Houghton-to-Chassell Rail Trail


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Houghton-to-Chassell Rail Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Houghton
Length: 8.6 miles
Trail end points: Houghton Waterfront Trail (Houghton) and Chassell
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016129
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Houghton-to-Chassell Rail Trail Description

The rail-trail between Chassell and Houghton roughly parallels US 41 on one side and the shore of Portage Lake on the other. This trail is open to snowmobiles in the winter and walkers/hikers and cyclists during the rest of the year.

Users be warned that parts of the trail can be wet and muddy and some areas still have railroad ties, so be mindful as you use the trail. In the north, the trail connects directly to the paved Houghton Waterfront Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

Houghton-to-Chassell Rail Trail Reviews

I enjoy this trail for the most part. It does need to be maintained better.

Some local folks are trying to steal state land under the guise of "reclaiming". It was public knowledge that this was state land when they built across it. Shame on them.

The trail is mainly wide and flat. In town, it is paved, but changes to fine aggregate east of Michigan Tech. The aggregate surface is actually very nice; it is smooth and soft like a well-maintained cinder track. The few highway and driveway crossings are barely noticeable. From spring to fall, the trees make this a beautiful space for a run. It also connects downtown houghton with the NARA and Chassell trails. It's probably too flat and plain for mountain biking and doesn't even quailfy as trail running, but it's nicer than running on the road.


The trail is actually pleasent to ride, but very poorly maintained, the state has done very little other than lay claim to the trail.

The trail is mostly 'stamp sand' tailings from the copper mines that were prevalent in the area 100 years ago. There are spots of loose beach type sand, loose crushed rock, plain old mud and exposed/removed culverts (with two 2x6 boards as a bridge) and even grass.

Trail width varies greatly from 2 feet wide with trees and brush on both sides, to 15 feet wide with no obstructions.

This trail splits the yards of local residents, houses on one side and lake/beach access on the other. Trees, brush and grass encroach on the trail, plus many homeowners have added crushed rock, dirt, grass and other 'debris' in order to re-claim the land from the state.

During the summer of 2011 some local children dug a hole to make a motorbike jump, making pedal biking a danger in this area.

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