These protected places in Northern Michigan provide some of the finest mountain biking adventures in the Midwest. Hit the trail.

Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area

The Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area is a stunningly beautiful 140-acre recreational resource in the heart of Traverse City. Mountain biking and hiking trails wander through woodlands, streams and meadows. 

Palmer Woods Forest Reserve

The majestic, 721-acre Palmer Woods Forest Reserve is the Leelanau Conservancy’s largest natural area and has quickly become a world-class mountain biking destination. Two extremely fun and rewarding single-track flow-style trails travel through the rolling hills of this traditional northern hardwood forest.

Glacial Hills Pathway

Glacial Hills Pathway, a 765-acre natural area with diverse habitats and over 30 miles of trails, is just outside Bellaire. Beginner, intermediate and advanced trails offer fast and flowing rides with impressive elevation—several loops have high points 400 feet above the trailhead. The natural area is protected and managed by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy in cooperation with local government agencies.

Tanton Family Working Forest Reserve

Mountain bikers in Harbor Springs and Petoskey have eagerly awaited a great hometown trail of their own. Big news! Little Traverse Conservancy and the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association are planning a 6.29-mile trail system optimized for mountain biking, just 10 minutes southeast of Petoskey. The 236-acre Tanton Family Working Forest Reserve has it all—rolling hills, steep ridges and sweeping valleys. Fundraising for the trail has begun—if able to raise $200,000 by May 2020, trail construction will begin. To be riding next summer on this incredible trail, make a gift today.

Big M Recreation Area

Located in the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Manistee County near the North Country Trail, the Big M Trail is a 40-plus mile loop trail system. An 18-mile track is groomed for fat biking in winter—one of the longest fat bike trails in the Lower Peninsula—in addition to the 25 miles of singletrack mountain-biking trail open from April to September. In fact, the 25-mile singletrack trail was recognized in the April 2018 issue of Men’s Journal in its “Epic Trips in All 50 States” feature.