The Best Great Lakes Biking & Hiking Trails for Adventures

6 Best bike trails for adventures around the Great Lakes in Michigan, Chicago, New York with bike trail maps + things to do along the way.

These 6 routes are the best Great Lakes biking & hiking trails for adventures. The paths around the Great Lakes run throughout Michigan, Illinois, and New York. The bike trails offer scenic views of the water, forests, and lakes. Routes along the Great Lakes go through local communities and businesses with tourist attractions, accommodations, and restaurants along the way.

Right now Michigan is undergoing a “trail movement’’ to create all types of trails for adventures such as abandoned rail, road bike lanes, abandoned utility buildings, and more. Michigan has more rail trails than any other state. Including the International Mountain Biking Association Silver Lever Ride Center in Copper Harbor.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
These 6 routes are the best Great Lakes biking & hiking trails for adventures. The paths around the Great Lakes run throughout Michigan, Illinois, and New York. The bike trails offer scenic views of the water, forests, and lakes.

| Trail Etiquette |

  • Stay to the right on the bike trails.
  • Hikers, runners, and bikers should always yield to horses.
  • Bicyclists should yield to hikers and runner
  • Downhill traffic should yield to uphill traffic.
  • When approaching others from behind,  let others know you are approaching. For example, runners and cyclists commonly say “on your left” when passing.
  • For more trail etiquette, visit www.lnt.org.
These 6 routes are the best Great Lakes biking & hiking trails for adventures. The paths around the Great Lakes run throughout Michigan, Illinois, and New York. The bike trails offer scenic views of the water, forests, and lakes.

Here are 6 of the best Great Lakes biking & hiking trails for adventures!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
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#1 Great Lake-to-Lake Bike Trail

Michigan

Length: 275 miles

The Michigan Great Lake-to-Lake trail is the state’s newest long-distance cycling trail. The bike trails for adventures connect over 275 miles of trails across the state routing from Great Lakes Huron to Lake Michigan weaving into communities such as Kalamazoo, South Haven, Rochester Hills, and Port Huron.

Great LakesLake Michigan to Lake Huron

Download the Great Lake-to-Lake Bike Trail Map

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
Great Lakes Seaway Trail on Roadtrippers

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#2 The Great Lakes Seaway Trail Along Lake Ontario Bike Trail

New York

Length: 518 Miles

This bike trail connects 518 miles along the Great Lake Erie shorelines of New York. Starting at the Ohio state line in Erie County, Pennsylvania the trail is broken up into four segments, running along the Niagra River, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Saint Lawrence River. The westernmost part of the trail will take you through Niagra Falls and Buffalo connecting to Lake Erie.

These 6 routes are the best Great Lakes biking & hiking trails for adventures. The paths around the Great Lakes run throughout Michigan, Illinois, and New York. The bike trails offer scenic views of the water, forests, and lakes.

The next trails for adventures run along central Great Lake Ontario within the Rochester area, known for the region’s Finger Lakes and wine. Eastern Great Lake Ontario region takes riders to historic Fort Ontario from the War of 1812. Riders can take a lunch break along the trail in the village of Fair Haven and visit the fort or the Oswego lighthouse before continuing on.

Thousand Islands / St. Lawrence River segment offers nautical boat rides to Boldt Castle, an Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, and waterfront shops along Alexandria Bay.

Download Great Lakes Seaway Bike Trail Map

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

#3 North Country Bike Trail Along Great Lake Superior

Michigan

Length: 13.3

North Country Trail: Two Hearted River Campground to Muskallonge Lake State Park is a 13.3-mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Paradise, Michigan that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, bird watching, and backpacking.

This is a secluded area passing by several waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and streams. Although the Trail technically doesn’t travel through any officially designated Wilderness Areas, often times the rugged terrain and beautiful views will feel like wilderness.

Download North Country Bike Trail Map

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

Bike Trail Adventure Essentials

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Huron Sunrise Trail Trip on Roadtrippers

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#4 Huron Sunrise Bike Trail Along Lake Huron

Michigan

Length: 6 Miles

Stretching six miles north along Lake Huron from Rogers City, Huron-Sunrise is one of northern Michigan’s most beautiful trails. The bike trail along Great Lake Huron ends at the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, just eight miles from Rogers City in Hoeft State Park. On the north side of town is the Vogler Conservation Area, a 270-acre forested property that includes several more miles of trails to go hiking and mountain biking. There are even more bike trails along the lakeshore that you can explore in Rogers City.

Points of Interest :

  • Forty Mile Point Lighthouse
  • Sacred Rock
  • Seagull Point Park
  • Hoeft State Park one of the state’s nicest beaches.
  • Herman Vogler Conservation Area.  This beautiful area has excellent trails on which to explore the 270 acres of meadows and woodlands.  There are many good places to stop in the area but the designated trailhead is the Pond Overlook that offers a pleasant view of the dam and impoundment of the river.
  • Trout River Park- a favorite place to watch the sunsets. 
  • Rogers City Marina (PRA) to Lakeside Park: Right next to the park is the marina that hosts up to 145 boats and is an excellent place to stroll, especially on the breakwater.  You can also try your luck fishing for Rogers City’s famous salmon from the fishing platform. The park and marina include the city’s most popular beach, picnicking facilities, beach volleyball, a band shell for summer concerts, and the Sailors’ Memorial that honors local men who perished in shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. 
6 Best bike trails for adventures around the Great Lakes in Michigan, Chicago, New York with bike trail maps + things to do along the way.

Download Huron Sunrise Bike Trail Map

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
Chicago Lakefront Trail Trip on Roadtrippers

Click here to try Roadtrippers to create your own custom itinerary now!

# 5 Chicago Lakefront Bike Trail Along Lake Michigan

Illinois

Length: 18 Miles

Paved Bike Trail: flat, easy pathway

Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is one of the best-paved bike trails in the city. The 18-mile path runs parallel to Lake Michigan. As you bike/run/walk the lake’s shoreline you’ll have several activities available along the way. The Lakefront Trail has easy access points to restaurants, beaches, tourist attractions, hotels, and more. If you’re feeling up to it there is a tour called “Bikes, Bites, and Brews” that takes you to all the yummy places. You could also take a bike tour of Chicago’s Lakefront Neighborhoods!

Restaurants along Chicago Lakefront Bike Trail

Points of Interest:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
6 Best bike trails for adventures around the Great Lakes in Michigan, Chicago, New York with bike trail maps + things to do along the way.

What to wear for bike riding on trails

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

# 6 Shoreline Trail Along Lake Erie

New York

Length: 21.7 miles

Paved Bike Trail:  flat, easy pathway

The best trails for adve Shoreline Trail is a multi-use trail that takes bikers from Tonawanda to Buffalo. The trail begins at Niawanda Park and runs along the Niagara River and Lake Erie shoreline. Ride along Buffalo’s most notable waterfront, this trail allows for close access to the Canalside and the downtown Buffalo area. There is a segment of the trail in the Town of Evans that connects Bennett Beach, Wendt Beach, and Town’s Park.

Download Shoreline Bike Trail Map

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy half-mile loops to a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

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15 comments

  1. I liked the scenic route for this biking trail. So cool that Michigan is making all of these changes. Makes the adventures more interesting.

  2. Ooh this looks fun – I’ve recently got back until cycling again. Now, I’m thinking maybe I should attempt the Great Lake to Lake bike ride. Sounds like a fun challenge.

  3. I think it is brilliant that these biking/hiking trails have been created and on such a scale. What a fabulous way to explore the countryside! I have visited the Great Lakes in the RV, but would love to explore by bike. That would be quite a mission – to tackle all of these trails! I would especially like to do the Chicago Lake Front Trail. We did the Architectural Boat Tour a couple of years ago, so exploring by bike would give a different and interesting perspective on the city.

  4. We would definitely want to plan to bike and hike the Great Lake trails one day … when we can finally get south of the border. So great that there are so many different paths that have been connected. In Ontario at home you often have to do city / town roads between trails. The North Country trail looks like a stunning sport for a day trip with so much to see. Saving this post for our future travels.

  5. I love the idea of the North Country Trail and it’s not too long which is perfect for us! It would be great to set up a base camp and do some walks and bike rides. The area looks stunning with the lakes and waterfalls to explore.

  6. I didn’t know about any of these! I love the idea of a food and bites tour – definitely will check that out.

  7. Oh how cool! I’ve done the Chicago Lakefront Bike Trail, but not any of the others. It’s such a nice way to explore this area. And I had no idea Michigan has been making all of these changes…I think it’s time to revisit this awesome state. 🙂

  8. This is a great selection of biking trails to choose from! I’d especially like to go on some of these during the fall to see all of the pretty colours.

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