Except as otherwise noted, all contents of this Web site are Copyright Chief Noonday Chapter, the North Country Trail Association.


Here is a list of links which users of the North Country National Scenic Trail, as well as hikers, campers, and backpackers anywhere in Michigan, may find useful.  The Web is filled with resources for hikers and campers, and the following is only a sampling.  Plug just about any trail-, hiking- or camping-related term into your favorite search engine, and you'll reap pages of results that will keep you busy for hours!

► If you've had good experience with a resource
not listed here, let the Webmaster know. ◄

Note: This list is informational and for convenience only.  Except for the link to the NCTA Trail Shop, the North Country Trail Association and the Chief Noonday Chapter have no control over and do not endorse the content of any external Web site. 

For more links, particularly if you are interested in portions of the NCNST outside of Michigan, check out the national NCTA Web site.

For the latest additions, see items marked ♦  New ► and ♦  Updated ► below.

A.  Government Agencies:

National Park Service (NPS)
NPS North Country National Scenic Trail Web Site

USDA Forest Service
USDA Forest Service Eastern Region Home Page -- Source of information on National Forests in our region

U. S. National Forest Campground Guide -- Not an official government Web site, but this Web site is filled with highly useful information about using this valuable Federal resource.  The site is maintained by Fred and Suzi Dow, who to date have completed research on 138 National Forests and 2,051 campgrounds including Michigan's.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Michigan DNR Trails and Pathways Site
Michigan DNR Camping Information
Michigan DNR Locator Map for Campgrounds and Trails

The DNR's page on the Yankee Springs Recreation Area

DNR map of the Barry State Game Area
DNR map of the Middleville State Game Area.
DNR map of the Yankee Springs Recreation Area.

Ft. Custer National Cemetery is believed to be the only national military cemetery in the USA crossed by a National Scenic Trail.

In and around Battle Creek, the North Country National Scenic Trail goes through the following areas of interest:

  • The Battle Creek Linear Park offers more than 17 miles of paved pathway winding through wooded areas, open fields, parks, and even some commercial areas.  It joins many picturesque spots for fishing in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo rivers, canoeing or a picnic.  It provides measured miles and kilometers, and signs provide historical and cultural information and indicate points of interest.
  • Kimball Pines County Park:  Until the spring of 2011, this was 100 acres of mostly plantation pines planted in the 1930's and 1940's. Kimball Pines was one of the oldest stands of urban pines in Michigan.  During Memorial Day weekend 2011 a fierce linear windstorm destroyed most of the park's tall pines, and the ones that didn't go down in the storm had to be taken down later due to an infestation.  Nowadays the park is in a process of recovery and regeneration into a different type of ecosystem.  The park also contains deciduous woodlands, ponds and a creek that is a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.
  • The Historic Bridge Park lies along the Kalamazoo River and Dickinson Creek with a scenic overview of the river.  It houses a growing number of restored historic metal truss bridges that have been retired from vehicular service.  The Historic Bridge Park offers many passive recreational opportunities such as picnicking, walking/hiking, bike riding, fishing, boating and wildlife observation.  Click here for another Web site devoted to this unique park.
  • Ott Biological Preserve:  Calhoun County's "hidden jewel," located just east of Battle Creek in Emmett Township.  This greenspace includes approximately 300 acres of natural habitats that have been shaped extensively by glaciers.

 All except the Linear Park belong to Calhoun County Parks and Recreation.

B.  Organizations:

The North Country Trail Association's Web site has a page providing links to NCTA chapters, affiliates, and friends along the Trail, including the Finger Lakes Trail Conference in New York, the Buckeye Trail Association in Ohio, and the Superior Hiking Trail Association in Minnesota. 

W. K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) and W. K. Kellogg Experimental Forest

Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center.  The Cheff Center, located north of M-89, hosts the next off-road section of the Trail north of the W. K. Kellogg Experimental Forest.

American Hiking Society (AHS)

♦  Updated ► Michigan Audubon Society Click here for information about Michigan Audubon bird sanctuaries.  The Bernard W. Baker, Otis Farm and Ronald "Pop" Warner sanctuaries are located in Chief Noonday country.

Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance is a non-profit organization that fosters and facilitates the creation of an interconnected statewide system of trails and greenways for recreation, health, transportation, economic development and environmental/cultural preservation purposes.  In particular, check out their Michigan Trails Finder

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Ecological Education   Biological Field Station with hiking trails in Barry County.

Maher Sanctuary     Grand Rapids Audubon Society, located in Irving Township, Barry County.

The Paul Henry - Thornapple Trail, when complete, will be a 42 mile multi-use recreation trail, from Grand Rapids to Vermontville.  The trail is being constructed on or near a former railroad corridor. The route of this trail passes through farmlands, woodlands and small towns, along and over rivers and creeks. The scenic highlight of the trail is its close proximity to the Thornapple River.

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission's Web page on Trails and Roadways.  Serving Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties, SMPC's mission is to promote a sustainable, high quality of life through the facilitation of sound planning and decision-making.  Hiking trails are only one of the areas of development which benefit from its program services, which include transportation, economic development, community planning, and natural resource protection.

C.  Vendors:

The North Country Trail Association's own Trail Shop

Transportation:  Chief Noonday's Tom Funke coordinates Trailspotters of Michigan, a shuttle service that will be particularly useful to hikers on the North Country National Scenic Trail in the Upper Peninsula between St. Ignace and the mouth of Two Hearted River in Luce County.  Other hiking and water trails covered by this service, including the Kalamazoo River and the Kal-Haven and Van Buren Trails, are listed on the Web site.

Here is a sampling of vendors with a worthwhile selection of hiking and camping gear that can be ordered on line, by phone, or by mail:  

L. L. Bean of Freeport, Maine.
Patagonia (Patagonia also offers a Worn Wear™ program where you can recycle your used but serviceable Patagonia items or shop for them)

Sierra Trading Post

Taiga Works Hiking & Camping Gear (Vancouver-based)
Rock/Creek Outfitters (specialty outdoor retailer located in Chattanooga TN)

You may also want to check out other vendors of camping and hiking supplies in our area, including Lee's Adventure Sports (see them also on Facebook), Bill and Paul's Sporthaus, Jay's Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain, Dunham's Sports, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

The following are links to businesses which are sponsors of Chief Noonday Chapter and its Newsletter:  Lee's Adventure Sports, Katie and Christy's mid-Lakes Screen Printing, also Katie and Christy's Michigan Lakefront Homes rentals and sales.

D.  Publications & Forums:

♦  New ► Facebook resources:

Here is a sampling of Facebook pages that may be of interest to hikers and backpackers on the North Country Trail in Michigan:

Michigan Backpackers
Michigan Meetup Backpackers
Michigan Ultralight Backpackers

Michigan Backpackers Now
Backpack Michigan
Flint Michigan Backpackers

♦  Updated ► You can catch a glimpse of what one of the North Country Trail Association's arguably best known and most indefatiguable members Joan H. Young is into these days by checking her blog and her Facebook page.  Go Joan!

Backpacker Magazine

E.  Maps and Navigation:

The NCTA Trail Shop is the premier source for maps of the NCT.

DNR map of the Barry State Game Area
DNR map of the Middleville State Game Area.
DNR map of the Yankee Springs Recreation Area.

See also the Maps page on our Chief Noonday Chapter Web site.

A handy GPS coordinates converter is available online if you need to translate your GPS unit's coordinates read-out from one format to another for mapping purposes, etc.  Formats available are degree-minute-second and degree decimal.

How to use a compass.  A lot of material.

Navigation With Map and CompassIncludes sections on How To Use A Compass, Reading Topographic Maps, Adjusting a Compass For Magnetic Declination, Measuring Distance With Paces, Navigation Without A Compass, Navigating Switchbacks, Orienteering, How To Walk Softly and Leave No Trace While Navigating

Finding directions WITHOUT a compass -- a survival skill that could save your life!  This is a sub-page of the Navigation With Map & Compass page.

F.  Hiking and Camping tips, trips and techniques:

♦  New ► Hiking alone:  37 Tips for Women Hiking Alone by Jennifer Saito actually contains a lot of useful ideas for anyone who hikes alone, regardless of gender, particularly if you're kind of new at it and maybe not so sure of yourself.  Check it out (even if you're a guy...).  [Thanks to Jennifer, the author, for this tip!]

Be sure to check out Leave No Trace: The Importance of Clean Camping for a lot of highly worthwhile pointers on treating trails and campsites with the respect and responsibility that the planet deserves.  And while you're at at, take the time to pursue the 22 hyperlinks included, which point to much more material.  Some of the linked items, which are from a variety of sources, are inevitably repetitious, but they are definitely worth the time to check them out.  (Thanks to Greg Wiszniewski, the author, for this tip!)

Low impact hiking and camping:  Be sure to check out Leave No Trace: The Importance of Clean Camping for a lot of highly worthwhile pointers on treating trails and campsites with the respect and responsibility that the planet deserves.  And while you're at at, take the time to pursue the 22 hyperlinks included, which point to much more material.  Some of the linked items, which are from a variety of sources, are inevitably repetitious, but they are definitely worth the time to check them out.  (Thanks to Greg Wiszniewski, the author, for this tip!)

Backcountry.com has a great basic page on Planning for a Backpacking trip, covering where to go, what to take, diet, how to pack a pack, how to avoid bad things happening and what to do when they happen anyway, and what you can do to prepare for your trek.  (Thanks to Sydney at Compton Community Center in California for this tip!)

Suzi Dow's "Camping With Suzi" page.  Fred and Suzi Dow (left) are on the road every camping season traveling all over the country gathering information and lore that makes them an invaluable resource for campers, especially if you use National Forest campgrounds.

Outdoorplaces.com -- Source of info on parks --- with a collection of links on their home page to a lot of instructional content on camping, hiking, paddling. travel, gear.

Outdoor cooking from Love the Outdoors.

First Aid:  There is no substitute for good hands-on wilderness first aid training from a qualified source.  But until you can take such a course, here are some on-line resources from which you can learn a lot:

American Academy of Dermatology's page on Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac.  Includes useful illustrations of the plants, rashes, blisters, and severe reactions.  And there are more images and info about poison ivy here.

Survival:  In Chief Noonday Country we hope nobody finds him- or herself in circumstances where an enjoyable outing on the Trail in our great outdoors turns into a challenge for simple survival.  But if you find yourself somewhere where it does so turn, you'll want to be prepared with the know-how.  Check out 50 Survival Tips and Tricks for the outdoors (from Authorized Boots) a massive list of ideas and techniques that could save your bacon, so to speak.  

♦  New ► Paracord:  That's short for parachute cord, which is achieving wide recognition as a prime multi-use tool in the hiking, backpacking and survival arenas, among others.  Check out 50 Uses For Paracord That You May Not Know (thanks to Colin of BasisGear.com) and 17 Amazing 550 Paracord Projects Perfect For Survival, among other articles you can access by Googling "paracord uses."

G.  Gear & garb:

icebreaker merino®:  "Nature created Icebreaker merino wool as protection against the scorching summers and freezing winters of New Zealand's rugged Southern Alps mountain range. It's the ultimate field test — if nature gets it wrong, the sheep dies.  Humans are clever, but nature is smarter.  So instead of trying to design a better fiber, we adapted merino wool into a lightweight system of all-season garments for people."

The Walking Stick: Hiking Poles & Walking Sticks & Staffs.  All you'd ever want to know about them.

Boots notes:

  • Selecting the Proper Hiking Footwear -- from Just Roughin It.

  • Buying hiking boots: what you need to know when shopping for boots -- from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

  • Choosing hiking boots: One of L L Bean's "Field Skills" pages --- good one on choosing, breaking in and maintaining hiking boots, regardless of brand.  Has links to other worthwhile topics as well: Choosing/Loading Your Backpack, Dayhiker's Checklist, Cold-Weather Camping Tips, Low-Impact Hiking and Camping, Hiking Tips, First Aid, Steps to Take When Lost, Dressing for the Outdoors

  • Speaking of boots, check out offerings by the Tractor Supply Company.  TSC might not be the first place technical hikers might be inclined to look specifically for hiking boots, but if you're looking for good work boots to wear on a trail workday, or you're a member of a trail crew or working on puncheons in the wetlands, TSC merits a look-see.

REI's Expert Advice -- links to useful how-to pages from an organization that's had a whole lot of experience to draw on.

Charcoal grills and grilling:  While grilling probably won't be a prominent feature of your backpacking trip on the North Country Trail, it might well be a fitting trailhead conclusion to a day hike or a workday.  There is much useful information on gear and technique for portable grilling on the Foodall site about portable charcoal barbecue grills and their use.  Thanks to William Hagar for this tip.

H.  Lodging and commercial campgrounds along the NCNST:

[Stay tuned]


Last modified: Thursday, September 14, 2017

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