Get out and celebrate our state’s truly incredible trails this summer. Here are a few Northern Michigan trails to get you started:

*Be courteous of others enjoying our beautiful trails—maintain six feet of distance between you and other hikers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Empire Bluff Trail

The 0.75-mile trail (1.5 miles roundtrip) opens onto a bluff 400 feet above Lake Michigan. Time it right and catch a stunning sunset from the boardwalk. The trail is a part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; park pass required.

Get there: Head 1.5 miles south of Empire on M-22. Turn right on Wilco Road. The trailhead will be on the left in a half-mile.

Arcadia Dunes

There are 3,600 acres to explore at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s C.S. Mott Nature Preserve. It’s known for its mind-blowing view of Lake Michigan from the top of Old Baldy dune. But there’s more—way more—namely 15 miles of trail through dune, forest, meadow and swamp. Favorites include the Dry Hill and Camp trails along with the universally accessible Overlook Trail.

Get there: Access to the Overlook and Baldy trails is off M-22, about 4 miles north of Arcadia.

Michigan Legacy Art Park

Tucked in Thompsonville, the outdoor art park’s 2-mile trail treats visitors to more than 40 works of art along the way. Open daily from dawn to dusk; $5 per adult, children free.

Get there: Enter Crystal Mountain at the main entrance on M-115. Turn left at the first stop sign onto Crystal Mountain Drive, then follow signs to the art park.

Avalanche Mountain Preserve

There are 462 steps to the top of Avalanche, where you’ll find a viewing platform with a Lake Charlevoix vista. The more than 300-acre preserve in Boyne City has separate walking and biking trails.

Get there: 1129 Wilson Street, about 1 mile southwest of Boyne City High School.

Chapel Loop

This 10-mile loop offers some of the best views of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It starts at the Chapel Basin parking lot, passes Chapel Falls, the famous Chapel Rock
and Chapel Beach before continuing along the cliffs to Mosquito River and Beach and past Mosquito Falls.

Get there: The parking lot is accessed off CR-695 (Chapel Road) in Munising Township.

Leelanau Trail

Connecting Traverse City to Suttons Bay, the 17-mile paved trail runs along a former railroad corridor, taking walkers, runners and bikers past forests, farms, vineyards, lakes and ponds.

Get there: Find three trailheads with parking along the trail at Cherry Bend Road, Fouch Road and 4th Street in Suttons Bay.

Photo(s) by Deb Fellows