Algonquin Cross Country Ski Trail
After the DNR built the 9-mile pathway in 1987, a surge of local support resulted in making Algonquin the first state-operated trail to be equipped with permanently installed lights for night skiing. Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club and other civic groups donated money. All-Phase Electric Company provided the lights, Edison Sault Electric sent out a work crew to bury the wires and cables underground.
The volunteers turned Algonquin's first loop into 1.6 miles of illuminated trail. The 30 lights are so indiscreetly positioned among the trees you hardily notice them during the day.
Even though the Soo-Strongs Snowmobile Trail runs through the middle of the Nordic area - the ski trail actually crosses it three times - renegade snowmobilers are rarely a problem. People in the Soo don't put up with it.
Unlike many trails in the Upper Peninsula that are heavily forested, Algonquin is laid out in an area of extensive wetlands stretching from the doorstep of the city west to almost the St. Marys River. The various loops follow the lightly forested high ground between the marshes and then dip to the edge of bogs dotted with shrubs and covered with a maze of snowshoe hare tracks.
Algonquin is a series of five inter-connecting loops with the outside perimeter, the route described here, forming an 8.8-mile route. Loops D and E are rated moderately difficult but in reality the entire system is an easy ski with no long climbs or sharp descents. With a solid kick you can often glide three feet or more before losing momentum.
The entire trail system is groomed for classic skiing in the winter. A portion of the trail from the trailhead to post No. 4, including all of Loop A, is also groomed for skate skiing. The night skiing makes Loop A, a round-trip ski of 2.4-miles from parking area, the most popular section.
Although built for skiing, Algonquin is a multi-use pathway open to hikers and mountain bikers as well. The terrain is flat and the riding would be easy if it wasn't for areas of loose sand. If you want to escape the heavier sand, then bypass Loops D and E by using the cross over from post No. 6 to post No. 12 to return to the trailhead.
In the summer hikers and mountain bikers can also utilize the Soo-Strongs Trai. But keep in mind the many wetlands and marshes makes the Algonquin a buggy place from late May through July.
|Difficulty - Easy|
|Groomed Classic Skiing|
|Groomed Skate Skiing|