Leelanau Peninsula Cycling Guide
Updated April 2021
With gorgeous lake views, epic sand dunes, and abundant forests, the Leelanau Peninsula is one of the best spots in the Midwest for a cycling adventure. Featuring a variety of routes for all levels of experience, there is something truly special for every cyclist. Here at Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages, we’ve curated a list of our all-time favorite routes. Time to grab your helmet and water bottle, and get ready for an awesome biking adventure!
Only 500 feet from our inn is the trailhead to one of the top trails in the Midwest. Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a beautiful out-and-back biking trail that winds through the breathtaking Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and ideal for both veteran cyclists and families.
Glen Arbor is situated at the midpoint on the trail, so we recommend the trail access point nearby and riding along the western portion of the Heritage Trail for starters. Finishing a round trip ride on this stretch is 20 miles total to Empire and back…..or a much quicker peddle to the Dune Climb. Later, venture east out of town through Historic Port Oneida to Bohemian Road for a longer scenic ride.
The portion of the Trail from Glen Arbor to the Dune Climb is particularly suited to everything from carbon fiber bicycles to kids with training wheels and those who are using wheelchairs.
Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast created our own local Community Support Fund. This means that we donate a portion of our revenue to local organizations, including those that maintain the Heritage Trail. When you stay with us, you are also supporting the health and accessibility of our local environment including the Heritage Trail.
For all those avid mountain bikers out there, we’ve got a trail system for you! Head over to Palmer Woods Forest Reserve for the adventure of a lifetime. Just five miles from the B&B, this piece of land owned by The Leelanau Conservancy is a great spot filled with plenty of drops, slopes, and jumps. Choose between the Central Ridge and East Ridge loops to enjoy the fresh air and rush of adrenaline that accompanies a scenic mountain biking route. There are also walking trails from the same trailhead if you are traveling with someone who prefers to exercise on foot!
Who doesn’t love a bike ride through a vineyard? The 45 North Winery Trail is a 3-mile loop through 45 North Vineyard and Winery’s gorgeous property. The trail is open to hikers, bikers, and the rest of the public during business hours. The route starts near the tasting room, and winds through both the vineyards and lush, green woods. It includes a serious uphill climb that summits a hill and provides epic views of the rolling hills of Leelanau and the entire 45 North property.
M-22 is a great way for serious road cyclists to get some miles under their belt. The iconic route traces the Leelanau Peninsula with paved shoulders wide enough to comfortably explore the beach towns of the Peninsula by bike. Not recommended for children, this road is more for experienced cyclists.
Just a mile from the B&B in any direction is the beautiful Glen Lake, circled by a 15-mile loop. This route includes some challenging hills on either side of the lake that will be sure to add to your workout. It is well-worth the effort, with the stunning views of the water, sand dunes and gorgeous homes.
There are plenty of wonderful backroads in the middle of the county to explore as well. Our roads are so calm that there is only a need for three stop lights in the county, all of them on the other side of the peninsula near Traverse City. Explore the area on these backroads and design your own unique cycling adventure.
Looking for an even greater challenge? Each summer, the M22 Challenge takes place right here in Glen Arbor, beginning at the Sleeping Bear Dune Climb. The mini-Ironman competition is heralded as the best endurance event in Northern Michigan. The event includes a 2.5-mile run, a 17-mile scenic bike ride, and a 2.5-mile paddling race to the finish line. Complete the last leg of the race via kayak, stand-up paddleboard or surfski. Although the competition is fierce, the views are absolutely breathtaking.
Of course, you can bring your own bikes. However, if you need to rent a bike or gear, we have you covered. Head over to The Cyclery at Crystal River Outfitters for all kinds of gear and bikes including road, mountain, hybrid, comfort, tandem, and kids’ bikes. They have a fitting service, so you can find the perfect bike for your height! Glen Arbor B&B also provides a special biking package for guests, so your bikes are reserved for you upon arrival!
Ready to ride around the Leelanau Peninsula and take in the sights? Book a stay at Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages and enjoy a stay of luxury and comfort at a bike-friendly location. We have a bike rack and tire pump for you to use here. Plus, an innkeeper passionate about bike riding and willing to share the latest tips. Start each of your days with our fresh three-course homemade breakfast and explore our beautiful slice of Michigan on two wheels!