Exploring USBR 35 in Michigan

May 8, 2018

Bike trails near me: USBR 35 in Michigan

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is more than a collection of roads; it’s also a collection of unique bike travel experiences. We’re highlighting one of the many experiences you’ll find on a U.S. Bicycle Route, thanks to Destination Irvine and Tripsite.com.

Bike Trails Near Me: U.S. Bicycle Route 35 in Michigan

Tucked along the eastern edge of Lake Michigan, you’ll find coastal dune lands with tall trees, turkeys, and white tail deer. Surprised to hear there are sandy vistas in the middle of the country? You’ll find dunes and more along the lakeshore on U.S. Bicycle Route 35 (USBR 35)  in Michigan.

Originally designated in 2012, U.S. Bicycle Route 35 connects the Indiana border all the way north to Sault Ste. Marie on the Canada border. One day, USBR 35 will connect all the way to Louisiana — but you don’t need to wait until it’s completed to run up and down the dunes or take in the sweeping views of Lake Michigan.

Just south of Ludington, USBR 35 climbs along Lakeshore Drive to make its way around the Consumers Energy Hydroelectric Storage pond, which affords great views of Lake Michigan. If your timing is right, rest on the shores of Lake Michigan in Ludington and watch the historic SS Badger car ferry as it makes its way between Michigan and Wisconsin. Catch your breath and some more great views at the Arcadia Dunes Scenic Turnout on Michigan's state highway, M-22, then climb the 210 stairs for spectacular views of Lake Michigan from Inspiration Point. 

Since 2005, Adventure Cycling has been proud to shepherd the growth of the U.S. Bicycle Route System, which will connect thousands of experiences like the dunes along Lake Michigan. If you don’t live in Michigan or along one of the 12,000 miles of currently designated USBRs, don’t worry, more U.S. Bicycle Routes are being developed every day. Help us grow the network — and connect you to more unique bike travel experiences — by donating today.

Photos by Kerry Irons and Laurie Chipps


May is National Bike Month! The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) has resources to make your May and everyday more bicycle friendly. Support our efforts and donate $5, $10, $50 to help build the largest bicycle network in the world! Donate Today!


Raz March 11, 2019, 9:36 PM

Hey Dan Hathaway! I'd love to get in touch and get some advice on the route. My brother and I plan on riding the entirety this May.

Is there an email or Facebook I can reach you at?



Karen Wade January 11, 2019, 4:21 PM

Hello fellow cyclists! In 2018 my best riding pal and I rode the USBR35 through Indiana, as it had just been completed in the spring. We had a wonderful time! After getting down to Louisville (ride it north to south; it's largely downhill from that direction, believe it or not, and that offsets any winds from the south you may encounter!) we wanted to continue on. I heard they are now planning out KY/TN, so my pal and I decided that we would ride MI in 2019 to give planners time to sort out KY/TN; hopefully we will ride each state or segment for our Bikecation until we have completed the whole thing. It's kind of cool to be one of the first cyclists to ride the new route!

So, my question is, does anyone know for certain what the mileage is for the MI portion of USBR 35??

Thank you for your help.

Laura Crawford January 11, 2019, 4:38 PM

Hi Karen!

Thanks for sharing about your ride, it's great to hear you had a good trip! Not to be a downer, but KY/TN are not currently working on USBR 35, so it'll take a few more years than you're envisioning before that's done.

BUT.. KY just designated USBR 23, which starts in Tanner, at the intersection of USBR 76, roughly 60 miles south of the end of USBR 35 in Indiana. I don't have a route recommendation for this gap, unfortunately, but if you were able to cover that distance, you could connect to USBR 23 and that *does* continue all the way to TN and the TN/AL border.

You can find maps and information about all the designated U.S. Bicycle Routes here: www.adventurecycling.org/USBRSmaps (including MI 35, which is roughly 522 miles long).

Thanks and happy planning!

Dann Reynolds June 20, 2018, 1:58 PM

Many thanks Dan. I plan to complete that route with my wife next year and was wondering when to take the trip. I was born and raised in the upper lower and never got into cycling until after the Army. I can't wait.

Mac Jacob October 26, 2018, 9:16 PM

We started in Mackinac City on June 18th, 2018, and it was about right. I live on the route in Harbor Springs, MI. Warning, there are some places NOT to follow bicycle route 35, use ACA North Lakes, which mostly follows it, for the best route. Northern Michigan is not warm until at least Memorial Day, starting mid to late June it is a tourist area and very busy. June strikes a balance, there were rooms available and seats at restaurants all the way down the coast.

This is a great tour, good low traffic roads, great towns, lodging and restaurants. Good riding along mostly low traffic roads and lakes, no issues with cars or trucks.

Dan Hathaway May 31, 2018, 4:54 AM

I've now ridden USBR35 the full length of Michigan and I really loved it! Note: you don't have to pay to take the ferry to Mackinaw Island to get over the Mackinaw Bridge. For $5, the bridge authority will send someone to take you over in a maintenance vehicle. Also, remember Northern Michigan really doesn't wake up until Memorial Day (but those who are open in March-April are glad to see you!) I mention this because most of the camps and restaurants were closed as I rode through mid-April...there was still spotty snow on the trails and backroads, too! Fun!

Raz March 11, 2019, 9:37 PM

Hey Dan,

What's a good email to reach your would love some of your advice on the trail!

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