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The trail network in and around Traverse City is just about the best you can get for in-line skating, hiking and biking. And it's getting better all the time. Plans are proceeding to connect all the individual trails into one massive network.
One of the best trails for all three activities is the Traverse Area Recreational Trail (TART). A good starting point is the TBA Career Tech Center on Parsons Road. From there, you can skate, hike, or bike to your heart's content on a paved trail, then on a boardwalk through marshy lands out to Acme and back. It's about an eight-mile round trip, and some of the restaurants along the way even put out water for travelers.
The Leelanau Trail begins at Carter Road in Greilickville and ends at Suttons Bay. The entire length of this beautiful 15-mile route is now paved, making the ride from Traverse City to Suttons Bay accessible to all types of bikes, ages and fitness levels. If you're not ready for the full 30 mile loop, take advantage of the Bike-n-Ride Program that allows riders the opportunity to bike one way and ride the bus back.
On the east side of town, the Sand Lakes Quiet Area is excellent for hiking or mountain biking. Also on the east side is the Vasa, which offers more of a challenge. In addition to a wide dirt trail, it has a single-track trail developed by the Michigan Mountain Bike Association.
And just about any road in scenic Leelanau County or on the Old Mission Peninsula is great for biking or skating.
Some good off-the-beaten-path dirt trails are the Lost Lake Pathway, which offers three loops of about two miles each, and the Lake Ann Pathway. The Cherry Capital Cycling Club sponsors several tours throughout the year, including the 'Ride Around Torch' in mid-summer and the 'Leelanau Harvest Tour' in mid-September, as well as weekly tours. Check the club's Website, www.cherrycapitalcyclingclub.org, for details of scheduled rides and more. Or for more information, call (231) 941-BIKE.
TART Trails hosts the annual Tour de TART event, a trail bike tour from Traverse City to Suttons Bay with return transportation to Traverse City included in the event. Contact the TART office at 231-941-4300.