Some of the best hiking terrain in Northern Michigan is in the Grayling area. There are miles and miles of paved and unpaved trails to hike, and hundreds of acres of state land to explore! Spring and summer will offer the opportunity to watch wildlife in their natural setting, fall is a great time to take photos of the colors of autumn, and the hardy hiker will love the rugged beauty of winter.
by Dick Fultz of the Cross Country
|Cross Country Ski Headquarters||8 loops, 1km to 8 km||5% hilly, 40% moderate, 45% flat||yes|
|Hanson Hills Recreation Area||loops of 2km to 12km||60% hilly, 30% moderate, 10% flat||yes|
|Hartwick Pines State Park||18+ miles||3% steep, 7% hilly, 60% moderate, 30% flat|
"one of the nicest trail systems in the state."
|Mason Tract Pathway||10+ miles||5% Hilly, 85% moderate, 10% flat||no|
|Higgins Lake State Park||10+ miles||20% hilly, 30% moderate, 50% flat|
"Great area for hiking - hilly enough to keep it interesting."
|Rayburn's||2 miles of paved trail||100% flat |
"2 mile point to point trail that crosses the AuSable River on a woodenbridge."
|Shore to Shore Riding/Hiking Trail||across the state||various/sugar sand areas||no|
|Grayling Bicycle Turnpike||7+ miles||10 foot wide paved path||no|
|Wakeley Lake||16+ miles||25% hilly, 55% moderate, 20% flat|
"Crawford County's Walden Pond - it is a sanctuary of nature &quiet."
In order to use these state forest areas you must have a “Michigan Recreation Passport”. Those are available to purchase at state parks, when renewing Michigan car registrations or when a state ranger is at the site. If there is no ranger when you arrive, they may put an envelope on your car and request that you purchase one by mail.
Other Northern Michigan areas
- Tisdale Triangle
10.1 miles, flat terrain, hiking skiing, camping at e. end of Tisdale Rd., 5 miles E. of Roscommon on M-18.
- Red Pine Natural Area
1.5 miles, level terrain, interpretive foot trail, no camping. 8 miles N. of St. Helen on F-97 to Sunset Rd., then E. 3/4 miles to trail.
- Pine Baron
8.75 miles, flat terrain, hiking, skiing, camping. W. of Gaylord & S. of M-32; W. from I-75 at S. Gaylord exit 279 on Alba Rd., 2.4 miles to Lone Pine Rd., N. to end of road.
- Big Bear Lake
2.2 miles, flat to rolling terrain, hiking, camping M-32 from Gaylord to Co. Rd 495 (Meridian Rd.), S. 1.5 miles to SF campgrounds.
- Buttles Road
7 miles, flat to rolling terrain, hiking, skiing, no camping. Between Lewiston & M-32 on Buttles Rd., take Buttles Rd. N. about 3 miles to parking lot.
- Cross-Country Ski Trails
Most of these are also open to hiking.