Biking the North Central State Trail


This former railroad line that was refurbished and improved with a crushed limestone surface is a haven for bikers, runners and walkers of all ages. The view along the trail showcases some of the prettiest landscapes in the North. Farms, forest and open fields share the scene with sparkling lakes, rivers and marshes buzzing with wildlife.

Whether you’re a hiker looking for a daylong challenge, a family out for an afternoon ride, or a trail novice seeking something energizing but not too over-the-top, this trail delivers.

Routes from one town to the next and back are great short rides – most are 20 miles or less. Do just one hamlet-to-hamlet jaunt, or combine several for a longer adventure. Just keep in mind that the trail is primarily downhill between Gaylord and Indian River, with a net elevation loss of a very gradual 777 feet.

Fun Half-Day Excursions

Stone at Congdon Rd

Click here for maps and complete trail information for Gaylord and the surrounding area.

Be sure and check out Gaylord's newest Bike Shop Alpine Bicycle Service & Sales located on South Otsego Avenue.

Gaylord To Vanderbilt:
7.6 miles, round-trip 15.6. Expect open farmlands and two tunnels. Once you arrive in Vanderbilt, fuel up at the Elkhorn Grill, 8294 Mill St. Open seven days a week, this restaurant is known for its great burgers, pizza and spirits. Breakfast is served 7:00 a.m. to noon. Another great spot: Rascal Jakks, 6461 Old 27 South. Hours: noon to 11:00 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday.

Vanderbilt to Wolverine:
10.9 miles, 21.8 round-trip. A gorgeous section of trail, this stretch has four miles with no road access as you pass through Stewart’s Creek Marsh. Pause to take in the wildlife and hear multiple birdcalls. This section of trail also crosses the Sturgeon River twice and the west branch of the Sturgeon near Wolverine. You’ll arrive in Wolverine at the local riverside park. Keep going up the hill to the Whistle Stop, 4853 Webb Road, on the east side of the expressway and across the street from Shultz’s Party Store. Enjoy a full menu, though we recommend one of their delicious sub sandwiches. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  231-525-9188

Wolverine To Indian River:
9.6 miles, 19.2 miles round-trip. This section of the trail runs parallel to the Sturgeon River, with a nice rustic campground two miles north of Wolverine – Haakwood State Forest Campground – if you’re interested in an overnight stop. Another mile north of the campground you’ll find the Rondo Canoe Access site, where the trail crosses the river. Stop here for a scenic picnic spot, even a swim in the river.

Spend some time in Indian River, which is home to Burt Lake State Park, which is not far from the trail (a planned trail connector is in the works) and features a modern campground and beach. Local public shoreline Devoe Beach on Burt Lake also isn’t far off the trail Stop for ice cream at Dairy Mart, 3448 S. Straits Highway, across from the trailhead and the local Chamber of Commerce building. A nearby canoe livery, Big Bear Adventures, offers bike shuttle service. 231-238-8181.

North Central State Trail Map

Aspen Park

Aspen Park Dirt Trail

Featuring 100 acres of woods, paved and unpaved trails, tennis courts and some of the best scenery in Northern Michigan. 

Aspen Park Single Track - If mountain biking is more to your liking then that too can be done in Aspen Park on one of the "dirt" trails developed in cooperation with the Northern Mid-Michigan Chapter of Michigan Mountain Biking Association (NMBA) 

Mountain Bike Trail Specs

Length Approx. 7 miles
Trail Type Singletrack
Layout Loop