Leelanau Peninsula

Trip Dates:
Sep 13, 2014 -- Sep 20, 2014
Traverse City, MI
Booking Status:
Space still available

Profiled in the book, Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die, this eight-day, self-contained tour centered in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula is an adventure you won’t want to miss! We’ll enjoy local wineries, ride through stunning pine forests, and of course visit the iconic white- sand beaches and towering dunes of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. We’ll also have the opportunity to visit quaint lakeside villages and lighthouses, stopping to admire crystal clear inland lakes and spectacular views. Our layover day in beautiful Platte River State Park can be spent laying on the beach, hiking a bluff, or canoeing. If you’re new to self-contained touring or want a relaxing week of fun riding and unforgettable scenery, this is the tour for you!

Start Date: Sep 13, 2014 End Date: Sep 20, 2014
Start Location: Traverse City, MI End Location: Traverse City, MI
Total Days: 8 Riding Days: 6
Rest Days: 2 Miles: 220
Average Daily Mileage: 36.7 Surface: Paved/Dirt
Riders: 14 Airport: Cherry Capital Airport
Tour Leader: Barb Wade, Lydia Meyer Meals: Shared cooking
Accommodations: Camping Type: Self Contained
Physical Difficulty: Beginner Level of Support: Self Contained
Cost: $999.00

Day 1

Traverse City. Traverse City sits on the shore of the Grand Traverse Bay, which earned its name from the 18th century French voyagers who called this “long crossing,” la grande traverse. We’ll meet today for the first time at beautiful Traverse City State Park, where we’ll discuss our route and divide the group gear before settling in for the night.

Day 2

Traverse City to Traverse City, 42 miles. There’s so much to see in Traverse City, we’re taking the first day to explore! We’ll pedal our unloaded bikes up the Old Mission Peninsula to visit area wineries and see the lighthouse at its tip before heading back to Traverse City.

Day 3

Traverse City to Northport, 30 miles. Today we load up and head off to the Leelanau Peninsula and the small town of Northport. Most of today will be on paved, non-motorized Traverse Area Recreation and Leelanau trails, which will make for mostly car-free riding and loads of photo opportunities! We’ll finish the day in Northport where we’ll take a rest from camping as we cozy up indoors at the Sunrise Landing Motel.

Day 4

Northport to Lake Leelanau, 42 miles. We’ll enjoy stunning views as we pedal through cedars to Lighthouse Point located at the very tip of Leelanau, then head to the western side of the peninsula and the quaint fishing village of Leland. The short day will allow for plenty of time to explore Leland’s historic district, known as “Fishtown,” and enjoy the unique galleries, shops, and delicious restaurants. We’re then off to Lake Leelanau and our campsite along its beautiful shores.

Day 5

Lake Leelanau to Platte River, 45 miles. Most of today’s route will be along the peaceful roads in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, a region that Good Morning America named “the most beautiful place in America.” Keep your cameras nearby! We’ll then make the longest climb of our trip to Inspiration Point, where we will be able to view the Manitou Islands, Big Glen Lake, and Little Glen Lake all in one panoramic sweep. Time allowing, we may have a chance to climb the iconic dunes before heading to our campsite in Platte River.

Day 6

Platte River, Layover Day. Lots of options today! Leave your bike behind to paddle or kayak along the beautiful Platte River or explore the Lake Michigan shoreline. You could also stow your gear and pedal one of the many road bike loops.

Day 7

Platte River to Interlochen, 46 miles. We leave the national lakeshore today and head to the exceptionally clear Crystal Lake on the non-motorized Betsie River Trail. Along the way we will pass our third lighthouse of the trip, Point Betsie, before arriving in the small lakeside town of Beulah. If you’re in need of second breakfast, this is a great place to stop. Then it’s a short ride along country roads until we reach Interlochen, home of the world-renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts. We will pitch our tents for the last time under the trees of Interlochen State Park.

Day 8

Interlochen to Traverse City, 20 miles. Our last day is a short ride which will take us through the heart of Traverse City and give us an opportunity to browse the shops and pick up any final mementos of our trip. Although our time together has come to a close, we will always have our memories of this unforgettable journey along the Leelanau Peninsula.

"This trip was truly Idaho Relaxed. I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere."

2008 Tour Participant

"The highlight of the tour for me was the Hiawatha trail and the 2 mile long tunnel, which we did out and back. I love adventures that challenge my abilities and riding through that dark tunnel (twice) was an experience like none other. It was totally dark except for my bikes headlight and the blinking red light on the bike ahead of me. The tunnel was dripping ice cold water...You could hear rushing water in several sections of the tunnel and a literal creek ran down both sides of the tunnel in channels. Once we exited the tunnel the scenery was stunning."

2008 Tour Participant

"This was my daughter's first bike tour and was also her first vacation without her family...It was great to spend time with her."

2008 Tour Participant

"The age range was from 13 to 80.  The bikes ranged from rental cross bikes to mountain bikes to high end touring and road bikes.  There were, I am guessing, equal numbers of men and women.  The weather was, for a northwest guy, perfect - sunshine, not too hot.  The route was the trail along Lake Coeur d'Alenes so little worry about traffic and so on.  There seemed to be no one who simply had to be the first in to camp every day.  Everyone was friendly and most were interesting.  Adventure Cycling called it Idaho Relaxed.  It was.  And it was perfect."

2008 Tour Participant

Photo by John McCormick