The 62-mile North Central State Trail races from Gaylord to Mackinaw City on the former Michigan Central Railroad. The trail offers a tour of the natural beauty and tranquility that draws people back to northern Michigan year after year. It's no wonder the North Central State Trail was named Michigan's best example of the rails-to-trails system by the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference. You'll find the scenery complemented by evenly spaced towns with several shops, restaurants, and lodging choices along the way - making it an ideal trail for multi-day biking trips. The 1O-foot-wide trail is surfaced with finely screened crushed limestone, suitable for most bicycles and open to snowmobiling during the winter season.
Gaylord to Indian River
Gaylord marks the highest elevation on the North Central State Trail, making a south to north journey the easiest way to ride the trail. The Gaylord trailhead is located next to the soccer fields on Fairview Road, off Old US-27 Highway, north of the downtown shopping district. From Gaylord, the trail travels through woods and rolling farmland, and passes through two tunnels, before reaching the village of Vanderbilt. North of Vanderbilt, it settles into the Sturgeon River valley where it follows the edge of the river through Wolverine on its way to Indian River. This section of the trail is exceptionally scenic. Haakwood State Forest Campground, north of Wolverine, offers riverside camping, vault toilets and drinking water along the edge of the trail.
When you reach Marina Park in downtown Indian River, you've traveled 28.2 miles, the mid-point of the North Central State Trail. Indian River is uniquely located between Mullet and Burt lakes and the Indian and Sturgeon rivers. Marina Park offers a great staging area for both trail users and boaters with a marina, restrooms, drinking water, ample parking and close proximity to restaurants, shops and lodging.