Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trip report — Northern Michigan’s VASA singletrack

VASA singletrack mountain biking

Moutain biking the VASA singletrack; image courtesy SteveF

I’ve been on the road for the past week, testing the Garmin nuvi 2495LMT 2497LMT and Oregon 650t, while visiting my wife’s family in Michigan. We got in a brief side trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and next year I want to do an extended hike there, so that may be a forthcoming trip report. For today though, I want to share our mountain biking experience on the VASA singletrack trail, just outside Traverse City.

I did some online research before going, and had downloaded tracks of 5k, 10K and 25K loops. But when I mentioned this at the bike rental shop they told me that those were forest roads and that the singletrack was south of there, off Supply Road (you can see it at the bottom of this map).

The VASA singletrack is well marked, with map signage at many points along the way. It is about 12 miles long and offers less than 500 feet in elevation gain; there are also several shorter loops available.  It’s not really that technical, although there are a few rooty dropoffs on the farthest section and there are some tight areas that could result in trees grabbing your handlebars if you aren’t careful.

It should have been a breeze for us, since a typical short ride in the southern Appalachians might see us knock out a thousand feet of gain. But this was our first time on 29ers, and they were probably undersized. I didn’t think about it till after the fact, but the change in bike/rider geometery sure can make you sore!

Map showing VASA singletrack GPS track

The VASA singletrack trail

You can see the track above; note that there is a straight segment of about 0.2 miles where the Oregon 650t locked up on me!

The trail is supposed to be ridden in a counter-clockwise direction. If you’re going, be sure to bring your checkbook; use requires a Michigan recreation passport, which will run you $8.40 for non-resident day use ($11 annually for residents or $30.50 for non-residents).

Here’s a link to a Garmin Adventure, the .gpx track file, and a picture of my awesome mountain biker wife standing in front of a lake along the trail… (EDIT: The image below was shot with the Oregon 650t camera.)

VASA singletrack lake

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Lucky man Rich!

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