Gaylord Summer Outdoor Adventure

Gaylord Summer Outdoor Adventure

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With close to 100 inland lakes, an extensive rail trail, more than a dozen golf courses and a state forest, Gaylord delivers more outdoor adventure than one weekend can contain. Brewpubs, BBQ joints and family-owned eateries pack downtown Gaylord. All are perfect pre- and post-outing destinations for bicyclists accessing North Central State Trail. Water enthusiasts paddle the swift-moving Sturgeon, one of five nearby rivers, while 15 area golf courses challenge players of all skill levels.

Two women biking on a trail.
Biking in Gaylord | Photo Courtesy of Gaylord Michigan Tourism Bureau

The eclectic shop Old Spud Warehouse, known for high-end furniture and kitschy souvenirs, sits two blocks off Main Street and the soon-to-open trailhead. Cyclists gather at Snowbelt Brewing Company before heading out on the North Central State Trail, a 62-mile trek to Mackinaw City with convenient trailheads along the way to break it into smaller jaunts. In Wolverine, grab a bite at The Thirsty Sturgeon before rafting the river on a guided trip with Sturgeon River Paddlesports. It’s a short drive for golfers, who can choose from more than a dozen courses, including 18-hole The Classic or The Tribute, known for woods, water and wildlife at the once-private Otsego Resort.

Paved trail at Otsego Resort.
Otsego Resort  | Photo Courtesy of @otsegoresort

Looking for something a little more wild? Head to the Pigeon River Country State Forest (20 miles northeast), where elk roam free; or City Elk Park, home to a herd of about 70 elk on the outskirts of Gaylord. Backpackers looking for an overnight hike set out on the Jordan River Pathway. The almost 20-mile loop includes the Pinney Bridge Campground. For a shorter trek, follow the 3-mile Deadman’s Hill Loop, also the trailhead for the Jordan River Pathway.

A male elk in the Gaylord area.
Elk in the Gaylord Area | Photo Courtesy of Gaylord Michigan Tourism Bureau

At Treetops Resort, well-known for its championship golf courses, you’ll find more than fun on the green. Guests rent bicycles and pedal routes around the property ranging from rugged (a steep descent through the forest) to intermediate (hilly gravel paths). Relax afterward at the in-house spa or indoor/outdoor pool. For dinner with a view, head to Hunter’s Grille at the top of the slopes or the sports bar below. Seasonal fork-to-table dinners pair nearby breweries with local farmers.
With lakes and rivers perfect for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and relaxing—Gaylord offers the perfect warm-weather destination.