Michigan’s Dragon Awaits in Newaygo County

In 2009, the vision for a 47-mile, natural surface, hiking & biking trail following the outline of the 4,000 acre Hardy Dam Pond emerged.  Through partnerships with Newaygo and Mecosta Counties, the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance, Consumers Energy, the Fremont Area Community Foundation, as well as many local businesses and organizations this project broke ground in 2019.

As of spring 2024, The Dragon offers 34+ miles of normal flow trail with amazing views that is conducive to all skill level mountain bikers and hikers. The initial trail segments include: 9 bridges, 3 overlooks, 100 feet of rock armoring, and 400 feet of wooden boardwalk, creating a trail that is both challenging and fun for hikers and bikers alike. Conditions permitting, the final stretch will be complete during the summer of 2024

Newaygo County is one gateway to experience The Dragon.  From trailheads located in multiple Township, State and County Parks on Hardy Pond, you can now hike or bike newly completed trail segments.  Learn more about open and future segments and access points at www.thedragon.us

Grab your bikes, hiking shoes and venture out to Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam to experience this incredible trail in the heart of the Lower Peninsula.

Trail Details

Distance: 34+ miles open (47 mile loop planned)
Challenge Level: Easy – Moderate/Difficult
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Trail Running

The Dragon Trail

Latest Progress Map with Open/Closed Segments
Dragon Map by the Newaygo County Tourism Council

Winter Grooming on the Dragon!

During the Winter Season 13 miles of trails will be groomed

Winter Grooming

13 miles open for the winter sports!

The Dragon has a dedicated team of volunteers bringing you some of the best groomed single track in the lower peninsula of Michigan! IT isn’t just a trail for fat bikers though, we welcome many other winter sports enthusiasts to get outside and experience The Dragon. We ask that all who use the trail to please be respectful of the trail etiquette for the system.

The Basics:

Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam is groomed for winter use by volunteers from the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.  To help keep the groomed trail in the best shape possible, here are ways trail users can help: 

Bikers: Please only ride groomed trails with tires that are a minimum of 3.8″ wide.  This will help avoid creating ruts in the groomed trail.

Hikers: Whenever possible, please wear snowshoes on the groomed trail.  This helps keep the groom smooth. If you don’t have snowshoes, please hike on the groomed trail’s sides to help preserve the groom in the middle for other trail users.

Skiers: Enjoy the groomed trail, and feel free to go off-trail and explore at Sandy Beach County Park or Big Bend Park when you get there.

Trail Features

Future Plans

The complete trail, when finished, will be a 47-mile loop around Hardy Dam Pond.  11 trail segments, make up this beautifully designed trail system. The trail system will be jointly managed by the Newaygo and Mecosta County Parks Commissions. In addition, the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance will spearhead maintenance efforts to provide continued care throughout the year on this world-class trail system.  This project has been 10 years in the making, and the entire local, regional and outdoor adventure community is thrilled to be sharing The Dragon with the general public.

To follow the progress of the trial construction, visit the official Dragon website at: TheDragon.us.

Stay Abreast The Dragon

With over 2,000 campsites and comfortable lodging accommodations nearby, whatever your style, Newaygo County offers the perfect hub for a variety of trail riding adventures.  Our region provides a gateway to the pristine forests, parks, lakes, and a natural landscape of The Dragon and is sure to make your outdoor adventure a memorable one.

cyclist on trail

Come for The Dragon, Stay for the Diverse Trails of Newaygo County

The Dragon is only the beginning of your Newaygo County trail riding and hiking experience.  Home to the deep woods trails of the Huron-Manistee National Forest and hilly terrain of The Edge, Newaygo County has a mountain biking and hiking adventure in store for you.

Bicyclists and hikers from far and wide make their way each year to White Cloud.  Designated a “Trail Town”, this destination makes the perfect home for your mountain biking and hiking adventure.  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 true North.

Riding the NCT

With a trail for every season, your 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 allowing a trail riding experience north to 13 Mile Road at Nichols Lake.  Additional NCT trail riding can be experience Beginning a bit further north at the Bowman Lake Trailhead north to the Udell Trailhead in Manistee County.

The Looped Trails of Hungerford

North of White Cloud and The Dragon Trail, the Hungerford Lake Trail is accessed from the popular Hungerford Lake Recreation Area, a multiple-use area featuring outdoor adventure all four seasons.  This well-marked trail offers two loops, a 7 mile and a 12 mile, that are shared by bikers and hikers in all seasons of the year.

Take it to The Edge

Accessed from Hardy Dam Park, this 6-mile trail is known for its hilly terrain and lush valleys surrounding the Muskegon and White Rivers and many lakes, wetlands, and streams. From Hardy Dam south to Croton Dam, this picturesque trail is part of a county-wide project to build over 80 miles of connected, paved pathways for walkers, runners, and cyclists.