I took a short after-work hike on the North Country Trail (NCT). Starting from the parking area at Historic Bridge Park, I first went to the eastern side of the park (where the NCT leaves to proceed on road connectors), then I turned around to hike to the village of Wattles Park and back. The late afternoon of 30 Apr was somewhat overcast and in the 60's (F).
The trail is very well blazed in this area. It is level, except for the grade down the driveway into Historic Bridge Park. The road connectors do not have much elevation change, either.
There is a major deviation from map MI-02. In the ND direction, as you leave Historic Bridge Park, you no longer turn left to proceed to an uncertified trail segment. Now, you turn right onto South Wattles Road and travel north for about 0.7 miles to the village of Wattles Park. Then, you turn left onto Crosby Drive and proceed about 0.5 miles to the end of the road and the old Wattles Park Junior High School. On these grounds you rejoin the trail shown on the map.
Historic Bridge Park and north
Going in the North Dakota direction (west), this segment starts just outside the eastern side of Historic Bridge Park. The NCT leaves F Drive North and turns left into Historic Bridge Park. There is space to park here, and large rocks block vehicle traffic into the park. The trail is mostly a paved path through the park. It is not very long; I think less than half a mile.
The bridges are interesting to see, and most were moved to this location from elsewhere.
After leaving the park, the NCT proceeds north. So, I walked north on South Wattles Road for 0.7 miles to the village of Wattles Park. At the intersection with Crosby Drive (where you would take a left), I turned around to walk back.
There is nothing different about the return trip, except that the view of the large bridge set back from the entrance to Historic Bridge Park is much more impressive. When you reach the eastern side of the park, you turn left onto F Drive North.
Information on Historic Bridge Park
Historic Bridge Park is pleasant, though noisy due to the I-94 traffic passing by on a bridge over the Kalamazoo River. There are two descriptive websites: one from Calhoun County www.calhouncrc.net/departments/parks_hbp.htm
and one from Historic Bridges www.historicbridges.org/info/bridgepark/index.htm
There are rest rooms, picnic tables, and a playground located here.
See the attached album. The pictures were taken in the order of "a" to "w", but would be hiked in the order:
The other pictures are scenery and/or descriptive.
There is also a nice map I got from the Historic Bridges website (historicbridges.org).
Connector info to the next NCT segments
In the ND direction, the NCT continues 0.5 miles on Crosby Drive to the old Wattles Park Junior High School. On these grounds you rejoin the trail shown on the map. Then the trail proceeds to Kimball Pines Park.
In the NY direction, the NCT continues on road connectors for about 10 miles to the western terminus of the Marshall Riverwalk. The eastern edge of section MI-02 is 8.5 miles away (where the NCT crosses I-69, and the other 1.5 miles is in section MI-01.
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