Whether by foot, by bike or horseback, the 62 mile North Central State Trail is pure delight. This newest of Michigan’s rail trails offers its users unparalleled Michigan scenery. Starting from its southern terminus in Gaylord, the trail ventures north through Vanderbilt, Wolverine, Indian River, Topinabee and Cheboygan It then heads west along the Lake Huron shoreline to Mackinaw City.
The trail extends a multi-use trail experience into the north woods of Michigan, with connections to well-recognized tourist towns at both ends. With a reasonable mileage between cities and its new crushed limestone surface, this trail will certainly tempt touring cyclists back and to attempt a weekend trek to famed Mackinac Island. Northern Michigan scene ranging from rolling agricultural fields, quaint little towns, forests, lakes and rivers to wildflowers and native wildlife abounds.
Beginning from the southern end of Gaylord at the county fairgrounds, you quickly leave culture for the peacefulness of the forests and rolling farm territories. The feel is still remote with the buffer of woods and steep hilly landscape all along the path, although from Vanderbilt to Wolverine, the trail parallels quite close to Interstate 75. At several bridges along the way and Lumberjack Park in Wolverine, you may strike inner and canoeists -tubers appreciating the Sturgeon River. Wading and swimming are allowed as the current is fleet but use caution.
The town of Indian River has loads of camping, stores, eateries, resorts, panoramic Burt Lake and other attractions. Tourism information and trail user parking is available at the Chamber of Commerce located on the trail in town.
The trail soon brings you within just feet of the shores of beautiful Mullett Lake, which stretches for a crystalline 15 miles. A mile or so before Topinabee you’ll find restrooms, parking, a public beach and other amenities. Going off the trail to head north into town will enable you to catch your first views of giant Lake Huron. You can be taken by a ferry boat from the city dock to Bois Blanc Island for some pleasing biking on lightly traveled roads.
You get several glances of Lake Huron through the trees. Mill Creek State Park offers traditional instruction and nature and is about midway between the two towns.
Your final destination is the highest resort town of Mackinaw City, northern end of the North Western State Trail, and residence to the 5-mile, suspension- fashion Mackinac Bridge, historical Fort Michilimackinac, and many other attractions. Still looking for something to do? Ferry boats will take you to world-celebrated Mackinac Island from the city.
Mackinac City to Cheboygan = 16.3 miles
Cheboygan to Mullett Village = 5.3 miles
Mullett Village to Topinabee = 6.6 miles
Topinabee to Indian River = 5.6 miles
Indian River to Wolverine = 9.6 miles
Wolverine to Vanderbilt = 10.9 miles
Vanderbilt to Gaylord = 7.6 miles