A refreshing breeze in your face, warm legs pumping in the summer sun. Views, and curves, that stretch for miles. Road biking in Michigan is a fantastic experience, and it’s hard to beat west Michigan for scenic road bike routes.
Really, any road along the coast, particularly M-22, will knock your socks off. But beware of minimal shoulder in some areas, and drivers distracted by the scenery–especially on weekends. These six great Michigan road biking tours should give you a taste of what’s out there, and the itch to explore even more on two wheels.
Looking for a home base for your bike safari?
Starting in Glen Arbor, follow M-109, M-22 and 616 to make a circuit around the picturesque Glen Lakes (13 miles around the bigger part, 20 miles around both), enjoying lake views, dune views and a few smaller hill climbs. Upon returning to Glen Arbor, congratulate yourself on a great effort with a beer and burrito at Art’s Tavern.
Cadillac to Harrietta
Begin an exploration of green pastoral landscape in Cadillac, heading north on Old 131 (N Mitchell) for about two miles and then left on Boon Road. Enjoy rolling farms and woodlands on both sides as you follow Boon road then No 23 and W30 to Harrietta. It’s a little under 20 miles, and a good excuse to stroll the shops along this cute main street before retracing you’re route back. About 40 miles total.
Traverse City to Maple City
Meandering hillsides and a shady cover of trees mark this 30 miler from Traverse City to Maple City and back. Take M-22 from TC to Grand View Road and turn left. Follow Hoxie and signs to Maple City. There are a few exhilarating climbs and some great twisting pavement to keep you grinning.
There are a variety of routes on this Michigan favorite, most resulting in about 40 miles, if you make it all the way to the lighthouse and back. Most park at Traverse City Central High School, and then ride out the east side of the peninsula, returning along the west side, as this keeps you along the water’s edge the entire way. There are some substantial hills, but you will be well rewarded by some of the most spectacular views in the area. Cherry blossom season is a bonus if you can plan for it.
Crystal Lake Ramble
Crystal Lake is a west Michigan gem, and this ride gives you plenty of time to gawk. Start your 26 mile loop in Frankfurt, heading north on M-22, and continuing on around Crystal Lake, along the Betsie River, and back into Frankfurt. Elevation gain is moderate, and mostly up front, so you can cruise to the finish. Stop off in Beulah for lunch if you like.
Fit riders looking for a serious workout ride with scenic grandeur will love this 56 mile loop starting in Harbor Springs. This takes you up the coast of Lake Michigan on 119, and back down through the heart of “up north” woods along Pleasantview Road. Along the way you’ll experience the unbroken canopy of green overhead that gives this ride its name. Consider it for a fall classic when the color gives a whole other dimension to this one-of-a-kind ride.
Stop by your local bike shop to get the inside scoop on road conditions and variations on any of these routes, and many more:
Trailhead in Ludington
Cyclery in Manistee
McClains in Cadillac and Traverse City
Brick Wheels in Traverse City