This trail passes through the eastern side of Leelanau County, a fast-growing section of the Traverse City metropolitan area. Most, but not all, of the trail follows early 20th-century roadbeds of the former Manistee and Northeastern Railroad and Traverse City, Leelanau and Manistique, later reorganized as the Leelanau Transit Company.
The Leelanau Trails Association purchased most of the 15-mile (24 km) trail right-of-way in 1995. Prior to this purchase, the railbed had been operated as Leelanau Scenic Railway. In 2004, the Leelanau Trail was connected to the TART Trail at the junction of M-22 and M-72 on the northwest edge of Traverse City.
- "Leelanau", TART Trails, accessed 21 November 2008.