The Village of Mackinaw City is a resort community located on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It serves as a gateway community for recreation lovers traveling north and south, and provided plenty of amenities to make it a prime vacation destination in its own right.
Mackinaw City has plenty of historic and scenic attractions that will keep you engaged during your visit. The scenery is spectacular. Spend time at one of the many waterfront parks to view a stream of varied boats passing before your eyes. For those interested in history there is no better place to visit than Mackinaw City, with the Mackinac State Historic Parks featuring the fort and old mill, the WWII Icebreaker Mackinaw, two lighthouses, and an engaging Heritage Village offering a glimpse of what life was like in the mid-1800s.
The North Country Trail enters town on the southern border. Its entire length inside the village, about a mile, coincides with a paved, DNR Rails to Trails project named the North Western State Trail. The Trail passes through scenic, wooded countryside offering commuters and visitors an alternate way to get around town. As you approach downtown, you are greeted by a new trailhead and parking area with bike racks, bathrooms, picnic area, and shelter and is less than a block from Central Ave., the main retail district. A connector route to downtown is mowed and available for easy access. From the trailhead there is also access to the DNR’s North Central State Trail, which will take you from Mackinaw City down to Gaylord. Maps of the city’s trail and other recreation opportunities can be found on the village website, where you can also find listings for campgrounds, cabins, bed and breakfasts and hotels, as well as many restaurants and places to resupply.
For those wanting to continue north on the North Country Trail, follow the route west to Wilderness State Park or plan your trip north via the Mackinac Bridge. The Bridge Authority provides a shuttle across the bridge to the Trail’s Upper Peninsula connector. That shuttle is arranged by phone from the booth created for this purpose across the street from Audie’s Restaurant on N. Nicolet St., three blocks from the trailhead, an easy walk. There is only one day that you can walk this 5-mile section of the North Country Trail: the Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. Please research transportation options if you plan to participate – as of 2018, options have changed. Be sure to join our Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter for their own Bring on the Bridge event, when they combine the Bridge Walk with a weekend of camping, food, and friends.
Please contact the Harbor Springs Chapter of the NCTA for more information about this section of the trail and how to get involved.