One of the wonderful trails featured on this year’s Michigander is the North Central State Trail (NCST) which runs between two well-established tourist towns in northern Michigan: Gaylord and Mackinaw City. Totaling 61 miles from start to finish, this trail ventures through the cities of Vanderbilt, Wolverine, Indian River, Tobinabee and Cheboygan. The NCST was formerly the Gaylord to Mackinaw City Rail-Trail but has since been transformed into a crushed limestone multi-use trail loved by cyclists, runners and snowmobilers alike.
The two day option for Michigander starts in Indian River, which has plenty of restaurants, shops and terrific views of scenic Burt Lake. Leaving Indian River, the trail brings you to the shores of Mullett Lake stretching for 15 miles. Topinabee has a great public beach that is ideal for a cool swim on a hot summer’s day. Past the lake, the NCST takes you through rolling farmlands all the way to Cheboygan.
Heading northwest, the trail is lined with majestic pine, maple, and oak trees and glimpses of Lake Huron can be seen throughout. Historic Mill Creek State Park is found midway between this final leg of the route and offers historic education as well as a zip line adventure course. This section of the trail runs parallel to US 23 on a 14-mile stretch to attraction-packed Mackinaw City and ends with stunning views of the 5-mile long, suspension-style Mackinac Bridge.
The North Central State Trail was dedicated for public use in June of 2008 and serves the surrounding communities, as well as countless travelers, as a non-motorized transportation alternative and a resource for outdoor recreation. The Michigander is proud to have several days of the tour on the NCST and we hope you enjoy the ride!