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Gaylord Michigan is All Outdoors in Every Season

While Gaylord, Michigan, is renowned for its exhilarating snowmobile trails during the winter, the fun doesn’t stop when the snow melts away. In fact, Gaylord transforms into a vibrant outdoor playground in summer, offering activities that cater to adventure seekers of all kinds. While snowmobilers may initially associate Gaylord with powdery trails and frosty landscapes, they’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that the town’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities extend far beyond the winter season. From hiking and kayaking to fishing and hunting, Gaylord’s picturesque surroundings and pristine wilderness beckon snowmobilers to trade in their sleds for hiking boots, kayaks, fishing rods and hunting gear.

Trails for Hiking and Biking:

Gaylord is a wonderland for hikers and bikers alike, with endless miles of trails that wind through lush forests, meander along rivers, and lead to panoramic vistas.

Backpackers flock to the Jordan Valley Pathway and it’s breathtaking valley views during the warm season. This 18-mile loop offers shorter segments or can be tackled in a rigorous two-day stretch. The campground at the halfway point offers refuge, as dispersed camping is not allowed in the Jordan Valley. Shorter segments can be easily completed in one day and four separate trailheads allow easy access and varied opportunities for outdoor exploration.

You can also venture into the remote wilderness of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, just north of Gaylord, where over 114,000 acres of unspoiled state land beckons you to escape into the wilderness. Here, you’ll discover one of the largest free-roaming elk herds east of the Mississippi and endless opportunities for backcountry adventures. Home to the Shingle Mill Pathway and High Country Pathway, these rugged trails offer river and forest views you won’t forget. Rustic campgrounds are available and dispersed camping is allowed, should you choose to challenge yourself for the ultimate off-the-grid adventure. Stretching over 80 miles, the looping High Country Pathway can be covered in 7-10 ambitious days on foot.

For a full list and description of area trails, visit

Angler’s Oasis:

With over 90 inland lakes and the headwaters of five major rivers, Gaylord is a mecca for anglers seeking to reel in their catch of the day. Otsego Lake, the county’s largest, is a favorite destination for serious anglers in search of trophy-sized fish. From pike, walleye, bass and robust panfish to the elusive lake sturgeon (which can grow over seven feet long), these waters teem with life.

Another enticing spot to cast a line is Heart Lake, known for producing perch and largemouth bass that will give you a fight. Small but mighty, Heart Lake is only 63 acres in size but reaches depths of 117 feet, making it the deepest in our county.

Along with our endless array of lakes, the Gaylord area is home to the headwaters of several streams full of the north’s famous trout. Headwaters for the Manistee, Black, Sturgeon, Pigeon and AuSable Rivers all flow from Gaylord. Take a short drive in any direction and you’ll find rivers teeming with trout for eager anglers.

Make Waves:

Whether you want to just dip your paddle to create a ripple or go high octane and make waves, Gaylord’s waterways welcome you to dive in! You’ll see the full summer assortment of watersports on sprawling Otsego Lake, where jet skis and speedboats share the fun with pontoons, kayaks and paddleboards.

Public access sites with paved parking, restrooms and modern docks include Big Lake and Dixon Lake, two local favorites. Thumb Lake just north of Gaylord covers 484 acres and has plenty of room for boating enthusiasts to the west side and sunbathers to the east.

Find full descriptions for these lakes and more at

Hunting Haven:

Otsego County has earned a well-deserved reputation as a hunting hotspot, thanks to its central location, vast tracts of state land and variety of game.

Hunters will find an abundance of state land where they can set up camp and embark on rugged hunting expeditions reminiscent of days gone by. With acres upon acres of wilderness at your disposal, there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the thrill of the hunt in Gaylord’s untamed wilderness. With its vast expanses and thick forest cover, the Pigeon River Country State Forest is a hotspot for hunting during every season.

Plan Your Adventure:

Before you embark on your outdoor adventure, stop by Jay’s Sporting Goods for all your fishing and hunting gear and outdoor equipment needs. With a huge selection of recreational items and knowledgeable staff, Jay’s has everything you need to make the most of your outdoor time. Visit Jay’s just south of downtown Gaylord at 1151 South Otsego Avenue or

For those seeking expert guidance on the rivers of northern Michigan, White Pine Guide Service offers professional fishing expeditions led by US Coast Guard Captain Dakota Mack. Whether you’re a novice angler or a seasoned veteran, Dakota’s years of guiding experience and expertise ensure an unforgettable fishing experience on the rivers of northern Michigan. Contact Dakota at 989-906-2505 or learn more at

You don’t have to haul your own gear to head out into Gaylord’s great wild. Recreational rentals include fishing boats, pontoons, kayaks, bicycles, e-bikes, rafts and recreational vehicles. A full list of equipment rentals is available at

From hiking and biking to fishing and hunting, Gaylord, Michigan, offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Pack your bags, lace up your boots and prepare to immerse yourself in our boundless wilderness. We can’t wait to welcome you to our summer paradise!

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