I took my son (age 9) on a short hike of the North Country Trail in the Kellogg Experimental Forest. This walk picked up where we had left off the previous week (that walk was joined by his sister as well, but she decided not to come this time as she was playing with her friends). 01 May was a mostly cloudy day with some sun breaking through, and in the 70s (F).
The trail is easy to follow and well blazed in this area. At every turn there is a marking to tell you where to go next. There is one hill/ridge to climb over, but it is only steep by Michigan standards and not very high - I don't think it was even 100 ft of elevation change. The trail was generally dirt (sometimes muddy), with a small paved section and two bridges (one covered) over Augusta Creek.
There are no apparent deviations from the map (MI-02).
Kellogg Experimental Forest
The Kellogg Experimental Forest main entrance is located on North 42nd Street in Ross Township, Kalamazoo County. This is directly north of the village of Augusta (take North Webster Street north, which turns into North 42nd Street). Else, you can take North 42nd Street south from M-89.
The Forest has a nice parking area, so it gives excellent trailhead access to the NCT - which proceeds right by parking and access roads. The point at which we had left off the previous week was located south (which is the NY direction from there), so we first went there to tag up. From the entrance area, we took the trail through the covered bridge over Augusta Creek and then turned right to follow the NCT along the Lemmien Loop. Soon, the NCT left the loop and we came to the place where we had left off. So, we turned around to the ND direction and headed back.
The walk back to the entrance area was simple, and I took a picture of Augusta Creek at the covered bridge. The NCT kiosk is here, too. At the parking area we turned right onto a paved road, which turned to dirt a little further on. There were some people with horses and horse carriers here parked off to the side - I believe they had just completed their riding for the day since they were gone when we returned later. (Riding is allowed in the Kellogg Experimental Forest, so you have to be aware of horses.) There is a turnaround at the end of the road, and then the trail proceeds back over Augusta Creek on a railed bridge. It is muddy on the other side, but there are some logs in the trail and a plank section that got us through the wettest places.
After the creek, the trail ascends a little. Eventually, the trail climbs somewhat steeply to the top of a hill or ridge, and there is a nice open stone shelter at the top. This is a nice resting place to sit and have a drink of water (none available - bring your own). There is really no view since it is trees all around. Then, the trail proceeds and eventually goes downhill. There is an open linear space where power lines go through the Forest, and soon after that we reached a gate and beyond that M-89. The NCT turns west on M-89 to proceed to the next off-road segment.
We turned around to the NY direction to head back to the car. There isn't anything different to mention about the return trip, since the NCT is well-blazed all the way through the Forest. Again, we stopped at the shelter to sit and drink some water. Eventually, we arrived at the parking area.
The Kellogg Experimental Forest is a nice place to see lots of trees!
See the attached album. The pictures were taken in time order. However, they should be viewed in the following order for travel.
ND: 1511a - 1513 - 1523 - 1531 - 1536 - 1539 - 1547 - 1556 - 1557
NY: 1558 - 1611 - 1615 - 1623 - 1626 - 1630 - 1500 - 1503 - 1511
Additional scenery pictures are:
1507 (trees with typical signs)
1521 (Augusta Creek at the covered bridge)
1539 (rock shelter)
1624 (Augusta Creek at the railed bridge)
Connector info to next NCT segments
In the ND direction, the road connector proceeds west along M-89 for 0.6 miles, at which point the NCT goes off-road to the right (north).
In the NY direction, this trip report joins my previous one, in which the NCT continues for a short distance in the Kellogg Experimental Forest, then proceeds as a trail to the Augusta Road trailhead.
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