Beach To Beach Trail - frankfort, mi.

 

frankfort lighthouseWe often think that the best trails are far out in the wilderness. In many cases, that is true, but there are any number of excellent trails in urban areas. One of the most popular urban trails in Northern Michigan, is the section of the Betsie Valley Trail, known to the birdwatchers as the Beach to Beach Trail. Not only is it a beautiful walk along the lake, there are probably more bird species here than most any other similar trail. The Benzie Audobon Club, has recorded more than 250 species of birds.

The trail is paved most of the way, so expect to find some bicycles and other nature lovers on wheels. From Mineral Springs Park in Frankfort, the trail heads east along the shoreline of Betsie Lak,e with a short bend around the city docks, and then south along the lake again. It is not unusual to hear the beautiful song of the Warbling Vireo along this trail. All manner of waterfowl will be on the lake, including swans most times of the year. If you cross M-22 at the southern end of the trail past the lake, you can ascend the an Audubon platform for a panoramic view of the extensive marshes along the Betsie River.

From this point there are several options. You can make your way back to town and on to the beach at Lake Michigan. You could continue on along the Betsie Valley Trail, to any number of scenic locations. If you are looking for a spectacular view of the Betsie Valley and Lake Michigan, the Elberta Bluffs are the place to head for. The overlook is off of Bye Street in Elberta. It offers an unrivaled view of the lake, breakwaters, and Elberta Beach. From the overlook area, you can either drive, or, walk down a very steep narrow path to Elberta Beach. To get to the Elberta Bluffs, you have to follow Furnace Ave. along the waterfront in Elberta to Bye St.