Kalkaska County outdoor recreation ranges from snowmobiling to fishing at the Sand Lakes quiet area.

Snowmobile Trails

Kalkaska County rates as one of the state’s destination snowmobile counties, thanks to a reliable 10 feet of annual snowfall popular groomed snowmobile trails, like the Boardman Valley Snowmobile Trail (25 miles) and Cranberry Snowmobile Trail (28 miles), and connections to statewide groomed trails that go for hundreds of miles.

Motocross Trails

Off-road enthusiasts on dirt bikes and 4-wheelers find miles of groomed trail for their favorite pass-time, with such popular trails as the Kalkaska Cycle Trail (89 miles), Leetsville Cycle Trail (23 miles), and connection to the Michigan Cross Country Cycle Trail.

North Country Trail

A segment of the nation’s longest hiking trail, the North Country Trail, runs through Kalkaska. Hop on it and don’t stop till you hit New York to the east or North Dakota to the west! Or keep things close to home and make it a day hike with the little ones.

Shore to Shore Trail

Running between Empire, on Lake Michigan, and Oscoda, on Lake Huron, a portion of this 220-mile trail designed for horse riding and hiking runs through Kalkaska County. Locals can easily tap into this trail for day trips, easy weekends or even a weeklong horse pack-trip.

Pere Marquette State Forest

With 177,000 acres of the Pere Marquette State Forest within its boundaries, Kalkaska County offers public access to a vast stretch of forest and forest-rimmed lakes and streams. Residents have instant access the forest for hunting deer, grouse, rabbit and more, and for fishing—warm-water species in the lakes, cold-water species in the rivers. Springtime brings the special treat of hunting for a renowned delicacy, morel mushrooms that pop in late April and May.

Manistee River

Known as one of the nation’s premier trout streams, the Manistee River runs tk miles through Kalkaska County, and the stretch includes some of the most legendary and beautiful sections of the river. Much of the river in Kalkaska County flows through land protected by state forest and retains a wild feel.

CCC Bridge State Forest Campground

For Midwest fly-fishing enthusiasts, the CCC Bridge State Forest Campground is a revered destination. The campground perches along one of the most famed fishing stretches of the Manistee River and is a peaceful and lovely place to set up a camp and tell stories into the night.

Sand Lakes Quiet Area

With 2,775 acres of officially designated quiet area, Sand Lakes has become a touchstone for Kalkaska County residents. Eleven miles of trails for cross-country skiing and hiking make for ideal family time on weekends and after work. Fish or swim in five little lakes within the area; some are stocked with fish. Camping is also available.

Skegemog Swamp Pathway

A 2,700-acre wilderness area along the eastern rim of Skegemog Lake draws hikers and naturalists to immerse in wetland ecosystem and draws fishermen to cast along the shores, seeking small mouth bass and walleye that cruise these productive spawning grounds.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski