From Lake Ann to Ludington, there are endless opportunities for pedaling through forested canopies and beside beachy panoramas. Here are five of our favorite Northern Michigan bike adventures.

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Lake Ann Pathway, Lake Ann

The ruggedly lush Lake Ann Pathway was meant for midsummer mountain biking. Nestled in the Pere Marquette State Forest, this 5.8-mile multi-use trail is a network of four scenic loops. In less than a few miles, visitors will discover views of four different lakes, a multitude of scenic overlooks, three bogs and the meandering Platte River. Recreation passport is required. Trailhead is at Lake Ann State Forest Campground, two miles southwest of Lake Ann on Reynolds Road.


Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville

Crystal Mountain has everything you need for a day of family-friendly biking. Grab some rentals for you and the kiddos, then pedal around the quaint village scene and mountainside neighborhoods, or enjoy the single-track serenity of the surrounding wooded grounds. Crystal’s trail also connects to the Betsie River Pathway, which winds for 10 miles along the beautiful Betsie. Bike rentals are available April through October, and rentals are first come, first served. Helmets and maps are provided. Cost: $25 per bike, up to a 2-hour rental for standard bikes, cruisers, mountain bikes, kids bikes, fat tire bikes, and burleys. Pre-purchase extra time for $10 per hour, per bike at checkout.


Betsie Valley Trail, Benzie County

This scenic trail extends 22 miles from Frankfort, through Elberta and Beulah, to Thompsonville (following the former Ann Arbor rail line). Our favorite stretch: an 18-mile out-and-back ride from Frankfort to Beulah. It’s great for beginner and intermediate cyclists. (And it’s absolutely gorgeous.) Beginning in Frankfort, enjoy a smooth paved ride for about six miles, before the trail transitions to crushed limestone (wider tires recommended). Heading into Beulah, you’ll ride along shimmering Crystal Lake, and we recommend a stop at the Railroad Point Natural Area for a hike with a view.


White Pine Trail, Cadillac

The sprawling 92-mile White Pine Trail, connecting Cadillac to Grand Rapids, passes through five counties and 15 towns, each with their own singular charm. Along the way, cyclists are treated to dynamic vistas—think tree tunnels, lilied ponds, snaking streams and lush wetlands. You’ll ride beside trillium and other ephemeral wildflowers in the spring and beneath canopies of red and gold in the fall. The section of trail from E 44 Road to Tustin is not to be missed—it crosses beautiful lowlands and wooded areas, dropping down just south of Tustin over a wetland at the headwaters of the Pine River. Be sure to check out the new trailhead at the Cadillac Commons, complete with benches, bike racks, a bicycle repair station and map kiosks.


Cartier Park Pathway, Ludington

Situated on Lincoln Lake, this trail is an accessible, paved 1.36-mile loop with minimal elevation (aka perfect for families wanting to ride with littles). And if your kids are the adventurous type, they can explore The Dragon—a 3.5-mile natural surface single-track mountain biking trail that zigzags through the contours of the gently rolling woodlands, with lots of banked turns and clever obstacles to keep you entertained. The trailhead for both trails is on the corner of Bryant and Rath Avenues.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner