Trail Spotlight: North Eastern State Trail

Michigander 2012 is featuring the North Eastern State Trail (NEST), formerly known as the Alpena to Cheboygan Trail, as the route for two days on the 6 and 7 day rides. The NEST is approximately 71 miles long and was once the Detroit to Mackinaw railway corridor first used by the lumber industry in the late 1800s.  The trail was surfaced in 2011 with 10 foot wide packed crushed limestone and is accessible to runners, bicyclists, equestrians, and snowmobilers alike. The trail improvements also included new safety signs, access control and mile marker posts which adds to the overall experience.

The NEST connects Alpena, Aloha, Cheboygan, Hawks, Millersburg, Onaway, and Posen and also shares a trailhead with the North Central State Trail in Cheboygan.

As you cross the Cheboygan River on an old railroad bridge, make a stop in Aloha State Park, which is a great place for an afternoon swim. Notice the beaver dams and beautiful scenery the rest of the journey to Onaway.

This wonderful trail passes through wooded areas, farmland, and a few small towns, including Posen—the Potato Capital of Michigan. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to see the Metz Fire site on the second day riding the NEST, commemorating a tragic fire in 1908 that caused a passenger train to run off the track.

The North Eastern State Trail ends north of Alpena Community College, an overnight campsite on the tour. The city of Alpena also has an extensive paved trail system and features miles of scenic waterfront to explore and many attractions to experience during our overnight stay in the area.

An official grand opening of the trail is scheduled for June 23, 2012. The NEST is open for non-motorized use year round and for snowmobiles from December 1 through March 31. See you on the trails!


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