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Grayling is located approximately in the center of Crawford County. The annual Au Sable River Canoe Marathon begins in Grayling and ends in Oscoda at Lake Huron. This non-stop canoe race attracts participants from all over the world. Grayling is the historical home of Chief Shoppenagon, who served in several capacities during the city’s early days. Hartwick Pines State Park has an old growth pine forest with visitors center and logging museum. Camp Grayling, the largest National Guard Base, in the northeastern United States is also located in Grayling. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, hunting and fishing are also available. Population: 1,944. City Hall: 103 South James St., Grayling, MI 49738, (989) 348-2131. The village was platted by the Saginaw & Jackson Railroad in 1874 and given a post office on January 19, 1874 with John E. Corbet as its first postmaster, succeeded by Leonard M. Simons on February 2, 1874. Incorporated as a village in 1903 and as a city in 1935. Named after the grayling trout, once so plentiful in the Au Sable River. The fish was identified by Martin Metcalf in 1861 and named by Prof. Jean Agassiz, of Harvard. Informational excerpts from Michigan Place Names, by Walter Romig, L.H.D.
Bottle-Cap Museum and Dawson & Stevens Classic 50's Diner, 231 Michigan Ave, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2111. The Bottle-Cap Museum is the largest private collection of Coca-Cola related items in Northern Michigan. Over 7,000 pieces of memorabilia make up the museum, housed in an authentic classic 50's diner, Dawson and Stevens Classic 50's Diner located in downtown Grayling. Open Monday through Thursday from 7am to 7pm, Friday & Saturday 7am to 8pm, Sunday 7am to 6pm, with a full breakfast menu and soups, deli sandwiches and world reknowned hamburgers, fries and shakes along will a working 1950's soda fountain.
Crawford County Historical Museum, 97 E. Michigan Ave., Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-4461. Located in a restored railroad depot, rooms are dedicated to a one-room schoolhouse, grocery store, turn-of-the-century bedroom and old-fashioned entertainment. Enjoy seeing an early railroad caboose, trapper's cabin and two antique fire engines. A popular display is devoted to one of the greatest archers of all time, Fred Bear. Open 10-4, Wednesday through Saturday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, 4216 Ranger Road, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2537. Hartwick Pines Logging Museum exhibits allow visitors to return to the state’s nineteenth-century logging era, when thousands of men cut millions of board feet of lumber. Michigan led the nation in sawed lumber production. The visitor center, logging camp, log buildings, exhibits and period rooms tell the stories of the loggers, river men and entrepreneurs who powered Michigan’s white pine industry. Open May through October.
Hartwick Pines State Park [Wildlife Viewing Area] - Closest Towns: Frederic and Grayling. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Hartwick Pines State Park headquarters, (989) 348-7068. From Grayling, drive north on I-75 to Exit 259. Head northbound on M-93 and proceed about 2 miles and look for the park entrance sign on the left side of the road. Hartwick Pines State Park is the largest state park in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula. Fittingly, it also contains the largest stand of virgin white pines remaining in the lower peninsula. Visitors can relax in the Michigan Forest Visitor Center and learn more about Michigan's forests in an exhibit hall that focuses on the history of logging, forestry, and the numerous ways we utilize trees in our daily lives. It also is the main interpretive center for the 3.9 million acre state forest system managed by the DNR—the largest state forest system in the United States. Visitors are also invited to experience the Logging Museum buildings, where you are taken back in time to life in a 1880s logging camp and explore the history of the white pine logging era, when most of Michigan's northern lower peninsula was covered with the huge, majestic trees that still can be seen here. In addition to the virgin pines, the park has a good mixture of other forest types that typically grow on the sandy soils found in this part of Michigan. These habitats include northern hardwood forests (beech and maple), jack pine and oak forests, and lowland conifer forests (cedar, spruce and tamarack). Several small lakes, the East Branch of the Au Sable River and its associated streams and wetlands further add to the diversity that makes this park very attractive to wildlife. A 50-acre stand of virgin pine trees is one of the premier attractions of this site. These trees were saved from the lumberman's axe. Stroll the Old Growth Forest Foot Trail and let your mind imagine how much of northern Michigan must have looked when these forest monarchs stretched from shore to shore. Because of its age, this vestige of virgin pines is gradually dying, and some are dead. These dead trees are not totally dead, however, since they continue to provide habitat for woodpeckers, chipmunks, woodland mice, bats, salamanders, dozens of insects, and other smaller life forms that thrive on dead or dying trees. Watch for the hairy and downy woodpeckers, the red and white breasted nuthatches, the northern flicker, even the crow-sized pileated woodpecker foraging for insects in the dead snags or downed trees along the trails. Throughout the spring and into the summer, you cannot walk more than a few feet along the trail without hearing the resident solitary vireo, blackburnian warbler, or black-throated green warbler. Also, watch and listen for the melodic trill of the pine warbler, and the raspy, robin-like call of the scarlet tanager — all popular species of these northern mature pine habitats. Red and black squirrels are very common in the park, and can be seen from dawn to dusk. Black squirrels are actually just a dark color phase of the gray squirrel that is common throughout the eastern United States. Larger mammals like white-tailed deer, bobcats, coyotes, and black bear are also found here. Stop at the visitor center for more information and maps, and ask about these and the other wildlife viewing opportunities available in this special state park.
Wakeley Lake Foot Travel Area [Wildlife Viewing Area] - U.S. Forest Service, Mio District Ranger Office, (989) 826-3252. Closest Town: Grayling. From Grayling, drive east on M-72 about 10 miles to the entrance road and parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. Look for Wakeley Lake direction signs along M-72. Wakeley Lake is a semi-primitive, non-motorized foot travel area administered by the US Forest Service. It is a shallow, marshy lake that provides good fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities. Habitat around the lake includes tag alder, willow, and other shrubs, while upland habitats are largely a conifer-hardwood mix. A mature stand of red and white pine is located to the east of the lake. Aspen, oak, and cherry with some pine is found on much of the rest of the upland. The outlet on the lake is on the north shore and includes an earthen dam that was built to raise water levels and to increase the size of the wetland lake. Beavers also work at keeping water levels elevated. A series of foot trails provide access to the areas around and away from the lake. A small, rustic, walk-in campground is found in the tall pines just east of the lake. The parking lot is immediately north of M-72. Visitors must park and walk the 1/4-mile trail to the lake. Motorized vehicles are not permitted in this two-thousand-acre site to allow for a quieter and more natural setting for wildlife and people. Common loons take up residence on Wakeley Lake during spring and summer, and bald eagles nest nearby, coming here to fish in the shallow waters. Ospreys also fish the lake. It has good populations of pike, bass, and panfish that attract these birds-of-prey. Sport fishing is restricted to artificial bait only, and from June 15 to August 31 only. This is strictly a catch and release fishery. In addition to the loons, eagles, and ospreys, river otters and mink also take advantage of this good fishery, although they seem to ignore the catch-and-release rules. There are trails in the forest around the lake that are open to hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. Rich and diverse habitats in this area offer more than 115 species of birds to see or hear throughout the year. Trumpeter swans are regular visitors to the lake in late winter and early spring, but are not known to nest on the lake.
Wellington Farm Park, 6940 S. Military Road, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-5187
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Bottle-Cap Museum and Dawson & Stevens Classic 50's Diner, 231 Michigan Ave, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2111
China West of Grayling [Chinese Cuisine Restaurants], 301 South James Street, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-4348
Crawford Station Restaurant, 2650 S I 75 Business Loop, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-7611
Gates AuSable Lodge & Pro [Fishing Tackle, Fishing Bait, Sporting Goods, Restaurants] , 471 Stephan Bridge Road, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-8462
Grayling Restaurant, 211 E. Michigan Avenue, PO Box 194, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2141
Ramada Inn Grayling Hotel & Conference Center, 2650 I-75 Business Loop South, P.O. Box 473, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-7611
4-Mile State Forest Trail Camp [Equestrain Trail Camps], 4216 Ranger Road, Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-7068. Group area designed for use by equestrian campers riding the Shore to Shore Riding/Hiking Trail. Non-equestrian campers are also welcome. Maximum capacity is for 200 individuals and can accommodate tents and small trailers. Equestrian Trail Rider Groups wishing to submit an Event Permit Application for this campground are asked to contact the Cadillac Operations Service Center at 231-775-9727 ext: 6045.
A-1 AuSable-Ray's Canoe, I-75 Business Loop, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-5844
Au Sable Canoe Rental [Canoe & Kayak Rental], 110 State St, Grayling, MI 49738, (989) 348-5851
Kneff Lake National Foest Campground, Mio Ranger Station, 107 McKinley Drive, Mio MI 48647. Phone: (989) 826-3252. This campground is located in Crawford County, Michigan. The nearest community is Grayling, about 8 miles west. Kneff Lake Campground provides a wide variety of camping, swimming, and picnicking experiences in wooded areas along the shore of Kneff Lake. Kneff Lake is a designated trout lake and is stocked with rainbow trout. Although a portion of the lake is located on private land, the majority of it is located on National Forest land. 27 campsites.
Lake Margrethe State Forest Campground, Grayling Field Office. Phone Number: (989) 348-6371. Crawford County - 6.3 miles West of Grayling via M-72 & McIntyres Landing Road. Phone number indicated above is for the Grayling Management Unit. Sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. 37 sites for tent or small trailer use. Located on Lake Margrethe with fishing and boating.
Longs Canoe Livery, 277 9North Manistee River Road, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-7224
Michigan Shore to Shore Riding & Hiking Trail [Equestrian Trails], 5806 E. State Rd., Hale, MI 48739, Phone: (989) 473-3205.. This 400 mile trail is maintained by the Michigan Trail Riders Association (MTRA). For Trail Maps contact the MTRA at Phone: (989) 473-3205.
Northbound Outfitters [Bikes, Canoes, Kayaks, Paddleboards, and Clothing Sales], 6041 W. M-72, Grayling, MI 498738, Phone: (989) 348-8558
Old AuSable Lodge and Fly Shop [Resorts & Lodges, Bait & Tackle Shops, Fly Fishing Guides], 200 Ingham St., Grayling, MI 49738Phone: (989) 348-3330
Penrod's Canoe Kayak & Cabin, 100 Maple Street, PO Box 432, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2910
Rainbow Bend State Forest Campground and Canoe Camp, Roscommon Field Office, Phone: (989) 275-4622 Crawford County - 15 miles East of Grayling via M-72, McMasters Bridge, and Conners Flat. Phone number indicated above is for the Roscommon Management Unit. Sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. 7 sites for tent or small trailer use located on the Au Sable River with canoe access and good fishing opportunities. Canoe group camping area available. Rustic campground includes vault toilets and potable water from well hand pump.
Ray’s Au Sable & Manistee [Canoe & Kayak Rental], 200 Ingham St, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-5844
River Park Campground, 2607 Peters Road, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-9092
Sno-Trac Camper Village [Snowmobile Resort], 3576 Sno-Trac Trail, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-9494
Terry's Sport Center [Snowmobiles-Parts & Accessories, Boat Dealers, Snowmobiles, All-Terrain Vehicles, Sporting Goods], 8307 W M 72 Hwy, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2188
Valhalla Game & Guest Ranch [Hunting & Fishing Preserves, Game Farms], 7756 Arcari Trl, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989) 348-2333
Wakeley Lake National Forest Foot Travel Area, M-72 West, Huron-Mainstee National Forest, Grayling, MI 49738, Phone: (989 ) 826-3252. The Wakeley Lake Area is located in Crawford County, Michigan. The nearest community is Grayling, about 10 miles west. The Wakeley Lake Foot-Travel Area is a special area designed for the protection and restoration of threatened loons and eagles. With an extensive network of trails, visitors are able to wander and explore this scenic, non-motorized area. Vegetation varies from tag alder and conifer swamps to upland jack pine, white pine, and oak. The area provides excellent opportunities for fishing; however, due to the fish population and its importance to the loons and eagles, fishing is limited to catch and release only. Walk-in camping is welcomed and visitors are asked to please carry out what they carry in.
Walsh Road Equestrian State Forest Campground and Trail Camp, Grayling Field Office, Phone: (989) 348-6371 - Crawford County - 24 miles East of Grayling via North Down River Road and Walsh Road. Campground is located adjacent to Shore to Shore Riding/Hiking Trail and is designed to accommodate equestrian campers. Non-equestrian campers are also welcome. There are 9 designated sites for tent and small trailer use available on the first come, first serve basis. The group area has a maximum capacity for 40 individuals and can accommodate tents and small trailers. Group Trail Camps are available by reservation by calling 989.348.6371, ext 7448.