HomeTrailsATV Trails In Upper Michigan: Yoop It Up

ATV Trails In Upper Michigan: Yoop It Up [Video]

Offroad Trails In MI

ATV Trails In Upper Michigan


Why You Need To ATV Upper Michigan

The upper peninsula (UP) is a world unto itself. The UP is about 30% of Michigan’s land mass, but with only about 3% of the states population.

All that land surrounded by rugged coastline and covered with trees is a sportsman paradise. The UP includes several national forests, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Pictured Rocks National Seashore and the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

Heck, on the western side of the UP you can even find three ski areas: Porcupine Mountains Ski Area, Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort and Ski Brule.

Are these ski areas to rival Colorado or Jackson Hole Wyoming – NO! Of course not, they’re comparably small hills! But just the fact that this area is so big and so diverse that it even has downhill skiing is a major selling point.

With over 3,800 miles of trails and routes, Michigan is a motorsport paradise. Most of these trails are located in the upper peninsula.

Acres and acres of raw unspoiled wilderness with virtually no people. Yoopers (UP residents/locals) wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you like a bit more “civilization” with your adventure, the UP has you covered on that front too. The charming college town of Marquette consistently ranks as one of the best small towns in Michigan. It has a lovely downtown with a cool unpretentious vibe, excellent restaurants and shopping.

With a population of just over 21,000, Marquette is the largest town in the UP!

Remote wilderness resort, camping or cute college town – the UP has you covered.

The ATV trails in Upper Michigan can’t be beat!


Route vs Trail vs Motorcycle Only

This is Michigan’s way of differentiating what size vehicles are allowed.

  • Trail = ORVs < 50”and motorcycles. Maintained at 50” width.
  • Route = ORVs of all sizes including ATVs, off-road motorcycles. Maintained at 72” or greater.
  • Motorcycle Only = Motorcycle only. Trails maintained at 24” wide.

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ATV Trails In Upper Michigan

Ottawa National Forest

  • Trail Miles: 2,300 miles (roads and trails)
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Towns, campgrounds (free and fee), gas, food, lodging
  • Vehicles Allowed: Vehicles < 65” with “off-road low pressure tires”, full size on forest service roads

The almost 1,000,000 acre Ottawa Forest boasts of 2,300 miles of roads and trails open to motorized travel. This region has the highest concentration of off roading opportunities and ATV trails in Upper Michigan.

A local civic organization, MI-TRALE (Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment) maintains 500+ miles of trails for off roaders. They also maintain some horse trails as well.

Ottawa National Forest map - ATV Trails In Upper Michigan
Map by Michigan DNR

Popular ATV Trails In The Ottawa National Forest

Ottawa Connector Route (OC): 74 Miles. Connects Bill Nichols ORV Route, Bergland-Sidnaw ORV Route and Iron River ORV Route. Multi use trail. Detailed ATV maps: OC Route South / OC Route North

Bill Nichols Trail (BN): 41 miles. A rails to trails project built on the former grade of the Copper Range Railroad that helped fuel the Copper industry in the 1800s. This trail runs part way up the Keweenaw peninsula from Mass City to Houghton (You can hop on additional trails to travel further up the Keweenaw. See Keweenaw section. Multi use trail. Detailed maps: BN Route South / BN Route North

Stateline Trail (SL): 103 miles. This trail starts east of Wakefield MI and ends in a loop just past Iron River MI. This trail was formerly known as the IM: Iron River – Marenisco Trail. This trail runs along the route of the former State Line Railroad. There are big future plans to hopefully have this trail cross the entire upper peninsula. Series of maps for this route: SL Route West / SL Route Central / SL Route East 

Some roads and trails in the region are designated “seasonal” and are only open from May 16th through March 14th. If you do the math on this, that basically means they’re only closed for two months. They close for mud season to limit trail damage.

You can disperse camp for free in the Ottawa National forest along the roads and trails that allow OHVs. Several primitive campground with sites and pit toilets and also available. Some are free and some charge a small nightly fee < $15 a night.

Know Before You Go

  • There is a lot of camping available, but not all campgrounds allow ATV use. Be sure you choose one that does. The 7 campgrounds that allow ATVs can be found here: Ottawa National Forest ATV Campgrounds
  • The Ottawa National Forest has 500 named lakes and 2,000 miles of rivers and streams, so pack a fishing rod!

US Forest Service: Ottawa National Forest ATV Riding


Keweenaw Peninsula

  • Trail Miles: 160 miles
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Towns, campgrounds (free and fee), gas, food, lodging
  • Vehicles Allowed: Primarily ATV, SxS. Some motorcycle, full size. Depends on trail

If you’re looking for a remote riding experience, the Keweenaw Peninsula is just the ticket. Even by remote upper peninsula standards, the Keweenaw Peninsula is REMOTE.

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The Keweenaw Peninsula juts north into Lake Superior. Located north of the Ottawa National Forest riding area, the riding opportunities are almost limitless. Trails from the Keweenaw Peninsula link up with the Bill Nichols Trail that takes you south to the Ottawa National Forest riding trails.

It’s possible to travel north from Mass City all the way to the very tip of the pennisula past Copper Harbor.

These ATV trails are primarily built on old railway grades, so they’re easy and family friendly.

If you’re looking for a quick easy getaway on the Keweenaw, we have the perfect ATV resort for you in 10 Awesome ATV Resorts With ATV Rentals, Cabins & Food.

Popular Trails On The Keweenaw Pennisula

Houghton – Calumet Route- 14 miles. Do this ride in conjuction with the Keewinaw ORV route and you’ll get the full Keweenaw experience.These two trails meet up in Calumet. Map

Keewinaw ORV Route – 50.6 miles. This is the main northern ATV trail through the Keweenaw Peninsula. It starts in Calumet, takes you up to Copper Harbor and beyond. There are spurs and off chutes off this main route including High Rock Bay trail. Detailed route maps

High Rock Bay – 5 miles. Get off the beaten path. This short 5 mile jaunt off the main trail takes you out to the very end of the pennisula. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Superior. From 1964 – 1971, NASA launched rockets from here for meteorological data collection.

Know Before You Go

  • If you’re in Hancock and want to ATV across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to Haughton you will need to plan ahead. You can cross at one of 3 designated times or call 906-482-2121 to schedule a crossing. City of Haughton ATV Bridge Escorts
  • Daily police escorts are at:
    • 9:15 am
    • 1:15 pm
    • 6:15 pm
  • The Keweenaw is also the jumping off point to catch the ferry to the amazing Isle Royal National Park, one of the most rugged, isolated and least visited national parks.
  • Copper Harbor is one of the best mountain biking trail systems in the US. It’s ranked by the IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) as a Silver Level Ride Center. Copper Harbor Trails

Keweenaw ATV Club: Interactive Trail Map


Marquette-Manistique Trail 

  • Trail Miles: 27 miles + 54 miles
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Towns, campgrounds (free and fee), gas, food, lodging
  • Vehicles Allowed: About 2/3 of this route is open to vehicles of all sizes, but the start of the trail on the Marquette side is only open to ATVs < 50” and motorcycles. See map link for details

The first part of this route is the Marquette-Manistique Trail (27 miles). This section is only open to ATVs < 50” and motorcycles.

The Marquette Manistique Trail connects with the Marquett Manistique Route (54 miles) is open to all vehicles.

Route vs trail is Michigan way of differentiating what size vehicles are allowed.

Nice smooth ride on hard packed dirt. Not the most amazing views as it’s heavily treed forest riding, but it’s relaxing and easy going.

This ride takes you right through the Lakenenland Sculpture Park. Tom Lakenenland has spent the past 25 years building over 100 metal sculptures basically in the middle of nowhere. With an admission price of totally free – it’s fun, funky and definitely random.

Forward to 2:36 to see some of the sculpture park

3 Detailed DNR Maps: Marquette-Manistique ATV Trail Map 

FREE FREE FREE – Tons Of Free Maps

Free printable DNR (Department of Natural Resources) maps of forest service roads open to OHVs: Michigan DNR ATV Trail Maps

Drummond Island / Turtle Ridge Off Road Park

  • Trail Miles: 60 miles ATV< 50”/Motorcycle, 40 miles ORV/Full Size
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: None on trails (but easily available on island)
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycle, full size. Depends on trail

Challenging/advanced trails are in short supply in Michigan. A lot of the trails in Michigan are on converted railroad beds or on level trails through forests, so fairly level without a lot of variety.

This is why Drummond Island is considered to have some of the best ATV trails In Upper Michigan-the variety of terrain. There are trails for all skill levels – easy to advanced. Plus some technical sections where you can really get a workout.

ATV Trails In Upper Michigan

Drummond Island ORV Difficulty Map

Vehicles of all sizes are welcome on Drummond Island. The routes are well marked with signage, so it’s easy to navigate.

In addition to the 100 miles of Island managed off roading trails, there is also a privately owned off roading park that is part of the Drummond Island Resort. Turtle Ridge Off Road Park is on 500 acres with a mix of trails for beginners to advanced. Turtle Ridge 1 Day Vehicle Pass: $30. No passenger fee

There is no bridge, so the only way to access the island is by Ferry.

  • Car/Pickup/UTV: $20
  • ATV/Motorcycle: $10
  • Motorhome: $35
  • Trailers (varies by length): $20 – $35

Know Before You Go

  • Drummond Island has a lot more to offer than just off roading: kayak/canoe trails, hiking, camping, bird watching, wildlife, beaches, restaurants
  • Ferry Schedule
  • Open year round

Michigan State Forest/State Park

ATV Friendly Parks & Campgrounds


  • Michigan requires both an ORV License ($26.25) and a $10 trail permit. View Rule. Buy Online
  • Michigan offers 2 summer weekends a year when you can ride the trails and scramble ares for free. Check free dates. Expect crowds. Personally I’d rather pay the fee and ride on a Tuesday, but not everyone has that luxury.
  • Michigan is ATV friendly! Large portions of Michigan (especially the UP) rely on outdoor recreation/ tourism, so they welcome off roaders.
  • ATVs can be street legal in Michigan (but you need no-fault insurance which is difficult to get)
  • Michigan has special rules regulating youth operators. View Rules
  • No ORV riding in public hunting areas during November deer gun season
  • Michigan doesn’t require helmets for drivers 21 years old on street legal motorcycles, but they are required for ORV trail use.

Iron Ore Heritage Trail

  • Trail Miles: 24 miles
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Towns, campgrounds (free and fee), gas, food, lodging
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATVs < 50”, motorcycles
Iron Ore Heritage ATV Trail In Upper Michigan map

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 47 mile long multi-use trail. ATVs are allowed on the trail from the Negaunee’s Ice Arena to downtown Republic.

This is an easy trail perfect for a quick outing. Trail surface is part paved, part crushed limestone and part unimproved.

Iron Ore Heritage Trail


Newberry Michigan / Luce County

This video shows a ride on the The Pine Ridge – Two Hearted ATV Trails In Upper Michigan. Off the Two Hearted ATV Trail is the path to the beach.
  • Trail Miles: 200+ miles
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Towns, campgrounds (free and fee), gas, food, lodging
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATVs < 50”, motorcycle.

Newberry makes a great base for an ATVing adventure with some of the best ATV trails in Upper Michigan. Explore the many roads open to off roading in the Lake Superior State Forest as well as 6 ATV trails managed by the DNR.

  • The Pine Ridge: 49 miles. Connects with Two Hearted. map
  • Two Hearted: 36 miles. Shown in video with path to remote beach. map
  • Silver Creek: 34 miles. map
  • Sandtown Motorcycle Trail: 36 miles. Motorcycle only. map
  • Danaher Plains Trail: 30 miles. map
  • Newberry-Rexton Motocycle Trail: 54 miles. Bikes only. map

Forest Islands Trail & Route

  • Trail Miles: 
    • Forest Island Trail: 19 miles. ATVs < 50”, motorcycle
    • Forest Island Route: 20 miles. Full size, ATVs, SxS, motorcycle
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Cedar River North Campground, gas, food, lodging in Cedar River
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATVs < 50”, motorcycle, full size

This trail system is comprised of two main loops – one for ATVs <50″ only, the other open to all sized vehicles.

Trails cut through the Escanaba River State Forest outside of the small town of Cedar River where you can find gas, food and lodging.

DNR: Forest Islands Trail & Route Map


Norway Trail

  • Trail Miles: 27 miles 
  • Fees: ORV License ($26.25) + $10 trail permit (must have both)
  • Services: Available in Norway MI
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATVs < 50”, motorcycle

This trail is also sometimes called the Cassidy Creek Truck Trail.

Two connected loops that take you through the wooded areas surrounding the small town of Norway.

Lots of good mudding in spring.


For more fantastic off roading opportunities in Michigan check out The Mounds and Silver Lake State Park.

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