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Lift Served Mountain Biking Available At Four Heartland Ski Areas

Crystal Mountain bike trails

Several Heartland ski areas allow mountain biking on their summer slopes, but if you’re looking for lift served riding, there are four choices.


Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands,Crystal Mountain in northern Michigan and Spirit Mountain in upper Minnesota offer lift served mountain biking trails and in one case a bike park complete with drops, ladders, rollers and other features.

Boyne Mountain offers seven miles of paved trails that goes right across the spine of the mountain offering great countryside views and beautiful overlooks of Deer Lake. There’s also over 30 miles of marked trails, both two-track and gnarly single-track. You will need a map. It’s all accessible from Hemlock lift, which is open seven days a week; Monday through Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and you even got brew on top of the Mountain at the Eagle’s Nest. Chairlift use is complementary to hotel guests and $5 for a single ride and $10 for multiple rides.

The Mountain is currently offering a Stay Three Nights, Get A Fourth Half Off lodging special, and with all the activities they offer in addition to mountain biking you won’t have a problem finding plenty to keep you busy. 

Boyne Highlands offers cross country routes from five miles to a mile in length, freeride-downhill trails modeled after popular North Shore designs found in the upper Northwest and Vancouver areas and only for skilled riders, and a Skills Park complete with flow tracks, berms, rollers, skinny bridges, a teeter-totter, ladders, and small drops. It’s the only true bike park in the Midwest. The MacGully chairlift is open through the summer Wednesday through Friday 2-8 p.m., Saturday noon-8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It’s $5 per ride up the lift but free to lodging guests.

The Highlands is offering a Tip of the Mitt Vacation Special that starts from $96 per night.

Crystal Mountain offers close to 20 miles of off-road mountain biking pathways and single-track, including the DNR’s Betsie River Trail that takes you down along the river. They also have six downhill, lift-served trails that range from easy to expert, all considered “technical.” Summer hours for the lift are Monday through Friday noon-8 p.m., and Saturday, Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Cost for raiding the lift is $20 daily or $89 for a five-punch card. A season pass is $99. 

Stay four nights at Crystal and get a fifth night free through August 23. You won’t have any problem figuring out what to do with an “extra day” to enjoy even more outdoor activities.    

Spirit Mountain, overlooking Duluth and Lake Superior, offers four different downhill trails up to a mile-and-a-half in length that range from easier to difficult in ability level. Each is well marked and rated. All offer breathtaking views of the city and harbor on the way down and back up the chairlift. Chairlift hours are Thursday and Friday 1-8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The cost is $8 for a single ride or $20 for an all-day pass. 

Nearby Americinn is offering July room rates starting from $99.99 Sunday through Thursday.

Photo: Mountain biking on Crystal's trails (Crystal Mountain)

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