Top 10 Reasons to Ride Michigan Rail-Trails this Summer

Looking for a unique way to explore Pure Michigan this summer? You might be able to go farther than you think just by moving your own two feet! Throughout the state, there are amazing bicycle trails to enjoy while helping you to stay in shape.

To offer some insight on just how incredible Michigan’s bike trail system really is, Josh DeBruyn from the Michigan Department of Transportation shares 10 reasons to trap on a helmet and ride.

1. You can ride for miles and miles – Michigan has the most rail-trails in America, with more than 2,700 miles. Find out where they are with the Michigan Trail Map Directory.

2. Flat as a pancake – As former railroad corridors, these trails are nearly level – making traveling longer distances enjoyable and effortless. Perfect for anyone.

Photo courtesy of MDOT Photo Unit

The I-275 Metro Trail in Wayne County, Photo Courtesy of MDOT Photo Unit

3. Woodlands, farmland, and lakeshores – Access Pure Michigan beauty in places not accessible by automobile. Michigan’s trails offer a variety of sights, sounds and smells for great well-rounded sensory experiences.

4. Multi-season fun – Whether you are on a road bike in the summer or a fat-tire snow bike in the winter, there are a variety of trails and surface types to enjoy regardless of the season.

5. Old-time whistle stops – Many trails run right through downtowns, making it easy to stop and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing beverage. MDOT’s Road and Trail Bicycle Guides will help you plan your route.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Krupiarz

The Betsie Valley Trail in Benzie County, Photo Courtesy of Nancy Krupiarz

6. Wildlife abounds – Traveling rail-trails by bicycle affords many opportunities to view wildlife, including deer, turkey, beaver, turtles and other fun furry and feathered creatures.

7. Ride part of a National System - 141 Miles of Michigan rail-trail are officially recognized by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as part of an official U.S. Bicycle Route System.

8. Snapshot of history – Travel over historical bridges, through pasturelands, and feel the history as you travel along the path of our forefathers.

Photo courtesy of Trail Genius

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County, Photo Courtesy of Trail Genius

9. Clear your head, improve your health – Get away from it all and surround yourself with nature by traveling miles without seeing another car, bike or train. De-stress and burn calories all while having fun!

10. Family fun – With their off-road location and few road crossings, rail-trails are great places to ride with the entire family at any skill level.

What are your favorite trails to explore in Pure Michigan?