Great Lake-to-Lake Trails

Great Lake to Lake Trail

About  The Great Lake to Lake Trails

The last three decades in Michigan’s trail movement have been about securing individual trails of all types: abandoned rail, utility corridors, road rights of way, and more. Today, Michigan can extend these trails east and west to reach from one Great Lake to another, weaving in many communities and tourism attractions along the way. Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance has identified 5 Great Lake to Lake Trail routes across the state.


Click HERE for a detailed GPS map of Route 1

Click HERE for a detailed GPS map of Route 3


Phase 1
In 2011, over 150 stakeholders were identified for the Great Lake to Lake Trails.  Stakeholders included the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation, Community Health, Travel Michigan, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, the National Parks Service, Michigan Recreation and Park Association, many regional trail coalitions, regional planning and transportation organizations, local governments, elected officials and personnel, and individual trail advocates. Convening stakeholders, developing vision and goals, articulating a strategy and prioritizing projects were the first steps taken to ensure this would be a project that we could bring to fruition. Confirming the name and creating the identity for the trail were also outcomes of Phase 1 planning efforts.

Great Lake to Lake Trails Route Overview
Great Lake to Lake Trails Route Overview


Phase 2
Route 1: advocating and planning for its development, marketing, and connecting it to other destinations in their areas. Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance staff and trail ambassadors conducted field analysis, feasibility studies and dialogue with city and township officials along with law enforcement, transportation and health agencies to come up with viable routes in each of the gaps. Trails were inventoried for each existing trail segment in the approximately 315-mile route as to its surface, endpoints, and current condition.

Phase 3
Our current work is to support the completion of Great Lake to Lake Trail Route #1 from South Haven to Port Huron. Plans are in place to open the trail by the fall of 2019. With a generous financial commitment from philanthropist Mike Levine, wayfinding, signage along the route (trailhead and trailside facilities, signage, kiosks, and maps) and gap connections are in the works for select portions of the trail that can be applied to the overall trail way finding. Additional funding is necessary to take the wayfinding work across the entire trail.

Phase 4
Continued focus on wayfinding, and marketing, including historic interpretation and interpretive displays, Great Lake to Lake Trails website, and an inaugural ride on Route #1 in September 2019.

Phase 5

Route #1 is fully signed, yet still around 75% complete. We need to continue to collaborate with trail stakeholders and funders to complete the remaining gaps around highways and build connector trails through remaining gaps between cities.

With the trail fully signed and about 70% complete Donations will assist with staff time, historic interpretation, travel, marketing and public relations..

Some history of work on Route # 1:

Sept 20 2010 Recomendations Webinar

Trails Summit on Route #1 April 19, 2018

Route #1 Map

Click here to view the most recent map of the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1, which includes gaps Michigan Trails is working to complete.

Route #1 Signage

Click here to learn more about trail signage standards

Give to Get

The Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 Inaugural Ride

The Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 Inaugural Ride brought together cycling enthusiasts for the first time on a 275-mile sightseeing trails adventure from South Haven to Port Huron. Riders stayed in hotels and inns along the way, flocking to each town during the evening, eager to explore local flavor, culture and eateries.

The ride celebrates the opening of the trail that culminates the unification of 9 counties, 34 municipalities and 42 townships in the state’s first fully-marked destination trail and will help to feature continued national attention on the nation’s leading trail state. The 7-day, 6-night ride begins on the beautiful Lake Michigan beach town, South Haven. The route is connected by 19 individual trails, and these trails go through many popular Michigan destinations, including Kalamazoo, Jackson, Brighton, and Rochester Hills. The ride ended in the historical town of Port Huron, with picturesque views of Lake Huron.