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?

Two New Ways Boyne Mountain Offers Big Summer Adventure

Snow-capped hills have turned to lush hiking and biking trails, scenic golf views and more at Boyne Mountain Resort! Today, guest blogger Erin Ernst tells us about a few new ways to experience Boyne Mountain Resort this season.

Kayak Adventures on the Boyne River

Kayak Adventures on the Boyne River

Summertime in northern Michigan is all about the allure of natural surroundings and if you like a bit of adventure with your time in the great outdoors, then Boyne Mountain Resort is the place for you!  In addition to plentiful activities like golfing, fishing, horseback trail rides, Zipline Adventures, beach fun, chairlift rides, disc golf, hiking, and paintball, you’ll also discover two new summer excursions – Kayak Adventures and guided mountain biking trips.

The resort recently partnered with Boyne River Adventures to offer guests convenient access to the Boyne River, located just a mile from the resort.  Roundtrip transportation and kayak rental with paddles and flotation jackets make this trip as easy as the breeze on the water.  Departures are offered daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. from Boyne Mountain’s Adventure Center.  Kayakers are first given an overview of the river’s landscape, and then launched for an enjoyable five-mile float on the prized river.

Guided Mountain Biking at Boyne Mountain Resort

Guided Mountain Biking at Boyne Mountain Resort

A moderate understanding of kayaking and paddling is best as some maneuvering (just enough to get your heart racing!) is necessary.  The river quickly rewards you for your efforts with a leisurely float for the second half of the trip before flowing into beautiful Lake Charlevoix.  The Boyne River is cherished for its high-quality fresh water that supports great biodiversity, and winds its way deep through the woods where the natural scenery is pristine.

At the end of the approximately two-hour trip, kayakers are picked up in Boyne City and transported back to Boyne Mountain Resort.  Each trip accommodates up to 10 guests.  Rates are $40 per person for a single kayak or $75 for a tandem kayak.

Summer visitors can now also explore Boyne Mountain Resort’s expansive network of mountain biking trails with a guide.  Based on your biking ability, a guide tours the most suitable trails during an hour and a half expedition with up to four guests.  Boyne Mountain boasts an impressive 32.5 miles of trails, including a paved loop with panoramic views of the Boyne Valley, or for more experienced riders, natural wide open two-tracks and technical single-tracks.  Bring your own bike, or rent a ride from Boyne Mountain.  Departures are available daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the cost is just $20 per person.

The Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

The Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

When you need some time away from the sun, adventure can also be found indoors at Avalanche Bay.  The mega indoor waterpark is the largest in Michigan, and its newest attraction has adventurists giddy with excitement.  Beginning in a launch capsule, The Big Couloir features a trap door that drops away and propels riders into an enclosed tunnel traveling at G-force speeds up to 38-feet per second round a 360-degree loop before finishing with a splash.  This ride is a pure adrenaline rush that will leave you wanting to ride it again and again!

So whichever adventure calls you, find it this summer at Boyne Mountain Resort.

For Kayak Adventure and guided mountain biking reservations, call 231.549.7256.  For more information on all of Boyne Mountain’s summertime fun, visit boynemountain.com.

Erin Ernst is the Director of Communications for BOYNE, owner and operator of Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, The Inn at Bay Harbor – A Renaissance Golf Resort, Boyne Country Sports, and Boyne Realty.  She is a Michigan native who loves recreation and the outdoors, and has worked in the resort and tourism industry for over ten years.  She is also a board member with the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau and West Michigan Tourist Association.

Five Reasons to Love Mountain Biking in the Upper Peninsula

Did you know that May is National Bike Month? To celebrate, we asked guest blogger Jessica Watson to tell us about her experience mountain biking in Copper Harbor. Here are five reasons to love mountain biking in the Upper Peninsula.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 12.47.27 PMAs a beginner mountain biker, I was a little nervous about going to Copper Harbor last summer. After all, their trail system is rated Silver by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), one of only four world-wide, and some of the trails will make your heart skip a beat, even if you are watching someone else do it from your computer room.

There is nothing to fear though, only an amazing, adventurous trip with biking through some of the most beautiful scenery that Michigan has to offer.

Let me share with you the five reasons why you should visit.

1. There are people there to help you, and they’re awesome people who drive you to the top of the mountains, fit you with a rental bike and help you get started by recommending trails based on your skill level. Find them at the Keweenaw Adventure Company.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 12.50.06 PM

Keweenaw Mountain Lodge

2. ‘The Flow’ is hands down the most fun I have ever had, ever. Before I went I read online that you wouldn’t be able to wipe the smile off your face after The Flow, those people were right. And what’s great is that anyone can do it. The challenges in that trail make it fun for a beginner and an expert, depending on how fast you go.

3. When you get back from a long day on the trails, there are plenty of places to eat. Some of the food there simply blew my mind. I was not expecting any top notch meals during my trip, but I was so wrong. My favorite spots were the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge (I recommend the Spinach artichoke dip) and the Harbor Haus. They even have a microbrewery in town, Brickside Brewery. They offer an awesome ‘taste test’ platter, just make sure you have a ride back to your hotel or campground.

View from Harbor Haus

View from Harbor Haus

4. You see some amazing people do some amazing things. When we normal people are going down The Flow, we see a piece of one of the newest trails, Overflow, which is a double black diamond. Even though I can’t do it (yet), it’s cool to watch the experts fly by.

5. They have a Ladies Weekend. As a beginner, female rider, I think this is awesome. The event is a full weekend of riding with professional coaches and all aimed at helping women improve their skills.

Have you been mountain biking in the Upper Peninsula? Where did you go?

Jessica Watson Head ShotJessica Watson is a resident of Algonac, Mich. and loves to spend her summers outside on the boat or on a bike. New to mountain biking, she is learning the ropes quickly and looking to experience new rides in her home state. Last year she tried out Copper Harbor and this year Boyne Mountain is on her list.