Long-awaited construction of the Gateway to Harbor segment of the Little Traverse Wheelway is expected to be completed this summer. The segment starts where the Wheelway now ends at Little Traverse Township Park at the Harbor Springs Airport and will end at a trailhead to be established near Hoyt and Lake Streets on the city's east side. When this project is finished the Wheelway will be fairly considered "built out," 23 miles of dedicated trail, 26 miles from downtown Charlevoix to downtown Harbor Springs.
The "Bike Path", as it is locally called, runs 23 miles from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs in Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. The trail is mostly dedicated and mostly asphalt. It is currently the best developed and most suburbanof our trunk line trails. The part between Petoskey's Bayfront Park to Petoskey State Park follows closely the path of the original LTW that stretched from Petoskey to Harbor Springs in the 1880s and 90s. A gate over the trail at the east end of Bayfront Park replicates the original gate that stood at nearly the same spot. Two other identical gates have been built to the west on Petoskey's portion of the trail.
In late 2008 construction was completed on the 1.4 mile "Resort Bluffs" segment between East Park in Bay Harbor and Magnus Park in Petoskey. This new trail replaces the "road shoulder "segment that had forced users up onto US 31.
Distance: 23 Miles
Trail Surface: trail currently ends at Little Traverse Twp. Park at the Harbor Springs Airport, construction to Harbor Springs in fall 2009, asphalt
Horses: Not Permitted
Snowmobiles: Not Permitted
- T= Trailhead
- P= Parking
- R= Restrooms
- A= Amenities
Adams Rest Area to West Park in Bay Harbor
Adams Rest Area (P R) to Resort Township West Parkin Bay Harbor ( four miles.)
Thearea off US 31 is a delightful place to relax and view the bay in all its glory. There are plenty of picnic tables available to eat your lunches or just enjoy the ambiance of the scene. To the east the area around Nine Mile Point is especially scenic and there are other good places to enjoy the view.
Charlevoix Township Park to the Adams Rest Area
Charlevoix Township Hall (T P R)to theAdams Rest Area.The trailhead is located at the Charlevoix Township Hall 0.50 miles from US 31 on Waller Road where there is parking and restrooms. Trail users can go into the city by following Waller Road west and McSauba Road east to Division Road. This in-town trail passes close to the North Point and Mount McSauba Recreation Areas.
The "dedicated" and measured portion of the trail begins at US 31 and includes3 miles of asphalt and .6 miles of boardwalk through a wetland. The trail closely follows US 31and Lake Michigan much of the way and there are many good lake views. The Charlevoix Community Pool is near the start of the segment.
West Park to East Park in Bay Harbor (PR)
West Park's parking and amenities are located several hundred yards north of the trail on Townline Road but there is a de facto trailhead right on the trail.This segment consists offive miles of asphalt near US 31. There are some panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the business district called The Village at Bay Harbor (A). There are good parking and recreational opportunities at both Bay Harbor parks as well as in the Village District with its many amenities. A parallel equestrian trail may be built in the future
East Park is an excellent intermediate trailhead. Itwas closed for remediation of contamination problems caused in the cement making process dating back to the days when the Bay Harbor area was a large cement-making plant. The new park has been reconfigured and reopened and is nowone of the most beautiful parks of its kind in the country.
East Park in Bay Harbor to Magnus Park in Petoskey(PR)
This 1.4 mile segmentwas relocated from the highway shoulder and paved with asphalt in the summer and fall of 2008.Travelers cannow proceedalong the railroad grade above Little Traverse Bay without using the busy US 31 shoulder. The contamination issues in East Park have been resolved to the extent that there are no interruptions to travel through the park. This segment runs 10-50 feet or more above the bay and is widely regarded as the most scenic on the entire Wheelway and surely one of the most beautiful in the country.
Magnus Park to Little Traverse History Museum(PR)
Has now been partially relocated.The segment previously ran along the shoulder of Lake Street but was rerouted to a dedicated trail from west of Ingalls Avenue through a new section of park land and finally across the Bear River to the bay side of City Hall and the Firehouse. This section has also seen the erection of two more Little Traverse Wheelway arches like the one further east along the Wheelway. Also check out the metal sculpture of a big wheel bicycle in the new park. The History Museum has wonderful exhibitsdepicting Petoskey's place in history.
In addition, in the spring of 2007 the Wheelway was rerouted to the lake side of the history museum from the parking area in the rear. This change straightens the path and permits a better connection with the non-motorized bridge over the Bear River.
Little Traverse History Museum to the Fettis-McCue Overlook (PR)
This scenic 2.5-mile segment runs through Bayfront Park and utilizes a short stretch of sidewalk before reaching Bay View.The History Museumis a must stop for those interested in the history of the Little Traverse region including the roleplayed bythe original Little Traverse Wheelway.The bicycle arrived here along with the railroad and the new wave of settlers who came for economic and religious reasons. Farther along in this segment are located the Petoskey Marina, the Midway, the Bayfront Resource Center, the Ed White Softball Field, Yosemite Falls, Lime Kiln Pond and numerous picnic tables. There is good parking in Bayfront Park and access to Petoskeyâs historic Gaslight District (downtown) (A) through the tunnel under US 31. This segment also goes through the summer community of Bay View along the salmon-colored sidewalk. Stop and enjoy the ambience of Petoskey's "summer sister" that grew up along withthe city in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The overlook building honors Fred Fettis and Neal McCue, two longtime trails advocates who still serve on the Wheelway Committee and the TOMTC Board of Directors. TOMTC is working on a plan to improve the parking lot and grounds in this area and perhaps establish an intermediate trailhead. There may also be a park at the nearby mouth of Tannery Creek in the future. The overlook is a good place to stop and view the bay and is a popular picnic lunch spot for people working in the area.
Opposite the overlook on the rear of Glen's market is a beautiful mural by Kingsleymuralist Terry Dickenson depicting transportation along the Wheelway corridor at various times in history. TOMTC commissioned the artist to paint the mural in the fall of 2006.
Fettis-McCue Overlook to M-119 at the Litzenburger Fountain (PRA)
A generous gift to trail users from the Litzenberger family. A linear park is eventually planned for this scenic 1-mile segment that runs through a young oak and white pine forest to M-119. The "back gate" to Petoskey State Park with its sweeping dunes and fine swimming beach is located just east of the Tannery Creek Condominiums. Good parking is available at Spring Lake Park across M-119 from the Litzenburger Fountain (No Parking at the Litzenburger Fountain.) The North Country Trail diverges from the Wheelway at Spring Lake Park and continues north along the PETOSKEY- MACKINAW CITY TRAIL. Be careful in crossing M-119 as there is currently no light or crosswalk.
Litzenburger Fountain to the Little Traverse Township Park at Pleasantview Road(TP)
This three mile segment tracks along a largely commercial area along M-119 and past the main entrance to Petoskey State Park (P R)and past Beach Road. Round Lake Nature Preserve and the headquarters of the Little Traverse Conservancy are across M-119 on Powell Road. Various public buildings are located across M-119 in the John Watson Community Resource Center just north of Beach Road. This 1.1-mile segment runs close to M-119 before cutting away to follow the northeast edge of the Harbor Springs Airport. Enjoy the shallow panoramic view of Little Traverse Bay at theLittle Traverse Township Parkwhere there is parking.
Little Traverse Township Park (P) to Harbor Springs (TRPA)
This 3.0 mile off-road segmentisscheduled to be constructed on the north side of M-119 during the 2009 construction season.When completed trail users will be able to proceed from The Harbor Springs Airport into the City of Harbor Springs in one direction and on to Petoskey and Charlevoix in the other on a 26 mile trail "dedicated" to non-motorized use.The completed Wheelway will not only be a useful way to get from place to place but also one of the most scenic trails in the entire country. For the time being, adult cyclists may find the oversized shoulder of M-119 safe for travel. The Harbor Springs trailhead is planned to be at the ball fields near Lake Street and Hoyt Street on the east side of town. Like Charlevoix and Petoskey, Harbor Springs is a wonderful travelers destination with beautiful views and a multitude of things to do.
Alternate Route to Harbor Springs from Beach Road
Follow Beach Road (M 119) at Powell Road) all the way to Bay Street in the city, passing through the Ramona Park, Roaring Brook,and Wequetonsing associations. This route can have a great deal of automobile traffic during the tourist season but should be generally safe for adult cyclists. Be especially careful in riding on the twisting portions through the forest. Riders should ride single file on the far right side of the road.