For years, I told my husband Mike that we should trek the 7+ mile walk around Lake Cadillac. We revisited the topic, picked a day where the weather looked great, and planned for it. Having it coincide with Michigan Trails Week was a nice addition, as the path encircling the lake touches a few of Cadillac’s trails.

The morning of, my husband reminded me it’s only (ONLY?!) about 7 miles and wondered why I felt the need to pack a small bag with a bottle of water and a few other things. I’m a planner, it’s what we do.

We parked in the waterfront lot on Lake Street, across the street from After 26 Depot Café. (Any distances noted are starting from this point.)  Cue the “Rocky” theme song and playful eye roll from Mike as we set off about 10:40am.

The colors in the trees were starting to change a bit so I took pictures along the Keith McKellop walkway and as we continued on past the playground, sculptures, and Cadillac Vikings Veterans Memorial Stadium.

There is a stretch on Chestnut Street just past the Up North Arts facility that is a residential sidewalk, and veers away from the lake. (Just be sure to stop and take your picture with the butterfly wings painted on the side of the building before you continue on!) The City of Cadillac recently resurfaced the street and sidewalk, making it a nice path for walking or biking.

As we neared the end of Chestnut to North Boulevard, the road narrows to a bike lane, but also opens back up to the lakeshore.

At about the 2.5 mile mark we arrived at Kenwood Park. The bathroom was open and clean. Mike laughed at me for taking pictures, but hey! This is important.  😉

Continuing along the lakeshore and touching the edge of the Heritage Nature Trail at Mitchell State Park, we arrive at the canal.  Fun fact – did you know the canal has been featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not? The campground was filling up for the weekend, with more campers arriving as we walked around the canal and into the area of the M-115 and M-55 intersection and area commonly known as “Cadillac West.”

At the halfway mark (about 3.5 miles) we arrived at the nautical inspired properties that have been under construction the past year and a half. The newly renovated Lake Cadillac Resort, Dockside Inn, and Lake Cadillac Party Store/Ultimate Ice Cream together offer 1,000 feet of shoreline access. We took a break to sit under the waterfront pergola after buying a cold bottle of iced tea at the party store. It’s such a beautiful view of the lake and the docks and a great place to relax. There are several restaurants and shops in this area if you’re looking for a full breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. If you need to use a restroom, this is the last chance you’ll have for over 3 more miles. (Again, this is based on where we started our walk.)

Afraid to sit too long, (I may have not gotten up!) we moved on to the causeway and Sunnyside Drive.

Appreciative for more flat and paved walkway as we continued on the shore-hugging winding path through a residential neighborhood and passing the only lakefront condos for short term rentals, Sunset Shores Resort. We continued along and eventually, we connected with the White Pine Trail where it intersected with Sunnyside Drive. On the trail, we were passed by several people out enjoying the pathway on their bikes, and an elderly couple out for a short stroll. The wide and flat pathway allows for a variety of non-motorized activities and the tree lined edges provided some beautiful color. Did you know the White Pine Trail is actually a linear park in the Michigan State Park system? The 92 mile long pathway connects Cadillac and Comstock Park, just north of Grand Rapids. The City of Cadillac, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Cadillac Area Community Foundation, are in the process of developing a formal trail head in downtown Cadillac, where the trail begins (or ends!). This last stretch of the trail led us back into town and to the lakeshore again. Within minutes we had a view of the park and our car. We made it!

The complete walk was a total of 7.06 miles, and took us about 2.5 hours, which includes the time for our short breaks. It really shouldn’t have taken me a few years to finally do this! Sure, I was a bit sore, hungry, and tired afterward but it was a great opportunity to see the lake and the community from a different vantage point.

Even after driving these same roads and same route over the years, this walk provided some time to observe things we normally may not, and have over 2.5 hours of time to talk with my husband while our daughter was in school. (Many parents can likely appreciate the uninterrupted conversation time!)

I’d encourage you to grab your most comfortable shoes, plan out your starting/stopping points, and make the walk/jog/bike around Lake Cadillac. You won’t be disappointed, and you might actually want to do it again!