One of the most fun things to do on a vacation to the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan is to hop on a bike and explore the spectacular natural beauty.
Maybe your idea of a really great bike ride is to head out on a paved route that offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the wooded rolling hills. The miles roll by before you even know, it as one incredible vista leads to another.
Of course, you may be more of the adventurous type whose pulse races just a little faster with the thought of mountain trails that take you far off the beaten path through rugged wilderness.
No matter what kind of biking you prefer, you’re gonna love it here.
The Avalanche Mountain Preserve has some of the most awesome mountain bike trails around. You can explore more than 300 acres of beautiful woodland, plus get views of glistening Lake Charlevoix that you’ll long remember.
Mountain biking can be an adrenalin rush. Or not. The Boyne Highlands Bike Park lets you choose your level - from leisurely tours to extreme terrain and jumps.
Take an easy ride on wide wooded trails where you’ll enjoy beautiful scenery and maybe even catch a glimpse of our resident wildlife. Tour the property on lightly trafficked roads through various neighborhoods and along golf courses.
For a more challenging ride, take a chairlift to the peak of the Boyne Highlands ski slopes. But be ready for a fast moving experience. The park features naturally cut trails with banked turns, heart-stopping jumps and narrow passages, some requiring expert skills.
You can also choose your own degree of relaxation or excitement on the Boyne Mountain Bike Trails. From the resort village, a variety of short loops on flat wide trails are available; or experience a seven-mile paved loop which takes you from the village to Deer Lake, along golf courses and winding through wooded areas before ending in the village.
Need to ramp things up a little? Catch a chairlift to get yourself and your bike to the top. From there, choose a paved path or downhill mountain bike trails. For an authentic mountain bike experience, grab a map and experience all 32.5 miles of marked trails.
The Boyne School Forest Trail on Erickson Road in Evangeline Township is the newest addition to the area. Phase one of the trail is a 3.5 mile beginner-friendly bike and hike loop. An additional six miles of intermediate and expert trail is currently being built. You can follow the progress on the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association (TOMMBA) Facebook page.
Do you prefer paved to unpaved trails? Head for the Bear River Valley Recreation Area. This really cool place features a concrete path right in the heart of the City of Petoskey.
The North Western State Trail is an absolute delight for those simply looking for a leisurely, flat ride. Park at Spring Lake Park in Petoskey and head out for a 7.5 mile paved ride that leads you through scenic nature conservancies, the Michigan Fisheries Visitors Center and into Alanson. The segment from Alanson to Mackinaw City is another 24.5 miles. This portion is not yet finished, but is in the works with completion of a crushed limestone surface by 2016.
Perhaps the most beautiful tour is on the Little Traverse Wheelway. This paved, 26-mile gem winds from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix, and offers postcard-perfect views of Lake Michigan. It also leads through immaculate parks, elegant Bay Harbor and historic Bay View. There are several places along the way to pick up the trail. Maps of this trail and others are available at trailscouncil.org and michigantrailmaps.com.
If you don’t have a bike, or don’t want to tote yours with you when you visit us, no problem. We have lots of places that rent bikes, helmets and other biking gear.
Wherever you decide to do your biking, our lakeside resort communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City have everything it takes for a great home base. And starting soon, we’ll have spectacular fall color popping up to make your ride even more picturesque. Get rolling!
Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of 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. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.