The Dragon Trail bike and hiking path around the Hardy Pond in Newaygo County is an amazing experience and a great place to visit for those who bike or hike.

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Dragon Trail of Newaygo County

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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I have heard a lot about the Dragon Trail of Newaygo County. I live right down the road from the Hardy Dam where there is access to the bike and hiking trail but for 3 summers never took the time to check it out.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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24 miles of the 47-mile trail are complete. This is a big project and it will be a few years before it's complete but there is a lot of riding and hiking to be done with what is complete.

Hardy Dam Marina to Big Ben Township Park

thedragon.us
thedragon.us
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My son and I tackled the 11-mile section that starts at the Hardy Dam County Marina and goes to Big Bend Township Park. We are not big-time bikers and need to build up our endurance so did one-third of this section and then turned back which was about 7 miles.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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My son and I had a blast riding on this section of the Dragon Trail. I will say these are some more advanced riding trails and are not really for tiny kids. You should have a bike that has gear shifting, wearing a helmet and some riding gloves would also be helpful. I didn't wear the gloves and got a blister in the palm of my hand but it was worth it.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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The Dragon Trail is for the serious rider but please, do not let that scare you, it can be equally fun for the novice such as my son and me. If you take the ride, have the more experienced rider in the front to warn those behind about turns, mud, trees, sand, and when to use those brakes.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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Don't let the photos I have posted fool you, there are some serious turns and obstacles that present some danger but we were moving too fast through these sections and out of safety didn't take any pictures in those areas. Don't let that scare you, it is recommended to take it easy on any section of a trail that you have never traveled on. You can increase your speed as you learn the trails.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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There are bridges in places where you need to cross water. Some have no sides to them so you better ride in the middle of the trail.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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My son and I will start at Big Ben Township Park the next time we tackle the Dragon Trail and head to the Hardy Dam Marina. We will probably do the same and do a third to half of the trail but our goal is to hit the whole section back in forth in one trip.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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All of the entrance points have bathrooms and parking. There are also bathrooms at the parks you pass along the way. I suggest taking lots of water with you because even though it's a fun ride, it is some serious work too so you are going to want to stay hydrated.

The Dragon Trail is open all year long and you can learn everything you need to know about the trail right here.

The Scenic Beauty Of Northeast Michigan

Big Seven Travel has named the River Road National Scenic Byway as Michigan's "Most Scenic Drive" for 2021. It is a gorgeous stretch of road filled with forests, trails, scenic overlooks and runs parallel to the historic Au Sable River

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