Head to Newaygo County, Where Michigan’s Dragon Awaits
Wrapped around Hardy Dam Pond, Michigan’s Dragon lies in wait of your arrival for big outdoor adventure. Imagine yourself soaring through the trees on fast and flowing trails that provide both a technically challenging ride and a relaxing getaway from the hustle of life. This trail isn’t just for biking though, hikers are also welcome to come explore amongst the hardwoods. Accessible from numerous trail heads in Newaygo and Mecosta Counties, each segment offers a new challenge, provoking you to explore further.
In 2009, a vision emerged for this 47-mile trail following the outline of the 4,000-acre Hardy Dam Pond. Trail building began in 2019 and as of spring 2023, this destination for biking and hiking adventure has grown to include 29+ miles of technical terrain. Trail construction utilizes sustainable natural surface trail design following the natural contours of the land, which features elements such as: numerous fiberglass truss bridges, scenic overlooks, rock armoring, and wooden boardwalks, creating a trail that is both challenging and fun for hikers and bikers alike. Construction of the final trail segments will continue into 2024.
Begin your Dragon adventure from trailheads located throughout our county and beyond. You can learn all about newly completed trail segments, trail conditions, future segments, and access points at www.thedragon.us. For trail conditions, follow the Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam Facebook page.
NewayGo County invites you to come take on The Dragon, but then stick around to explore 150+ miles of other great trails. Before heading out on any of our trail systems, be sure to stop by 37 North to gear up for your adventure. They have everything you need for your hiking and biking exploration.
Planning to stay for a few days? We have both camping and lodging options very close to the trails.
- Big Bend Township Park is open year-round and has primitive camping sites and camping trailers with access to segment 8, and future segment 7.
- Sandy Beach County Park has full hook-up campsites and camping cabins for rent. This park provides direct access to segments 9 and 10. Sandy Beach is open April 28 through early October.
- Not really a camper? The Harrington Inn located near The Dragon and NCT trails, offers upscale amenities and onsite dining to ensure a comfortable stay.
You are Going to Want to Stick Around
The Dragon is only the beginning of your Newaygo County trail riding and hiking experience. Cyclists and hikers from far and wide make their way each year to the Pure Michigan designated “Trail Town” of White Cloud. On the banks of the White River, the city of White Cloud town offers rich scenic views and a small-town feel that captures the adventurous spirit of the North.
Hiking the NCT
Your trail adventure continues from White Cloud with access to the North Country National Scenic Trail. The M20 Trailhead of the NCT is found in White Cloud. Here begins your path begins, leading you north on approximately 23 miles of hiking trail to Nichols Lake, a perfect segment for a backpacking and camping adventure. Biking is also permitted on the M20 North segment of the NCT. An additional 33+ miles of NCT trail can be experienced starting at the Bowman Lake Trailhead, heading further north to the Udell Trailhead in Manistee County.
All of this trail adventure working up an appetite? Head to Maike’s Bakery & Pizza in White Cloud for pizza or a sandwich to refuel, or Shindy’s at Diamond Lake, a general store, gas station, and tavern all in one. And if you are looking to stay just off of the trail, the Trailside Motel in White Cloud provides the perfect retreat to rest up for another day on the trails.
The Looped Trails of Hungerford
North of White Cloud, the Hungerford Lake Trail is accessed from the popular Hungerford Lake Recreation Area, a multiple-use area comprised of 6,500 acres of National Forest. Here you will find access to outdoor adventure of every sort. This well-marked trail system provides two choices: a 7-mile and a 12-mile loop that are shared by bikers, hikers, horseback riders, XC skiers and snowshoers throughout the year.
When you are ready to get back out into the great outdoors, NewayGo County, only 45 minutes from Grand Rapids, provides the perfect destination to wander in the woods on a leisurely hike or zip through the trails on your mountain bike. Spring has sprung…what are waiting? Plan your trip today.