Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The North Country Trail

Print Friendly and PDF North Country Trail Sigh There are several access points to the North Country Tail within a dozen miles of Birch Lodge and Trout Lake, MI. The North Country Trail is longer than the Appalachian Trail and traverses seven states, a long segment of which passes through Michigan.

North Country Trail Blue Markings
This trail system was developed through the National Parks system, and is largely constructed and maintained by volunteers. In our area the trail has good signage at the points where it crosses area roads, and the passage way of the trail itself is designated by light blue paint marks on trees along the trail.

In the Eastern Upper Peninsula, the trail runs almost parallel to M-123 from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior. Segments of the trail are described by the group of volunteers that maintain it through the Hiawatha Shore to Shore trail association.

This week, after working at the lodge we took a drive on H-40 east of town, to the access point at Trout Brook Pond, which by the way is stocked with trout. This is HSS Trail Head #3, and this segment of the trail goes to Soldier Lake about 18 1/2 miles to the north. (The HSS note that this segment of the trail provides good areas for morel mushrooms!)

Trout Brook Pond
At first, we followed a two track in through the pines to camp site on the south west point of the pond (really a lake). What a beautiful spot! The trail crossed a foot bridge, and climbed a hill overlooking the pond.

We next stopped at the Trail Head a little further to the east, an improved road with a boat ramp. This provides a good parking area and easy access to the trail between the pond and Biscuit Creek, which lies about a 1/4 mile to the north. (Biscuit Creek is also a designated trout stream.)
Biscuit Creek
Biscuit Creek
After exploring the area a bit, the sun was getting low so we headed back to Birch Lodge. Checking the map, we decided to go the "scenic route" via Spur Road, which crosses Biscuit Creek over an "improved" road, and turning west on the sandy two track which follows the Pine River.

North Country Trail Trout Brook Pond Map
Oddly, although we have done a great deal of exploring the woods in this general area, we had never visited the Pine River. There are a number of nice access points to the Pine River along this trail, the river is well down-cut, and there are beautiful stands of pine along the bluff edge. At one point, we discovered evidence of an old logging dam. It is a very beautiful area, but it was getting late. We will have to pack a lunch, and hike the trail and explore this area another day.

Pine River, Chippewa Co., MI

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