Great Lakes Relaxed
We’ve incorporated the quiet roads and pleasurable riding of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) into our popular relaxed tour format. We’ve coupled the route’s gentle terrain and moderate daily distances with convenient luggage transport and delicious catering to offer a superb choice for the first-time bicycle tourist as well as the seasoned bike traveler who seeks a more laid-back cycling experience.
Starting at the top of the Lower Peninsula, we’ll shuttle across the Mackinac Bridge and begin pedaling north from the bottom of the U.P. We’ll explore numerous state parks replete with thick forests, wondrous waterfalls, and lake shore views, as well as visit Whitefish Bay, site of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, and Sault Ste. Marie, home of the Soo Locks. We’ll catch a ferry to Mackinac Island and explore this special place where automobiles are noticeably absent. The car may be king in nearby Detroit, but in the U.P., the bicycle reigns supreme. Great Lakes, great parks, and great bicycle touring — they all add up to one great trip.
Grab some friends and join today! Each rider in a group of 5 or more will receive a $250 discount. Learn more...
"We came to cycle and were not disappointed. We enjoyed each days ride."
Day 1. Mackinaw City, Michigan, 0 miles
We'll gather at our campground in the late afternoon for our orientation session. Early arrivers might take some time to explore the local surroundings, which boast an ecological mosaic of wetlands, forested-dune complexes, and sand-and-cobble beaches.
Day 2. Mackinaw City to Trout Lake, 40 miles
Utilizing the Mackinac Bridge Authority's shuttle service, we'll be motored across the famous bridge to the Upper Peninsula. The entire structure is five miles long, making it the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, and it's a gateway to a land of quiet roads and gentle riding.
Day 3. Trout Lake to Tahquamenon Falls State Park, 45 miles
It's bike touring at its finest today as we navigate a series of good roads with light traffic. We'll pass through open meadows, dense forests, and over gently rolling hills. Our ultimate destination is one of the gems of the U.P. -- Tahquamenon Falls State Park, where Longfellow's Hiawatha built his canoe "by the rushing Tahquamenaw." Once there, we'll set up camp for two nights at the Rivermouth Campground.
Day 4. Tahquamenon Falls State Park Layover Day, 0-41 miles
You'll have the option of hopping on your bike and riding to the Lower Falls and the grand Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. Or ride in the opposite direction to Whitefish Point to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, which memorializes, among others, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and its crew of 29 lost souls. If you prefer to stay off your bike, you can take advantage of the trails leading into the forest or to the shores of Lake Superior.
Day 5. Tahquamenon Falls State Park to Brimley State Park, 55 miles
Leaving the state park, we'll spin along the shore of Whitefish Bay then glide back into the cover of white birch, pine, and spruce in the Hiawatha National Forest. We'll visit one of the highlights of the trip at the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, which was built in 1855 and guards the point where Lake Superior begins its dangerous-to-navigate rush into the St. Marys River.
Day 6. Brimley State Park to Cedarville, 56 miles
Today we'll visit Sault Ste. Marie and the unforgettable Soo Locks, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Wolverine State. The locks make it possible for large ships to travel between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes to the south as Superior's water level is about 20 feet higher than that of Lake Huron. We'll spend the night on the shores of Lake Huron in Cedarville.
Day 7. Cedarville to St. Ignace, 35 miles
Continuing along the northwestern reaches of Lake Huron, we'll loop around St. Martin Bay and visit St. Ignace, where the French explorer and priest Jacques Marquette founded a mission in 1671. The town is considered the third-oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the U.S. Our overnight destination, Straits State Park, offers spectacular nighttime views of boats passing beneath the awe-inspiring bridge that wears the nickname "Mighty Mac."
Day 8. St. Ignace to Mackinaw City, via Mackinac Island, 16+ miles
Saving some of the best for last, we'll take a ferry to Mackinac Island, where transportation is limited to foot, horse and buggy, and, luckily, bicycle. It's a beautiful spot filled with Victorian charm, where only about 500 residents live year-round. There's an eight-mile route encircling the island that runs right along the beach. Several other side trips are also available on roads cutting inland to battlefields, old cemeteries, and the impressive limestone formation known as Arch Rock. At the end of our stay, we'll board a different ferry bound for the Lower Peninsula for a brief ride back to our starting point in Mackinaw City.
Know before you go
Unfortunately, this tour cannot support eBikes due to the motorized vehicle restriction on Mackinac Island.