Racing from Clare to Midland, the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail is one of Michigan's most widely used and nicely maintained multi-use trails. So highly regarded, it was inducted into "The Rail-Trail Hall of Fame" by the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
The 3D-mile asphalt trail crosses several bridges and travels through a series of small towns with plenty of stores and restaurants to stop for lunch or a cool drink along the way. A separate path for horseback riding runs parallel to the trail for 5 miles between Coleman and North Bradley. The entire trail is closed to snowmobiling, but is plowed during the winter months to allow year-round use. Sections of the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail receive a fresh coat of sealer each year and are in great condition. This is a flat, fast, exceptionally smooth trail, making it an easy ride for people of all abilities.
For a day trip, we recommend starting your journey at the downtown Midland Staging Area where you can check out "The Tridge," a unique three-span bridge crossing the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers. As you head west, the trail passes by the Northwood University campus and the entrance to the Dow Historical Museum. You will also pass by several small parks, memorials, historic sites and natural areas along the trail as you travel through Sanford and Coleman on your way to Clare.
Like to add a few more scenic miles to your trail adventure? In Midland, you can cross "The Tridge" to ride along the 3.7-mile Chippewa Trail, a non-motorized, paved pathway that meanders through the Chippewa Nature Center. Interpretive signs along the way tell the story of this unique landscape.