North Country Trail

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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby c0nsumer » August 1st, 2011, 1:20 pm

Coyote wrote:Going camping at Ludington this week with the family and looking for a good trail to ride. NCT seems like the closest good trail.

Timber Creek seems to be the closest parking lot. Which is more fun, riding S down to Bowman and back, or riding N 8-10 miles and back?

Any good descriptions on how to find the Timber Creek lot and getting onto the trail?

Thanks in advance!


This sign is right along the main road where the Timber Creek trail head is. Pull down the road all the way to the back, park, pay, and right off of the parking/road area you'll see the a typical Carsonite NCT marker. The exact one you want to see is pictured here. Note that this is just to the right of some much-wider two track also at the back of the lot.

Water is available from a hand pump and there's a nice vault toilet available.

I'd suggest riding north for a while. It was not hard trail, but I thought it was quite fun to ride. After heading north for ~10 miles I turned back, returned to the lot, then continued south (crossing the paved road) until the trail hits a dirt road and follows that. You can then follow the road to the right, turn left on pavement, cross train tracks, and go down a hill to a canoe launch where you can wade in the water.

The driveway itself can be seen here.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby james leikert » August 1st, 2011, 1:26 pm

Coyote,

You can park at the campground at Timber Creek, but I don't know the stipulations on having to pay or not for day use. If you go to the back of the campground, the spur trail starts next to the pit toilets. If you go down the two track, you've went too far. Either North or South are good routes, going South though, you have a ~8 miles of trail and a little bit of road before hitting a section not open to bikes. Going North, you'll be on trail for much longer before hitting a road section, however, if you're willing to go a few miles further once on the road, there's a party store and bar on Loon Lake which makes for a nice turnaround pit stop. West (left) on 5 mile and North (right) on Loon Lake road will take you to the store. One way from TC -> to the store is ~15 miles. To the road is ~13 miles.

You can get a gpx file of the full route over here: http://transmichigan.blogspot.com/

Topofusion is a good program for viewing the file: http://www.topofusion.com/

Jim
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby c0nsumer » August 1st, 2011, 1:31 pm

james leikert wrote:You can park at the campground at Timber Creek, but I don't know the stipulations on having to pay or not for day use.


I can tell you with certainty that it's $5/day for day use here, same as at the Big M trailhead.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby Coyote » August 1st, 2011, 3:33 pm

Thanks for all the great info! Does this ride like Big M or more knarly like HCP?

Timber Creek to Loon Lake and back sounds great as long as it isn't too slow going.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby c0nsumer » August 1st, 2011, 3:36 pm

Coyote wrote:Thanks for all the great info! Does this ride like Big M or more knarly like HCP?

Timber Creek to Loon Lake and back sounds great as long as it isn't too slow going.


N of Timber Creek for as far as I went (wasn't that far, really) was gradual climbing with a couple slightly steeper things in it. Absolutely beautiful trail and nothing that I'd call gnarley or brutal. I was completely comfortable riding all of it.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby james leikert » August 1st, 2011, 4:00 pm

Nope, it's all really good trail, but I wouldn't expect it to be hard packed like Island Lake or such. And definitely expect some deadfall, ferns, prickers, etc. With all my camping junk onboard, it usually takes me ~1-1/2 hours from TC -> 5 mile road. Looks to be ~1300' of ascent, one way.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby Coyote » August 9th, 2011, 11:35 am

Thanks for the advice guys! Rode from Timber Creek to the convenience store on Loon Lake (great tip). Very scenic and quite pleasant ride. I was very impressed with how little deadfall there was. I only had to get off the bike once (large tree down about 7 Mi N of Timber Creek) other than my many stops to take pictures. I had a blast and can't wait to ride more of the NCT.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby Bigtymer » May 11th, 2013, 8:01 am

Redbridge to Mesick, look out, here I come!:)
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby Spinwheel » May 18th, 2013, 8:35 pm

Big tree tree down south of 55 about 3 miles on NCT B.
See you on the trail
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby RickPlite » May 19th, 2013, 6:41 pm

Nine trees down from Dilling Road north to Marilla. On our return trip all but one had been removed and one new one not there on the northbound leg of the trip :shock:
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby jiml » May 22nd, 2013, 5:55 pm

Started at 56th Street and went to Mackinaw City. Here's my notes:

From 56th Street to Fife Lake the trail was in great shape. A few downed trees (didn't keep track of how many) to portage, but for the most part the sand was either packed or covered with leaves. Awesome riding.

Fife Lake to Kalkaska didn't have many downed trees and the TC to Kalkaska Trail section was packed and fast. However around Sheck's Place campground, the 'No Horses' signs are somewhat disregarded.

Between Kalkaska and the point where the trail turns/starts off Manistee Lake Road near Pickerel Lake was clear of deadfall and the SST shared section north of Log Lake had almost zero traffic and was packed nicely. Where you come off the SST and turn left onto the two track, the station of pipes to the north is completely flooded, necessitating taking the road around to get to the yellow gated section which leads into State Road.

After Manistee Lake Road the trail turns mostly unmaintained all the way to Five Lakes. The deadfall and lumpy bumpy from the logging and clearing of infested trees has left most of the trail in this section a bit to be desired, even if you're hiking. Definitely avoid unless you're testing your mettle. There is no working water pump at Five Lakes, contrary to what the maps show.

From Five Lakes to Petoskey was excellent riding except for an unusual number of downed trees on the northbound downhill sections in the Chandler Hills. Jordan River Road was sandy in the usual places, but you can ride up on the grassy fields skirting the shoulder. Skipped Warner Creek section due to previous experiences of bugs 'n mud.

Petoskey to Mackinaw City was in great shape as well. The Crooked Lake store is still closed in Conway, but the diner out near the lake has delicious vittles. Looks like they are going to pave the rail trail between the bay and Conway. Avoided the Wilderness State Park section due to bugs 'n mud 'n sand and took the roads into MC. The black flies are horrible in MC right now.

Saw zero bikers and only a handful of hikers.

Green ground cover (ferns, nettles and pricker bushes) is barely going, so you won't get hacked apart too badly.
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Re: NCT: North Country Trail

Postby georgemra » September 14th, 2013, 8:21 pm

I rode from Kipp Rd across S Larks Lake Rd up the first hill after the road. Let me tell you, that first climb is tough. Nothing worse than climbing for 250' and then the trail ticks up to a 23% grade with roots to climb. But the worst must have been climbing back up the back end of the hill after 16 miles. No matter what that trail was great, and bombing down the last hill was an absolute blast. RIDE ON!!!
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Re: North Country Trail

Postby bikemerc » June 14th, 2017, 7:47 am

Question; I have always started at Hodenpyle Dam. This year, we are staying on the lakeside of Tippy Dam. Where can you pick up the trail at Tippy ? Doesnt it cut thru a campground? Need some roads or directions as satellite pics are vague. Thanks for the assist.
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Re: North Country Trail

Postby WICCMB » June 14th, 2017, 4:17 pm

The trail crosses Dilling Rd - the road which goes to Tippy Dam from the north (from Coates Highway). It is approximately 1.5 miles south of Coates Highway on Dilling Rd, approximately where the road starts to curve slightly left and go downhill. You can park your car a bit past the trail (closer to Tippy Dam), where you will find several forest roads - generally you can leave your car along one of the forest roads, and ride back to the trail. Otherwise, leave your car at the Dam and ride all the way to the trail - I believe also about a 1.5 miles or so.

You will notice that the NCT is closed to bikes heading west from Dilling Rd, but is OPEN to bikes heading east - which will take you approximately 6 miles east and north until you cross Coates Highway (the Redbridge Trail access is down the hill from this trail crossing), and then another 9 glorious miles of hills up to the Marilla Trailead (or to the Hodenpyle Dam access if you take the lower flatter trail).
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Re: North Country Trail

Postby bikemerc » June 15th, 2017, 8:40 am

Perfect ! Thanks wcc.

I will probably take my bike by boat to tippy dam and go up dillings rd.

It is amazing how NCT doesnt show up on satellite images. But it does shadow upper river road in spots. I see the curve on dillings between upper river/ sawdust hill rd and fife springs.

Thanks again.
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