All too often when we think of transportation – especially commuting – our minds jump to motorized vehicles. There is good reason for this. At least 90 percent of all trips to work in the Upper Peninsula’s western six counties are made by motor vehicle. Only 8 percent are made by walking, with the bulk of those attributed to Houghton County with its large population of college students. (See the “Commuting to Work” table, which illustrates use of alternative forms of transportation in the Western U.P.)

Facilities for walking – and bicycling, for that matter – are limited in most parts of the Western Upper Peninsula. The small cities and villages have it best with their pedestrian-friendly downtowns and sidewalk networks, though even some city streets can be a challenge. Long-distance non-motorized transportation routes that are suitable for mainstream commuting use in the rural areas are limited mainly to several pathways and trails separated from roadways. Purely recreational trails are much more prevalent. The links below or the drop-down menu bar above will lead you to a set of county maps and lists of trail information in the Western U.P. showing where those trails are along with a list of possible connections to transit for combining transportation modes.

The enthusiastic contributions of recreationalists in the Western U.P. to non-motorized transportation, both near and far, are one element in the goal of promoting alternate forms of transportation for those who want or require another choice.

Non-motorized transportation works best when people know how to coexist with motor vehicles. For more information about all aspects of bicycling, visit the League of Michigan Bicyclists. Some tips about walking as a way to commute are available from My Way There, a service similar to ours for Southwestern Michigan.