Travel Heritage Route 23 on Michigan's sunrise coast to spend a weekend or a pleasant day exploring the local attractions and bike trail around Tawas Bay. You'll find lodging and eateries in the resort communities of Tawas City and East Tawas, camping and picnicking at Tawas Point State Park, and a bike trail that takes you on a scenic journey through it all on the edge of this beautiful blue bay.
The trail consists of two sections that form one continuous 13.4-mile trail: the Tawas Bay Bike Trail and the Alabaster Bike Path Arboretum - all part of Michigan's Iron Belle Trail.
Alabaster Bike Path Arboretum
As you continue south of Tawas City, you enter Alabaster Township and are now riding on the 6.5-mile Alabaster Bike Path Arboretum. This smooth non-motorized asphalt trail features a collection of over 150 labeled trees along the edge of the trail.
Alabaster Bike Path Arboretum is one of Michigan's newest multi-use trails, built in two phases over the past six years. The first phase, from Tawas City to Alabaster Road follows along US-23 meandering through shady hardwoods on the edge of a steep bluff.
The newest section, from Alabaster Road to Dyer Road, was completed in 2015. It travels along an abandoned rail line and through the remnants of an abandoned gypsum mine and shipping port (gypsum mining is still active elsewhere in Alabaster Township). This area is one of the most scenic parts of the trail with nice views of the bay and the abandoned offshore loading facility (a popular tourist attraction). The trail ends at the Dyer Road trailhead, where you can take your picture next to a big boulder-size chunk of gypsum. In case you're curious, the highest grade of fine-grained gypsum is known as "alabaster."
Tawas Bay Bike Trail
The 6.9-mile Tawas Bay Bike Trail begins at the lighthouse at Tawas Point State Park. Ample parking, water and restrooms are available at the swimming beach next to the lighthouse. Starting and ending your ride at the beach works out well on hot summer days. You can go for a swim in Lake Huron to cool off after your ride.
From the lighthouse, follow the paved bike path through the state park. As you exit the park entrance, travel along a dedicated bike lane on the edge of Tawas Beach Road.
A quarter-mile before the US-23 intersection, the trail becomes an off-road pedestrian path. The Tawas Bay Bike Trail continues along the edge ofUS-23 and the Tawas Bay shoreline through the communities of East Tawas and Tawas City on a series of widened sidewalks and asphalt paths. The trail passes by several marinas, parks and beaches, offering easy access to the trail and several good places to relax, enjoy the scenery or stop for a bite to eat along the way.