The northern half of the North Central State Trail spans 33.8 miles from Indian River to Mackinaw City. Nestled between Burt and Mullett lakes, Indian River is a great place to begin your journey, or stay the night, with lodging, shopping, restaurants, ice cream and a visitor information center near the trail. Marina Park is the trail's official staging area with restrooms, drinking water and plenty of parking in downtown Indian River.
The 17.5-mile section between Indian River and Cheboygan hugs the western shore of Mullett Lake, venturing past quaint cottages and panoramic views of this large inland lake. Along the way, your journey takes you through the village of Topinabee, where you can relax or go for a swim at Topinabee Lakeside Park. The park offers a picnic area, beach, playground, restrooms, drinking water, and parking next to the restored Topinabee rail depot.
In the harbor city of Cheboygan, the North Central State Trail links up with the western end of the North Eastern State Trail, which travels 71 miles to Alpena. The new Cheboygan trailhead greets you with restrooms, drinking water, a picnic pavilion and a large parking area. The trailhead is just a few blocks away from the Cheboygan business district where you'll find lodging, shopping and several places to enjoy lunch, dinner or ice cream.
From Cheboygan to Mackinaw City, the North Central State Trail travels 16.3 miles, running parallel to US-23 through a heavily wooded tunnel of mostly white pines. About five miles east of Mackinaw City, the trail passes through Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, where you can learn the early history of the Straits area and see a working water-driven sawmill. Your journey concludes (or begins) at the new Mackinaw City trailhead, which is centrally located near downtown shopping, the Mackinac Island ferries, and just a few blocks south of the famous Mackinac Bridge. A major Michigan tourist destination, you'll find plenty of lodging, places to eat, and things to do in Mackinaw City.