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Midland City Forest


last Updated

3/20/24, 11:46 PM

About this Trail

Situated just north of US-10 at the Midland Eastman Rd exit, Midland City Forest covers 520 acres of hardwoods and pines, and features a slightly sandy, quick-draining soil. While owned and operated by the City of Midland Parks and Recreation Department, the singletrack is maintained and improved by CMMBA through a written agreement with the city.

Trails & Signage

The forest features two trail systems: approximately 16 miles of singletrack, as well as an expansive "multiuse" trail system with very wide lanes. The singletrack trails, consisting of four loops of various lengths, are popular among mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers. They intersect with the wider, multiuse trails throughout the park, which are also sometimes used by equestrians in the summer months. There are also a variety of shorter connector trails linking trails to parking lots and each other. While there is minimal signage on the singletrack, there is excellent signage on the multiuse trail. When riding the singletrack, one frequently comes across the multiuse signage at trail crossings, which consists of an easy-to-read park map with numbered points at each intersection.

A variety of features can be found on the City Forest singletrack, including an impressive wooden wall ride. This feature is just off a short connector trail between the very northern tip of the Gnu Loop and South Loop. There are also a plethora of wooden bridges, several wooden a-frames, “skinnies,” a tire bridge, and a few rock gardens. City Forest’s singletrack was built before the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) published building standards for green, blue, and black mountain bike trails, so City Forest’s original singletrack is impossible to classify. However, it offers up plenty of “old school” cross-country style fun, with a sprinkling of more technical sections and features. 

North Loop, at about three miles in length, is the most frequented trail due to its proximity to the main lot on Monroe Rd. There are some small purple signs and trail blazes along North Loop’s route to mark the way. Gnu Loop, also about three miles, offers the most wooden features and slightly more technical riding. Gnu’s trail blazes are red. South Loop, coming close to five miles, presents a mix of extremely smooth, fast terrain, as well as some of the most rooty and technical sections in the park. South Loop features some small, orange signs and trail blazes. Frog Holler, the shortest of the four loops, can be accessed from South Loop, and generally rides very fast with plenty of twists and turns to keep things exciting. Unlike the other singletrack loops, a small portion of Frog Holler utilizes the multiuse trail for a short distance before it again turns off into singletrack.

The new blue trail, approximately 1 mile in length, will be built to IMBA standards. Professionally constructed by Michigan trail builder Josh McCreedy of Trail Sense, this exciting new trail will feature several professionally built features. The start can be found at the northeast corner of the Monroe Rd lot, behind the brown XC ski rental building. It is a closed loop that will return riders to the Monroe Rd lot. Construction is expected to be completed in May of 2024.

Two of the most popular routes taken by mountain bikers can be accessed from any lot. One consists of riding one section each of North, Gnu, and South loops, using their connections to stay close to the exterior boundaries of the park to create one large loop. This results in a route about 5.5 miles long and about 250 ft of net elevation. Frog Holler can be included in this route for an extra couple of miles. Another popular route consists of riding all four singletrack loops, resulting in about 15 miles and 300 ft of net elevation. However, due to the way the trails intersect, as well as the option to incorporate many additional miles of multiuse trail riding, City Forest offers an endless combination of trail experiences.


There are three gravel parking areas. The main parking area is off Monroe Rd and is adjacent to multiuse trails, the North Loop singletrack, and the new blue trail being constructed in spring 2024. While there is a chalet with restrooms operated by the city at this parking area, it is mainly used for private events, and not frequently open. There are two portable restrooms at the parking area, one of which is handicap accessible and large enough to use as a changing room. There is no running water at the park unless the chalet is open, but many local business establishments can be found nearby.

The Sturgeon Rd parking area, just south of the Sturgeon Rd and Monroe intersection, is a smaller parking area without any facilities. A short connector trail leads to both the North Loop singletrack and multi-use trails.

Finally, tucked off Eastman Rd, just across from Ray’s City Forest Bike Shop, there is a moderately sized parking area off a narrow gravel drive that runs about a tenth of a mile into the park through dense woods. This parking area does not have any facilities, but directly connects with both the multi-use trail and the popular Gnu Loop singletrack. While none of the parking lots connect directly with City Forest’s South Loop or Frog Holler Loop singletrack, these trails are easiest to reach from the Eastman lot.

Other Information

In the winter months, City Forest attracts outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, offering a toboggan run, ice rink, as well as snowshoe and XC ski rentals. City Parks and Recreation and CMMBA work together to try to keep the singletrack groomed and optimized for fat biking when there is snow—especially the North Loop trail, but all singletrack may be groomed in ideal conditions. Due to weather variability and the variety of trail users utilizing City Forest’s trail system, it is best to check CMMBA’s group on Facebook called “CMMBA trail conditions” before venturing out. Trail grooming information and conditions are posted on a regular basis.

There are many camping options near City Forest, with the Midland County Fairgrounds being the closest, just a half mile south of the Eastman Rd parking lot. Visit for more details. 

Please be advised that, while city regulations at the park require dogs to be kept under control, it is not uncommon to encounter off-leash dogs in City Forest. You may also encounter equestrians, but horses are not allowed on the singletrack.

Class 1 e-bikes are allowed at City Forest. Class 1 e-bikes are pedal assist only (no throttle) up to 20 mph. Other e-bikes or motorized/electric vehicles are prohibited.

It should also be noted that those with Verizon cell phone service will experience very low connectivity at City Forest, and may not be able to get messages or calls out at all in heavy cloud cover.

For more information, visit the City Of Midland City Forest website or contact us at

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