenaw County) Saturday, Sept. 17
The 10th annual geocaching event will include treasure hunting using GPS units (not provided) to find hidden treasures in and around the fort at a number of interesting, beautiful or historical locations in the nearby area. The event concludes with a participant get-together and an awards drawing at 2 p.m. Registration is available from 8 to 10 a.m. For more information about the park or the event, call 906-289-4215.
Moonlight Horse Trail Ride at Ortonville Recreation Area (north Oakland and southern Lapeer counties) Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8 to 11 p.m.
Ride the trails on the Hadley Hills equestrian trails starting at the Ortonville Equestrian Campground.
Trail walk at Wolf Lake Hatchery Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Explore the sights and sounds of fall on the trails at Wolf Lake. The trail system contains four marked trails ranging from .25 mile to 1.5 miles in length. Be sure to stop inside the visitor center to pick up a trail map and talk to staff for more detailed trail information. Trails are open daily dawn to dusk and the visitor center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
Bear Claw Epic Mountain Bike Radce at Cadillac Pathway Saturday, Sept. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bear Claw Epic will be a multi-lap, high-intensity race for all levels and ages of mountain bikers. The course provides a challenging course that brings back riders and spectators back year after year! Proceeds from the race will go directly towards the maintenance and preservation of the Cadillac Pathway. Meet at the Career Tech Center, 9901 E. 13th St in Cadillac. View additional info.
Hike Between da Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Luce County) Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Celebrate Michigan Trails Week and National Public Lands Day by hiking the most popular trail in the park. The five-mile river trail parallels the Tahquamenon River between the Upper and Lower Falls, traversing through old-growth forest, giant cedars and beautiful wildflowers. Hikers can park their vehicles at the Lower Falls and take a free shuttle to the trailhead at the Upper Falls. Shuttles begin at 9 a.m. and run every 30 minutes. The last shuttle departs the Lower Falls at 1 p.m. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring water. Leashed dogs are welcome on the shuttle and the hiking trails. For additional details, check out the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter of the NCT’s Facebook event www.facebook.com/events/293591807663268/ or contact the park at 906-492-3415. View additional info.
White Pine Trail harvest hike at the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail Saturday, Sept. 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m
Take an easy stroll along the lit-up paved trail decorated with carved jack-o-lanterns and then enjoy a toasted marshmallow at the campfire. All ages/abilities,self-guided, allow at least 30 minutes for this one- mile round trip hike. Pets are welcome! A special thanks to Geers Pumpkin Farm in McBain. Please meet at the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail at the Cadillac staging area located on 44 Road. For more information please call William Mitchell State Park at 231-775-7911.
Yoga Out Yonder at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County) Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Join in on this hiking and yoga class from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Participants will enjoy a guided hike on the Waterloo Recreation Area trails combined with breaks for yoga postures. The yoga hikes begin and end at the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center lake overlook deck. Cost for the class is $20 per session. Class dates are Sept. 24, Oct. 8 and Oct. 22. Participants must be adults or ages 13 and up and be able to hike for approximately 45 minutes. Beginners are welcome. For more information, contact Breathe Yoga at 734-680-9072.
Dances With Dirt at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County) Saturday, Sept. 24
It's Dances with Dirt time! Run the trails in this five-person 100K trail relay run. Individual events are also available. Registration required. Visit www.dwdhell.com or www.rfevents.com.
National Public Lands Day - Sept. 24, 2016
Michigan Trails Week ends on National Public Lands Day, the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Help preserve Michigan's public lands by volunteering your time, making a financial contribution or simply telling others about Michigan's woods and waters! For information about volunteer opportunities, contact Miguel Rodriguez at 517-284-6127 or RodriguezM2@michigan.gov.
North Country National Scenic Trail Day - Sept. 24, 2016
Michigan is home to 1,150 miles of the 4,600-mile North Country National Scenic Trail, the longest national scenic trail in the United States. That's a lot to celebrate, and trail users, advocates, communities and organizations celebrate it every year on North Country National Scenic Trail Day, the same day as National Public Lands Day. Learn more at northcountrytrail.org. #NCNSTDay
For more information, contact Doug Donnelly, communications specialist for the DNR Trails Division at 517-284-6109.