Route: Big M Loop (MI)

Submitted by brigling on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 05:48am
Michigan, US
16.48 mi
Vertical Gain
1,504 ft

The Big M Recreation Area (formerly known as the Manistee Ski Area) sits amongst the Udell Hills and houses trails for activities such as mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and cross country skiing. This trail system used to be the site of a downhill ski resort which during the 60s was reported to have 14 ski runs, a double chairlift, T-bar, 11 rope tows, and snow making. Some of the support structures for the lifts still exist and some of the runs are left only as narrow chutes. Big M is also the host of the quite popular North Country Run trail race which currently consists of 13.1mi, 26.2mi, 50k, and 50mi races. The last remaining fire watch tower in the Huron-Manistee National Forest system also resides here and is original to 1936 but hasn't been in operation in decades. The trail system also intersects a section of the north country trail.

The main route consists of the outer loop, which features mellow single track. The route starts at the number one sign, which can be found on the big signboard in front of the lodge at the main trailhead. This route is featured as the fat tire bike trail during winter. has some good information on this loop as well.

Other variations could be made to take advantage of the many nearly 300 ft climbs that can be found here.

GPS Track