Exploring Hidden Gem Hiking Trails in Gaylord

Hey, fellow hikers! If you’re in Gaylord and looking to stretch your legs and soak up some nature, you’re in the right spot. Our lovely area in northern Michigan is perfect for outdoor exploration. From serene forest walks to scenic lake views, the trails near Gaylord offer something for everyone. So, lace up your hiking boots and dive into some of our favorite local trails that are sure to make your next hike an epic adventure.

Shingle Mill Pathway

One of our favorite hiking trails in the heart of the Pigeon River Country State Forest is the Shingle Mill Pathway. Spanning 12 miles, with various shorter options available, this trail provides a breathtaking backcountry experience. Following the scenic Pigeon River, this hike also leads to several lakes, including Section 4, Grass Lake and Ford Lake. Whether you’re up for a full day of exploration or a leisurely stroll among the Pigeon’s natural beauty, the Shingle Mill Pathway offers a perfect escape into the wilderness.

Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve

For those looking for a trail that offers more than just a walk, the Louis M. Groen Nature Preserve is a must-visit. Located just northeast of Gaylord, this almost 800-acre preserve features over 15 miles of trails that are perfect for hiking, biking and even equestrian use. As you navigate through lush forests, peaceful meadows and along the picturesque Johannesburg Lake, keep an eye out for the interactive signs that make the preserve entertaining and educational. Also, be on the lookout for fascinating historical equipment and structures from the lumbering days.

Jordan Valley Pathway

The Jordan Valley Pathway is a popular destination for weekend backpacking trips, and it’s easy to see why once you hit the trail. While Deadman’s Hill Overlook at the trailhead of this 18-mile loop is known for offering one of the most stunning vistas in our area, the view from the valley floor might just knock your hiking boots off as well. As you explore further, you’ll encounter rolling hills, peaceful forests and the tranquil Jordan River weaving through the landscape. If you’re not up for the full trek, you can take the quick, 3-mile down and back loop from the parking lot.

Sturgeon River Preserve

This might just be our favorite place to stretch our legs when we’re short on time. Packed into this 1-mile loop, you’ll find an accessible boardwalk running along the rushing Sturgeon River, hilly terrain flocked with cedars and pine, a small field of lush ferns and abundant wildlife. Believe it or not, you can even break the Sturgeon River Preserve into shorter segments…but why would you want to?

Aspen Park

Mere blocks from downtown Gaylord, this 100-acre oasis consists of both paved and unpaved pathways to suit your hiking (and biking) tastes. Meander along the leaf-strewn loveliness of Aspen Park past a quaint beaver pond, or venture in another direction for a glimpse at our City Elk Park. Better yet, do both! The paved pathways make Aspen Park accessible for all.

So, there you have it—this is just a glimpse into hiking adventures around Gaylord! These trails are some of our absolute favorites, but there’s so much more to discover in this neck of the woods. Whether you’re into lakeside strolls, woodland wanders, or just soaking in the fresh air, Gaylord’s got a trail with your name on it. So grab your gear, gather your buddies (furry ones included!) and let’s hit the trails for an adventure you won’t forget. Happy hiking!