Places to ride in MI

23 replies to this topic
  • finglan

Posted February 17, 2001 - 11:38 AM


I want to take the wife on a riding vacation in Michigan this summer. I am not sure where in MI to go . I did hear that MI is heaven for trail riders. I have been all over the net trying to find specific info on MI trails. There are so many different trail heads listed. No specific info such as, difficulty level, area lodging, specific location of trail heads, etc.. She does pretty well on her TTR225, but would not be able to handle really narly trails or hills. Does anyone know of a good place in MI that has intermediate level trails with good lodging near by. I am looking to spend about a week there. I will probably take off on my own a few times, so harder trails in the same area would be great. Since she will be on her own a couple times I would like to stay in a decent size town with a good hotel. She can sit at the pool or shop while I get in some serious trail riding. I live in the Rochester, NY area so the closer to NY the place is the better.
I have also been considering the Hatfield McCoy trail system if anyone can tell me if this would work better for my wife and I.

  • Bill

Posted February 17, 2001 - 01:15 PM



Go to, they have a search area for places to ride. The only problem is that the information here is supplied by however wants to post it. You'll have tracks, trails and corner lots and you won't know what is legal or not.

Be careful if your riding by yourself :)


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  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted February 17, 2001 - 04:24 PM


OK.. Here is the deal... Michigan has over 3000 miles of legal trail... Most of it built and mapped by these people...The CCC of Michigan.

Since you are in NY.... Try e-mailing the organization and request the latest issue of their monthly "Great Lakes Trailrider"... It has an extensive list and description of all the various trail loops... With name, location, length, degree of difficulty, type of trail, width of trail... all that good stuff.

It also has the list of 12 or so "Trail Tours" which are organized trail rides with an average of 200 riders signed up to "tour" that trail that weekend... with arrowed loops like an enduro, all coming back to the usually 'primitive' campground.

I would recommend the trail tours... lots of dedicated friendly fun trail riders. And if you ever had troubles, there will always be somebody coming along within 10 minutes.

Some locations are better than others.
I will say that few trails in Mich have a great degree of diffuculty, there is a lot of sand, and not many real hills, and little to no mud or river crossings.

The farther North you go the more interesting (challenging) the trails are.

  • Hiller

Posted February 19, 2001 - 08:01 AM


I do a lot of riding in Michigan, and a fair amount of riding with my girlfriend (TTR 250). A couple of towns with great riding are Lewiston, and Atlanta. Many miles of "cycle-cross" trails, not wide enough for ATV's. For the most part, that keeps the whoops and sand to a minimum. Gaylord is a fairly large town about 30 minutes from those towns. If you are more into sand, Mio, southeast of Lewiston, has a couple of fun hills and sandy, whoop-ed up trails. They're wider and you will see ATV traffic.
Houghton Lake is a great summer destination town with a wide variety of trails, from sandy to rocky to open fire trails. Bonus: Houghton Lake, and Mio have Yamaha dealerships. Hackers Yamaha, and Northern Powersports, respectively.
If you're interested in some company when you come to Michigan, let me know, we're always looking for people to ride with. I have an orange bike coming in a couple of weeks, I hope you wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen with me :)

  • SFO

Posted February 19, 2001 - 05:50 PM


I rode mi with the Gerencers and a bunch of factory harley guys way back when...(90)
Young Lou Gerencer, and the old Lou Run a H.D. dealership in mi.
They had a cabin and we rode alot of trails in a wknd...
If you can't find them via internet search try Joe Houpt at Suburban Harley in Thiensville, Wi...
Ask him about the lou ride and let him school you....
Best wishes, Bill

  • Budsboy

Posted February 19, 2001 - 06:15 PM


I live in the Gaylord area and am going on my second WR400. The trail riding here is truly amazing. Alot has to do with the snowmobile trails that are so well maintained. Get a good topo map and look at Lewiston and Petoskey. The trails from Gaylord to those destinations are the best. There is a new bike shop in Gaylord,(Extreem Powersports), that is the largest and best stocked shop north of Detroit.


  • finglan

Posted February 20, 2001 - 04:46 AM


Thanks for all the replys guys. I joined the Cycle Conservation Club of Michigan and I will be getting the Great Lakes Trail Riders magazine. I got this of the site suggested by DeBarker. I will check out the towns suggested by Hiller. Are the trails near these towns something my some what novice wife who just started riding last year can ride on? Are there enough trails near one town to keep busy on for about a week. I will look you up Hiller, would be gald to have some one to ride with besides the wife. Will I need a MI permit?

  • AZJeff_99WR400

Posted February 20, 2001 - 07:54 AM


Here is some additional riding info for Michigan (where I'm originally from).

Check out Red Bud Track 'n Trail at Red Bud is in Buchanan, MI. While at their website, also click on the "Dutch Sport Park Info" link. I'm an old motocrosser and Red Bud in Michigan is where I cut my teeth.

Obviously the tracks themselves would not be good for the wife, but I remember Red Bud having some pretty cool woods and orchard trails.

South of Buchanan in Sawyer, Michigan is Warren Dunes State Park. You can't ride there, but you can check out miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches. A nice place to have a picnic, take in some sun and go swimming (summer months only of course!).

Also, I'm from Arizona, so we are able to ride 365 days a year. Right now in February we are enjoying sunny weather in the high 60's. Lots of tough, rocky single track and mild to moderate Jeep trails that take in some of the most beautiful deserts in the world.

Check out


[This message has been edited by AZJeff_99WR400 (edited 02-20-2001).]

  • Budsboy

Posted February 20, 2001 - 12:26 PM


Yes you will need an ORV permit, also understand that state land is closed unless posted open - license plates open up your riding area a bunch.


  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted February 20, 2001 - 10:23 PM


.Once you get your mapbook with your membership stuff, you will have a much better idea of the trail layout and desireable areas... especially with the newest issue of GLTR with the trail ratings.

Truthfully... there are a lot more easy (legal) trails here than hard ones, so finding ones suitable for her shouldn't be hard... though having license plates opens everything up for all the 2 tracks (wife-easy).

You have to buy a MI ORV sticker ($17) for each bike.

I would almost recommend spending 3 days in one spot and 4 in another.

Traverse City is a pretty classy upscale town that your wife might like.
Petoskey and Manistee are getting there and all 3 are on the water.

Inland ...Cadillac and Houghton lake are fairly civilized.

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  • Hiller

Posted February 23, 2001 - 10:14 PM


If you are going to ride for a week, I would definately break it up by going to 2 different areas.
I haven't ridden in Traverse City, but the town is very nice. (read: the wife will be happy!)
I agree, not much of the terrain is very tricky. Also, a license plate really opens up your options. ALL LAND in the lower penninsula is closed to ORV's unless posted as an ORV trail. :) Any other state land requires a license plate. You'll need the ORV sticker to ride trails, they're $17 each.
I have a place to stay in Lewiston, so I typically ride there, but I'll ride anywhere!! Send me an e-mail if you know the dates you're coming, or want any more info.

  • michigan

Posted February 27, 2001 - 06:06 AM


I roosted in michigan all last season, and the place is a blast. all trail maps can be downloaded from the "michigan dnr" website. the only problem is, the trails are ALL whooped out and sandy. some are worse than others though. Its common to see confused dad's hanging out in the parking lots while their kids do laps on their new xr80's because they can ride through the woods in sand.
i'd say a nice place to take the wife would be wayne national in southeast ohio. the trails are like roller coasters and there is a wide range of terrain, from very technical to very friendly trail. you can stay at a bed and breakfact in the countryside and there are a lot of nice parks to visit.

  • borsy

Posted February 27, 2001 - 08:28 AM


I live in Traverse City, MI. Trails are very
nice, maybe not as many and nice as the Gaylord/Kalkaska/Grayling area (fantastic)but
Traverse is the City largest north of Grand Rapids and one of the nations most beautiful places, plenty of Malls for your wife, beaches,gambling casino,resorts, and some nice trails,and an outdoor Motocross track south of town (Kingsley) which holds races
2x a month. If your interested and serious
about coming, I would try to get you some, info and trail maps. I have been to Rochester N.Y. a few times, it would be a drive for you, another area that is nice is in the Thumb area of MI. is Caseville, not
that big though but a beautiful area and 200 miles closer for you. Good luck Borsy

  • finglan

Posted February 27, 2001 - 09:08 AM


Thanks everyone for all the info.


I think we settled on the Traverse City area, the wife loves a good casino. It is a 9hr. drive for me, but we will be spending about a week. Can you recommend a good place to stay. Some place w/a pool. Where I won't stay up all night watching my bikes in the truck. How about a casino resort? Or cabins that have access to trails or near the trails for rent. I have the Michigan Trail Riders magazine on the way. I understand this should have maps in it. I am not trying to make you my travel agent. If you have any names you can think of I can probably find some info on the internet on them. Thanks again

  • michigan

Posted February 27, 2001 - 11:51 AM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Hiller:
[B]I do a lot of riding in Michigan, and a fair amount of riding with my girlfriend (TTR 250)...

i spent a lot of last summer riding different areas in michigan. mostly gladwin, leota, mio, ambrose lake, and avery lake. i'm always looking for more info on michigan trails and i'm currently waiting for my ccc stuff to come in the mail. my question is, will it be worth the extra drive to explore "wolverine"? have you ridden it, and how does it compare to the other areas?

[This message has been edited by michigan (edited 02-28-2001).]

  • borsy

Posted February 28, 2001 - 08:44 AM


Finglan, here are some nice places around the area, all near the trails,all located
near the east side of Traverse City (East Bay)you will see on the map. Knollwood motel
231-938-2040 has kitchens and refridges for
peolple who usually stay a week or soo. it's
right on the water and clean and pretty reasonable. next is the Grand Traverse Resort
very very nice,231-938-2100 a major Golf resort,they rent condos any everything else might be a little pricy, also try brand
new place also very nice, near trails,on water and 2 miles from my house.
around what time did you plan on coming, In
July/Aug its always packed and booked for a year in advance (most all hotels and motels)
The National Cherry Festival is always the
first week after July 4th alot of fun for the
whole town for a week or so but packed as far
as hotels and motels. If you want give me an
E-mail address and I will try to help you out
as much as I can, Its a great place to vacation and live, alot like upstate N.Y.

  • finglan

Posted February 28, 2001 - 10:44 PM



Last week of June I will be out there. Check my profile for my email. Tried to thank you by email but it wasn't on your profile so I will say it here. Thanks again for the info.

[This message has been edited by finglan (edited 02-28-2001).]

  • Hiller

Posted March 02, 2001 - 04:05 AM


will it be worth the extra drive to explore "wolverine"? have you ridden it, and how does it compare to the other areas?

I like the Leota area and Mio areas, however, they seem to be very sandy and whooped up. I haven't ridden Wolverine, but just northwest of Mio in Lewiston and Atlanta are the cycle-cross trails. They are a lot narrower, more rocky, rutted, and generally more fun!!

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted March 02, 2001 - 07:11 PM


I have ridden 2 CCC Trail Tours out of the Wolverine area... and I have to say it is as good as any area in the state... with more hills and more black dirt (less sand) than almost anywhere I have ridden in the state.

Definitely a favorite spot.
The loop out of Atlanta that goes past the beaver dam is a good one also.

  • michigan

Posted March 08, 2001 - 10:50 PM


i'll have to try wolverine then. i need to ride on real dirt more often. riding in the sand all the time ruins any shred of throttle control and i might've had. the wide open/skid into berm/dump clutch/wide open/skid into berm/dump clutch michigan woods riding technique doesn't seem to work anywhere else!

93 cr250, terrible suspension, missing fasteners, smashed pipe.


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