Merging Northern Michigan Kayaking + Michigan Bike Trails = Biyaking! SO FUN! | Jaw-Dropping Outdoor Adventures on the Pigeon River, Au Sable River, Sturgeon River

Merging Northern Michigan Kayaking + Michigan Bike Trails = Biyaking! | Outdoor Adventures on the Pigeon River, Au Sable River, Sturgeon River

By: Erin Fanning for | Updated: July 20, 2023

Love kayaking and biking? Why not merge two of Michigan's favorite hobbies?! If you love adventures, check out this guide to kayaking the Pigeon River, Au Sable River and Sturgeon River PLUS getting in scenic bike rides in Northern Michigan. 

Table of Contents:

  • What is Biyaking?
  • Biyaking Adventure #1: Navigating the Pigeon River and Andreae Nature Preserve
  • Biyaking Adventure #2: Au Sable River from Pollack Bridge to Downtown Grayling.
  • Biyaking Adventure #3: Sturgeon River and North Central Trail
  • Biyaking Adventure #4: Pigeon River: Pigeon Bridge to Pine Grove Campground

What is Biyaking?

  • Biyaking is combining the use of a bicycle and kayaking for incredible outdoor adventures in Michigan!

For me, biyaking simply using a bicycle, instead of two motorized vehicles, for the shuttle between the put-in and take-out–has come to mean hours spent exploring northern Michigan’s sandy two-tracks and twisting singletracks, followed by a paddle down one of its many rivers.

  • And few places are better biyaking destinations than Michigan. What other state boasts 35,000 mapped lakes and ponds, 3,251 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and 49,000 miles of rivers and streams?

With such a variety of biking and kayaking options, the biyaking possibilities are endless, so consider the following as a jumping-off point only, suggested biyaking routes in northern Michigan to get you started.

Biyaking Map: Merging Incredible Michigan Kayaking and Michigan Bike Trails!

This is a general map of the Northern Michigan locations for kayaking and biking. Click the links in each section below for detailed maps and directions for where to leave your kayak and the biking routes for each location in Northern Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Are you ready for Michigan biking and kayaking adventures!? LET'S Go!

1. Pigeon River and the Andreae Nature Preserve | An Exciting Biking and Kayaking Adventure

A green canopy stretched below me, camouflaging Grass Lake. Hills marched into the distance, but my attention was consumed by the ribbon of dirt waiting behind me, the High Country Pathway, Michigan’s only IMBA-designated Epic Trail.

I swooped down the singletrack, bouncing over roots and navigating along a narrow boardwalk. Soon, the trail spit me out at the Pigeon River, where my kayak waited and the next portion of my adventure was about to begin. 

Let's explore the best combos of Michigan kayaking and Michigan bike trails! Great family friendly summer adventures!

BiyakingBiyaking: Northern Michigan Kayaking + Biking Adventures. Photo by Erin Fanning

Towing an inflatable kayak (note the 1987 vintage Trek!).

2. Au Sable River from Pollack Bridge to Downtown Grayling: Fun for All Ages!

This family-friendly paddle flows along a narrow portion of the Upper Au Sable River, passing quaint cottages and luxurious homes and sweeping over a few fast riffles.

Geese often nest along the route and other birds, from redwing blackbirds to osprey, make their home on the river. One or two shallow areas might force kayakers out of their boats, and deadfall occasionally poses a problem.

But almost all ages should find the trip a satisfying mini-adventure, making it an excellent introduction to biyaking for children.

While you are there: Check out fun things to do in Grayling Michigan!

3. Sturgeon River and North Central Trail (Indian River and Wolverine): Best Bike and Kayak Combo

Consistently fun with riffles and short runs of rapids, the Sturgeon is possibly my favorite river in the Michigan's Northern Lower Peninsula. Combine it with the North Central State Rail-Trail and you have an almost flawless biyaking route.

Most of the pedal and paddle meander through forest and meadows with overhanging trees, charming cabins, and birds flitting in and out of branches.

At times, the river dives into dark woods, making one feel as if civilization is far, far away, which is exactly how I felt on a midweek summer morning.

Despite the Sturgeon’s popularity, my husband and I were completely alone on the river, rushing along on a watery trail as the sun created diamonds in the sparkling water. Talk about peaceful, right?

4. Only for the Adventurous! | Pigeon River: Pigeon Bridge to Pine Grove Campground (Pigeon River Forest) 

This section of the Pigeon River not only parallels the High Country Pathway (HCP) but also captures a pristine slice of unspoiled forest. Osprey dive for meals and trout hug the riverbed as silence settles across your shoulders. 

But you can’t just float along...

Sweepers threaten to trap you beneath overhanging branches, while deadfall creates channels in the river, sometimes resulting in navigational nightmares. Needless to say, portaging is often inevitable. 

On the day I biyaked the Pigeon and HCP, I stood for a minute next to an enormous beaver dam, imagining a complex series of rooms and corridors stretching across the river.

The sun glinted off the water, and I caught the slap of a beaver tail, telling me it was time to move on.

As I eased into my kayak, eager to continue the journey, I was already looking forward to my next biyaking outing, where the combination of bicycling and kayaking fuses into the ideal adventure—dirt and water merging seamlessly into one.

We hope this inspires you to grab your bikes, helmets, kayaks, paddles, sunscreen and snacks and head out for a great Michigan adventure! Oh, and these trips would also be fantastic to see Michigan fall colors!

Bio: Erin Fanning

Erin Fanning has biyaked 35 (and counting) Michigan rivers, sharing these experiences in her online guide, She splits her time between the mountains of central Idaho and the woods of northern Michigan. For more about her writing, visit

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