I started at Timber Creek going north to the Big Sauble River (pictured above). The shot at the lake is McCarthy Lake.
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I used to ride the NCT around Harbor Springs. One of my favorite rides was from the Kipp Rd. trailhead north all the way to Wilderness State Park, up near Cross Village/Sturgeon Bay. Great trails! I have some friends that have been trying out some of the NCT south of Petoskey and have said that it is some fantastic trails as well. I don't think you can really go wrong riding any section of the NCT, though.