Linking the villages of Columbiaville, Otter Lake and Millington, the Southern Links Trailway is a 10.2-mile, fast and mostly flat, 10-foot wide asphalt trail that is quickly becoming one of Michigan's favorites.
The Southern Links Trailway began as the vision of local farmer Lonnie Kester and his family who purchased the former Penn Central Railroad line and donated matching funds to make the trailway a recreational resource for all to enjoy. With the help of the Michigan DNR and DOT, the first phase of the trail from Columbiaville to Otter Lake opened in 2008 with the second phase from Otter Lake to Millington opening in 2010. You will appreciate the attention to detail in the trail construction with paved gravel road crossings and well-placed benches and picnic tables. The Southern Links Trailway Management Council, made up of local municipalities and townships, has earned a reputation for keeping the trail clean and nicely maintained.
Although most of the trail is fairly flat, there is a 3 percent gradual incline from Columbiaville to Otter Lake as it crosses a gentle ridge between the Cass River and Flint River watersheds. The scenery is mostly rural farmland, passing through pastoral landscapes and wooded areas, including several tunnels of trees.
The three villages provide easy trail access with ample parking and portable toilets. You will find several good eateries, convenience stores and ice cream at each of the three villages, and a public beach and campground in Otter Lake.
The northern trailhead in Millington is at the south end of Gleason Street two blocks south of Main Street. Otter Lake's staging area is just off Payne Street, east of where Lake Road crosses the trail. The trailhead in Columbiaville is near Curley's Lakehouse Grill on Water Street. Horses are also allowed along the trail, but must follow easements adjacent to the pavement.