Grayling is a small city in Crawford County, Michigan. It was once surrounded by old growth forest of red and white pines, which was mostly logged out, except for a 9,762-acre grove in the Hartwick Pine State Park. Grayling Fish Hatchery is a non-profit educational facility that promotes wild trout fishing in the Au Sable River that runs through the city. Mason Tract is protected area that provides great fishing, hunting, and canoeing opportunities for the locals. Mason Tract Pathway is a 10.3-mile long network of trails that runs through Mason Tract, parallel to the west bank of the South Branch of Au Sable River. Hanson Hills was once a famous ski resort at the outskirts of Grayling, today offering sports programs for youth and adults CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Hartwick Pines State Park
Hartwick Pines State Park is a 9,762-acre park in Crawford County, Michigan. It is one of the largest state parks on Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The park includes 49-acre Hartwick Pines, a 350-375 year old-growth forest of white and red pines making the park look like all of Northern Michigan before the logging era. The logging company stopped the logging in 1927 and the company owner’s daughter donated the remaining old forest grove to the state of Michigan. The Michigan Forest Visitor Center opened in 1995 and contains an exhibit hall on the forest history in Michigan, classroom space, an auditorium, a bookstore and restrooms. The Old Growth Forest Trail to the pine grove is a mile and quarter loop. The tallest trees are between 150–160 feet tall.
3612 State Park Dr, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: 989-348-7068
2.Grayling Fish Hatchery
© Grayling Fish Hatchery
The Grayling Fish Hatchery was once a rich Michigan hatchery that managed to keep the Au Sable in constant supply of trout. Local folks advocated a focus on wild trout instead of hatchery trout, since the Au Sable is already good at producing. They established Grayling Fish Hatchery as a non-profit educational facility where visitors learn about the hatchery, the Michigan trout and the environmental problems in the area. Since they established “No Kill” regulations, the Au Sable became one of the richest wild trout streams in the state. All runs are filled with brook, brown and rainbow trout that guests are allowed to feed and even catch some for dinner. The hatchery also has a catch and release bluegill pond for kids to learn to fish.
4890 W North Down River Rd, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: 989-344-1100
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3.Mason Tract Pathway, Grayling, Michigan
© Christian Krammer/stock.adobe.com
The Mason Tract is a 4,493-acre management area along the South Branch of the Au Sable River near Grayling, Michigan. It was designed to protect the quality fishing waters of the area. The Mason Tract was originally owned by auto magnate George Mason, who purchased it in 1930 and bequeathed it to the State of Michigan upon his death, to be used as a permanent game preserve. The Mason Tract provides great fishing, hunting, and canoeing opportunities. The Mason Tract includes the Mason Chapel, built by the Mason Family in 1960. The Mason Tract also has the Mason Tract Pathway, a 10.3-mile long network of trails from M-72 to Chase Bridge on Chase Bridge Road. It runs parallel to the west bank of the South Branch of Au Sable River. The trail offers lovely views of the river as it winds its way across the bluffs.
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4.Hanson Hills, Grayling, MI
© Hanson Hills
Opened in 1929, Hanson Hills was the first downhill ski area in Michigan. The "Snow trains" brought large number of skiers to Grayling where they then boarded flatbed trucks for the ride to the "Grayling Winter Sports Park". It was the place where the Michigan Snow Queens were crowned during the annual Winter Carnival. The carnival was also famous for the intricate ice sculptures built by local people. There was also an old very popular toboggan run the 66 ft. ski jump built in 1934. The area became a popular winter resort and became known as Bear Mountain. The Bear Mountain Area with all its attractions was closed in 1973. Volunteers tried to keep a few hills open for children and established Grayling Recreation Authority. Today the Authority offers year round sports programs for Youth and Adults.
7601 Old Lake Rd, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: 989-348-9266
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5.Spikes Keg O Nails, Grayling, MI
© Spikes Keg O Nails
Spikes Keg O’Nails was open in May 29th, 1933 the moment the prohibition was lifted. It continued to entertain and feed the locals in Grayling, Michigan on the same spot ever since. Many famous baseball names visited the legendary tavern, including Birdie Tebbetts, “Dizzie” Trout, Pete Fox, and “JoJo” and the famous boxers, “Kid” McCoy and Jack Dempsey. The tavern retained its homey, cozy feel throughout its long history, with exposed beams and a treasured collection of memorabilia on the walls. It is still the place where parents bring their children for lunch or dinner and friends come to watch a game. The menu is packed with everyone’s favorites such as their world-famous Spikeburgers, rich specialty sandwiches, great burritos, desserts, a selection of brews and other drinks from the full bar.
301 Cedar St, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: 989-348-7113
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6.Grayling Restaurant, Grayling, MI
© Grayling Restaurant
Grayling Restaurant is an old-fashioned, iconic neighborhood eatery opened in downtown Grayling, Michigan in 1937. It is known as the place ‘where the locals eat’, offering freshly cooked homestyle American comfort food for breakfast & lunch. The décor is cozy and homey, with cozy booths and bar chairs. Breakfast is served the whole day and the menu has something for everyone. Besides full breakfast menu, Grayling offers fresh salads, hot soups, hot and cold sandwiches, handmade burgers and much more. The everyone’s favorite is a huge “Lumberjack Breakfast” served any time of the day.
211 Michigan Ave, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: 989-348-2141
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6 Best Things to Do in Grayling, MI
- Hartwick Pines State Park, Photo: ehrlif/stock.adobe.com
- Grayling Fish Hatchery, Photo: Grayling Fish Hatchery
- Mason Tract Pathway, Grayling, Michigan, Photo: Christian Krammer/stock.adobe.com
- Hanson Hills, Grayling, MI, Photo: Hanson Hills
- Spikes Keg O Nails, Grayling, MI, Photo: Spikes Keg O Nails
- Grayling Restaurant, Grayling, MI, Photo: Grayling Restaurant
- Cover Photo: City of Grayling
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