Bike Trails in Northern Michigan
From Traverse City’s bike paths to thrilling mountain biking across the region, Northern Michigan is home to exceptional riding. Experienced riders, families and racers can all find exactly the right kind of ride for ability and interest. Wine tasting by bike? Absolutely. A tour of the local coffee shops? Go for it. Put in a 100-mile ride in Leelanau County? Count us in.
We’ve organized a few of our favorite places to ride into a few categories. For rentals, the right bike for the ride or friendly advice on routes, get in touch with us!
Bike Paths in Traverse City
Most of TC’s best paved trails are maintained by Traverse Area Recreational Trails and the City of Traverse City. These trails are the result of decades of work and collaboration to prioritize non-motorized transportation and recreation in Northern Michigan. All of the trails in this list are within a few miles of the shop!
Boardman Lake Loop – 4 miles
Completed in 2022, the Boardman Lake Loop Trail is a paved trail that circumvents Boardman Lake. The main access point is at Hull Park, next to the Traverse Area District Library and is less than a quarter mile from Brick Wheels!
The loop is very flat and an easy ride for families. The trail provides easy access to many Traverse City landmarks, including The Filling Station, Right Brain Brewery and Oryana Food Co-op.
TART and TART-in-Town – 10 miles
The TART links Traverse City from east to west. There are multiple places to hop on the trail between its eastern end in Acme and where it connects to the Leelanau Trail on TC’s west side. The path runs through most TC neighborhoods and is a great way to navigate Downtown Traverse City, Clinch Park Beach, the Traverse Area District Library and many coffee shops and restaurants. Start and end your TART adventure at Brick Wheels; the trail runs right behind the shop!
Buffalo Ridge Trail - 1.5 miles
This short connector is a nice way to tack on a few miles while riding the TART and visit some special parts of TC. The Buffalo Ridge Trail connects the Village at Grand Traverse Commons and Historic Barns Park to Traverse City West Middle School, the YMCA and more!
Leelanau Trail – 17 miles
The Leelanau Trail is a 17-mile point-to-point trail connecting Traverse City to Suttons Bay. The trail winds through natural forests, farmland, vineyards and along small lakes and ponds. The Trail took decades to build and remains one of the most successful non-motorized trails in the United States.
There are multiple places to access the trail in TC, Suttons Bay or at multiple locations along the route, including Cherry Bend Road, Fouch Road and Shady Lane. For riders who need a lift back to TC (or back to Suttons Bay), BATA offers a seasonal Bike’n’Ride program to make it easy!
Traverse City Mountain Biking Trails
Some of the best mountain biking near Traverse City is within a few miles of downtown and it’s not uncommon for locals to ride up to the trailhead. We’ve selected some of the marquee places to ride in Traverse City.
Boardman River Trail – Full loop is 40 miles
The Boardman River Trail, also known as the Ottaway River Trail, offers an in-town riding option best accessed just a quarter mile from Brick Wheels at Hull Park. The trail includes section of the East Creek Reserve Trails, Brown Bridge Quiet Area and other trail systems.
Vasa Singletrack – 16 miles
Many Michigan mountain bikers took their first rides on the Vasa Singletrack. Located on Supply Road, this beginner-friendly trail system has enjoyed a much-needed facelift thanks to Northern Michigan’s r-e-V-i-S-i-T campaign to make the VST more fun and sustainable. The VST now offers three loops, including the Kinglet Loop, the original 11-mile VST and the Strombolis Lake Loop.
The trail is also groomed during winter to offer riders an exceptional winter trail experience. Rent fat bikes and check it out!
Vasa Pathway – 15 miles
The Vasa Pathway, also known simply as the 25k, offers a fun, rolling trail experience for all mountain bikers. The trail is wide, which allows for wide skate and classic skiing tracks all winter. In the summer, the Pathway is a great place for beginners and experts alike to put in miles and connect to parts of the Vasa Singletrack, which intersects the Pathway in multiple places. Riders can choose from the full 25km, 10km, 5km and other variations to make every day on the Pathway unique! The trail might look familiar if you’ve ever done the Iceman Cometh Challenge; the final 15km of the Iceman uses the Pathway to get riders to Timber Ridge.
Palmer Woods Forest Reserve – 20 miles
Managed by the Leelanau Conservancy, the Palmer Woods trail network is growing every year. Open to mountain biking, hiking and trail running as well as cross-country skiing in winter, this trail system is a 40-minute drive from Downtown TC.
The core mountain biking trails at Palmer Woods include Ursa Minor (1-mile loop), Ursa Major (3-mile beginner loop) and a 4.4-mile intermediate loop. In total, the trail will have nearly 20 miles of trails once all phases of trail construction are completed.
Other Places to Ride
Take a short trip from Traverse City and explore some other mountain biking and paved trails in the area! Northern Michigan is home to several great places to ride that are within an hour drive or less.
Arcadia Dunes Trails – 15 miles
Arcadia Dunes is a part of the C.S. Mott Nature Preserve, the largest property owned and managed by Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. The trails utilize the undulating dunes and ridges formed by the gradual decline of Lake Michigan water levels over tens of thousands of years. If you love Glacial Hills, you’ll love Glacial Hills – and vice versa!
Betsie Valley Trail – 22 miles
The Betsie Valley Trail runs through picturesque Benzie County’s villages like Elberta and Beulah. It’s a favorite ride for families and riders of all abilities. Flat, easy to navigate and full of wonderful views, it’s a can’t-miss for any rider!
Glacial Hills Trails – 31 miles
Glacial Hills Trails in Bellaire is a mountain biking paradise. Open to cyclists, runners and hikers, the numerous loops make it easy to make every ride at Glacial Hills feel brand new. The flowy singletrack offers up plenty of sneaky elevation; you’ll wonder where you climbed more than 1,000 feet! Of course, no ride at Glacial Hills is complete without a trip to downtown Bellaire and the iconic Short’s Brewing pub.
Your Michigan Cycling Vacation Starts at Brick Wheels
No matter what or how you ride, we’ll help you find the right places to ride – and the right gear, too. Start and end your ride at Brick Wheels and count on our Brickheads for local tips, routes and more.