Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area

Address
3417 Eckhardt Rd

Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone
(231) 929-7911
Website
Official Website
Email
Use Contact Form
Activity Type
Biking/Hiking Trails, Other
Biking/Hiking Trails, Other
Biking/Hiking Trails, Other

Just outside of Bellaire, Glacial Hills offers beginner, intermediate or advanced trails covered by 800 acres of moderately dense forest. Welcome to Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area where 31.5 miles of hiking, mountain biking and winter sports trail await. Whether you are a novice wanting to try something new or an avid trail user, there is something for everyone at Glacial Hills. Experience the Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area- discover why it is one of the Midwest's premier trail destinations!

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking at Glacial Hills can best be described by the 3 "f's" - fast, flowy and fun.  All 31.5 miles have been professionally designed and carefully built to provide the most enjoyable experience possible.  Even better, all riders can find an appropriate and fun trail that meets their skill level.  While Glacial has some impressive elevation changes for the Midwest (several loops have high points more than 400 foot above the trailhead), the sustainable design "hides" the climbing by incorporating flat rest zones and even some shorter downhill sections. As an example, one stretch of the trail takes two miles to ultimately climb 300 feet and includes 5 downhill sections on the way up.

Hiking

Hikers love Glacial Hills - great views, abundant nature and winding paths create an unforgettable experience. While every stretch of trail has great features, the following suggested loops have become particular favorites:

  • The Valley Overlook Trail – Our shortest hike (1/2 mile) climbs gently on Glacial’s oldest trail, reaching the Valley overlook and bench halfway through your walk.  It is all downhill from there back to the parking lot. (15-20 minutes) (markers 1-2-3-4). Printable Map.
  • The Lake Bellaire Overlook Trail – This may be the most popular of the hiking trails at Glacial given the great views and moderate distance.   It includes the Lake Bellaire overlook and bench spur trail as well views from the “Knob”.  Hikers will find frequent elevation changes so the loop may feel a little longer than the measured 1.6 miles but it is all downhill from just beyond marker 8 to the parking lot.  (50-70 minutes) (markers 1-2-5-6-overlook-6-5-7-8-9-1). Printable Map.
  • Dan’s Favorite Trail – Best accessed by the small dirt parking area at the north end of Vandermark Road, Dan’s Favorite provides a good hilly 1.9 mile workout with some of the best fall color viewing at Glacial.  (55-75 minutes) (markers 34-33-15-14-34). Printable Map.
  • The Bear Den Trail – The Bear Den Trail has become a favorite of trail runners due to the frequent relatively gentle elevation changes and striking views of the Bear Valley.  The longest of the suggested loops at just over 4 miles, it can be shortened to 3.5 miles by taking the cut off at marker 31. (90-120 minutes) (markers 22-32-23-25-26-27-29-30-31-19-20-21-22). Printable Map.
  • The Wall Trail – The Wall Trail scales the steepest hill in the trail system to the highest trail point where hikers are treated to great views of wild wetlands below and (seasonally) Intermediate Lake and Craven Pond beyond.  Trail length is approximately 1.6 miles.  (50-70 minutes) (markers 45-46-44-47-48-49-50-51-43-44-46-45). Printable Map.
Activity Type
Biking/Hiking Trails, Other
Biking/Hiking Trails, Other
Biking/Hiking Trails, Other
Time to Allow


Hiking Difficulty
every level
every level
every level
Difficulty Notes


Biking Difficulty


Difficulty Notes


Just outside of Bellaire, Glacial Hills offers beginner, intermediate or advanced trails covered by 800 acres of moderately dense forest. Welcome to Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area where 31.5 miles of hiking, mountain biking and winter sports trail await. Whether you are a novice wanting to try something new or an avid trail user, there is something for everyone at Glacial Hills. Experience the Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area- discover why it is one of the Midwest's premier trail destinations!

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking at Glacial Hills can best be described by the 3 "f's" - fast, flowy and fun.  All 31.5 miles have been professionally designed and carefully built to provide the most enjoyable experience possible.  Even better, all riders can find an appropriate and fun trail that meets their skill level.  While Glacial has some impressive elevation changes for the Midwest (several loops have high points more than 400 foot above the trailhead), the sustainable design "hides" the climbing by incorporating flat rest zones and even some shorter downhill sections. As an example, one stretch of the trail takes two miles to ultimately climb 300 feet and includes 5 downhill sections on the way up.

Hiking

Hikers love Glacial Hills - great views, abundant nature and winding paths create an unforgettable experience. While every stretch of trail has great features, the following suggested loops have become particular favorites:

  • The Valley Overlook Trail – Our shortest hike (1/2 mile) climbs gently on Glacial’s oldest trail, reaching the Valley overlook and bench halfway through your walk.  It is all downhill from there back to the parking lot. (15-20 minutes) (markers 1-2-3-4). Printable Map.
  • The Lake Bellaire Overlook Trail – This may be the most popular of the hiking trails at Glacial given the great views and moderate distance.   It includes the Lake Bellaire overlook and bench spur trail as well views from the “Knob”.  Hikers will find frequent elevation changes so the loop may feel a little longer than the measured 1.6 miles but it is all downhill from just beyond marker 8 to the parking lot.  (50-70 minutes) (markers 1-2-5-6-overlook-6-5-7-8-9-1). Printable Map.
  • Dan’s Favorite Trail – Best accessed by the small dirt parking area at the north end of Vandermark Road, Dan’s Favorite provides a good hilly 1.9 mile workout with some of the best fall color viewing at Glacial.  (55-75 minutes) (markers 34-33-15-14-34). Printable Map.
  • The Bear Den Trail – The Bear Den Trail has become a favorite of trail runners due to the frequent relatively gentle elevation changes and striking views of the Bear Valley.  The longest of the suggested loops at just over 4 miles, it can be shortened to 3.5 miles by taking the cut off at marker 31. (90-120 minutes) (markers 22-32-23-25-26-27-29-30-31-19-20-21-22). Printable Map.
  • The Wall Trail – The Wall Trail scales the steepest hill in the trail system to the highest trail point where hikers are treated to great views of wild wetlands below and (seasonally) Intermediate Lake and Craven Pond beyond.  Trail length is approximately 1.6 miles.  (50-70 minutes) (markers 45-46-44-47-48-49-50-51-43-44-46-45). Printable Map.
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