The Petoskey to Mackinaw Trail consists of 35 miles of mostly dirt and cinder trail, though the 7-mile section between Petoskey and Alanson is now paved with asphalt. The trail passes through many communities along the way, including Conway, Oden, Ponshewaing, Brutus, Pellston, Van, Levering, Carp Lake, and Mackinaw City.
For the unimproved part of the trail, the surface is railroad ballast and gravel. Some sections are in excellent shape while others are tough going for the cyclist. However, on balance the entire trail is bikeable with a hybrid or mountain bike.
Carp Lake and Mackinaw City on the north end are especially suitable as staging areas for off-trail excursions onto lightly traveled local (paved and gravel) roads, some of which connect to the 71-mile North Eastern State Trail
Near the trail's southern end, you will also find the Little Traverse Wheelway
, a paved 26-mile rail-trail.
On the south end of the trail there is a small parking lot and restrooms at Round Lake Preserve on the north side of M-119. There is a trailhead alongside the trail at the Michigan Fisheries Visitors Center in the town of Alanson. Additional parking is available at Pellston at the old rail depot and on side streets in several other small towns along the way. On the north end of the trail there is a sizeable trailhead for parking and restrooms in the mall next to the trailhead.
From the south take US-31 north through Petoskey to M-119. Go west on M-119 for about ½ mile to park on right side.
From the north take US-31 south from Mackinaw City to M-119 just on the north end of Petoskey. Go to the west on M-119 for about a ½ mile to the park on your right.