Saginaw County to Bay County Connector

Michigan

3 Reviews

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Saginaw County to Bay County Connector Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Bay, Saginaw
Length: 5.7 miles
Trail end points: Near Melbourne Rd., north of Zilwaukee and East Hotchkiss Road and Brooks Street (Frankenlust Township)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6490638

Saginaw County to Bay County Connector Description

Eastern Michigan's 7-mile Saginaw County to Bay County Connector is lined with trees and traverses picturesque farmland. The paved rail-trail follows the former Detroit and Mackinac Railway, which hauled both timber and passengers during its heyday in the early half of the 20th century.

True to its name, the trail links to the Zilwaukee Pathway on its southern end and will link to the Bay County Riverwalk on its northern end. For now, the Riverwalk is only 2 miles away and that gap is actively being worked on. In this way, the Saginaw County to Bay County Connector is helping to close a crucial gap in the larger Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail. Once fully constructed, this regional trail will consist of nearly 100 miles of trail connecting Midland, Bay, and Saginaw counties, and the many destinations along the route. More than 60 miles of the system are currently open.

The Saginaw County to Bay County Connector is also part of an even bigger trail network across the entire state: the Iron Belle Trail. This project will stretch more than 1,200 contiguous miles from Detroit to the Michigan/Wisconsin border.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the Bay-Zil Trailhead, located at the north end of the trail, at the intersection of Hotchkiss Road and Brooks Street in Bay City. 

 

Saginaw County to Bay County Connector Reviews

Nice trail through marshland and farmland

s

We started the trail from the south end, which was tricky to find if you don’t know what you are looking for. There is no official parking for the trail. We parked by the cement factory. There was a very small, dirt path, maybe 60 yards, that we walked our bikes until we found an asphalt path. It looked fairly new, but the first almost half mile had weeds growing through the it. After that, it was well maintained. We saw and heard lots of birds. The path took us up to Bay City where we rode the River Walk then came back to the path. There was some parking by Hotchkiss Road, about halfway up the trail. Although there were some people on the trail, bicycling and in line skating, the trail was not too crowded.

Wonderful trail

s

The only negatives for this trail is that it’s a dead end and near the end there is slight degradation of the surface with plants coming though the asphalt, but it’s marked. Positives Very little traffic Wide enough to comfortably ride side by side Smooth trail with almost no bumps Incredible views of Saginaw River and adjacent marshes Lots of wildlife, have seen eagles, herons, coyote, muskrats, rabbits, deer, and more.

Good Trail with Scenery and Wildlife but Room for Improvement

s

This has the potential to be a great trail, but as of this writing there are a few problems. It is a new trail having opened just last fall (2016) and has limited amenities so far. I did not see any water along the way and only a couple of places to stop and rest. The only trail head with parking is at the north end in Bay City though there are plans for a southern trail head at the Saginaw end. There are also plans to connect the trail with the Bay City loop trail and with trails in Saginaw.

The trail is flat and runs along the west side of the Saginaw River through woods, marsh and farm fields. In two places bridges cross open water and the views from these bridges are spectacular.

As I road this route I saw numerous wildlife including a few birds I'm not sure I have seen before. Unfortunately you are likely to see way more Canada geese and their leavings than you may want to see. At one point I could imagine how the riders in the Tour de France feel with the crowds pushing in on both sides except this crowd was waddling along and hissing. Aside from the geese you are likely to see quite a few egrets, herons, ducks, deer, etc. I think I may have also seen a couple of Osprey.

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