Your Outdoor Adventure Begins in Mackinaw City
Just south of the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City is an epicenter for cycling and hiking enthusiasts. Geographically central in the state, the community serves as a hub for several statewide trail systems. All trails in the area are free public access trails open to the public (vehicle pass required at Wilderness State Park). The North Central Trail, North Western Trail, Iron Belle Trail, and the North Country Trail all converge at our state of the art trailhead facility complete with pavilion, restrooms, bicycle repair tools, maps, and water refill station.
Mackinaw City is also known as “The Gateway to Mackinac Island,” with ferry service to the iconic Mackinac Island operating seven days a week throughout the open water months, providing access to the numerous hiking and biking opportunities that are the feature attraction of Michigan’s Crown Jewel. Mackinaw City’s natural and historic resources combine to make Mackinaw City one of the most requested tourist destinations in the state.
Heritage Village At Mackinaw/ May Woods
Heritage Village, a free public park, owned by the Village of Mackinaw City and maintained by the Mackinaw Area Historical Society, located on West Central Avenue now includes the following features:
- 100 Acre Park complete with a brand new and complete trail system called May Woods Trail
- May Woods Art Trail, an outdoor, environmental, family friendly public art display
- 1880’s one-room school from the community of Freedom, a few miles east of Mackinaw City
- Mackinaw City pest (pestilence) house from the same era as the school house
- Log Farmhouse built about 1883 by Christian Dettweiller, a farmer, carpenter, and Mennonite minister.
- Turn-of-the-Century Saw Mill
- Tarpaper work shack
- Vintage base ball field
- Artifacts building
- Community garden
- Community pavilion
- General Store
- Nature Center
- Native Peoples presence
- Nature trails
- Modern outhouses
Information regarding Heritage Village, May Woods, and the Mackinaw Area Historical Society can be found online at www.mackinawhistory.org. A printable version of the map is available for download here.
Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Headlands International Dark Sky Park preserves over two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline south and west of McGulpin Point Light in the Straits of Mackinac. Although this county park is designated as an International Dark Sky Park, please note that you don’t have to wait for the starshine to experience the beauty.
The Headlands property is home to the Dwarf Lake Iris, a flower that is unique to the Great Lakes Region. The trail network offers five miles of well-groomed trails through nearly 600 acres of old growth forest. Find inspiration among hardwoods and ferns in the warmer months, and spectacular snowshoe and cross country skiing throughout the winter.
The Frog Pond Trail takes you through a mysterious cedar swamp and beside the scenic McCormick Pond, while the Overlook Trail at the park’s north end leads you deep through fern woods and up a massive rock bluff where it’s easy to imagine the power of ancient glaciers.
For an easy walk through the property, you can stay on the main entrance drive, where every tenth of a mile you will find a planetary station that includes information from the cultural history of humanity related to the planets of our solar system, as well as they history and story and mythology of their discovery.
15675 Headlands Road
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Hours: Open 24 Hours Phone: (231) 348-1713
Visit http://www.midarkskypark.org/ for details, information, and a printable trail map.
Hike and Bike in Mackinac Island State Park
Mackinac Island State Park was established in 1895. For twenty years before that it had been Mackinac National Park, the United States’ second national park. Today, over eighty pecent of Mackinac Island is State Park property, and most of this park land remains in its natural condition to be enjoyed. A great variety of historic and natural resources provides something of interest for every Mackinac Island visitor. Historic landmarks, breathtaking vistas, spectacular rock formations, quiet forests and inspiring nature trails are just minutes away. Passenger ferry service is available daily with frequent departures for pedestrians and well-mannered pets. There is an additional fee for bicycle transport. Bicycles are also available for rental on the Island.
The sites are accessible by foot or bike, rented horse or buggy, sightseeing carriages or horse-drawn taxi. In total there are 140 miles of roads and trails on Mackinac Island with many of them designated for foot traffic only, as there are no motor vehicles allowed on the Island. The majority are paved roads that are shared by bicyclists, carriages and pedestrians.
The longest walk is the “Round the Shore” trip. The round the shore is an 8.2 mile journey along Lake Shore Road. This route takes you by many natural features of the Island and shows off the breathtaking scenic shoreline.
Visit Mackinac State Historic Parks online for more information and a printable map of Mackinac Island State Park hiking trails.
Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park/ Mill Creek State Park
Witness the power of the creek harnessed to cut timber into lumber at one of the oldest industrial sites on the Upper Great Lakes. Smell the sawdust as sawyers demonstrate the pit saw method of cutting lumber, then feel the power of the creek used to cut timber inside the reconstructed sawmill.
Join trained naturalists for guided hikes of the northern forest, and then take time to explore the natural beauty of Mill Creek State Park, which has more than three miles of groomed hiking trails with interactive interpretive signage. Access to site and Trails are available 24/7 year-round, even when Visitor Center is closed.
P.O. Box 873
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Visit www.mackinacparks.com for Visitor Center Hours (seasonal) and trail information. View printable trail map here.
Wilderness State Park
Wilderness State Park, 11 miles West of Mackinaw City, offers visitors a variety of year-round recreational activities within its 10,000-plus acres, including 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, numerous trails, campground, a swimming beach, a dog beach and numerous camping opportunities. The park contains a designated dark sky preserve for observation of the nighttime sky.
The terrain is a mixture of dense coniferous forest to mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open, wet and meadows. There are an abundance of small ponds mixed in with coniferous wetlands. Map, water, and compass advised. Motor Vehicle permit required for entry.
Wilderness State Park
Park information and printable map available from the Deparment of Natural Resources here.