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Gladstone Area Parks, Trails, Bike Routes, Lighthouse & More

Located along the northwest shore of Little Bay De Noc, Gladstone is known for lucky fishing spots, a beautiful beach, and ski hills that overlook the area. The city is situated at the intersection of US-2/US-41 and M-35, major roads that allow for easy access from Marquette, Escanaba, St. Ignace and other cities in the Upper Peninsula.

Van Cleve Park & Gladstone Beach

Van Cleve Park is a large, beautiful park on the shore of Little Bay De Noc that includes Gladstone Beach and Gladstone Harbor. The park is named for Frank H. Van Cleve, an influential businessman during Gladstone's early days who was born in Ypsilanti in 1848 and graduated from the University of Michigan.

Gladstone Beach is on the south side of Van Cleve Park and features a long, sandy swimming beach on Little Bay De Noc. It's a great place to cool off in July and August. Kids love the water slide that is in the shallow water, several feet from shore. Gladstone Beach House is a short walk from the beach and includes public showers and restrooms for changing into swimsuits. You'll want to use the center drive for Van Cleve Park, near the end of 13th Street, for the parking areas that are closest to the beach and the beach house.

Recreation facilities at the park include a skate park, baseball diamond, basketball court, volleyball court, and exercise stations. A paved trail that winds around the park and is used for walking and jogging. A fishing pier is located near the lighthouse.

Van Cleve Park has a large pavilion and a picnic shelter that are perfect for gatherings or family reunions. The pavilion, near the intersection of 9th Street and Minneapolis Avenue, has a dedicated circular drive with restrooms nearby. The picnic shelter is near the large playground that is west of the center drive for Van Cleve Park. There are smaller picnic areas at the park also.

For kids, the park features a huge playscape with wooden towers and climbing areas. Swingsets, teeter-totters, slides, and other playground equipment are also located at the park. There's plenty of things for kids to do at Van Cleve Park.

The park has a scenic walking bridge and gazebo, as well as many old growth trees that are beautiful during the fall. The park is a great place to relax and enjoy picturesque views of Little Bay De Noc.

Other Gladstone Parks

Gladstone Sports Park is home to the town's little league teams, which have excelled over the years. Gladstone teams finished second in the Senior League World Series in 2001 and 2002 in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2007, the Gladstone Major League girls softball team finished third in the Little League World Series Tournament in Portland, Oregon. Gladstone Sports Park features ball diamonds on the west side of North Bluff Drive. Parking is located on the in the area surrounding the ball fields.

Gladstone Ski Hill is part of Gladstone Sports Park and is located on the east side of North Bluff Drive. The ski area is designed for beginner and intermediate skiers and includes snowboard and tubing areas. Ski and snowboard lessons are available. A chalet near the parking area has a concession stand. For the ski-hill fees, please see the city's Gladstone Ski Hill web page.

Pfotenhauer Park is adjacent to James T. Jones Elementary School on 10th Street. The park has tennis courts and a small picnic shelter.

Fifth Street Park has a basketball court and playground equipment, and is on 5th Street between Wisconsin Avenue and Michigan Avenue.

Near downtown on Delta Avenue, Pocket Park has benches for relaxing.

East Buckeye Park is located on the south side of 4th Avenue, across the street from the Gladstone Public Safety Building. The park has a playground and a scenic view of Little Bay De Noc.

West Buckeye Park is a small park with a play area, located on the west side of Gladstone on 3rd Avenue.

Gladstone Lighthouse

A new addition to the waterfront in the last couple years, the Gladstone Lighthouse is a welcoming sight for visitors to the harbor area. It's located on a strip of land that extends from Van Cleve Park, south of the harbor entrance.

The lighthouse tower has a fabricated shell that resembles staggered bricks, with a black cap at the top. There are several spots at Van Cleve Park that are excellent for taking photos of the lighthouse.


Little Bay De Noc is known for great walleye fishing. Fishermen can also catch smallmouth bass, salmon, northern pike, perch and others from the waters near Gladstone.

For those who like to fish near land, a large fishing pier is located at Van Cleve Park, near the lighthouse. Parking and restrooms are located nearby.

A second fishing pier is located north of downtown on N Lake Shore Drive at the William Bullen Memorial Fishing Facility. A small parking lot on a side street, Bay Drive, is just a short walk from the fishing pier. A vaulted toilet is available next to the parking lot.

When winter comes and a thick sheet of ice covers Little Bay De Noc, the bay becomes a shanty village for ice fisherman. Once the ice is thick enough, many fishermen use the boat launch ramp at the Bay De Noc Access Site to drive their fishing shack to a preferred spot on the ice.

A valid fishing license is required to fish in Michigan, so be sure to have one when you fish the state's lakes and waterways. You can get a license online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site and at bait shops and sporting goods stores.


When the weather warms up, recreational boaters enjoy spending time on Little Bay De Noc, and the Gladstone area has two public facilities that can be used by boaters.

Gladstone Harbor at Van Cleve Park has over 35 boat slips and offers services for transient and seasonal boaters. Amenities at the marina include 120V 30 electrical service, gas, diesel, pump-out service, ice, restrooms, showers, and long-term parking. The harbor is open from May 15 through Labor Day. A boat launch is accessible from the center drive of Van Cleve Park, and there is nearby parking for vehicles with trailers. For more details, call the harbormaster at (906)428-2916.

Gladstone Yacht Club is located at Gladstone Harbor and is a member of the Yachting Club of America. They welcome visitors from other clubs to stop by and say 'hello.'

Northwest of downtown Gladstone on N Lake Shore Drive, the Bay De Noc Access Site enables boaters to launch their vessels on to Little Bay De Noc. The site has a large parking area for vehicles with trailers. Vaulted toilets are located near the boat ramp. The access site is maintained the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Bike Routes

Cyclists can use city streets to ride around Gladstone to Van Cleve Park and Gladstone Bay Campground. The streets have low to moderate vehicle traffic, and cyclists can ride along the outer edge of the street. See the maps page for the exact route.

For cyclists who like to ride places, you can travel to other cities in the Upper Peninsula from Gladstone using the paved shoulders of local roads. When riding on a road shoulder, remember to stay alert, obey traffic laws, and use caution.
  • Gladstone - Kipling Bike Route

    The route from Railway Avenue to Kipling Bar is over one mile long. Using the side of 9th Street and the road shoulder along N Lake Shore Drive, cyclists can ride from the north side of downtown to Kipling. The route offers a great view of Little Bay De Noc, and you'll pass the William Bullen Memorial Fishing Facility, Kipling House Bed & Breakfast, and Kipling Bar. The vehicle traffic along this route can be light to moderate.

  • Gladstone - Marquette Bike Route

    You can ride a little over 60 miles to Marquette. From the intersection of M-35 and US-2/US-41, you'll ride along the outside edge of the outer lane on M-35. When the road shoulder appears (before 29th Street), begin riding on the wide, paved shoulder. You'll ride along M-35 through Brampton, Rock and McFarland. The route goes east towards Little Lake, and when M-35 meets M-553, turn right and go north on M-553. Continue riding on the road shoulder of M-553 to Marquette. The ride along M-553 can be hilly and offer some nice scenery. The vehicle traffic along this route can be moderate to light at times (depending on the time of day), but in some areas you may encounter more traffic, especially near Gwinn and Marquette.

  • Gladstone - Manistique Bike Route

    Cyclists can ride between Gladstone and Manistique using the wide road shoulders along US-2. The route goes through Thompson and Rapid River. In Rapid River, the shoulder will shrink, and you'll need to ride on the outside edge of the outer lane. Pine forests, wetlands, and occasional farms are located along the route. The route is approximately 45 miles long. Vehicle traffic is typically moderate along this route, but depending on the time of day/year, traffic can be heavier.
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. For longer routes, you'll also want to pack food, water, and supplies.

Area Trails

A paved path starts on the north side of Lake Shore Drive, west of Marble Avenue. The route can be used for walking, jogging, or biking. The path moves to the south side of the street at Marble Avenue and then goes east to Van Cleve Park. It then meanders around Van Cleve Park to the large pavilion near Minneapolis Avenue. The entire route is about a mile to the pavilion, but can be made longer if you also walk along the side of the drive at the park and then use a path to walk to the lighthouse.

On the west side of Gladstone, there are paved paths along 29th Street, North Bluff Drive, and part of M-35. The paths connect to each other and can be used for biking, jogging, and walking. The entire trail is approximately 2 miles long. It passes Grace Baptist Church, Fernwood Cemetery, and W.C. Cameron Elementary School and leads to the Gladstone Sports Park.

During the winter, a snowmobile trail on the west side of Gladstone goes from the north side of M-35, angles northeast towards North Bluff Road and then goes north past Brampton 27.5 Road.

More About Gladstone

In June and July, the city hosts a live concert series at Van Cleve Park. The free "Concert in the Park" series is held on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in front of the Gladstone Beach House. You're welcome to bring a lawnchair or blanket, and spend a relaxing evening at the park.

The Gladstone Yacht Club hosts the Rockin' the Bay Festival in June. The annual benefit concert features local bands and other acts.

Irish Oaks Golf Course offers a challenge for golfers. The 18-hole course opened in 2002 and is located southwest of downtown Gladstone at 6141 Co Rd 420 21st Road. For more details, call (906)428-2616.

You'll find several restaurants and bars in downtown Gladstone, such as Main Street Pizza and The Sand Bar. Dairy Flo is a great place to get ice cream in the summer. Subway and McDonald's are outside of downtown on Lowrie Avenue.

Gladstone Bay Campground is located on the east side of Gladstone, near Little Bay De Noc. The campground offers electrical, water and sewer hook-ups, dump station, restroom/shower facility, wireless Internet service, playground, and more. The campground opens in mid-May. For reservations and more information, call (906)428-1211.

For lodging, Gladstone Motel is located near downtown on 9th Street. Lakeside Motor Inn is on Lowrie Street. Kipling House Bed & Breakfast is located about a mile north of Gladstone and offers a variety of accommodations. You'll find more lodging options to the south in Escanaba.

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