The trail extends from Frankfort to Thompsonville along the former Ann Arbor Railroad. Trail users can enjoy views of Betsie Bay, the Betsie River and its surrounding marshland, and Crystal Lake. There are many places to access the trail and several established trailheads with parking.
The trail informally starts at the City of Frankfort's Lake Michigan Beach and passes through Cannon Park. It then follows Waterfront St. along Betsie Bay (the only section to share the road) and passes through Frankfort's waterfront parks. The DNR owned Betsie Valley Trail officially starts at 10th Street. From here to Mollineaux Rd, the paved trail is most accessible to all non-motorized users. The scenic trail between Frankfort and Beulah is the most frequently used. Beyond Beulah, the trail is more heavily wooded and remote.
Between Frankfort and Beulah the trail is for non-motorized use only. The trail between Beulah and Thompsonville is open to snowmobiles December through March.