I took my two kids (ages 9 and 6) on a short hike of the North Country Trail (NCT). We started in the village of Augusta, Michigan and hiked to the Kellogg Experimental Forest and back. 10 Apr was a pleasant day, almost 70 F and mostly sunny.
The trail is generally easy to follow and well blazed in this area. Elevation changes are minor, not even 100 ft. The trail was generally dirt or grassy, with a few muddy spots. In addition, there is a minor road connector in the middle of this segment of the NCT.
There are no apparent deviations from the map (MI-02).
Village of Augusta and north
Going in the North Dakota direction (north), this segment starts at the M-96 bridge over the Kalamazoo River as you enter the village of Augusta, Michigan. This is a road connector proceeding west on M-96 (East Michigan Avenue). (Note that M-96 changes name when you leave the village; to the east it becomes East Augusta Drive.) In less than a quarter mile, we took a right to go north onto Augusta Drive. About a half mile further, as the road turns in the northeast direction, there is the Augusta Drive trailhead on the west side of the road marked by a NCT sign. The road connector has only a few blue blaze markings.
There is room for parking for several cars at this trailhead and a NCT kiosk/signboard present with trail information. We proceeded around the gate and up the slope by the side of the cornfield. Near the end of the field the trail turns left and slightly downhill into woods. We continued on the trail until we arrived at East EF Avenue. There was a yellow gate ahead, but we followed the trail which goes to the right of the gate through the trees. Be careful not to the take the unmarked path before that, also off to the right before the correct trail.
We turned right onto East EF Avenue for a short road connector of maybe 200-300 feet. The NCT is blazed on this street, and the left turn to return to the woods was clearly indicated. After a short climb on the trail, we found a nice bench to sit on! I would like to thank whoever donated this - it is a nice place to rest.
We proceeded on the NCT and eventually came to the Kellogg Experimental Forest. There is no sign indicating this, but we started to see markings on trees and we ended our outbound hike at the internal road which runs through the Forest, a short distance in. At this point, we decided to turn around and do the reverse trip in the New York direction (south).
There was nothing different to report on the return trip. Again, the bench made a nice stopping point to rest and drink water. The road connector on East EF Avenue was clearly marked in this direction, too.
See the attached album. The pictures were taken in order from "a" to "x".
Connector info to next NCT segments
In the ND direction, the NCT continues through the Kellogg Experimental Forest from the point we left off.
In the NY direction, the road connector continues east along M-96 (East Augusta Drive) for about a half mile to River Road, where it takes a left. Cross the street and look for the NCT a short distance down on the right. The trail enters the grounds of the Fort Custer National Cemetery here.
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