A sampling of National Recreation Trails in the news or recently designated. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.
Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.
Search all of Michigan's designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database
Prairie Restoration Art Project along Paint Creek Trail
Agonikak National Recreation Trail — Located on the Ottawa National Forest, this 12-mile trail connects Watersmeet, Michigan to Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. The Agonikak Trail is a component of the 38-mile Wilderness Lakes Trails’ bike and pedestrian system that traverses 2 states and encircles the Sylvania Recreation Area. The Agonikak bike and pedestrian trail can be accessed at the Watersmeet Town Park, the Ottawa National Forest Visitor Center in Watersmeet, or the Michigan Department of Transportation Rest Area located on the Border of Michigan and Wisconsin on Highway M-45. Caution should be used on the first half mile of trail in Watersmeet, which is co-located on an ATV/snowmobile route. The rest of the route is closed to motorized use. Learn more about the Agonikak NRT and download a map.
Lake Michigan National Water Trail - Chicago to New Buffalo Segment — Running through three States, the 75-mile Chicago to New Buffalo Segment of the Lake Michigan Water Trail is part of a larger vision for a nationally designated water trail around the entirety of Lake Michigan. This segment covers Chicago’s lakefront in Illinois and the entire coast of Indiana to New Buffalo in Michigan, easily accessible to the more than six million people who live in the five counties adjacent to the trail. The trail takes paddlers on a journey past urban shorelines, natural and remote lakeshore landscapes, industry, and beach communities (designated 2011).
Musketawa Trail — Providing a handicapped-accessible connection between Marne and Muskegon, Michigan, this 24.7-mile rail-trail and greenway allows a variety of trail users to enjoy a range of landscapes while biking, snowmobiling, horseback riding, or simply taking a stroll (designated 2008).
North Eastern State Trail (NEST) — Natural resources are abundant along the 71-mile NEST, connecting Alpena to Cheboygan. The trail passes along lakes and ponds, crosses rivers and streams, and connects to Aloha State Park and thousands of acres of State forest lands. The NEST is part of the over 220-mile State rail-trail network in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula and is part of the State-designated snowmobile trail network. It is open to all non-motorized use throughout the year and to snowmobiles from December 1 to March 31 (designated 2013).
Paint Creek Trail — This 8.9-mile rail-trail, identified as the first rail-trail in Michigan, is an integral part of the extensive Oakland Trail Network and follows the Paint Creek as it flows through diverse natural habitats, offering nature lovers the opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife. The photo shows the Prairie Restoration Art Project celebrating the process of controlled burns and planting native vegetation along the Paint Creek Trail. This gazebo-style structure surrounds a copper Bur Oak sculpture (designated 2006).