The first stage of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is nearing completion, and after an inital ride all I can say is "Wow!" Beautiful scenery ranging from dense cedar and hemlock forest to scrubby dunes to views of Lake Michigan, an abundance of wildlife, and interesting curves over silky-smooth asphalt all combine to make this 5 mile stretch quite a treat for nature lovers and cyclists alike.
While not officially open, my understanding is that the you won't be reprimanded for taking an early ride. Do be careful though as the path is a bit dusty and the road crossings are still being completed. The grand opening is scheduled for June 20th.
Countless thanks go out to the organizations, both public and private, and all the individuals who came together to make this first stage a reality, and continue to work hard to see that the full 27 mile trail is one day completed. One ride down these first 5 miles ought to be compelling evidence that it is worthwhile endeavor and will be an extraordinary asset to the entire region.
Kudos go out to the team at Elmers who was quite delicate in the construction and paving of the path. There is very little impact outside of the 14' corridor that trail follows and I suspect that within a year or two there will be little evidence whatsoever.
Here is a video and a few photos I took on my ride yesterday.