fife lake spur trail - fife lake
Locally known as the Fife Lake Spur, this trail is special for a couple of reasons. First, one part of the loop begins in downtown Fife Lake, making it possible to park in town, and in minutes, be out in one of the least traveled parts of Grand Traverse County. The in town access, makes this a fun hike for people on a day trip or weekend getaway to Fife Lake. Second, the “Spur” connects to the North Country Trail, making it convenient for backpackers to enjoy a break in the “Trail Town” of Fife Lake, while on a longer hike or camping excursion. There are some enormous pines along this loop and the wetlands attract a large variety of birds.
In town, the trail head is right across the street from the Township Hall, on Pierce Street, or you can start at Boyd Street at the old historic schoolhouse. After parking, just step onto the trail and you are in the woods, on a gently rolling pathway. The first part of the trail descends between a wetland and the edge of town. In about a quarter mile the trail crosses Pierce Street. Here there are gentle hills as the trail wanders along the border of the disk golf course and a deep ravine. After less than half a mile, the trail will turn to the right, and wind into the forest, crossing bird filled wetlands for a short distance, where it intersects with the North Country Trail. At this juncture hikers are at the intersection of Highway 131 and 4th Street. Go to the left along 4th Street, past Mirror Lake. In about a quarter mile you arrive at Pierce Street again, and can head back to town. The entire loop is only about a mile.
A favorite spot to take a break and have a delicious meal is the Fife Lake Inn. They are right on E. State Street, just a block or so from the Fife Lake Resort. The rustic log décor of the inn reminds you that you are definitely “up north”. The service is good and the food is excellent. Enjoy a view of Fife Lake while trying the perch, for which they are so well known. If you like steak, the Ribeye here, is one of the top three I have had anywhere in Michigan.
The lake, Fife Lake, is over 600 acres, with a depth of up to 60 feet, this is a beautiful body of water. There is swimming and boating, but for fishermen, this is a paradise, particularly if you want to catch gigantic perch. The water is clear and of excellent quality. There are two islands in the lake. One has an artificial walleye spawning reef constructed in the 1950s.
If you are interested in a little urban hiking, the Fife Lake Historic Walk will take you through town and back in time. At last visit, there were 27 display plaques depicting the homes, businesses, and historic sites, as they were during the last quarter of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Each plaque includes an historic photo and a description of the particular site. A few of the locations are the Fife Lake Historical Museum, the Fife Lake Fire Barn, which has an original fire truck and other displays, a One-Room School House, and the old Hutchings Store. Inside many of the local businesses are historic photos and displays that tell the story of the village. Several of the original structures are standing and in use today. The photographs were all taken during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. The size and diversity of this photo collection is worth the trip just for the candid
shots of village life.