The Leelanau Peninsula is blessed with an expanse of protected land thanks to the efforts of the Conservancy and National Lakeshore. Whether you’re a local or visitor, you’ll have no problem finding a variety of Leelanau trails to enjoy. All are unique, challenging and fun to explore! Following are a list of some of our favorites.
Palmer Woods Forest Preserve
Cross country skiers and snowshoers can now enjoy trails of the old logging roads of a once harvested forest. The Palmer family operated the sustainable forest for years. Now a part of the Leelanau Conservancy, the hardwood forest provides a habitat for native birds and mammals. Sited as a “work in progress” with plans to add more trails over time, Palmer Woods boasts a 10-mile system with various loops ranging from easy to intermediate with some more challenging sections along the way. The trailhead is located just north of Glen Arbor off Wheeler Rd with a total of 721 acres. We enjoy hiking, and mountain biking in warm season, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter and can’t wait to experience the continued changes provided at this beautiful trail system.
Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
It’s hard to believe it will be 8 years in June since the first section of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail opened. Now, 22 of the 27-mile trail are accessible essentially outside our front door connecting Glen Arbor to Empire via the Sleeping Bear Dunes and north to Good Harbor via Port Oneida. We enjoy biking, jogging and snowshoeing and cross country. The winding trail takes you in and out of forest and open meadows with spectacular scenery year round.
Alligator Hill Trail
Perched high above Glen Lake is Alligator Hill Trail. Alligator is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore trail system. The 9-mile trail is split into several loops and is quite hilly rewarding those who make the trek with stunning views of Lake Michigan and Glen Lake. We enjoy the trail in all season just as the others. Today, the trail serves as a reminder of the devastating storm that swept through our region in August 2015. Hundred of trees that once stood tall in this mature forest now lay on their sides creating a burial ground of sorts. The new growth along the forest floor provides hope for the next generation.
Need Snowshoes or Skis?
We provide winter equipment rentals that include cross country skis, snowshoes and fat tire bikes. And, it’s easy for you to book online. Be sure to dress appropriately too. Coastal has a great selection of winter gear to keep you warm and enjoying your winter adventures.
Stop by and visit our team at M22 for wine tasting afterwards. Select your favorite wine for a large pour to snuggle up and enjoy in the outdoor igloo for some added fun!
No matter the way or which trails you choose to explore in Leelanau, get out and enjoy!