Best ATV Trails in Michigan
Take a virtual ride on an ATV in the videos at the bottom of this page.
With a new ORV Ordinance in Crawford County that opens the shoulders of some county roads to ORV traffic, a connected trail system is available that leads into Kalkaska County. The is 29 miles long and open to ORV’s less than 50 inches in width. This typically accommodates ATVs and motorcycles. Taking Cameron Bridge Road according to the new ordinance, the Frederic Trail system connects into the Kalkaska system with over 100 miles available.
There are also 9 miles of the Frederic ORV Route available for all sizes of ORV’s. The Frederic Trail runs from the trail head off M-72 and heads north to the trail head off County Road 6-12. The trail north of 6-12 and south of Cameron Bridge Road is an ORV trail which is open to ATVs (i.e; 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers, motorcycles.) Note, use of any of these trails requires an ORV sticker.
The only “Cycle” trail (single track trail) located in Crawford County is the MCCCT trail located in Beaver Creek Township.
This ordinance, refers only to the shoulders of some county roads, and is not applicable to state roads or state land and state-owned two tracks. Roads and property maintained by the Department of Natural Resources is not open to ORV traffic unless posted open. Most campgrounds also do not allow ORV traffic. Please be sure to read the ordinance and get a county map outlining where you can ride. Always give motor-vehicle traffic the right of way, and avoid close contact with horses. There are several locations where horse and ORV traffic share the same trail. Please slow down and stay as far away from the horses as possible.
There are also several areas in Crawford County that are operated by the Michigan National Guard and are posted off-limits. Most are fenced or gated. ORV traffic may not access gated areas for safety reasons.
So where can I ride my ORV/ATV??
The Bottom Line for Crawford County Roads:
So what does the new ORV ordinance mean to the average rider in Crawford County? Get a map and make sure you know where the designated trails and roads are for ORV/ATV riders. The ordinance that allows riding on the shoulders of most of the county-maintained roads in our county does NOT address riding on state trail roads or state property. So, only the DNRE designated trails are open – you still are not allowed to ride on any DNRE property or trail roads (Including Snowmobile Trails) unless they are marked as an ORV/ATV trail.
What is a county road? Make sure you have a good map that shows what a county road is and what a logging trail or two-track is. Carry a GPS or compass so you don’t get lost.
You are allowed to ride only on the shoulders of some of the roads in Crawford County; there are 5 townships and they all have designated roads on the map. Each township has the authority to open or close any of the county-maintained roads in their township. State (M-roads) are NOT open at any point. Private driveways and private subdivisions are also NOT open unless they are maintained by the county.
There are a few areas/roads which may be closed from time to time due to military activity. Please do not drive around any barricades that you might come across! This could pose a danger to you and to the military training!
It’s the Law—Land Use Rules on State or National forest lands
Excerpt from the DNRE ORV Handbook…(please pick up a copy and follow the laws in it)
ORV Operation on State-Owned Lands
In order to use these state forest areas you must have a “Michigan Recreation Passport”. Those are available to purchase at state parks, when renewing Michigan car registrations or when a state ranger is at the site. If there is no ranger when you arrive, they may put an envelope on your car and request that you purchase one by mail.
Lower Peninsula: ORV operation is permitted on all designated trails, designated areas, and designated routes (forest roads that are posted as open) in the Lower Peninsula.
Statewide: ORV use on designated trails is limited to vehicles 50 inches or less in width. Off-trail or off-route operation outside of a designated area is prohibited except for licensed hunters operating an ORV at speeds of 5 mph or less for the purpose of removing deer, bear, or elk.
State Law R299.922 – Unlawful acts generally. Rule 22-On lands owned or under the control of the department, it is unlawful for a person or persons to use or operate any wheeled, motorized vehicle in the Lower Peninsula of this state, except on a designated route, a designated trail, or a designated area. A wheeled, motorized vehicle that is properly registered under 1949 PA300, MCL 257.1 et seq.may be operated on a forest road not otherwise posted as closed to the use of motorized vehicles or entry.
In all national forests, motor vehicles can be used only on roads, trails, or areas that are designated as open. This includes all motorized wheeled vehicles from ATVs to street-legal vehicles.
- Share the trails.
- Have respect for other users. Slow down or stop your ORV when you approach others on the trail.
- When meeting equestrians, approach slowly, pull over and stop, turn off your engine.
- “Leave no Trace”. Trash is an eyesore; even biodegradable materials, such as food scraps, take time to break down. If you “Pack it In, Pack it Out”.
- Respect the rights of others on trails.
- Respect seasonal closures and adhere to Military closures.
- Respect wet areas and waterways. They are a vital resource for many plants and animals.
- Remember, taking shortcuts damages trails and causes erosion.
- Riding off trail can destroy animal burrows and spread harmful weeds that damage habitats and kill native plants.
- State and Federal trail roads are not open to ORV use unless signed and designated as open with the exception of ORV Certification for persons with a disability.
People with Disabilities