7 Reasons to Visit Gaylord, MI this Summer

There’s no question about it…Northern Michigan summers are pure bliss. If you haven’t experienced one yet, it’s high time to head to Gaylord, Michigan to see what all the fuss is about! So what does the “Alpine Village” have in store for you?


Gaylord is recognized as a top biking destination! The scene here is diverse, from picturesque paved routes to undulating single tracks at Aspen Park, Shingle Mill Pathway and Pine Baron Pathway to the crown jewel of all trails – the North Central State Trail.  Newly expanded and now running 73 miles from Waters all the way to Mackinaw City, this former railroad line is covered with a crushed limestone surface. Perfect for families out for an afternoon ride or experienced cyclists looking for a challenge, the North Central State Trail meanders through some of the loveliest countryside in Northern Michigan. Check out the new Gaylord Gateway Trailhead conveniently located downtown! If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, then you won’t want to miss the 82-mile High Country Pathway. Located in the heart of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, this extensive and rustic trail is recognized as having “Epic” status by the International Mountain Bike Association


If you lack pedal power but still want to hit the trails, hiking is the way to go! Spend a leisurely afternoon weaving through the trails at Aspen Park. With rolling hills, open fields, plentiful wildlife and a quaint pond, you can lose track of time on these paved and unpaved trails. Those looking for an all-day excursion or even a weekend of backpacking can head for the Jordan Valley Pathway, an 18.8-mile loop with a rustic campground at the halfway point. Be ready for stunning vistas, high ridges and skirting along the banks of the striking Jordan River. If you’re limited on time, venture out on the Deadman’s Hill Loop for a 3-mile taste of this exceptional trail. 

Ready to visit?  Request your free Visitor’s Guide here!  

Elk Viewing

While you’re out enjoying Gaylord’s plentiful trail systems, keep your eyes peeled to catch a glimpse of one of the largest free-roaming elk herds east of the Mississippi. The Pigeon River Country State Forest is home to a herd of over 1,000 of these magnificent animals, and while they are always on the go, there are popular viewing areas they frequent. Exploring Pigeon River country is a great escape, but your schedule may not allow you to spend a day searching for elk. For a guaranteed sighting, head to the City Elk Park, just a few blocks from the downtown district. The City of Gaylord maintains this herd of over 30 animals and they are known for greeting visitors right at the fence.

Lakes & Rivers

If being on the water is more your style, you’ll be happy to know that Otsego County is home to over 90 inland lakes and the headwaters of 5 major rivers. And just what does this mean for your summer getaway? How about countless places to launch your kayak, reel in your catch of the day or simply soak up some rays on a strip of white sand? From Otsego Lake, the largest in our area stretching over 5 miles, to Dixon Lake, with its clear turquoise waters, there’s plenty of water to never feel crowded. Anglers will relish the chance to catch plentiful panfish, walleye, trout and even the elusive lake sturgeon. 

Ready to get out on the water?  We’ve got convenient Recreation Rentals!


While Gaylord is a haven for outdoor lovers, sometimes you need a little slice of civilization to recharge. With a recently remodeled streetscape, trendy new eateries and unique stores with up north charm, there’s definitely a new vibe in town! Stroll the streets in search of one-of-a-kind gifts and visit each unique boutique. Don’t forget to take a break from your active routine long enough to let your inner “foodie” shine!  Get a real taste of what the Alpine Village has to offer by sampling delicacies from our vibrant and growing culinary scene.

Events & Festivals

It wouldn’t be a summer road trip without events and festivals!  Schedule your plans around one of our premiere events such as Gus Macker or Alpenfest.  Each crowd-pleaser offers a unique experience that’s sure to create memories you’ll be talking about for years. Along with these time-tested favorites, you’ll find our new Downtown Summer Concert Series, featuring weekly performers in the Claude Shannon Park right in our Alpine Village. Browse our events calendar for more activities including the Otsego Lake Fly-In, Michaywe Arts & Crafts Fair, Otsego County Fair, races, fireworks and celebrations for all ages!

Blissful Slumber

The best way to end your day is by resting in comfort with one of our lodging members. Offering accommodations from resorts and cabins to vacation homes and trusted hotels, you’ll find the perfect pillow to catch your zzz’s in Gaylord. We’ve expanded our lodging options over the past few years to include brand-new, brand-name hotels including the recent Tru by Hilton and Comfort Inn & Suites/MainStay Suites. Enhancements and renovations at other existing properties are keeping them at the top of their game (hint – check out the newly remodeled chalets at Treetops!). Let us lead the way to the relaxation you seek after experiencing what our lively community has to offer.

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It’s undeniable that Gaylord is an All Outdoors paradise and your new favorite summer destination!