As one season rolls into the next, the number of people visiting the beaches in the Petoskey Area will slim down a bit. Early morning tee times will be easier to get, and a dinner reservation at your favorite restaurant won’t be quite so important to have.
While many things will taper off, there’s one amenity that won’t see numbers dwindle too much – the Little Traverse Wheelway. In September and October, bike racks are like snowboard carriers in the winter – you’ll see them on every third or fourth car heading this way. Don’t let that put you off; there’s plenty of room on this paved pathway, a biker’s delight offering breathtaking glimpses of Little Traverse Bay.
The Little Traverse Wheelway – or as the locals call it, the Wheelway, stretches 20-plus miles from Charlevoix to Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Bay View and on into Harbor Springs (or vice versa). Ride the whole way or choose a different portion each day to break up the experience. There are several places to park along the trail and a variety of places where you’ll want to get off the trail and take in the sites along the way. A couple of the great things about the Wheelway – it’s well-maintained by local units of government and with the help of the Top of Michigan Trails Council to offer you a terrific ride, and they’re always making improvements. A lot of the trail is flat with only a couple of those “killer” hills. The different communities each have their own vibe, making it an interesting point-to-point ride.
Generally this wonderful trail is utilized by bike riders from about mid-May through October. If you’d like to try it out, bring your bike and your helmet and be prepared for this to become your new favorite ride. No bike? Bike rentals – including electric bikes - are available right along the trail. And if you’re here midweek, be sure to stop by the Top of Michigan Trails Council office right on the M-119 portion of the Wheelway for maps, information or just some friendly chat with people who love to ride.
Summer may be almost over, but there’s still time to take advantage of inviting temperatures and an awesome ride on the Wheelway – or its offshoot, the North Western State Trail, which heads to Alanson with scenic views of Spring Lake, Crooked Lake and Round Lake. This trail is paved for the 7.5 mile stretch from M-119 to Alanson, and then continues on to Mackinaw City as a crushed limestone trail. If you need bike maps or lodging assistance, call the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau at 800.845.2828 or visit PetoskeyArea.com.
About the author
Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has "been there -- seen that" when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.