Coy Mountain Trail
Tucked away on the east side of Alden, oblivious to most visitors who are mesmerized by Torch Lake to the west of town, is a small “mountain” with a short but interesting trail system. Coy Mountain Natural Area dates back to 1885 when Reuben Coy decided to preserve a ridge forested in virgin hardwoods that towered behind his gristmill. It was the last remnant of the giant maples and beeches in a region that had been heavily clear cut by loggers.
The 11-acre tract remained in the Coy family until 1958 when Reuben’s daughter-in-law deeded the property to a group of trustees with the intentions of preserving Coy Mountain “for the use and benefit of the Villagers of Alden and the surrounding communities”. The trustees in turn presented the land to Helena Township in 1985 and a year later the natural area was dedicated.
Right from the start this small preserve was a community effort. Additional land donations from local residents enlarged the park to it’s current 17 acres. The construction of the trail system was an Eagle Scout project with Alden Volunteers assisting to expand and complete the project and the Alden Lumber Company donating the materials. Other groups, from Michigan Youth Corps to Mancelona Public Schools, have put in their time to help preserve this mountain in the middle of this small Antrim County town.
Today Coy Mountain Natural Area is a leg-stretcher. A fine place to get out of the car and enjoy the forest and its wildflowers in the spring and magnificent colors in October. The trail system totals a little more than a mile and includes the 0.9-mile Long Loop and a Short Loop. The Short Loop is indeed slightly shorter and doesn’t have quite the elevation gain but it would be a shame not to follow the Long Loop. For the effort of climbing 170 feet you are rewarded with a view of Torch Lake from the top of Reuben Coy’s mountain.
|Difficulty - Easy|