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Arcadia Dunes: Abby's Woods

Trail Details

County
Benzie
Regions
Northwest
Latitude
N 44° 31' 24.24"
Longitude
W 086° 12' 56.16"
Distance
1.75 miles
Trail Type
Single track
Terrain
Coastal forest
Difficulty
Easy
Nearest City or Town
Arcadia
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Abby’s Woods is a 145-acre tract wedged between Dry Hill and Camp Arcadia Trails. It features less than 1.5 miles of trail but serves as an important link as it connects two popular mountain bike trails from two trailheads on St. Pierre Road. Most mountain bikers utilize the Abby’s Woods Trailhead to reach either trail when the parking lot at the St. Pierre Trailhead is full.
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Description
In 2014, Abby accomplished what she so passionately wanted to achieve. She saved her woods. During the early efforts to preserve the Arcadia Dunes, before the boundaries were finalized for the various tracts, this slice of coastal forest was slated for re-sale and no doubt development. That was before Abby Mahan Garland, director of Preservation Stewardship for the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, began surveying and documenting the ecological uniqueness of the area.

She returned to the GTRLC office with an extensive plant list and made an impassionate appeal that this land should be included in the proposed nature preserve. From that day forward this mesic northern forest was known simply as Abby’s Woods. After it was included as part of Arcadia Dunes, Garland went on to spearhead the invasive species work from her beloved woods, removing garlic mustard and other foreign plants.

Today Abby’s Woods is a 145-acre tract wedged between Dry Hill and Camp Arcadia Trails. It features less than 1.5 miles of trail but serves as an important link as it connects two popular mountain bike trails from two trailheads on St. Pierre Road. Most mountain bikers utilize the Abby’s Woods Trailhead to reach either trail when the parking lot at the St. Pierre Trailhead is full.

But the preserve is well worth a slow contemplation on foot to soak in the wildflowers, songbirds and huge hardwoods that grace the trails especially in the fall. It’s possible to do a 1.75-mile loop of just the Abby’s Woods trail by adding a quarter-mile segment along St. Pierre Road, a scenic gravel road with light traffic.
Amenities & Services
Difficulty - Easy
Multi-use Trail
Dog Friendly
Trail Guide

Abby’s Woods borders old farm fields - now large meadows - but the trail departs north from the parking area to enter her beloved woods. A gentle climb takes you past a bench dedicated to her and Post E, a junction where you gaze up at some impressive beeches and maples. Those headed for Camp Arcadia Trail would head left and reach it in a half mile. To reach Dry Trailhead right to follow a winding single track through the woods.

At Mile 0.5 you pop out of the woods and cross a field and old farm lane, one of many crisscrossing the area, and then head east just inside a second-growth forest skirting the two-track. At Mile 0.75 you cross  Matzinger Road and in a couple of hundred yards reach St. Pierre Trailhead.

To turn Abby’s Woods into a loop follow St. Pierre Road a quarter mile south to Post B to pick up the trail on the east side of the road. The path returns to a more mature forest along a slightly rolling terrain where the wildflowers are prolific in the spring. At Mile 1.5 you reach Post E and then backtrack the first segment to the trailhead and parking area.

Facilities

There are no facilities at the trailhead other than an information kiosk.

Hours & Fees

Abby’s Woods is open year-round and is an excellent destination for snowshoers in the winter.

Directions

To reach the trailhead turn onto Saint Pierre Road from M-22 where it is posted a quarter mile south of Joyfield Road. Continue a quarter mile south past the St. Pierre Trailhead and parking for Abby’s Woods will be on the east side of the road.

Information

For more information, contact the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy at (231-929-7911; www.gtrlc.org). For lodging or travel information contact Traverse City Tourism (800-872-8377; www.traversecity.com).


Geo-referenced maps from MichiganTrailMaps.com range from $1.99 to $2.99 each.

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