Trail Guide: Wilderness Ride/Hike Trail
The Bike/Hike Trail is open to walkers and trail-runners but the system is definitely designed for off-road cycling. The direction of travel on all loops is counterclockwise to avoid unexpected encounters between trail users. Combing all the loops and connecting trails makes for 3.7-mile ride along single track that follows ridges separated by swales. This tract is considerably wetter than the walking trails on the north side of Loosemore.
“Those swales are definitely wet for a good part of the year,” said Hair. “We had to be very careful to lay out the trails on the ridges to minimize the need for bridges and to stay within the requirements (of) the wetlands permit from the DEQ.”
From the Loosemore Trailhead, a short spur leads directly onto Loop One, where directional signs have you heading right. The initial loop is 0.4 miles and the easiest of the five with relatively flat terrain, making it ideal for beginner mountain bikers.
Within a quarter mile you reach the first boardwalk that crosses a swale to Loop Two. Directional signs will keep you riding counterclockwise on the 0.7-mile loop as well as Loop Three, the longest at 1 mile. Both loops feature the most challenging terrain. They follow a pair of dry wooded dunes, dropping at times down the slope toward the swales before climbing back up. Large stands of oak and aspen provide welcome shade in the summer on the trail, colorful leaves cover the slopes in late autumn.
After a third boardwalk, the connector trail swings east for Loops Four and Five, crossing another wet area that will feature the newest boardwalk this fall. The final two loops have more gentle and shorter descents and climbs than the previous two. They also give you a sense of being “deep in the woods,” often confirmed when you encounter a white-tail deer or wild turkeys scurrying into the forest.
Hours & Fees
The Wilderness Bike/Hike Trail is open 365 days year-round from dawn to dusk. Visitors arriving in October and November should wear a piece of highly visible orange clothing or vest as the bordering property is used for seasonal hunting. There are no entrance or vehicle fees to the Huron County Nature Center trails.
To reach the Wilderness Bike/Hike Trailhead, head east of Caseville on M-25 for 9 miles and then turn south of Oak Beach Road for a block and east on Loosemore Road. The trailhead is a half mile east on the south side of Loosemore Road. From Port Austin Oak Beach Road is 9 miles to the west.
For more information go to the Huron County Nature Center web site (www.huronnaturecenter.org) or call the center office at 989-551-8400.