Along the Lake Michigan shoreline between Ludington and Manistee, you’ll find natural splendor- the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness area.
Photo by Vidar-Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.com
Biking in West Michigan
You may need a car to get here, but then park it and bike it! Much of West Michigan is bicycle-friendly, and you’ll find many nice paths on which to ride. It’s great exercise, and the scenery in this area can’t be beat. So grab your water bottle, helmet, and check out these West Michigan bike paths!
M-116 out to the Ludington State Park
Start in town from Stearns Park and ride along Lakeshore Drive. The shoulder is wide and paved. You’ll cross a river, go past a scenic golf course and come to a fork in the road. Follow it to the left on M-116 and soon you’ll see sand dunes along Lake Michigan. This will take you all the way to the Ludington State Park.
Within the Ludington State Park
Ludington School Forest
The Shoreline Cycling Club has cleared a 5-mile area within the Ludington School Forest for bike riding, separate from the hiking trails. The trails will wind through some tight spots and feature challenging turns. The trailheads will be at the disc golf parking area off Jebavy Drive just north of Tinkham Avenue and at the corner of Sherman Street and Tinkham Avenue.
At the intersection of Bryant Road and Rath Avenue in Ludington is the entrance to the bike trail at Cartier Park, located just a mile from downtown Ludington and beaches. It is a one-mile paved loop and bikers are treated to serene, wooded surroundings. There is a campground here on both sides of the bike trail. View the beauty of Lincoln Lake, complete with boat launch and fishing dock.
Downtown Ludington Shoreline
Bike along Stearns Beach, down Loomis Street and past the Ludington Municipal Marina. Continue on to Harbor View Marina, along Rath Avenue. The side streets have little traffic, and the sights are fantastic.
William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail
The William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail is a 22.5 mile paved trail that winds through the beautiful fruit orchards of Oceana County. You’ll pass by the communities of Shelby, Rothbury, New Era, and Montague. If you need to rent a bike, you can do so in Silver Lake/Mears or Shelby. The trail got a facelift in June of 2015, with a re-paving of the entire trail and widening it to 10 feet.
Bikes are welcome to ride north of Tippy Dam off M-55 east of Manistee, but not south. Also off M-55 near Wellston is the Big M Loop, an invigorating route for experienced cyclists. Be prepared for aerobic climbs to the top of Capper’s Peak, with stunning views of the Manistee National Forest. On Caberfae Road you’ll find the MacKenzie Trail, which connects to the Caberfae Ski Area.
North Country Trail
The North Country Trail is the longest hiking/biking trail in the US, spanning seven states from New York to North Dakota. The trail has 1,000 miles running through Michigan and was created in 1980. As the trail exits Ohio and enters southeastern Michigan, it veers toward the west. Entering the Manistee National Forest between Big Rapids and New Era, it continues its northerly path west of Baldwin, east of Manistee, and south of Traverse City. It continues up past Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Mackinaw City and traverses the entire Upper Peninsula before crossing into Wisconsin.
Leelanau TART Trail
The Leelanau TART Trail is a 17-mile paved off-road connection between Traverse City and Suttons Bay. The trail runs through and by beautiful forests, farms, vineyards, lakes and ponds. The Leelanau Trail is mostly flat trail and goes through the last of the county’s former railroad corridors.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
This is a hard-surface multi-use trail that goes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It runs from Empire through Glen Arbor to the Bohemian Road (CR-669). and has numerous steep grades between Empire and the Dune Climb. From the Dune Climb north the trail is mostly flat.
Activities & Attractions in West Michigan
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse is situated at the end of the Leelanau Peninsula within, about eight miles north of the town of Northport.
The spring/fall runs of steelhead and salmon, the resident brown trout and “brookies” make the PM River extremely popular for fishing.
Before you make a splash in Lake Michigan, check out the water temperatures for beaches from Manistee, Ludington, Pentwater, and Silver Lake.
Scottville Riverside Park, along the Pere Marquette River, has over 50 modern sites and is popular for camping and fishing.
Created in 1980, this trail has 1,000 miles running through Michigan, which also runs through the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts is a cultural center in West Michigan and plays an integral part in Manistee’s history.
A site to behold along Lake Michigan, these structures with a rich history give both a sense of safety and a beautiful site.
Manistee National Forest together with the Huron National Forest occupies almost a million acres of land in Michigan’s lower peninsula.
Find artifacts, photographs, and lots of information and stories about the rich history of Pentwater at this historic museum!