I took my son (age 9) on a hike of the North Country Trail (NCT). We completed the segment from the Kellogg Biological Station south to M-89. 16 May was a mostly sunny day, though we were in the shade for most of the time of our hike. Temperatures were nice, in the 70s (F).
The trail is well blazed in this area, though there are some confusing places in the wooded area north of M-89. There are other trails (used for horseback riding) that cross and run concurrently with) the NCT. Also, there is one place where the NCT has been re-routed, but you can still see a blaze on the now-vacated trail, so you need to be careful.
We started and finished at the north end of this segment, the parking area at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. The total distance for this hike is greater than 5 miles, maybe 5 and a half.
This part of the NCT is not particularly scenic, though the trees are nice. The trail between C Avenue and M-89 has some nice gradual elevation change both up and down.
There are no apparent deviations from the map (MI-02).
Kellogg Biological Station (outbound)
The entrance to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is on C Avenue west of 40th Street in Kalamazoo County, and the parking area is located off an immediate right inside the gate. There is an NCT kiosk (with a trail register) located here.
We started there and headed in the NY direction (generally east until you turn to cross the stile on C Avenue, and then generally south). In the Kellogg Biological Station, the NCT is initially located in open terrain, proceeding past fields. After crossing 40th Street, the NCT enters a wooded area. Soon, the trail passes another NCT kiosk (at an experimental field). Eventually, we turned right to leave the woods and climbed the stile over the wire fence onto C Avenue.
C Avenue to M-89, and Biological Station (inbound)
On C Avenue, it was a quick walk east to a driveway on which the NCT continues south. After passing a field on the right, we re-entered woods. At this point, there are several other trails (probably horseback riding trails), so we had to be careful to follow the NCT. Fortunately, the trail is generally well blazed, but there were a couple of cases where the blaze was hidden by other branches or leaves.
In this segment the trail ascended and descended many times, which made it interesting. The elevation changes were gradual; nothing was a steep climb or drop. Eventually, we emerged from the woods by a cultivated field. There was a manure-covered road under wood chips, so we walked in the grass as much as possible. Across the field, we quickly arrived at M-89. (I had previously done the road walk to the next segment, so we did not do that on this hike.)
We turned around to the North Dakota direction. There was nothing different to report for the return trip. It was simply a nice hike through woods and past fields on a pleasant day.
See the attached album. Time and travel order are the same.
-->ND: 20100516 1425, 1426, 1428, 1433, 1447, 1449, 1453, 1459, 1503, 1504a, 1508, 1510, 1511, 1516, 1522a, 1525, 1527, 1530, 1533, 1535
-->NY: 20100516 1312, 1314, 1318, 1319a, 1322, 1325, 1334, 1335, 1336, 1339, 1341, 1342, 1346, 1351, 1357, 1400, 1404, 1411, 1418, 1418a, 1419, 1422, 1423, 1423a
There are no special scenery pictures, but I have attached a few representative images that are pleasant.
Connector info to the next NCT segments
In the ND direction, the NCT continues north from the parking area and kiosk at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. This is within the grounds of the Kellogg Biological Station until the trail leaves the grounds at the border of Kalamazoo and Barry Counties.
In the NY direction, the NCT follows a road connector east along M-89 for about 0.6 miles to where the NCT takes a right turn into the Kellogg Experimental Forest.
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