The Traverse Area Recreation Trail (TART) is packed with urban excitement as it winds 11 miles through the infrastructure of Traverse City. The rail-trail cuts a west-to-east path from Carter Road to State Route 22 (M-22), where it connects with the 15-mile Leelanau Trail
. Twists and turns combined with a mixture of surfaces (wooden boardwalks, asphalt trail and wide concrete sidewalks) could lead to confusion, but red and green TART logo arrows clearly mark the route.
Picturesque waterfront views abound along both the west and east arms of Traverse Bay. You dip down to the water's edge and skirt the swimming beaches and marina on the west side of town and then travel high above the water along 5 Mile Road on the East Grand Traverse Bay side.
Starting at Carter Road, a 0.5-mile trail segment behind restaurants and a major grocery store takes you to the intersection of SR 22 and SR 72. From here you head straight to the waterfront, a 2-mile stretch of trail next to glittering West Grand Traverse Bay, with a public marina capped by West End and Clinch beaches on either end. Just past Clinch Park, a bronze sculpture of a parent and his child's attempts to ride a bike catches your eye, before the trail turns south.
Taking a 0.5-mile jog away from the waterfront, the trail then wends its way through the hustle and bustle of downtown Traverse City, providing easy access to a wide array of shops, boutiques and eateries. An underpass helps you avoid the heavy traffic of SR 31 and SR 72 and eases the transition between the waterfront and downtown.
For the next 6 miles, the trail is a commuter's dream. In fact, statistics show that 17% of TART's users report commuting between neighborhoods, restaurants, bike shops, offices, parks, beaches, the marina, the public library and other destinations that are connected along this route.
At mile 3, a restored depot honors the history of railroad days gone by. A bike lane and sidewalks along Woodmere Avenue at this juncture lead you to pretty, paved, 2-mile Boardman Lake Trail
along the east side of its namesake, which starts at Hull Park and ends at Medalie Park. If you want to make this connection, travel for a few blocks, pass the library, turn right on Hannah and travel 100 yards to the lake.
Back on TART, the next 4 miles from the depot to Bunker Hill Road is a lightly active rail-with-trail corridor. This is where many of the residential neighborhoods are located. Mile 5 marks the back entrance to Traverse City State Park, where campers enjoy getting out on the trail to access Traverse City's many eateries, miniature golf courses and other tourism attractions located alongside the trail.
Mile 8.5 marks the start of a 2-mile connector on Bunker Hill and Lautner roads until the trail resumes for a final 2-mile stretch from Lautner Road to the end at SR 72 in Williamsburg. Traffic along Bunker Hill Road is generally light, but use caution because it moves fairly fast.
To begin north of Traverse City, from the south, follow State Route 31 (M-31) north to SR 37; turn left. Go for 0.5 mile to SR 72. Street parking is available along the trail. To start at Bunker Hill Road, on the northeast side of Traverse City, follow SR 31 west and north through town to Bunker Hill Road; turn right. Proceed for 0.25 mile to the trailhead on your left.
Maybe it was because I rode it on such a glorious Monday morning, but the Traverse Area Recreation Trail (TART) was one of the best trails I have biked. It is nicely paved so it was not as strenuous or bumpy as gravel can be. I loved that it was only ...
"I just received an email about a change in the crossing at US 31/37 Grandview Parkway mentioned in another review here. They are moving it to make it safer. The left turners who don't yield as instructed to by signs will no longer be an issue with the ...
Several people have written about the dangers on this trail. It is true that when you are crossing the road down by the bay that the west bound traffic has a red light and is stopped while the east bound traffic has a green light and visa/versa. There ...