Palmer Woods Mountain Bike Trail Opens to the Public

Maple City, Mich.- The Leelanau Conservancy’s new three-mile mountain bike trail at Palmer Woods Forest Reserve has officially opened.  Close to 150 people attended an opening ride & party on Sunday, November 4th in cold, wet conditions to ride the first public, flow-style mountain bike trail in Leelanau County.

“This is an historic occasion for us and we feel so proud to provide this resource to people in northern Michigan,” said Tom Nelson, Executive Director of Leelanau Conservancy. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, and our partners Bike Leelanau and Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association (NMMBA).”

“We’re overwhelmed by how excited people are,” said Cody Sprattmoran, Co-Founder of Bike Leelanau and board member of NMMBA. “We saw so many families and lots of smiling faces coming off the trail.” A local Bike Shop, Suttons Bay Bikes was also at the opening ride event offering free demo bikes for people to try.

This intermediate-level loop trail offers A&B lines, which means riders of varying experience levels can take different routes. “There are lots of optional advanced technical features that you can’t find anywhere else in this area,” said Sprattmoran. “It’s a game changer for Leelanau County and the Grand Traverse Region.”

Becky Hill, Leelanau Conservancy’s Natural Areas and Preserves Manager, was thrilled to finally open the trail to the public. “It was great to hear the community’s thoughts about the trail after yesterday’s ride. This being the first time we’ve done anything like this, having the support and feedback of Bike Leelanau and NMMBA as well as the mountain biking community as a whole has been so important to us during this process.”

After feedback from the riders and a post-ride inspection, there are several areas along the trail that are still under construction.  Mountain bikers should use caution and be aware of any construction areas as the finishing touches are made to the trail.

“This is just the beginning. The enthusiasm from the community was palpable at the opening, and got us really excited to add another mountain bike loop at Palmer Woods next spring,” said Nelson.

Leelanau Conservancy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land trust that conserves the land, water and scenic character of Leelanau County. One of our 26 natural areas open to the public, the 721-acre Palmer Woods Forest Reserve is a four-season recreational destination located in the heart of Leelanau County. In addition to mountain bike trails, Palmer Woods has seven miles of hiking and groomed cross-country ski trails for the public to enjoy. 

7 responses to “Palmer Woods Mountain Bike Trail Opens to the Public”

  1. Mary Mantei says:

    Rode the trail on Monday; a great addition to the local trail systems because of its’ unique qualities. Thank you and keep up the good effort!

  2. Douglas McKenzie says:

    Where can I get a good map of Palmer Woods trail???

  3. Michael Niemi says:

    How many miles of trail are planned?

  4. Bruce says:

    I look forward to trying out the new mountain bike trail! Will the trail be open for riding this winter? If so, how can I find out when it’s OK to ride it (based on temps, snow conditions, etc.)?

    • leelanau says:

      Hi Bruce, the trail is closed for riding over the winter. Since it was so new, we want to avoid any degradation or damage to it that could happen with riders during the freeze/thaw cycles. We will be reopening the trail in the spring!

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