September 15, 2019 – By MICHAEL PERCHA
September 22-29 is Trails Week in Michigan, a great opportunity to hit the trails for the first time, revisit familiar favorites or try out a new trail adventure.
The state has more than 12,500 miles of designated trails. This includes more rail-trail miles than any other state. The Iron Belle Trail, an interconnected series of trails and rail-trails stretching from Ironwood at the western end of the Upper Peninsula to Detroit’s Belle Isle, is the longest state-designated trail in the nation at 2,050 miles. It has two distinct routes: one for hiking and one for biking.
Recently, the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 connecting lakes Michigan and Huron opened with its inaugural bicycle ride. The 275 mile trail stretches from South Haven to Port Huron.
Michigan Trails Week not only celebrates trails on land, but also water trails. Earlier this year, Michigan announced its first-ever designated water trails and launched the Pure Michigan Trails and Trail Towns program, which recognized six trails and four trail towns for having broad community support and a sustainable maintenance and marketing plan and providing users with a quality trail experience.
“Michigan’s vast and diverse trails system plays a big role in stimulating tourism and encouraging healthy lifestyles for all ages,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. “We deeply appreciate all of our trail partners who are critical to sustaining quality trails throughout the state.”