North Eastern State Trail

This trail is good for Hiking Biking Horseback Riding Snowmobiling

The North Eastern State Trail is the longest in the Top of Michigan Trails Council system at 71 miles. Surfaced in smooth, crushed limestone, the North Eastern State Trail (NEST) offers an extended journey for snowmobilers, hikers, bikers, and equestrians through some of the most remote and unpopulated regions of the state. The trail follows an old Detroit & Mackinaw Railway line, first developed in the late 1800s to ship Michigan's vast supplies of timber to points beyond. What loggers didn't haul out was left on the ground, setting the stage for devastating forest fires in the early 20th century and turning entire towns into ash. Many of the towns were never rebuilt. The most recent owners of the line, Detroit and Mackinac Railway, abandoned operations in 1992, allowing the right-of-way to be turned over to outdoor recreationists. The trail passes through the hearts of small communities as well as near state parks and recreation sites, boat launches and campgrounds. It also passes through a number of remote areas and incredible scenery from lakeshores, forests, waterways and wildlife. There is a trailhead in Cheboygan with restrooms, parking and a shelter. This trailhead also serves the North Central State Trail. At the southern end the trail in Alpena, the route connects to the Alpena Bi-Path via Woodward Avenue on the north end of Alpena. Click here for trail maps!


Note: Not all sections of each trail are approved for every activity listed for the trail as a whole. Please click on individual trail sections to see approved activities for that section.

Map Legend

  • Trail Head
  • Historical Site
  • Beach
  • Natural Feature
  • Campground
  • Park
  • Cultural Interest
  • Scenic View
  • Educational Interest
  • Visitor Center
  • Emergency Care
  • Water Access
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife or Nature Viewing
  • Trail Friendly Business

Trail Photos


UV Index

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