Trail Town – Petoskey, MI

The scenic lakeside town of Petoskey, located on beautiful Little Traverse Bay, was named after the Odawa Tribal Leader Ignatius Petoskey . Petoskey was officially granted a charter in 1879. The Petoskey name was also adopted for Michigan’s state stone, a fossilized coral found in abundance both along the lakeshore and inland. Petoskey has been called the “land of the million dollar sunsets” since 1873. By the summer of 1874 the railroads were making regular runs between Grand Rapids and Petoskey. Petoskey quickly grew into a resort community that remains a popular tourist destination to this day.

Long distance hikers approaching Petoskey from the south will view Lake Michigan for the first time at an overlook on the section known as Skyline Trail. Shortly thereafter the trail links up with the Bear River and follows it to its convergence with Lake Michigan through the Bear River Valley Recreation Area, a noted whitewater kayaking venue. From the river mouth, the trail heads East through scenic Bayfront park.

Hikers can easily access the downtown shopping district via an underpass near Bayfront Park. In addition to many great places to eat, hikers can shop for food at the Grain Train Natural Foods Market, which boasts a great bulk foods section for gorp! Other downtown businesses include Bear Cub Outfitters (an outdoor clothing and gear store), two independent booksellers, several banks, post office, Meyer Ace Hardware, Dave’s Boot Shop, Latitude 45 Bike Shop and a library. Further along the bay the trail goes right behind another shopping district with a larger food store (Glen’s), Rite Aid, laundromat, and a bike/running gear store (High Gear Sports).

Just after this shopping area hikers will find the Petoskey State Park on their left, with lots of camping options. A little farther north of the Petoskey State Park, hikers can quench their thirst at Petoskey Brewing Company, a local microbrewery. Hikers ready for a softer sleeping surface or a little tent drying will find a variety of motels, hotels, and bed & breakfast options right along the trail, as it parallels highway US 31.

Hikers who enjoy the beauty of wooded hills, water and dunes will not be disappointed with a layover in Petoskey, a thriving tourist community nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan among some of the most beautiful scenery nature has to offer. For more information on this section of trail go to https://northcountrytrail.org/j45/.

Additional Resources
City of Petoskey
Bear River Valley Recreation Area
Little Traverse Wheelway
Jordan Valley 45o Chapter, NCTA
Petoskey Area Michigan Visitors Bureau
Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce
Downtown Petoskey
Top of Michigan Trails Council
Little Traverse Conservancy
North Central Michigan College
Bearcub Outfitters
Latitude 45 Bicycles and Fitness
Petoskey Brewing Company
Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center
Getting Kids Outdoors