Morning sun burst on a trail in the fall woods in Roscommon State Forest Michigan. (Shutterstock) A tail of the trails
Morning sun burst on a trail in the fall woods in Roscommon State Forest Michigan. (Shutterstock)

Mitten State rivers, landscapes and sand dunes, oh my! Get your nature fix with this handy guide. 

MICHIGAN — It’s Trails Week in Michigan.

The state of Michigan is home to over 13,000 miles of state-managed trails, with diverse landscapes ranging from pristine national forests to sand dunes, scenic rivers, and even a few mountain paths.

In celebration of “Pure Michigan” and its stunning natural scenery, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance are inviting Michiganders to participate in the 2020 Michigan Trails Week statewide event beginning this Sunday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

The event challenges Michiganders to collectively walk, run, ride, hike, bike or paddle 100,000 miles.

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“Michigan Trails Week is the perfect time to get out and explore Michigan’s amazing network of trails,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.

“Whether it’s on your first trail, your favorite trail or one brand new to you, the Michigan Trails Week Challenge is for anyone and everyone who wants to get out of the house and connect with nature,” Olson said.

Ron Olson

Participants are encouraged to register for the event and to log at least one mile to begin tracking their progress during the week, and will earn badges as they go.

Embracing the Wanderlust

“Explore Michigan and report your mileage; it’s that easy,” Olson said.

“Participants earn badges for completing miles – any distance counts. Every badge earned is another entry in a drawing for cool outdoor gear and Michigan branded prizes.”

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Those who register will earn a badge every time they:

-Horseback ride for 5 miles

-Walk, run or hike for 5 miles,

-Bike for 10 miles

-Paddle for 2 miles

“Michigan’s rich network of trails throughout the Upper and Lower peninsulas provide residents and visitors with scenic spaces to explore nature, appreciate wildlife, experience solitude, enjoy time with family and friends, and discover the rich history and heritage of the trails,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her proclamation of the event.

Michigan is known as “The Trails State” due to its spectacular variety of unique hiking, biking and paddling destinations.

“Michigan’s vast network of trails provides an abundance of opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy our state’s spectacular natural resources,” Whitmer said.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

“The state’s trail system is the result of a successful partnership between state agencies, local trails groups, local units of government, non-profit organizations, businesses, and citizens who have come together to connect communities and people.”

Whitmer added that Michigan’s trail system plays a “significant role” in strengthening Michigan’s economy, supporting thousands of jobs and increasing the quality of life for all Michiganders.”

Michigan Trails: By the Numbers                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The breakdown of Michigan trails is as follows, according to an official Trails Week infographic released by the state: 7,932 miles of motorized trails, 6,029 snowmobile, 3,871 hiking, 2,079 biking, 1,423 rail-trail, 1,136 cross-country skiing, and 863 equestrian.

Michigan also offers eight designated water trails totaling more than 500 miles, including the Central River Raising Water Trail in Monroe County and the Island Loop Route in St. Clair County.

According to a Facebook post from the DNR, over 4,000 people have registered for the event.

Those who wish to sign up or learn more can visit Michigan.gov/TrailsWeek. There is no cost to sign up, but those interested may donate funds to complete various trail-related projects across the state.

SEE ALSO: Six Cougars Have Been Spotted in Michigan in 2020 — Here’s Where People Are Seeing Them.