For both visitors and those who live here, one of the best ways to truly experience Northern Michigan’s outdoors is by biking. However, sometimes difficult terrain or cars zipping by can make riding too difficult for kids. Luckily, the already impressive number of miles dedicated solely to bicycle and foot traffic is climbing all the time. Here at MyNorth, we want you to be able to enjoy the beauty of our area with the whole family, hassle-free. Read on for our picks of the best Northern Michigan bike trails for kids.
The Traverse Area Recreation Trail network aims to encourage outdoor recreation in the Traverse City area by providing a collection of trails that are both easily accessible and accommodating for pedestrian and bike use. The Boardman Lake Trail and Leelanau Trail are both great for families.
Boardman Lake Trail
This 3-mile trail currently wraps around the northern and eastern edges of Boardman Lake. Eventually, it will circle the entire lake. The trail has sections of pavement and crushed limestone.
Access and parking for the north end are off Hannah Road directly south of the Traverse Area District Library, and access for the south end is located at Medalie Park near Logan’s Landing off South Airport Road. You can also access the trail from Oryana.
View an interactive map of the Boardman Lake Trail.
The Leelanau Trail connects Traverse City and Suttons Bay by way of a paved, 17-mile trail. It features views of surrounding forests, farms, vineyards, lakes, and ponds. Added bonus: it’s flat and easy to ride. Don’t want to ride the entirety of the trail? Not to worry, there are three trailheads with parking you can use to access the trail at Cherry Bend Road, Fouch Road, and 4th Street in Suttons Bay.
View an interactive map of the Leelanau Trail.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
Once complete, the trail will provide 27 miles of non-motorized pathways through the legendary Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore between Manning Road (south of Empire) and Country Road 651 (Good Harbor Beach) for bikers and hikers alike. An ideal destination to view the abundant wildlife and arresting beauty of the lakeshore, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is perfect for bikers of any age or skill level. Trail users will need a park pass ($20 for the week; $40 for the year). View of map of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.
Go on a video tour of the trail with us!
North Central State Trail
This monster of a trail may seem overwhelming stretching 61 miles from Gaylord to Mackinaw City, but it has something for everyone. Start our stop at any of the towns along the way for restaurants and hotels including Gaylord, Vanderbilt, Wolverine, Indian River, Topinabee, Cheboygan, and Mackinaw City. Along the trail, you can see the Sturgeon River, Burt Lake, Lumberjack Park, and Mullett Lake. Find trailheads, restrooms, pavilions and more information.
View an interactive map of the North Central State Trail.
Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park
Speaking of behemoth distances, what about the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail? This trail state park connecting Cadillac to Grand Rapids is 88 miles long. It’s composed of natural ballast and hard-packed gravel, but sections of it are paved including 15 miles from Cadillac to Leroy, 13 miles from Reed City to Big Rapids, and 22 miles from Sand Lake to Grand Rapids. There couldn’t be a better way to experience the scenic countryside of Michigan.
View a map of White Pine Trail.
Little Traverse Wheelway
This 26-mile, asphalt trail runs from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs with restrooms and parking along the way. There are plenty of spots along the way to stop for a picnic or to play like West Park and East Park in Bay Harbor and Bayfront Park in Petoskey.
View a map of the Little Traverse Wheelway.
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