Cycling Routes in Northern Michigan | Macfox Electric Bike
    Gear up for an exhilarating journey through Northern Michigan's most breathtaking cycling routes. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a weekend warrior, our guide unveils the top paths to explore, promising unforgettable adventures amid stunning landscapes.

    Cycling Routes in Northern Michigan

    • By Macfox Bike
    • Mar 07

    Northern Michigan is an idyllic cycling paradise with a variety of trails to suit cyclists of all experience levels. From the tranquil Great Lakes coastline to the rugged scenery of the Upper Peninsula, riding a bicycle or electric bike in Northern Michigan offers an adventure that combines physical challenge with stunning natural beauty. This guide will introduce you to some of the top biking trails in northern Michigan, providing you with an unforgettable riding experience whether it's a casual ride or an endurance challenge.

    The Best Trails and Paths for Every Cyclist

    TART Trails

    • Location: Traverse City area
    • Distance: Various segments totaling over 100 miles
    • Experience Level: All levels

    The Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails system, more commonly known as TART Trails, offers a network of multi-use trails in Traverse City that offer scenic views of lakes, forests and urban environments - ideal for cyclists seeking variety and accessibility. One particular highlight is Leelanau Trail which winds from Traverse City all the way to Suttons Bay along a spectacular route through orchards and vineyards.

    Mackinac Island Loop

    • Location: Mackinac Island
    • Distance: Approximately 8 miles
    • Experience Level: Beginner

    Mackinac Island offers cyclists an ideal cycling destination, thanks to its car-free policy. A loop around the island provides stunning views of Lake Huron while off-road trails or historical landmarks such as Fort Mackinac can also be explored along this relatively flat terrain, making this route perfect for families or anyone wanting a leisurely cycling trip.

    North Western State Trail

    • Location: Petoskey to Mackinaw City
    • Distance: 32 miles
    • Experience Level: Intermediate

    Connecting Petoskey and Mackinaw City, the North Western State Trail provides an intermediate ride along a mix of asphalt and crushed limestone surfaces suitable for road bikes and mountain bikes alike. Passing through charming towns, dense forests, and alongside picturesque waterways - making this route an excellent way to discover northern Michigan!

    Related Reading: A Comprehensive Guide to Riding an Electric Bike Safely in Traffic

    Copper Harbor Trails

    • Location: Keweenaw Peninsula
    • Distance: Over 35 miles of singletrack
    • Experience Level: Advanced

    For mountain bikers seeking a challenging adventure, Copper Harbor Trails in Michigan's Upper Peninsula should not be missed. Rated as a Silver-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, these trails feature technical routes, flowy singletrack, stunning Lake Superior views and exhilarating descents on "Flow" and "Downtown" trails - not forgetting numerous technical routes as well.

    What to Know Before You Go

    Preparation Is Key: Always review trail conditions prior to heading out on an adventure, particularly during spring and fall when weather can impact their accessibility.

    Respect The Trails: When out hiking on trails it is important to remember Leave No Trace principles by staying on designated paths while limiting your impact on nature.

    Safety First: Wear appropriate gear, such as a helmet, and bring along repair kits and first aid essentials.

    Local Cycling Events to Consider

    Participating in local cycling events can enrich your Northern Michigan cycling experience. For mountain bikers, the Iceman Cometh Challenge draws competitors from all across the United States; road cyclists may wish to try their hand at participating in the Cherry-Roubaix Gran Fondo's picturesque yet challenging ride through Leelanau Peninsula's cherry orchards and vineyards.


    Northern Michigan cycling routes provide an incredible blend of scenic beauty, cultural experiences, and physical challenges that is hard to match. Whether cruising Mackinac Island's shores or traversing Copper Harbor's rugged trails - there is something special here for every cyclist to discover in this diverse region! So grab your bike and start discovering all it has to offer in Northern Michigan.

    Want to hit the trails but need extra guidance? Be sure to visit local bike shops and cycling clubs for rentals, guides, and insider tips that will enhance your adventure. Happy cycling!


    Do I need a permit to cycle on Northern Michigan trails?

    No, most public trails in Northern Michigan do not require a permit for cycling. However, some state parks and specific events may require a pass or registration, so it's always best to check in advance.

    Can I rent bicycles near the trails?

    Yes, many towns and cities in Northern Michigan, especially popular tourist destinations like Traverse City and Mackinac Island, offer bicycle rental services. These range from standard bikes to specialty cycles, including mountain and electric bikes.

    Are there guided cycling tours available in Northern Michigan?

    Absolutely! Several companies and local bike shops offer guided tours, ranging from leisurely family rides to more strenuous mountain biking adventures. These tours can provide an enriched experience with insights into the local ecology, history, and best-kept secrets of the trails.

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