I visit the Traverse City area a few times a year, and always visit one of the many great trails up there. One of the closest to my home base in the north is the Lake Ann Pathway. The pathway borders the Platte River, on which I had a wonderful time canoeing a few year ago, except for the part about tipping over, getting everyone and everything soaked. Don't worry, all the beer was recovered.
Heading north on Reynolds Road, when you cross the river, start slowing down, and the easily-missed driveway will be on your right. If you're heading south and cross the river, brake frantically and turn around, regardless of who is behind you or in front of you.
The drive leads into the campground, but upon entering, the parking lot on your left is where you'll leave your precious, wonderful vehicle for the hike. If you're coming in winter and have a low-clearance vehicle, you may be leaving it for longer than you expected. I had a little problem with an Accord a few years back, but maybe the tires were a bit worn. But just be warned, the county road commission doesn't visit this parking lot.
There are two halves to the trail. The first half - and the focus of this post - is the eastern half. For our purposes, I'm going to call the eastern half "Ye Olde Eastern Trail". Across Reynolds Road is "Ye Olde Western Trail". There be dragons there, but I'll cover it in a future post, regardless of the dangers.
Ye Olde Eastern Trail is bordered by Reynolds Road on the west, the boat launch entryway on the north, Lake Ann on the east, and the Platte River on the south. This trail is fairly short (less than two miles), but has some scenic areas. The trail is not far from the road, and you'll hear the cars zoom by, so isolation is not one of the Pathway's strong suits. There are some small elevation changes on the northern half of the trail as it winds around a glacier-carved cut in the hill. Otherwise, it's fairly flat.
The trails winds its way over to Lake Ann. My early morning walk should really have been accompanied with some sunglasses, but from what I could see when not blinded by the glare of the sun off the water looked peaceful. There were no boaters, campers or hikers on my late autumn jaunt. The path flattens out along the water, with a steep bluff that runs up to the campground. If you're in the mood for a very short hike, there is a trail that leads up the bluff and back towards the parking lot.