On the trails: do you have guests? Go hiking | News
Summer is always a busy time in the Traverse City area with many activities, events, and visitors to the area. When people visit me from outside the area, I always choose a few short scenic hikes for them, which will also leave them time for other activities during the day.
Time is always running out trying to pack it all in while giving visitors a good overview of the area and all it has to offer. I have listed, with descriptions, some of my favorite hikes in or near town. Most hikes won’t take much longer than an hour or so, leaving plenty of time for other activities and more sights to see on the usually busy summer days.
A collection of columns from Record-Eagle Outdoors columnist Mike Terrell:
Within the city limits, most people and visitors are aware of the highly visible TART that runs along both bays and through the city center, but there are lesser-known alternatives offering much more seclusion away from the maddening crowds.
The Boardman Lake Trail, partly crushed limestone, asphalt and boardwalks, is currently about four miles round trip from Hull Park, located behind the Municipal Library, to Medalie Park and back currently. Soon, at a later date this summer, it will be open as a loop trail around the lake. The actual walk or hike along the lake is under a high cliff on the out and back portion of the trail. The condos and apartments are tucked away in the woods along part of the bluff, but don’t obstruct the trail. You don’t cross any roads and only one driveway to a condo complex near the trailhead. At times it feels like you are hanging out over the lake as extensive boardwalks make up part of the current trail and even more of the new trail when it opens up. Waterfowl can often be seen along the shore, especially swans and Canada geese.
The 147 acres Garfield Commons Natural Area, adjacent to Munson Medical Center and the former state hospital grounds, might be called Traverse City’s Central Park. The trails explore high hills, meadows and old orchards. The 2.4-mile Meadow Loop and Copper Ridge Trail climb up hills, a good workout, but the rewards are jaw-dropping views of the city, Old Mission Peninsula, barns, and two bays. The trailhead is near the intersection of the Medical Campus and Orange Drive. An easier scenic trail, the 1.7 mile Garfield Trail and Old Orchard Loop, which begins near the barns area, offers a gentler outing through lush meadows and an old orchard.
On the south side of South Airport Road, behind the old YMCA building, still in use, the trail through the Grand Traverse Nature Education Reserve which offers about just over 3 miles of trails round trip, many of them along the Boardman River or on cliffs above. They start just behind the building heading south and through an open field to a view of the river and the Cass Road bridge. You can do any portion of the trail you like and return to your vehicle in the parking lot via the same trail. The total distance is about 6 miles round trip, and it’s not a difficult hike with some small climbs along the cliffs. There are more miles of educational reserve scenic trails along the river from the Lone Pine trailhead and Oleson Bridge trailhead, both off Keystone Road just north of the River intersection. Road.
If you really want to offer your guests a scenic network of trails with scenic lookouts and close-up views of a wild, flowing Boardman River, take them for a hike along Brown Bridge Quiet Zone trails. Located a short distance, 15 miles or less, from the downtown trails, the trails skirt the cliffs above the river and meander along the banks.
A hike around the loop trail on both sides of the river using the two footbridges spaced about 2.5 miles apart will make for a nice hike of just over 5 miles. You can also hike out and back just along either side of the river.
All of these, except the Boardman Lake Trail, are part of approximately 3,000 acres of public parkland managed by the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
Their hike reminds us why we moved here to Traverse City; the natural beauty of the area and wonderful access to many outdoor arenas. Your guests will also appreciate the region all the more.
Mike Terrell has spent over 40 years exploring northern Michigan. Explore his 318-page collection of Record-Eagle chronicles, available for purchase at Record-Eagle, local bookstores and in line.