Biking UP MichiganFew places in the United States can eclipse the cool beauty of the Great Lakes in the heat of summer.

We’d planned this road trip for several years in a row, but family obligations stopped us each time. Finally, everything fell into place in the summer of 2018.

Each morning, we’d take a ride on a major bike trail. Each afternoon, we explored historic sites, natural areas, and the rugged beauty of the coastlines of the Great Lakes.

We focused on Northern Michigan: Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior in the Petoskey Area (just “Below” the Mackinac Straits) and the Upper Peninsula (“Above” the Mackinac Straits) of Michigan.

Above Below
Above Below, written by John’s great uncle Curt Knoblock
After his service in World War I, John’s great uncle Curt Knoblock was among those who established the dolomite mine at Drummond Island. Uncle Curt managed part of the operation for many years.

In 1952, his memoir of the experience was published as the book Above Below, recounting stories of characters he knew on Drummond Island and De Tour.

Since John had never seen the Great Lakes before, we couldn’t call this a homecoming so much as a look into the past coupled with the beauty of the present. We met our own cast of characters along the way.

PLANNING RESOURCES: | Michigan’s Upper Peninsula | Visit Drummond Island | Visit Manistique | Travel Marquette | Visit Houghton | Keweenaw Peninsula | Copper Harbor | Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula | Munising Visitor’s Bureau | Mackinac Island Tourism


Riding the Big Rapids Riverwalk - Along the Muskegon River in Michigan, Big Rapids Riverwalk stretches several miles through the heart of Big Rapids, with scenic views of - you guessed it - river rapids from this linear park that links with the White Pine Trail.
Paddling Petoskey - Paddling along Lake Michigan at Petoskey was a bit intimidating for a Floridian who is used to sandy, not rocky, shores. But the views and clear water made for a fascinating trip.
The Outboard Motorboat Race - The buzzing sound in the distance caught our attention as we pulled into Conway on Michigan’s North Western State Trail. It was a most unusual boat race on Crooked Lake!
Finding Petoskey Stones - Where should you search for Petoskey stones? Petoskey, Michigan, of course! On our explorations by bike of this coastal town, we found our fair share. Here’s where to look and how to make them shine.
Keeper of the Past - At McGulpin Point Lighthouse on the Straits of Mackinac, we unfolded layers of history surrounding not just the site but the docent on duty, Eric Klein, who has a passion for Great Lakes history.
Two Parks, Two Stories - A duo of state parks near Manistique - Palms Book and Fayette - showcases two very different periods of Michigan history in two outstanding natural settings.
Iron Ore Heritage Trail - Taking on a history-rich segment of Michigan’s Iron Ore Heritage Trail was satisfying as a bike ride and as a cultural immersion. Now if only I’d stayed on the trail...
Mountain Biking Marquette - Opting for a ride at my skill level, I still ended up on quite an adventure on the Noquemanon Trail Network, Marquette’s extensive network of mountain biking trails.
Time for Thimbleberries - Who expected to go foraging for berries in the Keweenaw? Not us! But a thimbleberry margarita led to woodland wanders looking for this tasty fruit.
Chasing Rockets in the Keweenaw - When we got wind of a rocket launch site at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, it was time for another off-road adventure.
Rocket launch site Keewenaw Tip of the Keweenaw - Mountain biking to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula means the opportunity to see what remains of the Keweenaw Rocket Range launch site.
A Day in Paradise - It’s just another day in Paradise for us, except we actually are in Paradise, Michigan, an excellent base camp for visiting Taquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point.
The Shores of Whitefish Bay - A chance glance at a road sign on the way to Paradise led us on an unexpected but delightful half day exploration of the shores of Whitefish Bay in Hiawatha National Forest.
Circling Mackinac Island - The ultimate car-free paved bike loop in Michigan, the M-185 on Mackinac Island is worth its challenges to enjoy the beauty and access to trails inside Mackinac Island State Park.
Mission Relaxation - To truly let you unwind, a trip to Mackinac Island needs to be a few days long. Having historic Mission Point Resort as our home base provided us a calm, relaxing stay.
Anishinaabe Shores - On the Mackinac Straits, St. Ignace is known as a ferryboat departure point for Mackinac Island. Walk the North Country Trail through town, and you’ll discover the rich details of its founding and cultures that thrived on these shores.



Auburn, Indiana

Grand Rapids Area

Flat River Grill, Lowell
Crankers, Big Rapids
Biggby Coffee, Big Rapids
Holiday Inn Big Rapids


Uncle Bills Orchard

Petoskey & Harbor Springs

Mackinaw City

St. Ignace

Java Joes
Jose’s Cantina
Mackinac Grill
Baymont Inn

De Tour & Drummond Island

Northwood Restaurant
Sune’s IGA Market
Country Store

Naubinway & Engadine

Top of the Lake Rest Area
Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum
Engadine Farmer’s Market
Mill Pond Park
Farmhouse Restaurant, Gould City


The Dock


Ishpeming & Negaunee

BIKING – Iron Ore Heritage Trail
HIKING – Jackson Mine
Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum
Canyon Falls, North Country Trail

Houghton & Hancock

North Wind Books
The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub
Roy’s Pasties & Bakery
Super 8 Lake Shore Drive

Keweenaw Peninsula

Downtown Calumet
Carmelitas Southwestern Grill, Calumet
The Mariner North, Copper Harbor
Harbor Haus, Copper Harbor
Laurium Manor Inn


Downtown Ironwood
The Cedars

Ironwood to Marquette

Jerzis 41, Champion
Iron Bay Restaurant, Marquette
EconoLodge, Marquette

Munising to Paradise

Downtown Munising
Dogpatch, Munising
Triangle Restaurant, McMillan


The Inn
Magnuson Lakefront

Sault Ste Marie

Dancing Crane Coffee Shop
Zorba’s Greek
Baymont Inn, St. Ignace

Mackinac Island

Star Line Ferry
BIKING – M-185 Loop
BIKING – Mackinac Island State Park
HIKING – Lake Shore Nature Trail
HIKING – Browns Brook Nature Trail
Arch Rock, Chimney Rock, Devil’s Kitchen
British Landing Nature Center
Ryba’s Fudge
Joanne’s Fudge
Bistro on the Greens, Mission Point
Cannonball Drive Inn
Chianti’s, Mission Point
Grand Hotel Grand Luncheon Buffet
Mission Point Resort


Center map