Over rivers, through woods on ORVs
When you live in an area that typically receives more than 100 inches of snow each winter, shoveling and plowing the stuff sometimes gets old, but it's big fun for snowmobiling.
Snowmobiling has been popular in Indian River ever since snowmobiling was invented, from the days when people on the first machines went bombing around through the wilderness to the present days when people ride on well-groomed trails.
Indian River is known for great places to ride. The community is located at the center of the
North Central State Trail, a former railroad right of way on a 62-mile stretch of trail between Gaylord and Mackinaw City. The trail links to other trails, allowing snowmobilers to go east toward Lake Huron or west toward Lake Michigan.
Snowmobilers appreciate not only the quantity of trails, but the quality. Trails are beautifully groomed. Indian River, Cheboygan and Gaylord all have grooming groups working with the DNR to assure area trails are kept in top condition. The Indian River grooming group has worked with tractor dealerships as a pilot program for grooming equipment that has been adopted by other grooming organizations.
Area motels have maps of trails. Snowmobile sales, rental and repair businesses are also available throughout the area.
In recent years ORV (UTV) riding has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity and some of the same attributes that make Indian River popular with snowmobilers have also drawn ORV riders.
For ORV riders, a combination of trails and communities that are ORV friendly and allow people to ride at the far right shoulder of local and county roads, creating a situation where people can take short rides or rides of more than 100 miles in a day, much of it through beautiful outdoor scenery. ATV groups continue to work with the DNR to develop riding opportunities. People ride on their own throughout the year, but organized rides also are something that more people are enjoying. Fall color rides based in Indian River draw hundreds of machines from states throughout the Midwest. The Mud Brothers of the North ATV/UTV Club is one of the fastest growing clubs of its type in Michigan. An annual Indian River Ride, organized by Dave Gabrish of Fish Web along with Duane Shank of Brentwood Lodging assistance, is one of the biggest rides in Michigan. It attracts people of all ages, from people 80 years old all the way down to little kids. People have been coming back year after year for the ride.
In addition to the large color tour rides in October there are also smaller organized rides at other times of the year.
Safety is something emphasized in both snowmobiling and ATV riding. DNR and local law enforcement units patrol area trails to keep things safe and assist people in finding places to ride. In recent years, additional signage that include mile markers and GPS locations has been placed on some of the main trails. The mile markers and GPS locations allow responders to get help quickly to the scene of breakdowns or accidents.