Little Traverse Wheelway


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Little Traverse Wheelway Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Charlevoix, Emmet
Length: 26 miles
Trail end points: Waller Rd & US 31 (Charlevoix) and Kosequat Park at Park Ln & E Lake Rd (Harbor Springs)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016178

Little Traverse Wheelway Description

Closure notice: Dangerous conditions due to erosion of the trail have necessitated the closure of the trail between East Park and Magnus Park. Visit the trail manager's website for closure details as well as updates on repairs.

Picture-postcard-worthy views of Lake Michigan and its shoreline greet visitors to the Little Traverse Wheelway in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. The paved trail rolls for 24 miles from Charlevoix to Petoskey to Harbor Springs as it follows the curve of Little Traverse Bay.

“Trail-to-rail-to-trail” describes the background of the Little Traverse Wheelway in this historic resort getaway. A section of trail dates to the 1880s when high-wheeled penny farthings were a popular, though risky, form of recreation and transportation. The Chicago and West Michigan Railway and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad adopted the corridor for rail traffic in the 1890s, but by the 1970s the surviving railroads were no longer using segments of rail bed. By the 1990s, the first 2-mile section of reclaimed trail opened in Petos-key with more to follow until 2009.

Beginning at Shanahan Field in Charlevoix, you’ll go east for 0.4 mile on the shoulder of Waller Road to reach the trail that runs close by US 31 for the next 16 miles. (At the park, you can also opt to take the Charlevoix Township Bike Path connector into town.) You’ll cross a 0.6-mile boardwalk in a nature preserve in the first mile and be gazing out toward a magnificent lake view at a roadside park by mile 3.

The trail rolls inland at about mile 6, but in another 5 miles, you’ll arrive at the marina-resort community of Bay Harbor. Descending through East Park, you’ll view Little Traverse Bay from a bluff for about 1.5 miles before arriving at the Magnus Park public campground.

In a mile you arrive at a marina and Bayfront Park in Petoskey. This is the path of the original wheelway, marked by the first of three replica arches announcing no teaming or driving, referring to prohibitions against riding horses or horse-drawn carriages on the original trail. The town’s history is remembered at the Little Traverse History Museum, located in a circa-1892 railway depot at the park. A touristy shopping area is accessible through a US 31 underpass near the foot of Bay Street.

Leaving Petoskey, you’ll pass a fishing pond left over from an old limestone quarry. It’s only a few steps away from Little Traverse Bay, where the exposed cobble on the shoreline is a good place to look for Petoskey stones, pebbles containing designs from fossilized coral.

Soon after leaving the park, salmon-colored sidewalks signal your entry into the historic Bay View neighborhood. This community, dominated by Victorian homes, has long been a summer getaway for prominent Michigan families. The trail leaves the side of US 31 at Division Street and, in 1.4 miles, passes a trail entrance to Petoskey State Park, where you can find sweeping sand dunes and a swimming beach. Along this stretch you will also pass a short spur that crosses on the right over MI 119 and connects with the southern endpoint of the North Western State Trail, which heads north to Mackinaw City.

The wheelway continues for 2.5 miles parallel to busy MI 119 before cutting away to follow the northeast edge of the Harbor Springs Airport. From the airport, a 3-mile section of trail continues west along MI 119 to a trailhead at Kosequat Park near the heart of Harbor Springs, a deep moorage at the head of the bay.

Parking and Trail Access

There are several parking options available along the trail. In Harbor Springs (northern endpoint), there is parking at 2728 E Lake St. In Petoskey, there is parking at Bayfront Park near 101 E Lake St. In Bay Harbor, East Park offers parking and restrooms (601 Quarry Dr). 

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and directions.


Little Traverse Wheelway Reviews

Good Trail

Started in East Park and rode to downtown Charlevoix & back. 15 miles one way. Mix of sun & shade. A couple of lake views. Long stretch of boardwalk. Go to the The Happy Troll for lunch. Great sandwiches. Look for the Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix.

pristine and beautiful

This trail follows the shore of Lake Michigan with well-maintained, paved trail. It is also along the highway which is a bit loud but the trail has a beautiful canopy of trees for much of the length. There are areas approximately 3 miles apart with places to stop and sit or enjoy the lake. Very nice!

fantastic ride!

Well-maintained and beautiful trail! We veered off to ride Beech St as we neared Harbor Springs, and it was a gorgeous detour through a nature preserve and along the water in places. Highly recommend.

Awesome ride!

Husband and I rode this trail and it’s so much fun! The first day we rode from our hotel BW Harbor Springs ( there’s a path right behind the hotel where you can hop on the trail) to West Park. Round trip 29 miles. It is a bit confusing to get around the section that is shut down. We had to ride on the shoulder of 31 for a while. Lots of traffic but the shoulder is pretty wide so I felt pretty safe. The next day we planned to ride the leelenau trail but didn’t realize it was 1.5 hours from our hotel. So we decided to pick up where we left off on the wheelway trail. We are so glad we did as it was the most scenic of the entire trail! We rode from West Park (there’s parking there) to Charlevoix. 18 miles round trip. We will definitely be doing this one again! miles.


5-star except for the poorly marked detour

In August a friend and I rode out and back from the Charlevoix trail head almost to Harbor Springs.
Four stars because west of Petoskey about a mile of trail is fenced off, with no detour signage at the west end until you hit the fence and have to retrace. Michigan DNR needs to do a better signage job. The detour can be ridden on the wide shoulder of route 31 into Petoskey (expect heavy traffic).
Detour aside, we enjoyed numerous lake views west and north, and food stops in Petoskey. Benches are plentiful along the trail. It was fun seeing classic summer resort houses from Petoskey to Wequetonsing.
The trail surface has occasional frost and root heaves. The route can be confusing in Petoskey, along the waterfront. In west Petoskey the trail is partly on sidewalk and tight for passing.
Hopefully Michigan DNR fixes the trail and it returns to a 5-star rating.

Great trail but...

I just have one suggestion for the Little Traverse Wheelway and that is to add bathroom/portajohn somewhere between the Harbor Springs airport (thank you to the PortaJohn people for that one - it's always clean and well maintained!) to the Trailhead in Harbor Springs. The "restrooms" on the way to downtown are always locked though well marked :(. For women especially, having something along the way would be helpful. There is a park with a portajohn near the trailhead but you have to cross M119 which can be very busy - it is out of the way. Petoskey does a great job with this - Harbor Springs can do better! Thanks.

Great Ride

We did this as a part of a ride from Charlevoix to Alpena and this was the best part of the ride by far. We parked the car for the week at the Charlevoix Township Hall and left a note on the dash of our route and contact info. Everything is paved and the signage was good. There are a couple of spots where the trail was washed out by high water, but it was easy to navigate around them. We just had to ride along the wide shoulder of the highway for a while. We were carrying full packs with camping gear so the smooth pavement was really nice.

MI trail

August 2020 Rode on the trail twice on my first visit to the Lake Charlevoix area. Nice trail with some small hills, bumps and great views! Highly recommended!!

A little disappointed

Please note we only rode five miles from Magnus Park west. Three quarters of it were very picturesque but then we came to an area where the trail became a bike lane along a very busy, unattractive road. We turned around.

Nice Trail

First time bikers, we went about 9 miles on this trail - very nice, several places to stop and check out the water and look for Petoskey stones and take a break. Rest Area available next to the trail as well was a good thing. Had a good time. A couple of closed areas due to the trail being washed out so hopefully those will be fixed soon, but a nice ride for us.

Very scenic! one of Michigan’s best

Ridden many times. This is a favorite when I’m in this area.

No maintenance

This is a great trail but it is really deteriorating quickly. From East Park west to Charlevoix it is so beat up that it is basically disgusting to ride on my handcycle or on any type of recumbent three wheel type of bike. The curb cuts are atrocious and if you want to bend a wheel or blow a tire this is the trail for you. Even the new extension up to Alanson which is only 3 seasons old is getting really, really bumpy due to the fact that when it was built the tree roots were not cleared deep enough. The section from downtown Petoskey to East Park is the only smooth and properly maintained part of the trail albeit it now has some tree root and cracking issues too. The section from the newly purchased $300,000.00 trail office that houses the council director who has a huge salary for what he does, north to Harbor Springs has some deterioration and curb cut issues too. All and all this could be Michigan's best trail if it had built and maintained properly. Its a shame that there are few fundraising events or even donation boxes along this very heavily used trail so money could be raised to fix the many issues. Its also unfortunate that all the chiefs on the council never answer emails or complaints relating to the many, many problems that they seem to ignore.


easy fun and beautiful.


Very scenic, beautiful homes. No hills make for a relaxing ride.

Great Getaway

Proud to be a Fudgie with family ties to the Mitt - camped at Petoskey State Park this weekend and rode the trail back and forth to Charlevoix for Venetian Festival. Northern Michigan is tops for road and trail riding and the scenery on Little Traverse Bay is as captivating as any. Petoskey and Charlevoix are two fun cities for year-round adventure.

Magnificent Sunset over Little Traverse Bay

The sunset over the water was spectacular on our evening ride/picnic. It must often be so, as we observed several people with nice cameras, some prepared with tripods.

Michigan Gem

Made our annual summer trip to Petoskey to ride this trail. We have nothing like it downstate. We rode from Bay View to Spring Lake Park and back. It runs along Lake Michigan with great views and a wonderful breeze. There are places to picnic and fill our water bottles and use the restroom all along the way. We rode 22 miles RT and it was awesome. All asphalt and flat and not heavily used as you might expect. A perfect trail and one of our State's gems.

Petoskey to Harbor Springs the best part

The trail from Charlevoix to about 3 miles south of Petoskey' Marina runs along Route 31 which is a busy road. These last three miles are worth doing starting from the Marina. The 9 +/- from the Marina to Harbor Springs offers the best views, although the sidewalk section (quarter to half a mile) can be crowded. Take a detour at Beach Road just north of the State Park and you'll get a much nicer ride into Harbor Springs.

Petoskey to Harbor Springs

Aprox 8.5 miles in length this trail takes a little more patience to ride. Some of the trail is on local sidewalks which means less room and more foot traffic. Other sections are on a widened shoulder of the road. Can be dangerous with young inexperienced riders. Not real relaxing or healthy breathing exhaust fumes. The nice part was Harbor Springs, what a picturesque little town on the water. Places to shop, eat, or rest and people watch. Petoskey state park is a great stop to swim and beach comp for Petoskey rocks. No fee entry when riding a bike (yea)! Asphalt all the way with some hills. For most part enjoyable ride.

Charlevoix to Petoskey and back

If you want a medium length ride (aprox 17miles) in one direction, this is the ride for you. Many opportunities to view lake with parks and overlooks galore. Well kept asphalt trail with minimal traffic. Few more people the closer you get to either town. Wife and I both enjoyed and would do it again.


While camping at Petoskey State Park, we rode this trail several times into Petoskey. It gave us convenient access to the town. We also took it north toward Harbor Spring, but our youngest rider got too tired on that ride so we didn't make it quite into town. Yes, there are stretches along the road, particularly near the park, but we never felt like it was a danger, even with our 8 year old. Another portion on the east end of Petoskey is basically a sidewalk. It's a bit of a hassle, but not enough to keep us from riding to the Bob-In-Again for ice cream!

Good trail.

My wife and I rode round trip just under 23 miles from East End Park in Petoskey to Harbor Springs and back. Had dinner at the Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs. Was a good trail with great views of the harbor. Yes there are lots of driveways to cross and the roads are very close but overall we really enjoyed this trail. There is one pretty large hill along side Hwy 119 but it was worth the effort to get to Harbor Springs. We got back to Petoskey right at sunset. Beautiful view of the sunset from East End Park.

One of my all time favorite trails

I absolutely love this trail. We travel in to ride it a couple times a year.You can't beat the views riding along the lake and the breeze coming off of it is wonderful on a hot day. :*)


Bought three map credits just keep getting an error message. The one map that worked sucked battery power. Lousy app

Fix Bay View Section

The salmon-colored sidewalks on the Bay View portion are too narrow for two cyclists to safely ride in opposing directions, so I typically swerve into the grass to be polite - which I presume is private property - but I will not compromise safety. The whole trail could easily be a world-class destination - if it weren't for the Bay View section. No cyclists stop at the stop signs. And I can tell that the majority of cyclists on this trail do not have much experience riding in urban areas. This worries me greatly.

Definitely NOT for young riders!

Significant portions of this trail run with in inches of US 31 and M119 with no barrier between the riders and oncoming traffic. From Spring Lake Park north for several miles the only way you know you are on the "trail" is the little stop signs at the numerous road crossings. The highway (M119) is very busy (rated Heavy Use by MDOT) and you are basically riding in a bike lane. A Texting motorist has no barrier or warning strip to grab their attention if they drift from their lane into you. Additionally there are several places of business that you are privileged to cross their entrance with their customers more concerned with crossing M119 than if there is a bicyclist in their path.
At the end of this section you turn west and travel along side of a small airport with signs warning you of low flying planes and low flying jets. Just pray that the jet doesn't decide to warm up the engines as you ride with in 30 feet or so of the exhaust!
From there you head into Harbor Springs, again enjoying the company of M119 at your elbow. Twice on this section we were treated to a distracted driver edging off the road and cars entering the highway nearly hitting us.
South of Spring Lake Park into Petoskey going towards town you get to ride along another Heavy Use highway (US 31) on what it basically a side walk. Sometimes a narrow grass strip separates you and the traffic, other times it is simply a curb at the edge of the road.
The only time we would suggest taking a young rider on these sections of this "trail" is if they were VERY accomplished road riders with multiple hours of rush hour traffic under their belts.
If you choose to "enjoy" this trail, you will be treated to the smell of exhaust for much of the way.

Great trail but....

There isn't a smooth transition from trail to cross streets. It's quite a transition. Almost like speed bumps. Altogether it's a fantastic trail.

Nicest trail I've ridden

Traveled west from the harbor park in Petoskey to the MDOT Park three miles from the Charlevoix trail head before tuning back. The trail offers great views of Lake Michigan and the bay, enjoyed the sail boats on the lake and very much liked that the trail was not flat and strait. The hills and curves really add interest, yet none are a great challenge. Will love to return and ride the full length.

Amazing Views!

My wife and I rode from End to end. Perfect weekend trip. Lots of places to stop and eat or just take in the view. Stayed in Charlevoix and rode back next day. Great surface. Can't wait to go bacK!


This is a beautiful trail. I rode from Charlevoix to Petoskey and back on longboard. Some hills were scary, but for the most part very mellow. The scenery is magnificent. I wish I could have made it all the way to the end.

what a ride

Wow. Can't begin to tell you how much we loved this ride only had one day and it wasn't enough. Planning next years vacation around this trail.


We ride this entire trail every summer and it it my favorite trail anywhere. It has everything you need! Beautiful scenery, paved trails, rest areas with facilities. We start in Harbor Springs and head through Petoskey and end up in Charlevoix for lunch and ice cream. Wander the beautiful town of Charlevoix then head back. We stop in Petoskey for a cold one!

Great Trail Great views!

I road this trail on 7/24/2014. I loved it! This trail has just about everything. It has an Urban portion, woodlands, a tunnel, and BAY VIEWS. Did I mention views of the BAY? Absolutely gorgeous!
The portion I enjoyed the most was from Mangus Park down to just past R.Adams Roadside Park. Beautiful. I recommend parking at Spring Lake Park. It has access to the LT Wheel Way and the North Western State Trail. After you have finished the Little Traverse Wheelway, cruise up the North Western State Trail. Bag two trails in one day! Upon my return I would like to ride these trails again and again.

Petoskey S.P. to Harbor Springs

We rode from Petoskey State Park to Harbor Springs. The trail is paved the entire way, but there are numerous hills so it's not the best option for someone who may be out of shape or has difficulty with hills as they may end up walking their bike up. From the SP out to the airport you're riding on a rather busy road and not all the traffic is watching for bicyclists, so be wary of cars turning in and out of driveways. If you plan to ride to Harbor Springs, the trail ends at the parking area, but downtown is a short distance and downhill. Getting back up was challenging, but worth the views. Be sure to check out the Japanese red bats on your way, not to be missed!

great trail!

Great ride!!

Great Ride

Used to live in Petoskey. Would park my truck at Glen's Grocery in Bayview and ride the trail to Charlevoix and back. Awesome trail.

Petoskey to Charlevoix

We started this trail in Petoskey at the East Park and rode to Charlevoix. This trail is an absolute gem. Beautiful views and plenty of rest areas along the way. The trail is very well maintained and fairly flat with the exception of a view rolling hills. There a many drive way crossings especially on the first portion of the trail coming out of Petoskey, Something to keep in mind when you plan to ride this with younger children.

Don't miss this gem

I started my day with a run on the LTW from Bay Harbor to Petoskey. Early morning with the sun coming up as I ran eastward to Petoskey. Follow-ed it up with a bike ride after breakfast to Harbor Springs. Beautiful. We even diviated through a trail through the Petoskey State Park.

My wife and I rode the entire path from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix and out of the entire path, there are probably only 2-3 miles of Lake Michigan views. While few in number, they are indeed spectacular! My biggest criticism was the amount of driveway crossings with stop signs. I would say there are 50-60 that you must cross on the pathway, also, as others have mentioned, many of the the driveway crossings are EXTREMELY bumpy and hard on the tires and body.

Windy, but beautiful

My wife and I enjoy riding to and from our local state park as often as we can, but we wanted to explore other parts of our state by riding different trails.Being a 51 y/o cancer survivor who is recieving monthly treatments we looked for an easy trail thats also not too far to drive to. We chose to ride the Little Traverse wheelway for our 1st venture out. We picked Wednesday Masy 30th for our ride. It was a very cold and windy day with gusts over 35 M.P.H. I thought about not going on the ride, but my wife insisted that we give it a try. This is a very easy trail to ride, and as a few have stated, there are a few hills, and there was only 1 hill that I had to walk the last 20 yds or so (only due to high head winds and my health) but all-in-all this is a very nice, well kept up trail to ride. We rode from our hotel in Charlevoix to trailhead..(taking back side roads so to stay off the very busy hwy shoulder)..that added 4 miles to our ride. The break areas are spaced just perfect, with beautiful parks and views of the lake. We packed along a few snacks and drinks which helped to keep energy level up. WE only rode to Petoskey, did some gift shopping, then headed back. Yes you hear the traffic, but for our age and needs it was nice to know that if we needed help of anykind we were close enough to find it...we would like to ride this trail once again...after it warms up a time we will ride the whole trip..
For you younger people reading this, keep on riding, and learn to enjoy the beauty that is truely all around you everyday, and if you have a special person in your life, nothing beats a day out on a trail for bonding time....Be safe and have fun....Steve & Deana....

OK Trail

We rode this trail in early October 2011. It's biggest pluses are being along lake Michigan and the fall colors. You are almost always near the highway and some of the trail is on city sidewalk and shoulder of the highway and a few short moderate climbs. Very little of this trail is on the old rail bed if any. We enjoyed the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail and the Betsie Valley Trailway more.

super scenery

I road a good portion of this trail a couple of weeks ago and would recommend it to anyone. I parked at a road side park just west of Bugess Rd (apprx 3 miles east of Charlevoix) and road to Petosky. A few stretches close to the road where you could smell the car fumes...but the scenery everywhere else made that worth it. I had to stop a couple of times just to take it in and and one point, thought I died and went to heaven.
As far as the hills go. Yes, there were a few that were a challenge but I'm 53, a recreational rider and have a 1 speed...and lived to tell about it. I wouldn't let a few hills deter you as you don't want to cheat yourself of this ride. It certainly is Michigan at its finest! Besides, if you find the hills too difficult, walking your bike up is always an option.
If you park where I did, make sure to walk out into the bay after you are done. It was mind blowing beautiful!

Very Scenic Trail, But Lots Of Road Noise!

Rode the Little Traverse Wheelway in August 2011 and found the scenery to be very beautiful at times and the trail to be well maintained. There was a couple of minor hills on the trail, but they were easy to ride. I personally did not enjoy all the road noise that was there for about 98% of the ride. I prefer to ride out in nature and listen to the sounds of nature rather then hear all the traffic. It was steady traffic from start to end with out any letup, and it wasn't slow city traffic either, it was all highway traffic on the weekend. It's a beautiful ride other than the noise.

Loved this trail... did a different part each day for 3 days!!

Paved trail all the way and some inclines but manageable and not many. First day we ventured out of Petoskey State Park (where we camped from a Thurs. evening to Sunday afternoon) and decided to head to Charlevoix. I was expecting to go 14 miles each way but didn't take into consideration that it is 5 miles from the State Park into Petoskey (and a mile from our camping spot to the exit of the Park) and then another 3 miles from where the trail ends in Charlevoix to get into the downtown Charlevoix area!! So our 1st ride became a 46 mile ride!! Views of the bay as you ride along many of the areas are spectacular and there are many places to stop for a rest along the way. Next day we rode from the campground to Harbor Springs and that made for a 14 mile round trip ride, also very nice. And on our last day we biked into Petoskey, a 12 mile round trip ride, and walked around the marina and downtown (loved Roast & Toast). We would definitely go back to the campground and partake in the trails again; very proud to have these great trails for everyone to enjoy and they are very well used!!! What a great way to add another group of people to the vitality of an areas economy... truly win-win!!! Really need to get trails going throughout the country; such a pleasure to vacation in an area and not have the need to get in the car and drive anywhere the whole time!!

Very scenic, however...

This trail is very pretty, but I most likely wouldn't recommend this trail for someone who isn't in shape and can't make it up hills. There are quite a few hills and I would consider myself to be in shape, but I had to get off and walk my bike up these hills. I think I shall train all summer and try the trail again in the fall. The people that wear spandex and move fast, I have seen get up with barely breaking a sweat, so unless you are one of them, beware of the hills.
Otherwise enjoy the scenery and have fun! The trail does wind and turn a bit, so don't go too fast!

Little Traverse Wheelway

Aug. 26,2010 My wife and I rode this trail from Magnus Park in Petoskey to downtown Charlevoix and back. It was the most enjoyable trail we have been on this year. The only minor complaints were a few driveway crossings were a little rough. The views from the trail when near the water were fantastic. Looking foward to bringing friends up to ride it again.

Little Traverse Wheelway - A+ views, C trail

This trail is among the most scenic in the country. It offers numerous staggeringly beautiful views of the picturesque Traverse Bay. It begins on the eastern edge of the quaint town of Harbor Springs, proceeds to loop around the bay, passing through the equally picturesque and quaint town of Petoskey. There are a few overlooks around Bay Harbor. As it proceeds east, it leaves the lake shore for a while, only to return to the lake as one approaches Charlevoix.
For sightseeing, this trail rates an A+. Purely as a trail - if you plopped this trail down in the middle of nowhere, you wouldn't give it better than a C. A serious cyclist can't just get on & crank out 20 miles in an hour, turn around, & crank it back in less time. Parts of it are essentially riding on sidewalks. Numerous road crossings are potential rim busters. The surface varies mile to mile. At points, as it winds through populated areas, its twists & turns make it impossible to really get cranking. This is more of a trail for a tourist/vacationer than a cycling enthusiast. If you go into it with that understanding, you will love it. Slow down & enjoy the views.

Fantastic for Occational bikers

Rode all but about 2 miles of the trail. A lot of fantastic views. Liked the fact that there were plenty of places to stop and take a break. It is a safe trail that does not require road crossing that made me feel safe with my 11 & 12 year old boys. Highly recommend. There are not any steep climbs so folks like me who only ride a few times a year can enjoy it. The segment around bay harbor is especially pretty so if you are not going to do the whole trail, make sure you do that segment.

Update on Temporary 1.2 Mile Detour and Great Fall Colors

We arrived at the Inn at Bay Harbor on October 6th in hopes of enjoying the beautiful fall colors while riding along the bike trail. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate as we encountered mid-forty degree temps, 38 mph winds and rain during our stay. Not surprisingly, we opted to forgo riding the bikes and decided to take a more comfortable approach of driving adjacent to the pathway on US 31 stopping periodically to walk portions of the trail that caught our attention.
One of our first stops was at the Resort Township East Park. This park provides not only wonderful scenic views but also nice facilities including plenty of parking for motor vehicles, clean rest rooms, picnic tables and waste bins.
From what we could ascertain, the temporary 1.2 mile detour (just after Bay Harbor) that previously took you along the shoulder of US Route 31 is no longer necessary. The path appears to have been completed between East Park and Petoskey and provides some wonderful views and fall color. Due to the inclement weather we were unable to confirm that this segment is completely finished but it appeared to be from what we were able to observe. After this portion of the trail, the path ends up coming in behind Northern Michigan Hospital where it begins to incorporate the City of Petoskey‘s sidewalks for some distance. Follow the bike route signs for directions.
Further along after Petoskey (along M 119) we observed considerable construction of a compacted gravel bed being put down for what we assumed to be a future meandering asphalt pathway to Harbor Springs. Considering the weather, I think that construction of this portion will soon have to be delayed till spring.

Horse Droppings

"I rode this trail for the second time yesterday. It is nice, however, the side cants to the asphalt go from one tilt to the opposite tilt every couple hundred feet. It caused me to contantly compensate my handcycle wheels for this flaw. They could have made this trail flatter and more consitant. But the real problem was all the fresh HORSIE all over the place. These rich folks from the cement plant/Bay Harbor are riding thier horses right down the asphalt path and allowing them to make a discusting mess of the path. Maybe they just can't read the trail usage signs? Anyway, if this continues to happen this is just another Michigan trail that will be destroyed in a couple of years."

Off and on trail

"Coming north from Charlevoix, the trail parallels busy U.S. 31, but there is usually a buffer. When it reaches East Park (aka Resort Township Park) just south of Petoskey city limits, the trail ends. From there you must use U.S. 31 and sidewalks to get into Petoskey. In Charlevoix, a good place to park is at Waller Rd. at Route 31, on the north side of town."

A Trip Around the Bay

"I rode the Little Traverse Wheelway from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs and back last Saturday. The weather was wonderful -- low 70s & sunny, with a breeze off of Lake Michigan. Round trip, it was 57.57 miles and took about 4.5 hours of actual riding time on my Trek hybrid. (This was not my first ride on the Wheelway --see my earlier review of 6/6/03.)

I started at the Charlevoix Country Inn bed & breakfast on W. Dixon Street (just north of the U.S.-31 drawbridge). This is a wonderful place to spend a relaxing weekend. The view of Lake Michigan (and sunsets) from the Inn's porch is fabulous! From the corner of W. Dixon & U.S.-31 (Bridge St.), I rode through a beautiful Charlevoix neighborhood along Michigan Ave. At McSauba, just a few blocks north from my starting point, the township bike route directs you west to Waller Rd. Waller goes back toward U.S.-31, north of the city, and that's where the paved trail begins.

Shortly after entering the trail, there's a boardwalk stretch over some fragile terrain. The boardwalk is still in pretty good shape, but watch out for loose boards near and on the the railings.

The ride along Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay is gorgeous in places, particularly around the U.S.-31 rest area and a road side park just north of there.

You'll have one short uphill challenge near Nine Mile Point (but the return ride downhill is exciting!). This is roughly halfway between Charlevoix & Petoskey.

The trail skirts along the ritzy Bay Shore and Bay Harbor developments, then drops down to East Park just outside of Petoskey. There are wonderful vistas of Lake Michigan from the park.

From East Park into Petoskey, you have a decision to make. On the trail, the pavement ends shortly outside of the park. The undeveloped trail is absolutely gorgeous, as it stretches halfway up a big bluff overlooking Little Traverse Bay. There are ""private property"" signs posted along this stretch, but bicyclists and walkers seem to use this trail anyway. If you ride a road bike, you might not want to take this undeveloped stretch of the road and, regardless of what type of bike you ride, you'll want to walk your bike on one particularly sandy portion of the trail.

If you don't want to ride this portion of trail, you can head up to U.S.-31 from East Park and ride on the shoulder for a mile or so until the trail/sidewalk starts up again in Petoskey. If you take that route, you'll get to a winding, downhill bike route just before the intersection of U.S.-31 and U.S.-131. This downhill route will deposit you into a city park/campground behind the Northern Michigan Hospital. (If you ride the undeveloped trail instead of the U.S. 31 shoulder, you'll meet up with the bike route again at this campground park.)

Exit the park following the bike route signs through some Petoskey neighborhoods and you'll hit the paved trail again by the Petoskey marina. At this point, there's a pedestrian tunnel under U.S.-31 that will take you to many fine shops & restaurants in Petoskey. (I had a great lunch at the Flat Iron Deli, adjacent to a downtown park in Petoskey.)

Take the trail along the bay shore in Petoskey, past the marina and a city park. (Look out over the bay for lots of sailboats & even some parasailing.) The trail joins up with the sidewalk along U.S.-31 through the historic Bay View area of Petoskey. Follow the bike route signs to rejoin the trail after passing the Bay View Inn (a great place for a delicious and elegant dinner or lunch--when you're not wearing bicycle gear).

The trail heads back to the bay shore behind some businesses & condos, then goes along M-119 up toward Harbor Springs. After you pass Petoskey State Park (a great beach, if you need a little cooling off at this point), leave the trail by turning left on Beach Rd. (The trail actually ends in a short distance, anyway, right by the Harbor Springs airport.) If you stay on the trail, you'll have to ride the shoulder of busy M-119 into Harbor Springs, but if you take Beach Rd., you'll have a scenic and lightly traveled route along the shoreline of Little Traverse Bay and past the wonderful old homes of the Wequetonsing Association.

Beach Rd. ends at a tri-intersection with Fern & Pennsylvania. (On the return trip, take Fern 'til it loops around to Beach Rd. again.) Ride Pennsylvania through Wequetonsing, or dip down in front of the beautiful homes along the water, then take Bay into the quaint town of Harbor Springs. There are plenty of places in town to rest and get refreshed. (I had ice cream at Juillerette's.)

The return ride is essentially the same, though you can opt for Fern instead of a stretch of Beach Rd. or us M-119 instead of Beach Rd. Also, you'll have the same choice of U.S.-31 or the undeveloped trail between the campground in Petoskey and East Park."

Very Nice Trail

"The portion of the trail from Bay View to Harbor Springs is not very interesting. From Bay View to Charlevoix, though, it is a very scenic and wonderful trail. It is mostly downhill from Charlevoix to Petoskey. There is nowhere to eat between these two cities."

Pretty trail

The ride from Petoskey to Charlevoix was nice. The ride from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs was mostly road. On the way back we took Beach Road. It was more scenic.

Great Trail

"This was actually the second year that I decided to venture off the beaten DALMAC path. By taking this alternate route I avoided the tours largest hills, namely ""The Wall."" We traveled from Elk Rapids to Charlevoix, where we also ate lunch at the Pub. After leaving the Pub we traveled across the lift bridge, but not before watching it go up for the ferry returning from Beaver Island.

Once out of town we picked up the bike trail. It was the most beautiful day of the entire tour. The sun was out. There was no wind and the views of the lake from the trail were magnificant. We encountered roller bladers, joggers and other bikers.

The bike path is completed from Charlevoix to the outskirts of Petoskey. The portion of the trail that is a long elevated wooden bridge is absolutely beautiful. A bit on the bumpy side, but the opportunity to see wildlife in the areas below are worth the additional bumps.

The tunnel near Petoskey is cool! The trail is GREAT!!! Hats off to the planners, engineers and builders. A class trail in a class area!!!"

A Wonderful Ride

"The trail extends from the Harbor Springs airport on the north to just outside of Charlevoix on the south. Through parts of Petoskey, however, you'll have to ride on the sidewalk or follow the marked bike route through neighborhoods.

On Memorial Day, my wife Susan and I rode the length of the trail. What a great ride! Starting from a little township park next to the Harbor Springs airport, the asphalt trail goes east and south, past condo developments and the Petoskey State Park, then turns south into the town of Petoskey. You'll have to ride on sidewalks through the Bay View area of Petoskey, then the trail turns to the lake shore and goes right along Little Traverse Bay through a park and marina.

After the marina, follow the bike route signs through the neighborhoods, behind the hospital, and into a small campground. There, you have a choice. An unpaved trail, rideable on a mountain bike or hybrid goes behind the new water treatment plant and along the shoreline, halfway up a high bluff. The views here are gourgeous! There are two very sandy sections of the trail where you'll have to walk your bike a very short distance.

If you have a road bike, or don't want the adventure of the unpaved section of the trail, follow the bike route out of the campground and up to the top of the bluff, and continue south along U.S. 31. (I'm not sure if there's an asphalt trail up there, or if you have to ride on the highway's wide shoulder for a short distance.)

The unpaved trail becomes asphalt again, after traversing a cul-de-sac. Once you hit pavement again, there are a couple of great overlooks of the Bay. You'll hit a small park called East Park, where the two divergent routes meet up again.

From there, its asphalt trail along U.S.-31 and the shore of Little Traverse Bay past the huge Bay Shore developments and all the way down to Charlevoix. The ""accessible curbs"" at some of the cross roads are a little rough, but the views are excellent.

Near the south end of the trail, there is about a mile-and-a-half stretch of boardwalk over some fragile soil & wetland areas. It's pretty smooth for a boardwalk (it IS new) and is a scenic ride.

Once you reach the trail's southern end, just north of Charlevoix (at Waller Rd., I think), you need to find your way through the city's neighborhood streets or ride on U.S.-31's shoulder into town.

Charlevoix is very scenic, on the shores of both Lake Michigan and the ""Round Lake"" portion of Lake Charlevoix. There's a drawbridge over the channel connecting the lakes. Charlevoix has good restaurants, great shopping, plenty of hotels and B&Bs, and is a pleasant place just to hang out for awhile.

Susan and I had lunch (whitefish) at the Villager Pub on Bridge Street and wandered around town a little, then retraced our route back to Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

Our total ride was just a little under 50 miles and a little over four hours of actual riding time."

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