The Alpine Village of Gaylord is naturally branded as “All Outdoors” for a reason.
It specializes in outdoor adventure, wrapped in lakes, winding rivers and endless trails surrounded by pines and hardwood forests. Then we combine it with a woody fragrance known as “up north.” It can’t be bottled and can barely be described but somehow contains a combination of pine, earth and a hint of campfire.
If you have ever been here, you know this smell. You long for it. You breathe deeply as it tantalizes your senses and sets your mind at ease … and you take it home with you along with the memories you have made.
Walking, riding, biking or hiking
We offer something for every skill and age level. Experience all that Otsego County has to offer along one of our many wooded pathways, trail systems, local parks and state Forests.
Here are just a few that may peak your interest:
Aspen Park is located close to downtown Gaylord and features 100 acres of woods, paved and unpaved trails for walking, biking and in-line skating. Don’t forget to stop by the boundary shared with Elk Park to view the elk, sika and fallow deer herds.
North Central State Trail
Gaylord is the gateway to the North Central State trail 62 miles of trails leading to the Straights of Mackinac. This former railroad line that was refurbished and improved with a crushed limestone surface is a haven for bikers, runners and walkers of all ages.
Pigeon River State Forest
This land, which Ernest Hemingway called the "pine barrens east of Vanderbilt" and what Michigan pioneer conservationist P.S. Lovejoy liked to call "The Big Wild," is home to the largest herd of wild elk east of the Mississippi and forms a major part of the watershed of three of Michigan's premier trout streams, the Sturgeon, the Pigeon River and the Black.
The Pigeon River Forest’s expansive 105,000 acres offers a unique wilderness experience with some of the best hiking in Michigan. Some of the trails are also available to mountain bikes.
Tubing, canoeing and kayaking
Otsego County has more than 90 inland lakes and five premier rivers. Otsego County is the headwaters to five favorite rivers: Black River, Pigeon River, AuSable River, Manistee River and Sturgeon.
Grab a canoe or kayak and explore the many rivers and tributaries. The Sturgeon River is the fastest river in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula! Not whitewater, but exciting and challenging with its quick and often tricky current, along with leaning trees, stumps, and logs (especially when navigating through numerous narrow passages and sharp turns).
For something a little less thrill-inducing, tubing is a great way to relax and float down the river. No paddle or skill required.
For those looking to cast a line, dozens of lakes are stocked with the catch-of-the-day. Otsego Lake offers a variety of species of freshwater fish. The water is alive with walleye, perch, small-and large-mouth bass, pike sturgeon and crappie, among other sport fish.
Beyond Otsego Lake, the county boasts more than 90 inland lakes. Big Bear Lake and Big Lake are two favorites for fun. Big Bear Lake has a maximum depth of 36 feet and occupies 350 square acres. Big Lake has a maximum depth of 81 feet and is about a third of the size of Big Bear Lake.
Sure, Gaylord's got loads of fantastic fishing lakes — they're those big blue blurbs all over the map — but did you know the area is stocked with a heap of streams chock full of the North's famous trout?
The Gaylord Golf Mecca is your premier golf destination. Experience 15 championship golf courses and 17 lodging facilities, which include world-class resorts and championship golf, designed by some of America's top golf course designers.
We have the setting, the gear, and lodging (from camping, cabins, hotels and resort accommodations) to help you experience northern Michigan at its finest. We’ve done all the homework for you.
Visit our website at gaylordmichigan.net to view our complete resource for experiencing everything “All Outdoors” and request your free Gaylord Visitor’s Guide that includes detailed information and insider secrets on what to do and see.