Hike and Bike the Rail Trails of Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region
Venture off the beaten path and onto Great Lakes Bay’s regional Rail Trails, where adventures await.
Whether you bike, hike, skate or ski the pathways, you’ll find plenty of wildlife, flowers and outdoor fun. Hit the following trails in Bay City, Birch Run, Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Midland and Saginaw, Michigan, to explore the state’s natural beauty.
And, if you’re not able to bring your own gear, many bicycle shops in these cities rent bicycles and other gear. Just call ahead when you’re ready to roll.
Bay City Riverwalk Rail Trail
The Bay City Riverwalk Rail Trail is an asphalt-and-concrete corridor designed for joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters. The 16-kilometer route surrounds the east side of Bay City and follows the west bank of the Saginaw River. It connects a variety of city and county parks, and the Riverwalk portion of the pathway meanders along the banks of the river, passing boat launches, historical markers and picnic areas. Pause to catch your breath at the boardwalk section here and you may see a drawbridge raised for a sailboat.
The Bay City Riverwalk Rail trail is a waterfront gem alongside the banks of the Saginaw River.
Pere Marquette Rail Trail
Once part of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad, the Pere Marquette Rail Trail is a 45-kilometer asphalt ribbon running between Midland and Clare. Built for biking, skating or walking, the paved pathway is one of only 25 Rails to Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame corridors in the USA. The scenic trail crosses several bridges and passes by stores and restaurants, where you can stop for a meal or just for refreshments.
The 45-kilometer Pere Marquette Rail Trail is nationally recognized as a Hall of Fame pathway for bikers, skaters and walkers.
Saginaw Valley Rail Trail
Skirting Saginaw's southern boundary before it turns toward St. Charles, the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail is a 16-kilometer pathway with bridges offering views over the Bad River and Marsh and Swan creeks. The trail is a scenic treasure with lush summer foliage and signs identifying a variety of plant life. It also attracts wildlife, including white tail deer, geese and swans. Dotted along the path are restrooms, drink dispensers, a fishing platform, gazebos and benches.
The Saginaw Valley Rail Trail features scenic bridge views and lush foliage, especially in the summer.
The remarkable Tridge in Midland is a landmark, three-way wooden bridge built for foot traffic and bicycles. To better understand its unique structure and name, think of a “Y,” then merge the words “tri” and “bridge.” The Tridge features parks on all sides with boats, canoes and kayaks passing underneath. It’s a popular gathering place that crosses the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers near downtown Midland. It’s also the trailhead for the Pere Marquette Rail Trail and the 5.6-kilometer Chippewa Nature Trail.
Bike or walk along the famous Tridge in Midland, a meeting point for several of Great Lakes Bay's parks and trails.
MBS International Airport is located in the heart of the Great Lakes Bay region of Michigan, and three additional international airports can be found within a two-hour drive — Bishop International Airport (FNT) in Flint, Lansing Capital Region International Airport (LAN) in Lansing, and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) in Detroit.
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