Pigeon River State Forest
This land, which Ernest Hemingway called the "pine barrens east of Vanderbilt" and what Michigan pioneer conservationist P.S. Lovejoy liked to call "The Big Wild", is home to the largest herd of wild elk east of the Mississippi and forms a major part of the watershed of three of Michigan's premier trout streams, the Sturgeon, the Pigeon River, and the Cheboygan Black.
The Pigeon River Forest’s expansive 105,000 acres offers a unique wilderness experience with some of the best hiking in Michigan. Some of the trails are also available to mountain bikes.
High Country Pathway
The HIGH COUNTRY PATHWAY was developed by the Department of Natural Resources, Forest Management Division, and funded through the Recreation Bond Program. The pathway is a 70 mile loop extended eastward from the heart of the Pigeon River Country in Otsego County into the Atlanta State Forest in Montmorency County and northwards up into southwest Presque Isle County and southern Cheboygan County through the heart of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula. It is designed to provide the more enthusiastic backpacker with about one week of high quality outdoor adventure - Michigan style! Click here for a map of the area.
Shingle Mill Pathway
The Pigeon River Country's most popular hiking and cross-country skiing trail, the Shingle Mill Pathway begins at the Pigeon Bridge Campground located just off Sturgeon Valley Rd. eleven miles east of the village of Vanderbilt.
Heading NE along the east bank of the Pigeon River, the trail actually branches off into five separate segments of different lengths, ranging from short 3/4 and 1&1/4 strolls to 6, 10, and 12 mile excursions, the latter three crossing to the west bank of the river at the Pigeon River Campground, and eventually bringing the hiker or skier back to the Pigeon River Bridge on Sturgeon Valley Road.
Cross-country skiers should be aware that the terrain becomes increasingly challenging as the length of the selected loop increases, with the 10 and 12 mile loops involving some steeper hills.
Although bicycles are presently allowed on the pathway, cyclists are urged to be extra cautious to avoid eroding the steeper parts of the trail and be prepared to walk at times. Right of way must always be given to those on foot.
Horses and snowmobiles are forbidden to use the Shingle Mill Pathway at all times.
Click here for map and more info.