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. Running from Waters all the way to Mackinaw City, the view along this 73-mile 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 family out for an afternoon ride, a novice seeking something energizing but not too over-the-top or an experienced rider seeking adventure, 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 excursion. 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.
A trail extension was completed in spring 2019, connecting the Village of Waters to the current trailhead near the Otsego County Fairgrounds. This additional segment passes through downtown Gaylord and traverses along scenic Otsego Lake. Cyclists will find plentiful parking at the Otsego Lake Township Hall and can look forward to a variety of local restaurants and convenience stores along this lovely ride. Give yourself a break and take a quick dip in Otsego Lake at the trailside State Park or Wah Wah Soo public access site.
Fans of the North Central State Trail will be excited to know a new trailhead located right in downtown Gaylord is scheduled for completion in fall 2019.