Chief Baw Beese Chapter
The Chief Baw Beese Chapter is responsible for the North Country Trail in Hillsdale County. A general map is available here 
Ohio State Line to Lost Nation State Game Area
From the Ohio State Line, the roadwalk continues for 10.7 miles (a total of about 17 miles). This area is entirely private land. The long term plan is to run the trail adjacent to either the St. Joseph River or the Tiffin River. This section is blazed, albeit sporadically in places.
0.00 Turn left on Territorial Rd.
0.5 Turn right on Tuttle Rd.
7.9 Turn left on Squawfield Rd.
8.4 Turn right on Carncross Rd.
9.2 Turn left on Losey Rd.
10.5 Turn right on Pittsford Rd.
10.7 Turn left off Pittsford Rd. onto footpath entering Lost Nation State Game Area. There is trailhead parking approximately .1 miles north on Pittsford Rd.
Lost Nation State Game Area
Lost Nation State Game Area is a hilly wilderness forming the headwaters of the St. Joseph of the Maumee River. There is abundant surface water with excellent birdwatching opportunities. In the spring, there is fields of wildflowers including beautiful carpets of trillium. The Chief Baw Beese Chapter has reblazed portions of the trail, but even where the blazing is less than ideal, the trail is easy to follow except through the relocation starting at mile 5.9 and continuing through the next section.
0.0 Turn left off Pittsford Rd. onto footpath entering Lost Nation State Game Area. There is trailhead parking approximately .1 miles north on Pittsford Rd.
0.7 Cross the headwaters of a tributary of the St. Joseph River.
1.2 Enter a former farm field with lots of flowers in the spring and fall.
1.6 Cross Skuse Rd. There is room for several cars along the side of the road.
2.6 Cross a new beaver dam along Lake Number Eight.
3.1 Arrive at trailhead parking lot on Gilbert Rd. Turn right on Gilbert Rd.
3.2 Turn right on Reading Rd.
3.7 At corner of Reading Rd., Way Rd., and Rumsey, enter forest on footpath on far left (northwest) corner.
3.8 Pass through trailhead parking lot off Way Rd. next to Lake Number Five.
4.8 Cross St. Joseph River on stepping stones and turn right on Tripp Rd. No parking here, but there are several small parking lots along the roadwalk on Tripp Rd.
5.1 Just after bridge over St. Joseph River, turn left on trail, which here is a gated grassy road, the former Trail Rd. The trail passes through several fens.
5.5 Curve right with the former road.
5.9 Continue straight at intersection with another old road. The trail on the NCTA map turned left here, but the trail has been relocated and instead continues straight. This relocation has not yet been blazed.
6.2 Just before trailhead parking at dead end of Tote Rd., bear left on new trail that bypasses parking lot. If you miss this turn and arrive at the parking lot on Tote Rd., cross the parking lot to the northwest corner and take the established level trail to the right (trail to the left goes downhill).
6.3 Cross a hunters' trail (the trail to the left in the entry above), then a short distance later, turn left on established trail (trail to the right from the entry above). The Tote Rd. trailhead is a short distance to the right.
6.4 At a fork in the trail, bear right. As of summer 2009, the trail here is marked with surveyors tape.
6.6 Cross a branch of the St. Joseph River, normally an ankle to knee deep crossing. A bridge will be built here in the future. Bear left on the north side of the river.
6.7 Reach intersection with well used hunters' trail. Turn left.
6.8 Curve right with the trail. A planned relocation (summer 2010) will go left from here, crossing a side stream of the St. Joseph River and a field, eventually reaching M-34 at the intersection with Chase Rd.
7.0 Reach trailhead parking at M-34. Turn left on busy M-34, which has wide shoulders.
7.3 Turn right on Chase Rd.
Click here for a map mash-up of the Lost Nation SGA segment of the NCNST between Pittsford and Gilbert Roads, available on the Chief Noonday Chapter Web site.
Lost Nation State Game Area to Jonesville
After leaving the LNSGA the NCT makes its way to the city of Hillsdale primarily along an abandoned railroad grade. The railroad grade is now known as the Baw Beese Trail. Portions of the Baw Beese Trail have been blazed, but much of this section is not well-blazed. Reblazing is planned for summer 2010.
0.0 Turn right off M-34 on paved Chase Rd. Continue on the relocation started in the previous section. This relocation has not yet been blazed.
0.3 Continue straight on paved Beecher Rd.
1.0 Reach the village of Osseo (49266, no services). Continue on Beecher Rd. passing by the grass Osseo Green.
1.5 Turn left on Blackbridge Rd., then immediately right on dirt/gravel abandoned railroad grade. The relocation from the NCTA map ends here. This railroad is followed for the next 4.6 miles. There is room for several cars to park along Blackbridge Rd.
2.1 Cross Lake Pleasant Rd. Continue on railroad grade.
3.1 Cross Doty Rd. Continue on railroad grade.
3.6 Reach shore of Lake Baw Beese. Nice views of lake for next mile.
3.8 Emerge from woods along dirt boat access road. Follow road. Note: this short roadwalk will be moved offroad slightly further away from the lake in the near future.
4.1 Reach paved access road to Sandy Point beach. Parking available here and at several other locations in the surrounding park. Turn right on paved Baw Beese Trail.
5.6 Enter the city of Hillsdale. For the next 1.5 miles, the NCT and Baw Beese Trail work their way through the city of Hillsdale on off-road paved trail developed by the Rotary Club of Hillsdale. The trail through Hillsdale is not well-blazed.
6.1 Cross Bacon St., then Carlton Rd. on Baw Beese Trail. Bear right on sidewalk on Lake St., then cross Lake St. at kiosk to continue on Baw Beese trail between active railroad and building.
6.3 Continue on Baw Beese trail on newly constructed paved path. This trail was recently developed by the Rotary Club of Hillsdale and opened in 2009. It is not yet blazed.
6.6 Cross railroad then ascend to M-99.
6.7 Turn right on M-99 bikeway. The M-99 bikeway is a glorified sidewalk and is decidedly not scenic. The Chief Baw Beese chapter hopes to move the trail to follow the St. Joseph River in the future.
10.4 Reach end of M-99 bikeway in Jonesville. Turn left on U.S. 12.
Jonesville to Hillsdale/Calhoun County line
The trail between Jonesville and the Hillsdale/Calhoun County line is roadwalk except for a roughly 2 mile stretch south of Litchfield. None of this section is blazed.
0.0 Turn left on Chicago St./US 12 in Jonesville. Jonesville has several restaurants, a hardware store, and other opportunities for resupply.
0.1 Turn right on Jermaine St.
0.5 Jermaine St. curves left and becomes Jonesville Rd.
1.4 Turn right on gravel Bunn Rd.
2.4 Turn left on gravel Genesee Rd.
3.4 Turn right on gravel Rainey Rd.
4.4 Turn left on gravel Sterling Rd. This is a relocation from the official NCTA map.
5.4 Turn right on paved Cronk Rd.
6.4 Intersection with Herring Rd. near M-99. Turn left on Herring Rd. This is the start of a new stretch of trail that is very rough in places. Alternatively, turn left (north) on M-99 for about .3 miles to township park on left. Cross the dam at the north end of the park and follow the unofficial trail along the north end of the former mill pond to join the trail at mile 7.1.
6.7 At rock pile on right of road, turn right on new trail. This new trail is clear but still very rough and unblazed. It follows a berm adjacent to the St. Joseph River- a different St. Joseph River from the one in Lost Nation State Game Area. This is a scenic highlight of the North Country Trail in southern Michigan. There is parking along Herring Rd., although it isn't very good.
7.1 Reach end of berm near a dam and bench. This is the start of the Litchfield Nature Trail. There is good parking at the Litchfield Township Park directly across the pond, which can be reached by following the unimproved trail across the dam along the shore of the pond. Continue straight along right side of former gravel pit. At end of pit, turn right into woods.
7.5 Emerge from woods adjacent to former sewage treatment ponds. Good opportunities for bird watching. Nature has an amazing way of reclaiming human impacts.
7.7 Reenter woods.
8.2 Energe from woods and turn right on abandoned railroad grade.
8.3 Cross M-49 at Litchfield city park. Water available in season.
8.5 Cross St. Joseph River on bridge.
8.7 Cross W. St. Joe St. Continue on railroad grade.
9.0 Cross parking lot of supermarket to M-99. Excellent opportunity for resupply. Turn right briefly on M-99, then left on Park St.
9.4 Turn left on paved Chicago St.
10.0 Turn left on paved Mosherville Rd. Rejoin trail route on official NCTA map.
11.0 Turn right briefly on M-99, then turn right on gravel Riker Rd.
11.9 Turn left on gravel County Line Rd.
12.2 Turn right on S Walnut St. / 26 Mile Rd. and enter Calhoun County.
Chief Noonday Land
The trail passing through Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Barry Counties is under the care of the Chief Noonday Chapter, North Country Trail Association.
In Calhoun County, the off-road trail presently is mainly urban, following the Kalamazoo River through the Village of Homer and the Cities of Albion, Marshall and Battle Creek. The trail also passes through Historic Bridge Park, Kimball Pines County Park, and the Ott Biological Preserve in Emmett Township east of Battle Creek.
In Kalamazoo County much of the off-road trail passes through field and forest through the Fort Custer National Cemetery and from Augusta northward on private land and through the W. K. Kellogg Experimental Forest and the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station . Click here for a map mash-up of the trail through KBS and here for the trail through the Fort Custer State Recreation Area and National Cemetery forest. Except for the river crossing at Augusta, virtually the entire trail through Kalamazoo County is now off-road.
In Barry County much of the trail is wilderness pathway passing through the Yankee Springs Recreation Area, the Barry State Game Area, along the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail on the bank of the Thornapple River, and through the Middleville State Game Area northeast of Middleville after passing through the Village of Middleville itself.
Chief Noonday Chapter's Web site includes trail maps and map mash-ups of the entire North Country Trail in all three counties except the Battle Creek Linear Park. Some maps are available as downloadable PDF files, and more PDF maps will be posted in the coming months.
Trail condition notes:
(1) As of November 2009, the trail immediately north of the Mullen Road trailhead in southern Barry County has not been maintained for about a half mile and is difficult to follow, although it is blue-blazed. It parallels McKibbin Road and eventually piggybacks onto a power line right-of-way. Once you are on the power line right of way, blue blazes will be found on the power poles. A temporary alternative to this section is to follow a roadwalk from Mullen Road north on McKibbin Road to the McKibbin Road trailhead. Access the trail to the west at the trail kiosk. From here the trail is adequately marked and reasonably easy to follow to the Norris Road crossing. Update 4/9/2013: The section described here between Mullen Road and McKibben Road has been abandoned and the former trailhead on Mullen Road has been taken down. The roadwalk from Mullen Road north on McKibben Road is "permanent" unless permission is granted by the Department of Natural Resources to re-route a portion of the trail in the Barry State Game Area further west, which at this time seems unlikely.
(2) As of April 9, 2013, the trail through Kimball Pines County Park in Emmett Township east of Battle Creek remains temporarily re-routed off approximately 3,500' of its original track in the park. The park and the NCNST suffered extensive wind damage from a storm on May 29, 2011. Thousands of tall pines and other trees were downed by winds ranging from 75 to 100 miles per hour. Officially the park remains closed to the public while work is under way to clear downed trees and restore trails to a usable state. Ultimately virtually all pines will have been removed from the park either as a result of wind damage or a blight, and the character of the park will be completely changed from what it was when the NCNST was first routed through it. It is unlikely that hikers would be stopped and prevented from walking through the park as long as they stay on the roads and away from any work crews. To follow the temporary re-route going south, at the NCNST trail kiosk just south of the entrance into the park, stay on the dirt vehicular road ("Kimball Pines Park Road" on maps). Bear left (east) at the first tee intersection and follow the dirt road through/past its gate and south to its end. This route is blue-blazed. Follow the blue blazes onto the original NCNST path and resume the original route toward Harper Creek school property.
(3) As of May 21, 2013, The Battle Creek Linear Park portion of the North Country Trail has a temporary gap due to construction around the old Cereal City Museum. If you are eastbound, after crossing Washington Avenue you should continue on the trail to the footbridge on your right that crosses the Battle Creek River. Go across the bridge, go left on Carlyle, then left on Michigan Avenue. Cross the river again on the Michigan Avenue bridge, cross the street, and continue northeast back onto the BCLP/NCNST pathway along the Battle Creek River. If you are westbound, simply reverse course: cross Michigan Avenue and go left across the Michigan Avenue bridge, go right on Carlyle and continue to the footbridge on your right, cross the river again on the footbridge, and go left to resume the BCLP/NCNST pathway along the Battle Creek River.
Middleville State Game Area to the City of Lowell
From the Middleville State Game Area:
- Head East on 108th Street
- Turn North on Baker Road
- East on 100th Street
- North on Wineiger Ave
- West 60th Street for a short distance
- North on Segwun
- Intersects with Alden Nash (becoming Hudson) in the City of Lowell to Kent County Fairgrounds.
The City of Lowell
The NCT enters the City of Lowell at the the Kent County Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds offer the first camping opportunity for the backpacker since the Middleville State Game Area. Arrangements need to be made ahead of time by calling (616)897-6050.
The City of Lowell is the home to the main office of the North Country Trail Association. Hikers are welcome to stop in and talk to staff or volunteers. At the NCTA headquarters there are restroom facilities (no shower) as well as internet access. The NCTA staff is glad to provide both distance and day hikers with any information they may need. You'll find grocery, restaurant, hardware and laundry facilities all with in the city of Lowell.
Follow the well marked sidewalks through city to the next segment of off-road trail in the Lowell State Game Area.
Lowell State Game Area
Immediately after crossing out of the Lowell city limits on Grindle Dr. you'll come to you first traihead into the Lowell SGA on the west side of Grindle Dr. Enter here and follow the blue blazes about...
Rogue River State Game Area
The southernmost trailhead in the Rogue River State Game Area can be found across 17 Mile Road (M-46) from Long Lake County Park in northern Kent County, 5.6 miles west of Cedar Springs. The trail initially follows an abandoned two track to the north, then turns northeasterly and crosses a power line right-of-way before tracking briefly through an oak forest. The trail turns to the north, crosses another small power line opening, a passes through a small, sandy opening with young pines before emerging out onto Solon Street.
Thru-hikers should follow Solon Street to the west for about 0.5 miles, then turn north on Division Avenue to find the a trailhead on the west side of the road, just north of Duke Creek.
West of Division, the trail follows another abandoned two-track to the west through a young aspen woods. In a short distance, an open gas line right-of-way is encountered, and the trail follows it to the southwest. After a few hundred yards, the trail once again heads westerly on another abandoned two-track. Hikers should be advised that the trail in this section is very difficult to follow, and that this gas line right-of-way is often used by target shooters.
After crossing Red Pine Avenue, the trail continues to follow an active two track to the west, crosses a vehicle barricade, and turns north on an abandoned two track. A small, intermittent stream is encountered that has no bridge and may be difficult to cross during wet seasons without getting one's feet wet. The trail continues northerly following the two track for a short distance, then abruptly turns west into the woods on a single-track footpath. Here the trail takes in its first views of the Rogue River before turning north, passing through a pine plantation and exiting out onto 18 Mile Road at the westernmost intersection of Red Pine Avenue.
Hikers should be advised that the Western Michigan Chapter stopped maintaining the section of trail between 17 Mile and 18 Mile Roads in 2003 due to various incompatible uses. Initial discussion with the MI-DNR to develop a safer, more scenic alternative were scuttled in 2004 and have not been revisited.
Thru-hikers should continue north on Red Pine Avenue for 0.5 miles.
A trailhead is encountered on the west side of Red Pine one half mile north of 18 Mile Road. Enter the woods on a long abandoned two-track that is growing in nicely and has an abundance of northern, spring wildflowers in season. The trail slowly winds from westerly to northerly, soon passing an impressive stand of hemlocks on the left. A seasonal stream is crossed on a log bridge and soon the hiker once again sees views of the Rogue River as the trail leaves the abandoned two-track. Watch for the plentiful wood ducks who live in this mixed forest where hemlock, oak, aspen, cherry, beech and birch prevail. The flat trail winds generally northerly for about a mile before emerging from the woods to follow the shoulder of Red Pine Avenue over Spring Creek.
The trail re-enters the woods on the west side of Red Pine and shortly begins following another long abandoned two-track northerly past a small wetland and back out to the banks of the Rogue River. The river is followed quite closely for the next half mile or so until the trail crosses 20 Mile Road.
On the north side of 20 Mile, the trail continues along the eastern bank of the Rogue River for more than a mile. The woods continue to be quite mixed, with a wide variety of coniferous and deciduous trees. Just north of 20 Mile is an excellent place to encounter white-tailed deer.
Eventually the trail turns away from the Rogue River but continues northerly for about a quarter mile before arriving on the south bank of Hickory Creek, which it then follows to the west for a couple hundred yards before crossing the creek on a raised bridge. The section along Hickory Creek is an excellent place to find summer woodland flowers like Michigan lilies, cardinal flowers, woodland sunflowers, and great lobelia.
After crossing Hickory Creek, the trail resumes due north along the bank of the Rogue River. A leve was built long ago along this section of the Rogue River in an attempt to drain the surrounding woodland. The trail walks along top of the east leve, which is now covered with trees more than a century old. Look for the giant oaks and maples that reveal the age of the leve. The hiker will also cross Hillbrand Drain on another raised bridge, taking in more evidence of unsuccessful human efforts to drain the surrounding lands. The trail follows the leve to 22 Mile Road, which is the Kent-Newaygo county line, and the end of off-road trail until north of Croton Dam in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
Manistee National Forest - Newaygo County
The North Country Trail once again leaves the pavement a quarter mile west of Croton Dam on the south side of Croton Drive...
...where the trail crosses under a power line and then emerges out onto 96th Street, a dirt road that follows the Newaygo/Lake county line.
Manistee National Forest - Eddington Creek to Marilla Junction
Cross Eddington Creek on treated wood bridge, recently repaired, and climb benched trail to a fork, which the Grand Traverse Hiking Club has named Marilla Junction. This is simply the place where the new North Country Trail meets the existing trail. There is no road access.
The left fork is now a spur trail leading 1.1 miles to Marilla Trailhead, with ample parking (fee) and pit toilet, now marked with white blazes. This spur follows benched trail high above the Manistee River with impressive views of the river and Hodenpyl Dam Pond to your right. A bench makes a superb place for a snack and great photos on a clear day. The back of the bench is nicely imprinted with information about the trail and the NPS triangle. The trail continues to Marilla Trailhead at Beers Road. Trail high above the Manistee River south of Marilla Trailhead
Grand Traverse Hiking Club Section (95 mi)
Grand Traverse Hiking Club maintains the North Country Trail (NCT) from Marilla Junction, 1.3 trail miles back towards Red Bridge from the Hodenpyl Dam Rd Trail Access (near the Dam spillway), and continues 95 miles to Starvation Lake Road (northeast of Kalkaska). At Marilla Junction the NCT now follows an old rail grade for 1.3 miles, connecting with the small Hodenpyl Dam Rd Trail Access, while the "old" trail is now a spur trail follows the old trail about a mile up to Marilla Trailhead (Parking$, toilets). Fine views of the river below. Marilla Trailhead still provides good access to the trail.
The GTHC section of the NCT includes beautiful river sections along the Manistee River, 22 Creek, Boardman River and the North Branch of the Boardman River, and passes a number of small lakes. Much of the trail is in the Pere Marquette State Forest, where dispersed camping is allowed (with some posted exceptions). Camping requires an advance permit from a DNRE service center, and your tent must be 200 feet from the trail or water's edge and must not be within a mile of a SFCG. The trail uses local DNRE areas including Muncie Lakes Pathway and Sand Lakes Quiet Area, and passes nearby several private campgrounds with facilities, and many Michigan State Forest Campgrounds (which are mentioned in the trail guide).
This part of the Wiki is set up in typical guide format, which , I have found to be very helpful in planning any length hike as a section hiker of the Appalachian Trail, where I knew only what a map told me. A Section Hiker is one who is out for several days, a week (or month) or two, or a day hike.
Abbreviations used are: TH = Trailhead (ample parking & informational Kiosk); TA = Trail Access(limited parking, informational signs); P = Parking; K = Kiosk (roof covered signage with info, maps); i = Information sign (with mileages); w = water, or water(pump); CG = public or commercial campground; $ = an ATM or bank, or cost for the item it's placed immediately after (as CG$); ts = tenting area; t = toilet i.e. toilet (pit), toilet (flush); swm = swim; shwr = shower; SFCG = State Forest Campground. Treat all water from natural sources (streams, rivers, etc.).
Services in nearby towns: PO = Post Office; $ = bank or ATM; L = lodging (usually motel); G = grocery items (from convenience store to supermarket); M = restaurant, or anyplace prepared food is sold; Hdw = store selling hardware items; Lm = Laundromat. As you venture into Mesick, Kingsley, Fife Lake, and Kalkaska, please be an ambassador for the North Country Trail, and tell folks you meet about your experiences. Many folks in these towns have worked hard to help their towns meet the needs of hikers and become Trail Towns, but most of the people you meet will be surprised to hear that the trail exists. Help us spread the word!
Mileages given in the first column in the following descriptions are cumulative for each section of trail. The second column of mileages are cumulative from the Marilla Junction (1.3 mi toward New York from Hodenpyl Dam Trail Access) to Starvation Lake Rd, northeast of Kalkaska. Compass directions are given to describe local windings of the trail ("turn right (east)"). Generally in our area the NCT goes mostly northeast while westbound toward the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Sections of the Wiki Trail Guide can be easily copied and pasted into a document on your computer, and then formatted to meet your needs. I find a two column format makes a size that can be folded lengthwise and fits into a Ziploc. Finally, please add your comments about your experiences hiking our trail. These will help other hikers planning a hike, and for us to maintain the trail. Thanks!
These GTHC sections are a work in progress, with more data to be added in the next week or two. --JuneBug 18:48, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Suggested Section Hikes
A Section Hike is a backpack of several days (or more)
Hodenpyl Dam TA to Old US131 State Forest Campground TH (40 mi) These 39 miles (plus 1 mi spur trail to the SFCG) from Hodenpyl Dam TA, nearly all very near the Manistee River, make a great multi-day hike. Two SFCG, several private campgrounds (near Hodenpyl Pond), many good dispersed camping places after first 15 miles, and passing Mesick, a great trail town, as well as access to Kingsley (at mi 32.6). You might choose to park at Marilla TH, which adds another 2.4 miles, with fine views as the trail runs along the ridge before it drops to Marilla Junction.
Hikers are urged to add their own favorite multi-day backpacks including some of our miles --JuneBug 18:55, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
Marilla Junction to Hodenpyle Dam Trail Access (1.3 mi)
The right fork is now the North Country Trail, which follows an old rail line roadbed for 1.3 miles to the small Hodenpyl Dam Rd TA.
After less than a half mile after leaving Marilla Junction, persons wishing to link with the Manistee River Trail on the east bank of the Manistee River (or just to take a side trip to the Consumers Energy suspension bridge over the Manistee River) should watch for a sharp turn downhill to the right, blazed with white. There is also a good trail from the Hodenpyl Dam Rd TA to meet the Manistee River Trail, 0.7 mi. Walk 0.2 mi right (south) on the gravel road toward the Dam, and turn right at a sign 0.5 mi through the woods on the delightful new Woodpecker Creek Path.
Hodenpyl Dam Trail Access to M115 (7.1 mi)
Hodenpyl Dam TA P,K,i The Hodenpyl Dam TA is a small dirt parking area (4-5 cars) with a kiosk, and signboard with showing distances (traveling southbound – (east) to NY and northbound – (west) to North Dakota).
Driving Directions: From Mesick, go on M115 (1.5 mi) to Hodenpyl Dam Rd. Turn left and go 4.5 miles. Just after the Manistee County Line sign, turn left on the gravel road that runs below the dam. The Trail Access is immediately on the right. The larger Marilla TH P$,t is .8 miles further west on Beers Rd., 2.4 miles by trail. Most of the next 8 miles are on an easement provided by Consumers Power, and dispersed camping is not allowed. Camping is available at Backpackers Campsites$ west of NECG, Northern Exposure CG$, Fanny’s CG$, a Backpacker Camping Area$ west of Fletcher, and at Fletcher CG$. After Fletcher CG it is about 8 miles before dispersed camping is allowed when the trail enters the Pere Marquette State Forest.
From Hodenpyl Dam TA to the M-115 crossing one mile west of Mesick the trail is a flat, scenic hike along the Hodenpyl Pond (with some diversions nearer the road), through pine plantations, skirting wetlands and peninsulas.
NOTE: 1st column is Cumulative Mileage for each section being described, and 2nd column is Cumulative Mileage from Marilla Junction to Starvation Lake Rd.
0.0 ---- 0.0 Marilla Junction
0.0 ---- 1.3 Hodenpyl Dam TH (P,K,i) Road walk, .1 mi left (north), and .3 mi right (east)
0.4 ---- 1.7 NCT enters woods on right to edge of large Hodenpyl Pond with great views.
1.4 ---- 2.7 Bench
1.8 ---- 3.0 Long bridge
2.4 ---- 3.7 Turn right on Bob's Trail for five Backpacker Campsites on the lake, where you will find numbered sites, each accommodating one or two tents. Four are right on a sandy beach, among evergreens. Cost is $10/night per site, and includes use of restrooms and showers. Drinking water is located at adjoining conventional sites. Nate’s Country Store is a short walk following the Northern Exposure CG entrance road to Hodenpyl Dam Rd. Basic provisions, plus great ice cream cones.
2.5 ---- 3.8 Entry road into Northern Exposure CG. CG$, t, w(pump).
3.75 ---- 5.0 Northern Exposure Trailhead P,K,i Exit road, Northern Exposure CG. Ample P.
4.25 ---- 5.55 Fannie CG$, private, on the lake. Please stay on the trail as it follows road around CG.
5.05 ---- 6.65 Backpacker camping area$ is on the right (south) of the trail,indicated by a Carsonite Post. The area is a open site, $6/night/person with room for 5-6 tents on small bay of lake.
5.35 ---- 6.95 West end of Fletcher CG$, t, w (pump) Large sites, many on water, ice available, no showers. The registration is midway through the campground. $15 per site in 2010.
5.95 ---- 7.25 Gate for Fletcher CG on Hodenpyl Dam Rd. Hiker parking outside the gate (2-3 cars) Road walk to M115, and short road walk until guard rail ends. Watch for trail entry back into woods.
7.2 ---- 8.5 Trail crosses M115. Limited parking on south side of road. Across the bridge is Veterans Park: P, t(pit), water(pump), picnic tables, water access. Mesick (with all needs) is 1 mi east on M115. There is also Mesick access from Glengary at Mi 11.1, also one mile. Mesick is a great trail town, and is the last source of food and services for 35 trail miles where access to Kingsley is a 6 mi road walk.
M115 Trail Access to M-37 south of Sherman (4 mi)
Description: After crossing directly across M-115, the trail rises to the bluff along the Manistee River with fine views. Later the trail dips and climbs moderately, leaves the river for a spell and rejoins it just south of the village of Glengary, on No 11 Rd. After a .3 mi road walk crossing the Manistee River, the trail enters the woods on the left and emerging onto M37 just south of Sherman. Mesick is the last source of food and services for 35 trail miles where access to Kingsley is a 6 mi road walk.
Directions: From Mesick, go west about 1 mi on M115. Limited parking on south side of road, just after the bridge. Before the bridge is Veterans Park: P, t(pit), water(pump), picnic tables, water access.
0.0 ---- 8.5 Trail crosses M115. Climbs to a high ridge, follows Manistee River with great views. Water (pump) in the park across the bridge. If the pump is disabled for the winter, there is a sandy beach area on the north side of M-115 with access to the Manistee River (recommended by Andy Mytys in preference to a wetlands source noted on the 2010 edition of MI-05).
0.2 ---- 8.7 Long stair case to river.
0.4 ---- 8.9 NCT turns left at junction with gravel road which leads to the old rail bridge.
0.9 ---- 9.4 Bench (overlooking river from ridge).
1.2 ---- 9.7 Bridge over creek.
2.3 ---- 10.8 W14 Rd, wooden NCT marker, near Glengary. No services.
2.34 ---- 10.83 No 11 Road (gravel).
2.5 ---- 11 Water access (Manistee River). Some parking.
2.6 ---- 11.1 Bridge. Access to Mesick (& all services), 1 mi. on No 11 Rd.
2.65 ---- 11.14 Trail turns left into woods, immediately after leaving bridge.
3.7 ---- 12.2 Carsonite NCT marker (turn in trail).
3.8 ---- 12.3 Marker, two track right-angle turn.
4.0 ---- 12.5 M-37 NCT Wooden Post marker just south of Sherman sign. Restaurant, gas station, 1 mile right (south) on M-37. There is no food in Sherman, or for about 31 trail miles where access to Kingsley is 6 mi north of trail.
Road Walk to junction No 12 / No 15 roads
0.0 ---- 12.45 Left (north) on M-37 Road Walk (highway with good shoulder, crosses Manistee River again).
1.4 ---- 13.9 No. 12 (right turn, east) First .5 mi. paved, then on narrow "seasonal road" (a two-track when snow is not plowed).
1.1 ---- 15.0 Junction Rd 12/15, limited parking. No parking after snow falls when this is a snowmobile trail.
Trail Access at No 12/15 Rds to Harvey Bridge (3 mi)
Directions: From junction of M115 and M37 east of Mesick, go north on M37 for 2.4 mi, turn right (east) on No. 12 Rd 1.1 mi where No. 12 Rd ends where it meets sandy No. 15 Rd. Parking for 4-5 cars in summer. After the snow flies, this seasonal road is a snowmobile trail.
Description: Trail is hilly and scenic with some clay as it heads east on State land along a series of ridges and lowlands, crossing several creeks, a deep ravine and with many nice overlooks. After 2 miles, across a ravine, there’s a bench with view. In another mile the trail emerges onto No. 17 Rd (Harvey Bridge Rd), just north of the bridge over the Manistee River.
0.0 ---- 15.0 Trail crosses bridge, climbs gently to open field, then woods.
0.6 ---- 15.6 Bridge; 2 creeks merging, water source (treat!), level tent
2.0 ---- 16.9 Long “Deena’s Bridge” in deep ravine, with steps climbing up the hill on the east side.
2.1 ---- 17.0 Bob's Bench: great view of horseshoe in Manistee River.
3.0 ---- 18.0 No 17 Rd (Harvey Bridge Rd), dirt. P (on both sides of road). Old iron bridge over the Manistee River to right. Water access, t (pit),P (6-7 cars).
Harvey Bridge to Highbanks Rollway Overlook (10.5 mi)
Directions: From traffic light in Buckley go east to the T junction. Turn right (south) on No. 17 Rd which becomes gravel after crossing No. 4 Rd. It’s 4.5 miles to Harvey Bridge over the Manistee River. The NCT crosses the road just north of the bridge with parking. There is additional parking, a pit toilet and boat landing just south of the bridge. Old iron bridge to right. Pit toilet, on other side, with water access, parking.
Description: The trail crosses the road and winds through the forest with some high bank overlooks, interspersed with road walk where the road is close to the river. Soon the trail climbs to a ridge over the river, with more high bank overlooks. Anderson Creek is a popular camping spot, with a good water source (treat all water!). After wandering along the river, the trail gains more elevation and after more scenic vistas arrives at the overlook of the High Banks Rollway.
0.2 ---- 18.2 Grassy area along low bank above river. Tenting possible in open field, with easy access to river for water.
0.35 ---- 18.35 Loop in trail brings you to "Arlen’s high bank view point".
0.41 ---- 18.42 Trail wanders into the woods (with views) and return to road for .85 mi.
1.22 ---- 19.23 Trail turns right off road, and crosses to high point over Manistee River.
1.63 ---- 19.44 High bank with great view.
4.33 ---- 22.36 Anderson Creek ts, w, R. Also nice ts on high banks further east after about .5 mi, and 2.2 mi. You may prefer to collect water from Anderson Creek (and carry it) than from Manistee River.
6.6 ---- 33.66 No 23 Rd.
10.5 ---- 28.5 Highbanks Rollway Overlook. Kiosk, i, P (ample). Great views, with platform a little east of short spur trail to the parking lot.
Highbanks Rollway TH to Baxter Bridge Rd (2.7)
Directions: From Buckley: At the light in Buckley go south on First St 0.5 mi, turn left on No. 4 Rd for 4.8 mi. The paved road swings northeast, but follow the gravel road east .3 mi where it turns south then east again (stay on the most traveled road), ending up after 1.4 mi at a parking lot. A short walk brings you to the NCT and overlook. From Kingsley: At the light go south, turn right (west) at Fenton Rd, and left onto Blackman Rd, which dead-ends at County Line Rd. Turn right (west) and continue until pavement takes a sharp right. Follow gravel road east (as above) 1.4 mi.
Description: NCT continues east along high bank ridge with views of the river valley, then turns northeast and drops into a beautiful valley of hardwoods. It then winds eastward with continual drops in elevation, eventually crossing a footbridge over a nice stream. Here you are surrounded by marvelous cedars. The trail continues east, climbing to an overlook before passing through a stand of beech. Trail emerges onto No. 29½ Rd (Baxter Bridge Rd). Baxter Bridge SFCG is .3 mi south, over the bridge and on the left. Parking is available at the river access just north of the bridge.
0.0 ---- 28.53 Trail continues east along the high bank ridge with views of the river valley.
2.55 --- 31.1 Trail crosses a very nice stream (an excellent water source).
2.7 ---- 31.24 No 29 ½ Rd (paved) nr Baxter Bridge. Trail turns left (north) along road. Water .2 mi available south at river access, or in Baxter Bridge State Forest Campground$ which is just south of the bridge (.3 mi south of the NCT), with CG$, w(pump),swm (river), t (pit)
Roadwalk: Baxter to Dell Rd TA (2.6 mi)
0.0 –--- 31.24 NCT roadwalk: left (north) on 29 ½ Rd (Summit City Rd)
1.1 ---- 32.34 Right (east) County Line Rd
1.6 ---- 32.84 (Summit City Rd turns north: Road access to Kingsley (6 mi) (for services, supplies). Not blazed. Left (north)on Summit City Rd 5 mi; left (west) on M113 (1 mi) Grocery, restaurant, hardware, laundry, Bogart’s Motel 231 263-5255. These are fairly busy roads (catching a ride might be possible), but if you intend to stay at Bogart's Motel, he may be able to provide a shuttle.
2.6 ---- 33.8 Dell Rd Access
Dell Rd Trail Access to Old US131 SFCG TH (6.2 mi + 1 mi spur trail)
Directions: From the traffic light in Kingsley go east on M113 for one mile, turn south on Summit City Rd for 5 miles, left (east) on County Line Rd for 1.1 mi. Trail is on right (south). Limited parking.
Description: Trail goes south past the gate on the fire lane through second growth forest and pine plantation, then turns left (east) and follows the Manistee River, crossing a couple of bridges, and climbs to a ridge. At the benches and platform there is a road access via Walton and Townline Rds. As the trail approaches Two Bridges TH there is a view of the old railway trestle. A one mile spur trail south takes you to the Old US131 SFCG.
0.0 ---- 33.8 Trail follows a two track fire lane south, and turns left (east) near the river
.75 ---- 34.55 About 1/4 mile after reentering the woods, the trail crosses a stream (a good water source recommended by Andy Mytys).
3.0 ---- 34.2 Trail crosses a creek (another water source recommended by Andy Mytys).
3.4 ---- 37.2 Bench, platform lookout (view!) at this Townline Rd access point. By car: from Kingsley, 1 mi east on M113, right (south) 3 mi on Summit City Rd; left (east), 3 mi on Walton Rd; right (south) 3 mi on Townline Rd. or from US131, northwest about a mile on M-113, (left) west on Walton Rd, left (south) 3 mi on Townline Rd.
6.1 ---- 39.9 View of rail trestle, overlook (nice flat space with view)
6.2 ---- 40 Two Bridges over two creeks junction. Very pleasant place, good water source, with no road access. Spur trail .9 mi to Old US-131 SFCG$, P, w (pump), t(pit), river access.
Multi-day hike These 39 miles from Hodenpyl Dam TH, nearly all very near the Manistee River, make a great multi-day hike. Two SFCG, several private campgrounds (near Hodenpyl Pond), many good dispersed camping places after first 15 miles, and passing Mesick, a great trail town, as well as access to Kingsley (at mi 32.6).
Old US131 SFCG TH to Fife Lake TA (6.45 mi)
Directions: From the junction of M113 and US131 southwest of Fife Lake, drive south on US131 .9 mi, turn right at camping sign and immediately left, and continue another 1.7 mi. Turn right into SFCG, continue straight for .4 to TH with parking. Admire the "historic" wooden trail map, showing the NCT as it was a decade ago. The 1 mi spur trail accesses the NCT near the two bridges. While in the area, do walk on the road (before the turn into the campground) to the pedestrian / snowmobile bridge across the Manistee River.
Description: Trail leaves Manistee River and heads north with flat, easy miles. At Sparling Rd a spur trail takes you east 2.7 miles into Fife Lake Village. Fife Lake is a pleasant community with all the services a hiker needs.
0.0 ---- 40 Trail turns north, leaving the Manistee River.
1.0 ---- 41 No 2 Rd
3.0 ---- 43 RR Track
3.7 ---- 43.7 M-113
6.5 ---- 46.5 Sparling Rd Spur trail (right, east) 2.7 mi into Fife Lake Village, P, PO, L, G, M, Hdw, Lm along two track Sparling Rd, 4th & Pierce Streets to State St (the main drag). Turn right for the main part of town. Parking available 2.2 mi from trail across from the Village Park on Mirror Lake. Parking is also available behind the Township Hall (behind the Historic School on the main drag. Near the lake is the Fife Lakeside Resort & Party Store (motel)and across the street is the Fife Lake Inn. We enjoyed their food (and beer) one evening after a day of checking for this Wiki entry. There are several other restaurants and an ice cream place. For local info, stop in at the Wild Raisin Gallery and ask Mandy.
Spring Lake SFCG is 2.2 mi, using Sparling Rd for 1.7 mi, and right (south) after crossing US-131 for .5 mi. SFCG$, P, w (pump), t (pit)
Fife Lake TA to Mayfield Rd (3.8 mi)
Directions: From M186 and US131 west of Fife Lake, go south .5 mile, turn right onto Sparling Rd for 1.5 mi.
Description: From Sparling Rd the trail continues north.
0.0 ---- 46.45 Sparling Rd
.63 ---- 47.08 M-186 (Miller Rd)
2.7 ---- 49.78 Cedar Creek Rd
3.8 ---- 50.88 Mayfield Rd (limited parking along the dirt roads)
Mayfield Rd to Muncie Lake TH (5.5mi)
Directions: From intersection of Garfield and Hammond Rds follow Hammond, High Lake and Supply Rds 14.7 mi to Fife Lake Rd. Turn right (south) for 2 mi to Mayfield Rd, right (west) 2 mi to NCTA crossing. From Fife Lake, US131 & M186 go northeast on US131 for .8 mi, turn left (north) on Fife Lake Rd for 2.8 mi, turn left (west) on Mayfield Rd, 2 mi to NCT crossing.
Description: After some dirt road walking, the trail now heads into the Boardman River valley, following Twenty-two Creek and the Valley of the Giants, with huge old growth trees. It crosses some flatlands to the Boardman River, emerging onto Brown Bridge Rd. Going north, over the river, the trail re-enters the woods on left just past the entrance to Scheck’s Place SFCG. Trail goes up the hill, across Ranch Rudolph Rd to Muncie Lake TH. The hike from Scheck’s Place to 22 Creek is a favorite day hike.
1.9 ---- 52.8 NCT Marker at left turn from 2 track/gasline
2.4 ---- 53.3 Twenty-two Creek (w,ts), after switchback downhill. Enter beautiful Valley of Giants.
2.8 –--- 53.7 NCT leaves 22 Creek (after .39 mi along creek). Several good tentsites above creek.
3.1 ---- 54.0 Big Oak, among many other giants of this forest
3.3 ---- 54.2 Scharmen Rd (locals park here for a day hike to the Valley of Giants.
4.0 ---- 54.8 Scharmen Rd
5.0 –--- 55.9 Brown Bridge Rd
5.1 ---- 56.0 Scheck’s Place SFCG (R,P,CG$, w (pump), t (pit), Boardman River access) If pump is turned off for winter, water is easily collected from the Boardman River.
5.5 ---- 56.4 NCT turns left (west), uphill to Muncie Lakes TH, soon after Scheck's sign at entrance to the campground,
Muncie Lakes TH to Dollar Lake TH (4.2 mi)
Directions: From Traverse City on Front St., go south on S. Garfield. 7.5 south of Hammond Rd, turn left (east) (at the Ranch Rudolf sign) onto Hobbs Rd (just before Garfield drops to Boardman River valley). After .7 mi bear left on Hobbs up the hill. In about a mile bear right onto Ranch Rudolf Rd. Muncie Lakes Pathway and TH is 2.8 mi ahead on left.
Description: NCT uses Muncie's network of trails. Follow Muncie Lakes #1,2,3,4,5,7, and 8, through rolling mixed woods. After the #8 sign, at 0.5 mi the NCT leaves the Muncie path and turns north (left), drops into a valley, up and over to Dollar Lake (good swimming). Past Dollar Lake the trail continues north, then makes a sharp right turn to a large parking lot and Supply Rd.
0.0 ---- 56.4 Muncie Post #1 (end of parking area) P, t (pit), K, i Maps showing Muncie paths & the NCT at each Post
2.0 ---- 58.4 Post #5
2.6 –--- 56.4 Post #8
3.1 ---- 59.5 NCT leaves Muncie Lakes trails on left (north)
4.0 –--- 60.4 Dollar Lake (on NE side of pond) Many good tenting sites. w, swm
4.2 –--- 60.54 Dollar Lake Trailhead (at Supply Rd, west of Williamsburg Rd) Large sandy parking lot.
Dollar Lake TH to Sand Lakes TH (5 mi)
Directions: From Three Mile and Hammond Rds SE of Traverse City, go east on Hammond, curve right (south) on High Lake Rd, curve left (east) on Supply Rd (total 8.5 mi). Large sandy parking lot on south side of road between Woodland School and Williamsburg Rd.
Description: This slightly rolling section features the North Branch of the Boardman River, then heads north, crossing Broomhead Rd (where there is limited parking) and Guernsey Lake Rds into the Sand Lakes Quiet Area with its web of trails. At #3 marker there is a spur trail .9 mi to the Sand Lakes TH. Within Sand Lakes, the maps at each marker post show the NCT. This area is very popular for hiking and camping in summer, and skiing & snowshoeing in winter.
0.0 ---- 60.54 Dollar Lake Trailhead P No other services.
0.3 ---- 60.8 Williamsburg Rd
2.0 ---- 62.6 North Branch of Boardman River Several tent site areas near this beautiful small river with good water sources in the next mile, and near Broomhead Rd.
3.1 ---- 63.6 Broomhead Rd (favorite hike/snowshoe westbound along river) Parking along road.
3.5 ---- 64 Guernsey Lake Rd / NCT crossing (in woods)
4.1 ---- 64.7 Sand Lake #20
4.8 ---- 65.4 Sand Lake #4
5.0 ---- 65.6 Sand Lake #3 Spur Trail .9 mi to Sand Lake Trailhead and large Parking Lot on Broomhead Rd
Sand Lakes TH to Guernsey Lake TH (2.5 mi)
Directions: From Traverse City, go northeast on US31 to Acme, east on M72, right (south) on Broomhead Rd, (which takes a sharp left/right jog) 3.5 miles to signed large parking lot.
Description: Take the white blazed spur trail to marker #3, where you pick up the NCT. Go east. Follow #5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13. At Sand Lakes #5, there’s a campground (no fee) with w (pump), t (pit) and swimming. Trail goes through rolling woods, swings south towards marker #13, and soon after a .2 mi spur trail (white blazes) goes into campsite area of Guernsey Lake SFCG$. At #14, another spur trail (white blazes) goes .3 mi to the parking area across the entry road, and the NCT continues east.
0.0 ---- 65.6 Sand Lake #3 Turn left (east) from the spur trail.
0.2 ---- 65.8 Sand Lake #5 on the right (south) of trail: Pleasant camping area on lake (no fee) CG, w (pump), t (pit), swm. Water source in lake if pump is winterized. Tent sites also across and at the end of the lake.
2.1 ---- 67.9 Follow Sand Lakes #7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
2.4 ---- 68.2 Spur Trail .2 mi to along lake to campsites of Guernsey Lake SFCG$ CG, w (pump), t (pit)
2.5 ---- 68.3 Spur Trail .3 mi to parking area on entrance rd of Guernsey Lake SFCG
Guernsey Lake TH to Kalkaska Kaliseum TH (9.5 mi)
Directions: From Sand Lakes Parking (#14), drive just south on Broomhead Rd, go left (east) on Sand Lakes Rd 3.3 mi, right (south) on Guernsey lake Rd 1 mi. From Kalkaska drive south on US131, right (west) 6.9 mi on Island Lake Rd, left (south) one mi. on Guernsey Lake Rd, SFCG on right. Parking lot on GL SFCG entry road .1 mi on left (south) near white blazed spur trail marked #15.
Description: Connect with NCT by the spur, then proceed right (east). Trail crosses Boardman River Rd, angles past Island Lake in woods, crossing a meadow to Island Lake Rd crossing, then into woods for a pleasant walk to Smith Lake Rd, and then east along Smith Lake, and continuing on two tracks into Kalkaska.
0.6 ---- 68.9 Guernsey Lake Rd
1.9 ---- 70.2 Boardman River Rd
3.0 ---- 71.9 Island Lake Rd NCT turns right (east) off 2-track onto pleasant trail (shared with Shore to Shore Horse Trail).
6.7 ---- 75.6 Smith Lake Rd
7.3 ---- 76.2 At a NCT carsonite post, there is a trail to the left (north). Follow it to the lake where there is an area suitable for your tent. There is no camping in Kalkaska, but 2.4 mi east of town there is Log Lake CG$.
9.5 ---- 77.9 Kalkaska Kaliseum P, w, shwr, no camping. The Kaliseum (a recreational complex) is on west edge of town. Kalkaska has all services except an outfitter: PO, $, L, G, M, Hdw, Lm.
Kalkaska Kaliseum TH to Log Lake Campground (2.4 mi)
Directions: 1900 Fairgrounds Rd NW; 231-258-5913. This is .5 mi west of US131/M72 intersection, and .2 mi south on Fairgrounds Rd.
Description: Trail heads east on paved pathway. Then by road, cross Birch to follow Division, left on Walnut, right on Norway, left on Cedar (US131) to M72, crossing US131 at the light. Follow CR612 .4 mi, turn left onto Shady Lane, bear right after the subdivision, trail skirts the north side of Blue Lake, turns left at Log Lake Park CG.
0.0 ---- 77.9 From Kiosk cross Fairgrounds Rd. Walk east on paved path paralleling Courthouse Dr
0.3 ---- 78.2 Right at Birch, immediate left onto Division.
0.7 ---- 78.6 Left (north) onto Walnut
1.0 ---- 78.7 Right onto Norway
1.6 ---- 78.8 Left on Cedar (US 131)
1.65 --- 78.85 Cross M 72 & then US 131
1.7 ---- 78.9 Walk east on Nash Rd (Co 612)
1.0 ---- 79.2 Cross RR tracks
1.1 ---- 79.3 Left (north) on Shady Lane
1.7 ---- 79.6 Cross a road
1.75 --- 79.65 Turn right (easterly) onto seasonal road which skirts north side of Blue Lake
2.4 ---- 80.35 Log Lake Rd. with Log Lake CG$ (CG$, w, restrooms, shwrs) on across the road.
Log Lake Campground to Sunset Rd (10.3)
Directions: Drive east 1.3 mi on Co 612, turn left (north) onto E. Log Lake Rd for .3 mi to Log Lake CG$ on the lake. Shwrs, restrooms, swm.
Description: Turn right (north) from CG gate, follow dirt road, which bends right (east). After 0.4 mi, turn left (north) onto a small dirt unnamed road which goes through flat cleared land and past an oil well. When the road bends right (east), the NCT continues straight heading north to the Shore to Shore trail, and east crossing Wheeler Lake Rd. The trail follows the power line to the dirt State Rd. Turn right (east) on State 0.2 mi to a vehicle barrier. After this gate, NCT follows horse trail, passes another gate and continues east on State Rd. After crossing Darragh Rd, the road walk continues east on paved CR 612, past Manistee Lake to Sunset Trail Rd.
0.0 ---- 80.3 Across from Log Lake Campground. Left (north) from Log Lake CG on Log Lake Rd, which follows the lake eastward
0.4 ---- 80.7 Left (north) on unsigned road, othrough flat cleared land, past oil well
0.9 ---- 81.2 NCT goes straight as road bends to the right (east)
1.0 ---- 81.4 Go right (north) as NCT joins with Shore to Shore (horse) trail
3.1 ---- 83.5 Cross Wheeler Rd
3.4 ---- 83.7 Right (east) on State Rd (dirt, seasonal road)
3.6 ---- 83.9 Vehicle barrier (cars can’t enter), trail continues eastward
4.7 ---- 85 Vehicle barrier, trail leaves restricted area; continues on paved State Rd
6.2 ---- 86.6 Cross Darragh Rd, continue east on County Rd 612, Manistee Lake Rd
7.2 ---- 87.6 Option, left .25 mi: Town Park on Manistee Lake swm. No camping. Closes at 10pm
7.7 ---- 88 Resort, with groceries, gas
8.5 ---- 88.9 Squirrels Nest "Rustic Camping"$ (231-384-0774)
10.3 ---- 90.7 Sunset Trail Rd. NCT turns left (north) just past road. Limited parking on dirt road next to trail.
Sunset Trail Rd to Starvation Lake Rd (8.8 mi)
Directions: From Kalkaska, follow CR612 east about 6 mi, left (north) 2 mi on Darragh Rd, then right (east) for 4 mi, past Manistee Lake. TH is on left just past Sunset Trail. Some parking on dirt road just past (east) of where NCT leaves the road heading left (north).
Description: Trail parallels the road for 2 mi, where a short spur heads west to Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground. It swings east, crossing Kenel Rd before turning north to cross Papoose Lake and Indian Lake Rds, and goes through a hilly forested section past several small lakes and ponds to Starvation Lake Rd, the end of the Grand Traverse Hiking Club’s section. Limited parking .1 mile east on Starvation Lake Rd along dirt side road.
Starvation Lake Rd to C-38 Mancelona Rd 4 miles
The NCT trail crosses Starvation Lake Rd just a little east of Starvation Lake. Going north you hike through a nice stand of pine trees planted by the CCC Camps. Emerging from the pines you cross a road and go through small trees and brush and enter a section of sumac, rasberry bushes and ferns that grow as high as your chest. The adopter for that section has named it the "deadly meadow". Our NCT chapter has put a few carsonites along the trail where there were no trees to blaze. AT the northern end of this section you enter into a hardwood forest and walk on a 2 track for approximately 3/4 mile to C-38. Note on your map, that Sand Lake is in this section. Our chapter intends to make a white blazed side trail to the lake, so watch for it in the future.
C-38 Mancelona Rd to Cinder Hill Rd 4.4 miles
The NCT trail crosses C-38 about 1 mile east of Cinder Hill Rd just before C-38 curves north. It is a nice walk through hardwood forests and over the ridge of hills that you can see to the east as you drive on US-131. You can park off road at either end of this section.
U.S.131 to Alba Rd-less than 1 mile
The trail crosses U.S.131 and continues on an old sandy dirt road, passing by private lands on either side. The road undergoes a name change at this point. South of U.S.131 it is Corey Rd, but north of U.S.131 it is Harvey Rd. The road goes up a hill and passes through a pleasant stand of tall hardwoods. Going downhill the trail crosses Alba Rd heading toward Landslide Lookout, a scenic overlook of the Jordan Valley.
Alba Rd to Landslide Lookout 1.3 miles
The trail crosses Alba Rd about a mile west of the small town of Alba, but if you were a long distance hiker and needed supplies, it would be good to know that a little south of the corner of Alba Rd and U.S.131, there is a party store and small campground with showers at the gas station. Harvey Rd going to Landslide Lookout is a small narrow dirt road that ends at the Lookout. About 1/3 mile before reaching Landslide the trail takes to the woods on the left and follows the old railroad grade. The trail comes out by the outdoor toilet in the parking lot. Follow the blue blazes to one of the most awsome vistas of the valley. There is a bench where you can park your weary bones for a short time before continuing the adventure in the Jordan Valley.
The Jordan Valley Info
The Jordan Valley is the watershed of the Jordan River that flows into the city of East Jordan. The river is completely formed in the valley, starting as a small stream you can step across at the northeast end of the valley, and growing to a wide deep river that has been designated a National Scenic River. The North Country Trail(NCT) will take you across several of the beautiful streams that feed the river. There are more streams on the east side of the Jordan Valley Pathway if you are able to do the loop trail.
The Jordan Valley Pathway is an 19 mile loop trail that circles the valley and the NCT uses the westerly side of the loop. The Pathway is marked with blue circles and the NCT is marked with rectangles. Where the trails follow the same path, the marking on the trees look like giant exclamation points!
The only place you can camp in the valley is at Pinney Bridge Campground which is a hike-in campground with pit toilets, pump water and picnic tables. It is a State Forest campground and costs $15.oo per night (I think).
From Landslide Lookout NCT goes to the left (west) to Pinney Bridge. The Pathway goes to the right (east) and goes to Deadman's Hill, another beautiful lookout of the valley.
Winter Info In the winter, a good option is to start at the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery on Turner Rd. off US131, because the road to Deadman's Hill is not plowed all the way to the parking lot. doing this gives you a few options for picking up the trail.
If you're doing the whole loop...park at the hatchery. Hike back up Turner Rd. about a half mile more or less to where the trail crosses the road. Since there may not be tracks you'll have to look carefully for the trail markers. (If you crest the hill you've gone too far.) Once you find the trail head north to Deadman's Hill then continue using your map to Pinney Bridge Campground.
The NCT portion of the trail is well marked with 3"x5" blue rectangles. Blazes on the DNR section are blue circles and more sparse. Just be aware of the blazes and keep your map and compass handy. :-) My guess is you will hear snowmobile noise which will help to orient you to your map as they will be on the roads I mentioned.
The hatchery is a great place. It has a 24 hour visitor center. Lost hikers have been know to crash there during the night. If you have the time and are there between 7:00am and 3:30 pm check out the fish rearing inside. The lake trout eggs may be hatching this week. There are lake trout and brook trout in the raceways outside.
If you really want an accurate snow report, you could call the hatchery--231-584-2461. The staff is always helpful to hikers.
Landslide Lookout to Pinney Bridge Campground 3.6 miles
As you begin this hike into the Jordan Valley you can hear the rushing river down the hill. The river has its begining at the bottom of Landslide Lookout hill. It is hard to believe that much water can come out of the ground. If you have the time to hike to the bottom of the hill, there is a path that branches off to the right. You'll see it. It goes down the hill to the river. Don't forget that you have to climb back up! The marked trail goes to the left and onto the side of the opposite hill. This part of the hike has some steep hills. In the lower lands there wet areas, where springs make their way to the river, but most of them have puncheon. When you come to the first bridge over a creek, stop and look upstream. You'll be surprised, because the creek starts right there out of the hill. Further on you'll come to Cascade Creek, another creek adding its water to the Jordan River. The last leg of this section is higher ground with hardwood trees and open areas. When you begin a decent down a long hill you are almost at Pinney Bridge. There is a small parking area there, and it looks like 3 small dirt roads converge. Continue north around the locked gate to the bridge and marvel at how big the Jordan River is as it is on its way out of the valley. Continue on over the bridge to the walk-in Campground about 1/4 mile away.
Pinney Bridge Campground to Jordan River Road crossing 5 miles
Hiking east from the campground you enter the forest and climb a steep hill. At the top you are rewarded with a view of the valley and a bench on which to set and enjoy it. It is a great place to watch the sunset if you are camping. The trail is hilly at first with the river in the valley, but soon you will be hiking in the valley with creeks and springs crossing the trail on their way to the Jordan River. When you come to the Jordan River there are lots of places to set on the bank and enjoy the river. Then it is back up into the hills, eventually coming out on Jordan River Rd. where you'll turn south (right) walking the road, and crossing the Jordan River at a place we call "The Three Culverts". The trail goes back into the woods just a little bit further south, crossing the road and continuing east.
Jordan River Road crossing to Jordan River Road walk 4 miles
Leaving the road you again climb to the top of the hills and come out on a large clearing. It is dotted with trees now, but in the early 1900's there was a lumbercamp here and they were logging the valley. After the open section comes the swampy section. The trail gives you a little view of the amount of water that flows out of the hills and saturates the ground. There are boardwalks over the deeper areas and the beaver think our boardwalks are a wonderful places to put their dams. Sometimes the trail is under water, but the DNR is working on the problem so you might get lucky and find it dry. There are two boardwalk areas and they are good places to observe water birds, frogs, and swamp creatures.
You come to a divide in the trail. It is well marked. It is part of the short 3 mile loop trail from Deadman's Hill and back. To stay on the NCT, continue straight ahead. The trail hugs the bottom of the hill with many stretches of puncheon, because of the water coming out of the base of the hill. The next highlight is a platform built over one of the springs. It is a good spot to get a close up view of the spring.
The next divide in the trail is where the Jordan Valley Pathway goes up the hill to Deadman's Hill Lookout. To stay on the NCT continue straight ahead and stay in the valley. You will now be following only 3"x5" blue rectangles. It's a little more than a mile to Jordan River Road. We, Tittabawassee Chapter, call this section "the Arden Johnson section". I think it was because it was one of his favorites.
Mackinac Bridge at St Ignace to Brevort Lake Road
This section is 14.6 miles. Use NCTA Map MI-08
Walked June 14-15, 2009 --JHY 18:33, 18 June 2009 (UTC) (remove this line if you edit this section)
The trail leaves from the NE corner of the Welcome Center on the NE side of the bridge. This property is adjacent to the Bridge Authority buildings, and if you want to connect with a bridge walk you need to just walk down the driveway to the grassy area by the lake where the bridge walks are staged.
Leave the Welcome Center on single track trail through cedars. There is a large sign- no problem finding it. Immediately enter Straits State Park property. Continue on blazed trail, make a left turn and climb 73 wooden steps to a viewing platform for the bridge. (coin operated viewer). You must turn left or right to exit the platform, but then walk around the platform so as to continue straight in a line with the steps between two campsites. Trail is blazed but it's easy to not see the blaze. The trail comes out to a park road at a corner with a grassy triangle. Continue on the park road, watch for a turn to the right on single track trail. This short trail piece brings you out on a residential street. Turn right on the street. The next turn is a left on a sidewalk just before you enter a ferry dock property. There is a proper blaze but it is in the shadow of a sign, so is easy to miss. Continue straight (blazes on utility poles).
Continue several blocks on sidewalk till reaching a black 4x4 post with a blue arrow pointing across the road where you join a paved walkway that drops down from a paved scenic turnout to lake level. At the bottom of the slope this changes to gravel. Enter a waterfront park with a pavillion, playground, volleyball and horseshoe pits. Public restrooms and water.
The gravel walkway ends but continue along the waterfront by crossing the back parking lot of the Mackinac Grill. Join the city boardwalk (a brochure which gives historic information is available but I'm not sure where- Chamber of Commerce maybe) which follows the waterfront through town. (Currently not blazed. Negotiations are under way with the city as to how to mark it that will satisfy both them and the NPS). The boardwalk has many access points (for downtown businesses) benches, plantings, and interpretive signs. There are more restrooms at the Public Marina. There is one place where you must exit to the sidewalk to go around a property that would not give the boardwalk access (does the NCT understand that problem!?) But return to the waterfront right after that one property. The boardwalk ends with a return to the street directly across from a small museum with Ojibway and Huron items, and a Pere Marquette Memorial. This is the last place where you can find reliable water until reaching an unnamed creek in about 10 miles. There may be some water flowing along the rail trail, but it didn't look reliable to me.
There is a blaze on the street sign pole to your left, but its easy to miss. Take a left and an immediate right along the side of the museum. Pass the museum and turn right on gravel Ojibway Trail. This turn is NOT marked. You will now join a connector section on a gravel rail-trail. First it looks like a gravel street. Then it begins to look like multiple driveways in the back of an industrial section, but just keep continuing in the same direction and all the "roads" focus into one gravel pathway leading NW out of town. This is about a 4 mile, hot section, but there is a surprising amount of quality vegetation along the way. I saw yellow lady slipper there in June and many other wildflowers. Watch for poison ivy. This is well used by ATVs and snowmobiles, and is only a connector. Be aware that hikers are not the intended users.
Come to Castle Rock Road. Parking. Take a left into the woods on single-track treadway. Trailhead is well marked. Go a short distance on woods trail, turn left on a sand road. Not many blazes on the sand road. Watch for a right turn on another less-used sand road, clearly marked. Terrain begins to roll. Turn right on another sand road at a well-marked corner. Marked no ATVs, but it looks like they do use it some. There was one 100-foot long, deep, wet area in the trail that was difficult to get around, and another shorter one that was also difficult. More short, steep ups and downs. There was a lot of orange flagging tape here, perhaps marking reroutes to take better routes among the steep dunes. At one point you will be at the top of a steep bank with Castle Rock Road directly below for a short distance. You will cross a very sandy "road" halfway up a hill, with a carsonite post on each side saying "No Motor Vehicles." This is the other access point to Castle Rock Road with a short spur to the road. 3.4 miles between the Castle Rock Road access points.
About 25 minutes walk from the Castle Rock Road access spur you reach a bench at a height of land. The bench is in memory of Eric Cox. If you sit on the bench and look just above the tree tops in the distance you will see the towers of the Mackinac Bridge!
Trail continues with many steep ups and down in sand and then following a ridge. In about half an hour you will notice water below you on the right that eventually becomes a pond. Watch for an abrupt turn to the left down steeply off the ridge. It is marked, but trail also continues straight along the ridge. At the bottom you join puncheon, and at the west end of the puncheon a small creek flows from the pond. The water is root beer color, but tastes fine. There are possible small campsites SW of the creek crossing. But most of them are in the middle of a well-used wildlife trail. There is a perfect cache tree across the trail right there. This site works, but it's only another mile to the Pointe Aux Chenes River, and that is better, with quite a few places one could put a tent on the west side of the river.
After the small creek, in about 10-15 minutes, watch for a right hand turn off of the wide trail you are walking. There is no turn blaze, only a blaze down the side trail. (If you come to a pipeline opening, either go back (not far) and find the turn, or turn to the right up the pipeline.) The trail comes to the pipeline cut and turns right (N). Go about three utility poles and enter the woods on an old road to the left. This is not clearly marked in the pipeline although if you look down the trail you will see a blaze. (If you are coming W to E it is not clear that you turn R when you enter the pipeline, but the place where you leave the pipeline is marked with a post and easy to find.)
Reach the Pointe Aux Chenes River and cross on a nice wooden bridge. Very soon you pass a turnoff angling to the left. The junction is marked with a small American flag on a tree. This is the side trail that also leads out to Brevort Lake Rd (South of the actual NCT crossing, spur length 1.2 miles. It is unfortunately also blazed in blue- should be white.) Continue straight on the main NCT.
In about one mile, reach a dirt road with wide place for parking. Turn right and walk towards paved Brevort Lake Rd. which is very close but around a slight bend. This turn was not marked. I found a fallen blaze, cut it in half and hung part on a tree and part on the sign. Just before reaching the stop sign enter the woods to the right at a wooden sign and cut across the wooded corner, then cross Brevort Lake Road.
Brevort Lake Road to M-123
This section is 15.0 miles. Use NCTA Map MI-08
Walked June 15-16, 2009 -- --JHY 13:10, 19 June 2009 (UTC) (remove this line if you edit this section)
Parking at Brevort Lake Road is on a dirt road just south of the actual crossing. From the paved road itself the trail heads west and crosses the Brevort River in about 1/4 mile on a "rusty metal" Forest Service bridge. Between the bridge and Dam Road (FR3303) there are quite a few downed trees making the going slow. Not long before reaching Dam Road you enter a power line cut. There is a 4x4 stake with blazes in the middle. Although the blazes are in line with the cut, just continue across the cut at an angle in line with the trail and the post. The trail leaves the cut through some saplings, goes down a wide ditch beside the cut and continues into the trees. Look for a blaze in the woods edge. DO NOT walk up the power line, the trail goes straight across on a bit of an angle. If you are coming from the west this would be easier because there is a blaze you can see at the edge of the cut.
Soon you will be on a sand bank above the lazy Brevort River below you on the right. When you reach the road, join it and cross the Brevort River again on the road bridge. Pop back into the woods on the left. This is all well marked.
In about one mile, reach the Brevort Lake campsite. There will be tantalizing glimpses of the lake through the trees before you reach it. This is a beautiful location. There is a fairly large grassy area on the shore of the lake. There is a stone fire ring and a kitchen chair! Easy water access. The lake has a sandy bottom and is very shallow for a long way out (watch out for clumps of zebra mussels if you are barefoot!). There is a narrow dirt road that comes into the site. The map says you can drive here. Leave the site on the grassy berm of the lake. There is poison ivy here! Cross the Brevort River where it leaves the lake on a very new cement bridge and climb the hill on wooden "boxed" steps. There is also poison ivy on these steps. (I mention this because there isn't poison ivy anywhere else in this section.) In about five minutes you pass a turnoff marked "campsite" with a wooden sign. This leads to a small secluded site in hemlocks. There is water access down a short steep bank, room for one small tent and no fire ring.
Continue for about two miles and you will cross a succession of roads. The first is a very wide gravel road. Then there is a narrow dirt forest road, then a paved road (to the FS campsite), then paved FR 3108. Then you come to FR 3108 again and follow it a short distance to the left to cross the Little Brevort River on a road bridge. Water access here is possible but not easy. There are some places one could camp to the north of the trail on the west side of the road, except it's pretty near the road which is well-traveled. There is a wildlife/angler trail along the river on the SW side of the bridge that leads in about 150 feet to a lovely spot for a rest break on the river with stumps covered with moss and ferns, but the hemlock woods is too dense for a campsite.
Trail returns to the woods on the right (east) after the river crossing on the road via a two track that leads in a short distance to a parking area. There was someone car camping here when I passed, but I don't know if this is legal or not. Trail is clearly marked. Go through a couple of grassy areas alternating with mixed conifers through very level terrain. Cross a dirt road and the ground starts to roll a little more. In about 1.5 miles cross a built up berm over a short wet area and climb three steps made from railroad ties that are made for the Jolly Green Giant, angle at a nice grade to the right and climb to Worth Road. There is a kiosk and register box on the N side of the road.
About 15 minutes later, on old woods roads, reach some puncheon that leads to the Silver Creek Bridge. Puncheon and bridge are at the bottom of a shallow valley. ATVs have been running this section. There was deeply rutted black mud that is VERY slippery. Puncheon on the other side of the bridge too. Forgot to look for good campsites, but my sense is that there would be some on the east side of the bridge. Reach a fork where some creosoted timbers are piled and take the left one (still an old road). This was clearly marked. Soon after the bridge Begin to pass through some areas of damper woods with more grass. When you reach FR 3124 (Burma Rd) there is a sign warning hikers that the Carp River Bridge is out and giving an alternate road walk. The bridge can be crossed if you are willing to climb a steeply angled timber. Cross a beaver dam and then a two-track. Pass through a red pine plantation and cross a pipeline. The trail goes off the old road berm to get around a pile of dirt mounded up to discourage ATV access. But as soon as you get around this the trail returns to the woods road and goes straight across the pipeline cut. Very quickly make a right turn, marked with a carsonite post that leads to another old woods road. Cross a gravel road. Reach a 4x4 wood post with a blue arrow pointing left. The "road" splits, so be sure you don't miss this turn. Reach the Carp River Bridge.
Carp River Bridge has been damaged on its west end and has partly fallen into the river. It is very stable, just at an odd angle with tricky access. The access ramp, when the bridge was sound, was at a steep angle. Now, only one of it's timbers is usable and is very steeply angled. You have to hang on tight and scramble up it to the bridge surface, but it's possible. Everything seems solid enough (June 2009). The bridge is made from large creosoted timbers with a rail on one side. I forgot to check for possible campsites.
Reach puncheon and then a small red pine plantation in which you cross two roads. The first is a flat track covered with pine needles and then, almost immediately cross a dirt two-track. Reach a 10-foot high brown post (???), cross a dirt two-track, and another of those posts. This one has a sign bolted to the top that says "Logging Operation Ahead" (but facing the opposite direction), so apparently the area between those posts is planned for some timber harvesting. Cross under a power line and reach M-123 which you cross obliquely to the left.
M-123 to H-40 (Trout Brook Pond)
This section is 15.5 miles. Use NCTA Map MI-08
Walked June 16-17, 2009 --JHY 14:01, 20 June 2009 (UTC) (remove this line if you edit this section)
There is no parking where the trail crosses M-123. Cross obliquely- the marker is visible across the way. Pass through a wooded band and arrive immediately at a gravel "road," which I think must be a snowmobile/ rail-trail. There are no markers here, but you need to turn left and follow it for about 1/4 mile to cross Bissel Creek. There is a post marking where the trail leaves the gravel to the right. Drop down a steep bank on single-track trail but quickly join another woods road. Come to a T and turn left. This is clearly marked with an arrow on a carsonite post, but pay attention. Coming from the west be sure you don't miss this turn. Cross a grassy area and come to a section of puncheon with a very small un-named creek flowing under it. There will be five sections of puncheon, and Taylor Creek Bridge (large bridge of creosoted timbers and steep access ramps) is in the middle of the fifth section. There are hemlocks near the fourth section, and then cedars at Taylor Creek.
Reach Taylor Creek two miles from M-123. The terrain is quite marshy. I did not see any good places to camp, but didn't look really hard. The creek is wide but shallow. Water access is possible, but not super easy. Puncheon attached to the bridge crosses another very small un-named creek. Next cross a gravel road. The terrain changes and the trail begins to get rocky which makes the walking more challenging. Cross a dirt two-track.
Reach the North Fork of the Carp River about two miles from Taylor Creek. This is another large bridge of creosoted timbers. There is a grassy camping area just on the east side of the river. It has a stone fire ring and sitting log. This area gets the full afternoon sun and is very hot on sunny days. Easy water access from a sandy "beach." No good cache tree nearby. I had to walk quite a way up the trail to find one. The site was extremely buggy when I was there with mosquitoes, deerflies, gnats and ticks.
Most of the first walk after this is through a cedar swamp. Join a long portion of puncheon (one large tree fallen across it- I got wet feet getting around it through the swamp). Next cross a grassy two-track which is gated to the left at a dirt road. Cross Kenneth Road (FR 3122) in about 40 minutes. This section also has quite a few of the bumpy rocks. They are very interesting, but slow the walking. Just before reaching the road there are several areas of bare rock jumbled in the trail- very interesting. There is a kiosk and register box at the road.
The next sections of trail are very botanically rich. The area was carpeted with wildflowers in June. Cross two grassy linear spaces in quick succession that were roads. In about a mile cross another set of two grassy two-tracks. Make a long gradual descent to a dirt road (that goes around the west side of East Lake). Cross it directly- marked with a carsonite post. There are two sections of puncheon with 4 boards and soon make a left turn (well marked with a carsonite post). Enter an area with a number of large glacial erratic boulders. Cross East Lake Road- good sign, well marked, kiosk and register box. Immediately cross a well-traveled black dirt road that looks like it might be an ATV trail.
As you start around Guard Lake the trail becomes very wet and follows a woods road that has been traveled by ATVs. Leave the heaviest traveled one on a fork to the right (well marked). The map says there is a campsite at Guard Lake, but I never saw where it would be. The trail around the lake was very muddy even in June. Leave the wettest area entering drier woods with more erratic boulders. Cross Gamble Road (FR 3114). Well marked.
Cross an old road (if you look to the left it was cut through a hill about 6 feet deep.), and immediately cross another- these might have been logging roads since the woods is quite open as if it had been selectively logged at some point. Still lots of wildflowers. Reach a pea-graveled two-track, turn right, and in about 50 yards go back into the woods ON THE SAME SIDE, to the right. Reach a grassy two-track, and the trail turns right on it. In about 1/8 mile reach a T at another grassy two-track and take a right. This is well marked from both directions. Follow that road for a bit over 1/4 mile and enter another area with large boulders. Soon you will see a ridge beginning to your left which is the beginning of Maple Hill.
Maple Hill will continue to rise, gradually higher. The trail pretty much follows a contour below it then drops a bit and climbs back up to the face of the hill. Here the rocks have just sprouted from the ground and become a long cliff face of bare rock. This is really awesome and unexpected in this area of fairly flat terrain!
Just before reaching dirt FR 3323 the trail makes a sharp right to avoid going into the parking space. There is a broken up cement foundation of a building piled there. The trail turns left on the road. In less than 1/10 mile leave the road at a well-marked junction on an old woods road (the trail more or less goes straight and the road curves left). Soon you come to a junction where the trail angles right on another old woods road. Then there are eight sections of puncheon. Sections 6,7, and 8 are quite long. After the last of those, make a right turn and you will see that you are beside a wet meadow which is through a band of trees on your left. This soon opens up into a pond which was thick with yellow bull-head lily in June. Interestingly, the trail is now in drier, sandy soil with bracken fern. The pond becomes Little Bear Creek. The bridge is a low puncheon-type crossing. It is difficult to reach without getting wet, but it doesn't matter, because the bridge sinks when you walk on it, wetting you to mid calf. Since I was almost done with this hike it wasn't so bad, but if you are just starting you might want to wear sandals for this crossing instead of your boots! Come to a T just after the bridge and cross a long muddy beaver dam. Your chances of getting across this dry are pretty low. You can walk on the dam or below it in the grass, but this has lots of wet holes. The dam is solid, but narrow, uneven and slippery.
On the other side of the dam you join an old two-track that does not have many blazes. Continue to follow this all the way to H-40. There is parking off H-40 on a two-track to the east.
Trapp Hills Trail Condition
This was reported by Mike Fogerty 9/15/09 There is some logging going on between Norwich Road (after Gleason Falls) and Old Victoria. It had caused some trouble with the hikers I ran across. Just a heads up if anyone is going up there this year.
Pathfinder from greatlakeshikes e-group added on 9/18/09
Many of the blazes are gone. You just kind of run into a select cut area, skidder trails and equipment - generally a mess. They may have it cleaned up by then - but the lack of blazes and skidder trails still cause trouble with the trail. If you have good navigation skills and a compass you will be fine. If not, you may want to fire up a GPS and mark points along the trail before you go out. (I think NCT maps have UTM coordinates). If you aren't confident in your skills, then head north, at the first sign of trouble, until you run into Old Victoria road - then road walk until you pick up the trail crossing just before the Victoria Historic Site. The crossing is pretty easy to spot, there is a distance and direction sign. Right after you enter the woods there, you will find the old engine house of the steam pressure pump for the mine. Its pretty neat.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located at the western edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula along the south shore of Lake Superior. "The Porkies" is Michigan's largest state park, and it is one of the Midwest's largest wilderness areas. Noted for its hiking trails, scenic vistas, wildlife, and striking geological formations, the outstanding feature of the park remains the majestic old-growth forests it was dedicated to preserve. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is 275 miles from both Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Trail Loop Length = approx. 22 miles (hike, snowshoe or cross country ski)
Trail Route: From Summit Peak Road follow the North Country Trail west to its intersection with the Lake Superior Trail. Travel north on the Lake Superior Trail. Turn east on the Big Carp River Trail. Where the Big Carp River Trail turns and heads north, turn east on the Correction Line Trail. At the next trial intersection, turn south on the Little Carp River Trail. The Little Carp River trail returns you to the North Country Trail, completing the loop.
(This is the official route, but you really shouldn't miss Lake of the Clouds. Suggested route to follow the Big Carp River Trail to Lake of the Clouds, then take the Mirror Lake Trail back to Summit Peak Road and rejoin the official route. JHY)
Maps are available through Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park or from the North Country Trail Association.
There are a number of rustic DNR cabins available along this route for overnight stay. Plan in advance and visit the Michigan DNR website for more information