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Bike Routes, Trails, Parks and More in the Alpena area

On the sunrise side of Michigan, Alpena features miles of scenic waterfront on Thunder Bay, a part of Lake Huron known for its many shipwrecks. The area attracts scuba divers from all over who explore the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, a protected area that features over 150 shipwrecks.

Alpena is also known for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival, the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, the lengthy Alpena Trail System, municipal marina and waterfront parks.

Alpena Area Attractions

Thunder Bay and maritime activities have helped form Alpena's identity through the years and serve as the basis for several important attractions in the area. Alpena is home to the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which contains nearly 200 shipwrecks. The Heritage Center provides a unique opportunity to explore historic shipwrecks and includes an interactive exhibit featuring a a life-size 19th century schooner.

Alpena hosts the annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival during the second weekend of October each year. Outside of Alpena on US-23, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival Museum hosts over 2000 marine and lighthouse artifacts, a truly unique collecton of items large and small.

Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival Museum

Alpena's downtown area features several unique attractions, shops, and antique stores. Alpena Civic Theatre and Thunder Bay Theatre present several stage productions, musicals, and comedies throughout the year. Another place to visit is the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, a museum that showcases art, science, and historical exhibits.

Alpena Trail System

Alpena's trail system circles the majority of the city, providing terrific views of Thunder Bay, downtown Alpena, and the Thunder Bay River. The popular trail is a combination of asphalt trails and sidewalks and is used for bicycling, roller-blading, walking, and jogging.

Several city parks are connected by the paved trail system, including Mich-E-Ke-Wins Park, Starlite Beach, Riverside Skate Park, Blair Street Park, Bay View Park, Riverfront Park, and Duck Park. Island Park has several hiking trails that offer opportunities to see several kinds of birds and other wildlife.

See a map of the trail system.

Trail near Duck Park

North Eastern State Trail

The North Eastern State Trail is used for snowmobiling, mountain biking, and hiking. The trail connects Alpena, Aloha, Cheboygan, Hawks, Millersburg, Onaway, and Posen. The route covers approximately 71 miles and has a crushed limestone surface. The trail between Cheboygan and Alpena passes through wooded areas, near farmland, and through a few small towns. See the North Eastern State Trail section for a map and photos.

Alpena - Hillman Bike Route

Using the wide, paved road shoulder along M-32, cyclists can ride between Alpena and Hillman. The bike route journeys over rolling hills and has a few spots that provide panoramic views of area farmland. The shoulder narrows when you get to Hillman. M-32 can sometimes be a busy road, so obey traffic laws and be alert when riding on the shoulder.

Before you go, it's a good idea to check the State of Michigan's construction database to make sure there will not be any construction on the road that can interfere with your ride.

Get a a map of the Alpena - Hillman Bike Route.

Alpena Parks

Arthur E. Sytek Park is on the east side of Bagley Street. The park has a fishing area and kayak launch on the Thunder Bay River. The park also has access to the Alpena Trail System.

Avery Park is a small park with a benches and a clock tower. The park's large pine tree is decorated with lights during the holiday season.

Avery Park

Bay View Park and Riverfront Park are located in downtown Alpena. Bay View Park has a large bandshell, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a large playscape. The park is also adjacent to the City of Alpena Marina, which has boat launch ramps, refueling facilities, pump-out station, and over 170 boat slips. Riverfront Park is located at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River and has picnic areas with views of the river and the Alpena Light.

Blair Street Park is located at the end of Blair Street, near US-23/State Avenue. The park has a few picnic tables, and a wooden fishing pier on Thunder Bay is located at the end of Blair Street.

Hazel Crittenden Memorial Field has several soccer fields. The park is on the east side of Woodward Avenue.

Island Park and Duck Park are located on the northwest side of Alpena and are connected by a walking bridge. The parking lot at Duck Park serves both parks. Duck Park has picnic areas with views of the Thunder Bay River and a small flower garden. Island Park was established in 1944 and has a memorial for those who served in World War II near the entrance. The park has several hiking trails that snake around the park. Island Park also has docks that are for kayaks and canoes, providing access to the Thunder Bay River.

Lamarre Park is on the west side of the Thunder Bay River. The park has a small picnic area and a connector path to the paved trail along the Thunder Bay River.

McRae Park is on the west side of Alpena. The park has tennis courts and baseball diamonds.

Mich-E-Ke-Wins Park is one of the largest in Alpena and features baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, a skate park, playgrounds, and picnic area. The park also has a beach on Thunder Bay.

Riverside Skate Park is on 9th Street and has several large skateboard ramps. The park is adjacent to part of the Alpena Trail System and has a great view of the Thunder Bay River.

Starlite Beach is adjacent to Mich-E-Ke-Wins Park. The park has a sandy swimming beach, restrooms, and a small picnic area.

See a map of Alpena's parks.

Kayaking and Canoeing

The Thunder Bay River is a scenic river for kayaking and canoeing. There are several kayak docks located on the shore of Island Park that provide convenient launching/stopping points for paddlers. Points of interests along the river in Alpena include the Alpena Light at the mouth of the river and the Duck Park area, which is home to many kinds of waterfowl.

Adventureland Sports has canoes and kayaks to rent at Duck Park. They also have surrey bicycles that you can rent to ride around Alpena.

See a map of kayak launch locations.


Anglers can cast their lines for a variety of fish in Lake Huron and Thunder Bay, including walleye, salmon, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout. The Thunder Bay River is also great for fishing, and many fishermen enjoy fishing along the riverfront in Alpena to catch bass, pike, and panfish.

If you want to experience a fishing adventure, several charter fishing services are located in Alpena, including Bounty Hunter Charters, Lake & Stream Fishing Charters, and Trout Scout V Sportfishing Charters.

In July, Alpena hosts the annual Michigan Brown Trout Festival. The festival features fishing tournaments for kids and adults, music, entertainment, food and more.

A valid fishing license is required to fish on Michigan lakes and waterways, and you can get a Michigan fishing license at Clem's Live Bait & Tackle (304 N 9th Avenue), Buck's Bait & Tackle (8501 US-22), and other bait shops and sporting goods stores. You can also purchase a license at the Michigan DNR E-License web site.


Alpena's lighthouse is the Alpena Light, a striking bright red harbor light that welcomes boaters to Alpena and its well-maintained marina. The lighthouse was established at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River in 1914. The tower stands 44 feet tall, and the lighthouse can be viewed at the marina or Riverfront Park.

Alpena hosts the annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival during the second weekend of October each year.

Alpena Farmers Market

From mid-June through the end of October, the Alpena Farmers Market offers fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and much more in downtown, behind city hall off River Street. The market is open Saturdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Historical Markers

Alpena has several Michigan Historical Markers that describe places and people from the town's past. The green markers were designated by the Michigan Historical Commission.

Alpena City Hall was completed in 1908, built with limestone from Bedford, Indiana. The Georgian Revival-style building is located at 208 First Avenue in downtown Alpena. The historical marker is located near the sidewalk that leads to the entrance.

Alpena City Hall

Alpena County Courthouse opened on October 21, 1935. The art deco-style structure was designed by architect William H. Kuni of Detroit. The courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has a Michigan historical marker in front of the building. The courthouse is located at 720 Chisholm Avenue/US-23.

St. Bernard Catholic Church is a beautiful building at the corner of Chisholm and Fifth Streets in Alpena. The foundation of the church was laid in 1880, and the church was completed in 1884. The historical marker is located to the left of the stairs at the entrance.

First Congregational Church was built in 1955 and is located at 201 South Second Avenue. The original church was founded at the location in 1868.

At the Alpena County Public Library in downtown, a historical marker remembers the Daniel Carter Family, who were Alpena's first permanent settlers. The marker is located at the corner of Park Place and First Avenue.

At 633 Campbell Street, a historical marker remembers the Monarch Milling Company, which operated from 1916 to 1956.

On the outskirts of Alpena, a marker at the corner of Ford Avenue and Wessel Road describes the world's largest cement plant, which began operations in 1908.

Around Alpena

There are several restaurants, such as KFC, Dairy Queen, and Taco Bell, located along US-23 on the south side of Alpena and north of downtown. Jimmy John's and Big Boy are on Ripley Boulevard, near Grant Street. Applebee's, Culver's, and McDonald's are located along M-32/Washington Avenue on the west side of town. John A. Lau Saloon & Steak House is a historic saloon in downtown Alpena, located northeast of the river.

For lodging, Holiday Inn is located on the north side of town on US-23. On the west side of town, Best Western and Days Inn are located on M-32/Washington Avenue.

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