Agonikak National Recreation Trail
Bike beyond the border into a wild forest
Just north of Land O’ Lakes is a beautiful trail that leads straight into to the heart of the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan. The Agonikak National Recreation Trail is a wild route that travels through some remote country but make no mistake, this is not the ends of the earth; it’s just the beginning. When you roll up this trail, you’ll head deep into a million-acre forest of towering trees that’s rich with wildlife and graced with sparkling Northwoods lakes. It’s a wild, backcountry experience and it’s easily enjoyed by bike.
Just outside town you can pick up the southern trailhead of the 13-mile Agonikak National Recreation Trail. To reach the trail, bike east out of town on Highway B for .8 miles, make a left on Highway 45, travel .6 miles and you’ll see a wayside on the right. There, you’ll find the trailhead. There’s plenty of parking as well as restrooms and a picnic area. It’s a great place to relax and regroup before the ride north; once you’re on the trail you’ll be in the wilderness and there will be no amenities until you get to the northern trailhead in Watersmeet. However if you’re looking for a shorter ride, there are also multiple access points along the route where you can park a car and launch your ride.
The trail is paved with a smooth, compacted gravel surface that’s perfect for most bikes. In the winter it’s used by backcountry skiers and snowshoers.
Heading north on the trail, you’ll cross the border into Michigan and travel through a beautiful wilderness of jack pine, hemlock and hardwood forests. The northern section of the trail becomes quite hilly and is a bit challenging to ride.
Just south of Highway 2 you’ll cross a pedestrian bridge over Duck Creek. The bridge offers a scenic view of the creek. The northern trailhead is the Watersmeet Town Park. There’s parking available at the park and there’s also parking at the nearby U.S. Forest Service Office.
When you reach the northern end of the Agonikak National Recreational Trail, there are scenic road routes that will allow you continue your ride, if you wish. The Ottawa National Forest continues for miles and as you’ve learned riding the Agonikak, this trail is just the beginning.