Embarking from the popular Lake Ann State Forest Campground, the Lake Ann Pathway trail is an interconnected network of paths that allows for the hiker to partake in a leisurely walk or a more contoured and hilly excursion. The system consists of an eastern and western loop, with the latter providing the opportunity for up to a 3.5 mile circuit that traverse several rolling inclines. The eastern is a succinct and relaxed 1.8 miles that dips south to the edge of the Platte River and skirts along the shore of Lake Ann. The varying loops and distances allows the hiker to create their own trek, satisfying all looking for a wild escape close. A mix of white oak, beech and maple, the well worn and wide path is comfortably shaded as it meanders along. Some charming aspects of the western loop are the tranquil Shavenaugh and Mary’s Lakes, ensconced by the hardwoods and pines. When calm, these secluded waters become a true reflection pond, creating a mesmerizing symmetry as it mirrors the surrounding maples and bluebird sky.
The lakes and river surrounded by hardwoods provide quaint, picturesque oases of Northern Michigan wilderness. Shavenaugh and Mary’s lakes are unblemished by human intrusion, encompassed only by wild snares of tag alders and reeds, and the warm Platte River sifts unperturbed over stacks of collapsed cedars. The hike may vary from just under a mile to several depending on the chosen path. Although the trail system is compact, snapping a picture of the trail map may be convenient once in the woods. Make a point to pack and use bug spray as the mosquitos can be bothersome. A full water bottle and a snack are also recommended to keep you replenished on the trail.
In the Know: A Michigan Recreational Passport is required as the trail is managed by the Michigan DNR. In addition to hiking, the trail is also open to biking, so be aware of surroundings and fellow trail users.
Get There: Follow North Long Lake to the village of Lake Ann. Take Maple Street through town for 1 mile and make a left onto N. Reynolds Road. Trace N. Reynolds Road for 1 mile, turn left into the Lake Ann State Forest Campground and the trailhead is on the left.
Nearby Novelties: Local History: Almira Historical Museum—Housing over 1500 artifacts from the early agricultural and lumber efforts. Almira Fire Barn Museum—Home to a 1946 International fire engine, the second truck ever used in Lake Ann and still maintained in running condition. Cool Off: Local favorite Corey’s Cones dishes out towering portions of soft serve and tasty flurries. Brews: Recently opened Lake Ann Brewing has several signature microbrews on tap.