Lake Michigan Pathway


Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Lake Michigan Pathway Facts

States: Wisconsin
Counties: Racine
Length: 14 miles
Trail end points: 3 Mile Road/MRK Trail and Douglas Ave. and Chicory Road/North Shore Trail btwn Lathrop Ave. & S. Memorial Dr. (Racine)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6418498
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Lake Michigan Pathway Description

The 13.5-mile Lake Michigan Pathway keeps you in close touch with the sixth-largest freshwater lake in the world as it links rail-trails north and south of the port city of Racine. Along the way, the trail visits such attractions as beaches, marinas, parks, the zoo, and museums, as well as the revitalized downtown district.

The Root River splits the Lake Michigan Pathway where it empties into the lake, marking the location of a settlement that came to be known as Racine, French for “root,” in 1841. Danish immigrants who began arriving after the Civil War influenced the city’s culture and cuisine, specifically in its bakeries serving fruit- and nut-filled pastries called kringle.

Using the paved path alongside the lake as well as city streets, the Lake Michigan Pathway serves commuters as well as sightseers. In the north, it connects to the MRK Trail (named for the Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha Electric Railway) at South Street and 3 Mile Road. In the south it connects to the North Shore Trail at Chicory Road.

The highlight for visitors is the 3.3 miles of off-street paved trail that runs alongside Lake Michigan. Beginning at Samuel Myers Park (parking is available here and along the lakeshore), you can hop on the pathway and follow it north toward downtown, passing Pershing Park on the left. In 0.6 mile, you’ll pass the Civic Centre and Festival Park concert and event venues. Together with the 900-slip marina, they make up part of the harbor revitalization project that got under way in the 1980s.

The pathway heads up Root River to the Main Street bridge. A left turn onto Main Street leads to a four-block side trip to the Racine Art Museum. A right turn crosses the bridge, where you can take another side trip upstream on the 4-mile Root River Pathway to a bird sanctuary. To stay on the Lake Michigan Pathway, follow the signs. Back on the off-road trail, you’ll pass a 0.5-mile gravel trail atop a breakwater that juts into the lake.

The white sands of North Beach, a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and trout and salmon fishing, stretch for a half mile along the lakefront north of the breakwater. The beach ends at the entrance to the Racine Zoo. About 0.3 mile north, the off-road portion of the pathway ends and continues as an on-street or sidewalk route marked by lake michigan pathway signs.

To explore southern Racine from Samuel Myers Park, take the Lake Michigan Pathway west as it becomes an on-street and sidewalk route on 11th Street. Turn left onto Main Street to head south. (About 0.3 mile south, you can take a side trip west on 14th Street for 0.4 mile to see the SC Johnson headquarters designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.) In 1 mile, you’ll arrive at the picturesque DeKoven Center, a church-affiliated conference center that was founded as Racine College in 1852.

The pathway splits at DeKoven Avenue for two mostly on-street routes to the North Shore Trail. The left pathway, built in 2016, heads south on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue through Dodge Park to a connection with Roosevelt Park Drive and Durand Avenue. The right pathway takes DeKoven Avenue west, and then left on Case Avenue, right on Gilson Street, left on Drexel Avenue, right on Maryland Avenue, and left on Knoll Place to a right on Chicory Road.

Parking and Trail Access

To find trail parking at Samuel Myers Park from I-94/I-41, take Exit 333 toward Racine onto SR 20. Go 8.1 miles—SR 20 becomes Washington Ave.—and bear right onto 14th St. Go 0.7 mile, and turn left onto Main St. After 0.3 mile, turn right onto 11th St. Parking is on the right in Samuel Myers Park or on the left along the lakefront. The trail’s southern endpoint is located about 4.4 miles south, following the easternmost section of the trail.


To find parking near the north end at Lake View Park/Racine Zoo from I-94/I-41, take Exit 329 east onto Northwestern Ave. Go 7.3 miles, and turn left onto Rapids Dr. Go 0.9 mile, and turn left onto Mt. Pleasant St.; then take the first right onto Goold St. Go 1.1 miles, and turn left onto N. Wisconsin St. Look for parking on the right in about 500 feet. The trail’s northern endpoint is located about 2.7 miles northwest along the trail.

Lake Michigan Pathway Reviews

We rode from Gateway Technical College north. The path along the lake was fantastic and we rode out to the lighthouse out on the pier. The lighthouse is nothing special, but it was fun to ride out on the pier. We continued north along the beach. The couple of hills were do-able, though my wife struggled a bit with her 7-speed. We were soon dumped onto the streets and had to follow the signs to figure out where we were going. We eventually stopped at a gas station and thought about turning around. At that point we realized we were close to the Wind Pointe Lighthouse, so we left the trail and rode there. That was a detour that was VERY worthwhile!! It was one of the best kept grounds we've seen at an old lighthouse. While the roads didn't have wide shoulders to accommodate bikes, the people who were driving on the road were clearly used to folks biking out to the lighthouse and the traffic was light. There was a bike rack at the lighthouse to lock up, but volunteers were doing landscaping right next to the bike rack so we didn't need to lock up. The ride back was a little more comfortable since we knew that we'd have some road riding, though it felt like much less on the return trip. The trip south only had one uphill ride.

Apart from the road riding at the north end, we really enjoyed the trail. Taking the detour off the trail to the lighthouse was definitely a highlight and the best part of our ride.

Paved path with scenic views of Lake Michigan,long clean beaches,path meanders through Racine harbors with some challenging hills on the North side of the trail

I liked this trail. Good change of scenery along the way. Plenty of curves in the road and no overly difficult elevation changes. Just watch out for pedestrians on this multi-use trail.


It's a nice enjoyable ride along the Racing lakefront, but be prepared for steep hills you have to go up and it can be a challenge for some. You'll enjoy the ride down them though and it also goes past the Racine Zoo always interesting to go ride past there. You enjoy everything the lakefront has to offer and eventually it connects with the Racine county trail which is crushed stone or you can keep riding past the entrance and connect with the Root River pathway.

It's a nice ride and buzzing with activity and trail users and some nice sights to enjoy that make the ride enjoyable, but be prepared for the hills.

Happy riding everyone!

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

North Shore Trail (WI)

Wisconsin - 3 miles

Racine’s southeastern neighborhoods are home to the North Shore Trail, which extends south to the Racine–Kenosha county line. Because Racine County...

Racine-Sturtevant Trail

Wisconsin - 3.5 miles

The Racine-Sturtevant Trail runs for 3.5 miles from the western side of Racine to near the eastern edge of the Village of Sturtevant. The trail...

Root River Pathway

Wisconsin - 6.6 miles

The Root River Pathway uses a combination of off-road trail and on-road route to form a crescent around the City of Racine. The trail closely follows...


Kenosha County Bike Trail

Wisconsin - 18.6 miles

The Kenosha County Bike Trail is open in two sections separated by dense neighborhoods in the City of Kenosha. The northern segment runs northeast...

Pike River Pathway

Wisconsin - 5.3 miles

The Pike River Pathway is a paved, multi-use trail that runs along both sides of the reconstructed Pike River through the Village of Mount Pleasant...

KR Trail

Wisconsin - 1.5 miles

The KR Trail is a new addition to Kenosha County’s growing bike-ped network. The trail picks up where the Kenosha County Bike Trail leaves off, in...

Racine County Bike Trail

Wisconsin - 1.4 miles

Helping to extend the excellent network of trails around the city of Racine deeper west into the heart of the county, the Racine County Bike Trail...

MRK Trail

Wisconsin - 4.6 miles

Racine County's eastern edge is home to the MRK Trail, a rail-with-trail that extends north from the City of Racine to the Village of Caledonia....

Kenosha Pike Bike Trail

Wisconsin - 6.95 miles

Helping to forge a connection between the northern and southern segments of the Kenosha County Bike Trail, the Kenosha Pike Bike Trail also has plenty...

WE Energies Trail

Wisconsin - 2 miles

The WE Energies Trail, so named because it uses a Wisconsin Energy Corporation utility corridor for much of its route, links Racine and Oak Creek in...

Oak Leaf Trail

Wisconsin - 125 miles

The Oak Leaf Trail is the jewel in the crown of Milwaukee County’s extensive trail system. The trail meanders for more than 125 miles in and around...

Robert McClory Bike Path

Illinois - 25.4 miles

The Robert McClory Bike Path runs the length of Lake County, knitting together a string of communities on the north shore of Chicago all the way to...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Support TrailLink and the Trails You Love in 2020!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google