Explore Emmet and Cheboygan counties by foot, bike or hoof, thanks to this scenic trail connecting Burt Lake to Mackinaw City.

Featured in the April 2021 issue of Traverse Magazine.

Runners, bikers and equestrians rejoice—a series of trail connections that will allow recreators to journey north from Burt Lake to Mackinaw City continues to move forward thanks to the efforts of the Top of Michigan Trails Council.

The council, in partnership with numerous individuals, organizations and government agencies, is working to complete the Burt Lake Trail, a non-motorized 18-mile pathway that will be the first east-west connector in Michigan linking two major state trails—the North Western State Trail, which begins in Petoskey and runs to Mackinaw City, and the North Central State Trail, which starts in Waters and also ends in Mackinaw City.

This highly anticipated connection will pick up the NWST in Brutus and end at the NCST in Topinabee, creating a 75-mile loop. The Burt Lake Trail will also connect to the Iron Belle Trail—a planned bike route from Belle Isle in Detroit to Iron Mountain in the U.P.

About 10 miles of the Burt Lake Trail have already been completed since 2013, including a 1.8-mile stretch finished in May 2020 that runs from West Burt Lake Road to East Burt Lake Road. The next phase of construction, anticipated this year, will add 1.5 miles of trail allowing folks to bike from Maple Bay to Hoppies Restaurant on East Burt Lake. The final proposed phases of the project are a 3.2-mile connection to the NCST and a 3.6-mile connection to the NWST.

A trailhead is located at the south end of Mundt Road near Elmhurst; no parking on the trail. For more information, including how to donate and support the trail’s completion, visit the official Top of Michigan Trails Council website.

Find this article and more in the April 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.