This section of the North Country Trail (NCT) has a stated length of 73.7 miles, though there have been some re-routings since the current version of the map was printed. Section MI-01 passes through two counties: Hillsdale and Calhoun. According to mileages in the current online guide, the Hillsdale County segment is now 40.6 miles long (previously it was 43.1 miles). The Calhoun County mileage is unchanged (30.6 miles), so the total length should now be 71.2 miles for section MI-01.
The trail generally follows the routes of the St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Rivers for this section.
The Chief Baw Beese Chapter maintains the NCT in Hillsdale County. The Chief Noonday Chapter maintains the NCT in Calhoun County.
There are two undeveloped areas the NCT passes through in this section: the Lost Nation State Game Area near Hillsdale (~6.5 miles) and near Litchfield Township Park (~1.5 miles) - at most 8 of 71 miles. Otherwise, it is all road connectors, rail trails, multi-use paved linear parks, and boardwalks.
Descriptions on this page are made in the New York-to-North Dakota direction.
Most pictures will be placed in the trip and trailhead reports, attached as children, but some of the scenic ones will be attached to this page.
In section MI-01, the NCT either crosses or is located near the following highways in Michigan:
* M-34: crosses near Osseo - several trailheads available
* M-99: generally follows the route of this highway from Osseo to Albion
* US-12: crosses in Jonesville
* M-49: crosses in Litchfield
* M-60: crosses in Homer
* I-94: generally follows the route of this highway from Albion to Marshall (and beyond into Kalamazoo County)
* M-227: crosses in Marshall
* I-69: crosses near Marshall
Trailheads are located off local roads near these highways.
For the Lost Nation State Game Area, parking areas are south of (or on) M-34 and east of M-99 on S Pittsford, Skuse, Gilbert, Way, Tripp, and Trail Roads.
For the Baw Beese Trail and its extension to Osseo, parking areas are northeast of M-99 in Osseo, at Sandy Beach, and in Hillsdale.
There are many businesses to park at along M-99 from Hillsdale to Jonesville.
In and near Litchfield, there is parking along Herring Road, at the Litchfield Township Park, at the Litchfield city park, along streets in Litchfield, and at businesses.
In Homer, there is parking at Grist Mill Park and Webster Street Park. At the other end of the Homer Linear Park, there was adequate shoulder to park along 24-1/2 Mile Road.
In Albion, there is parking at Victory Park, along streets in Albion, and at the end of the Albion River Trail on N Gale Street.
In Marshall, there is parking at Stuart's Landing Park and some parking lots for businesses near to the M-227 end. There is no close parking on M-227.
The NCT enters Michigan to the southwest of the town of Waldron, Michigan, crossing Territorial Road. The trail proceeds north along roads, then enters the Lost Nation State Game Area. After the game area and a short road connector, the NCT then follows a rail trail to Sandy Beach in the city of Hillsdale. In Hillsdale, the NCT runs concurrently with the Baw Beese Trail and bicycle paths. After Hillsdale, the trail follows a bike path along M-99 to Jonesville. From there, the trail follows roads to Litchfield, where a new section has been completed along the St. Joseph River. After this section, the NCT returns to road connectors to continue to Homer, where the trail follows the multi-use, paved (with a little boardwalk) Homer Linear Park. Then, it is back to roads to Albion, where the trail follows the multi-use, paved Albion River Trail.
From Albion, the NCT turns west and proceeds along roads to Marshall. In Marshall, the trail follows the Marshall Riverwalk. The Riverwalk has both paved and elevated boardwalk sections, and is part of the Calhoun County Linear Trailway System. From Marshall, the trail continues west on roads and section MI-01 ends where the NCT intersects I-69.
Typical season-appropriate hiking gear, including bug spray and sunblock.
There at least are two water crossings in the Lost Nation State Game Area, and potentially a third if water is high. Be ready to wade.
Maps are a good idea, too!
Chief Baw Beese Chapter:
Chief Noonday Chapter:
Current guide from the North Country Trail Association:
Maps from the Chief Noonday Chapter:
Lost Nation State Game Area - southeast section
Village of Homer
City of Albion
City of Marshall
Albion, MI has an Albion River Trail brochure:
Albion River Trail brochure
Marshall, MI has a Marshall Riverwalk brochure:
Marshall Riverwalk brochure
Link for purchasing map MI-01:
USGS maps can be downloaded at:
Maps and Route ChangesMap: MI-01 -- OH/MI State Line to Marshall
There are some changes to the route of the NCT since the current version of map MI-01 was created.
1) Lost Nation State Game Area (northwest section)
The trail starts as indicated along the woods road west from the Tripp Road trailhead, but does not then proceed west to the gate and then to the provisional trail and trailhead at Black Road. Instead, the trail now proceeds north and crosses the East Branch of the St. Joseph River (no bridge or ford built at this time), and then further north to a trailhead on M-34 (Hudson Road). From there, you could proceed to the next blue blaze by the following roads:
* Turn left onto M-34 (Hudson Road). Cross the highway at some point within the next quarter mile.
* Turn right onto Chase Road, which proceeds north and then northwest for less than a half mile, and then merges into Beecher Road.
* Follow Beecher Road through the center of Osseo, Michigan. A rail trail begins at the crossing of Blackbridge Road, where there is a blue blaze to mark the next part of the NCT. This trail is not the official Baw Beese Trail (BBT) at this point, though it is named as "Baw Beese Trail" in Google maps (and this may be an informal name since it continues the route of the BBT).
From the parking area and BBT trailhead on Barnard Street:
* Follow the bike path through Hillsdale (developed by the Hillsdale Rotary Club).
* Cross E Bacon Street, then Carleton Road E.
* Turn right onto Lake Street, then cross at kiosk and continue on bike path (between active railroad line and building).
* Continue on bike path to (new) official north section of BBT, which starts at W Galloway Drive.
* Continue on BBT to its terminus at the end of W Montgomery Street. At this point the map shows a trail connector to the current route of the NCT along M-99 (which is the Hill-Jo Bicycle Park, as designated by the State of Michigan).
From the intersection of Rainey and Sterling Roads southeast of Litchfield:
* Turn left on Sterling Road, then right on Cronk Road, then left on Herring Road.
* After about a quarter mile, turn right onto new trail at rock pile.
* In less than a half mile, reach the start of the Litchfield Nature Trail. Continue through woods and abandoned railroad grade.
* Arrive at Litchfield city park on M-49 (S Chicago Street) and cross street.
* Continue on railroad grade and cross W St. Joe Street.
* Continue on railroad grade to supermarket and cross parking lot to M-99 (Marshall Street).
* Turn right onto M-99, then quickly left on onto Park Street.
* At end of Park Street, turn right onto N Chicago Street. This street becomes Anderson Road.
* Turn left onto Mosherville Road to rejoin the NCT road connector on the current map.
Also, note the map/brochure links in the "External Links" section above - these are much more detailed for routing than any other map.
USGS 7.5 Minute Topos (Michigan unless specified)
Notes and Revisions
Submissions and suggestions are welcome to improve this page!
Public thanks to FlatheadNative for helping me with the links.
02 Apr 2010 - page created
03 Apr 2010 - hyperlinks added, USGS map info added
04 Apr 2010 - editing, additional links added for maps, more complete info for parking and trailheads added, more overview added
17 Apr 2010 - editing, more complete info for parking and trailheads added
18 Apr 2010 - editing, pictures added
27 Apr 2010 - editing
29 Apr 2010 - typo corrected, trailhead pictures note added
06 May 2010 - notes on pictures added
12 May 2010 - route description corrected
31 May 2010 - major editing to Overview, Getting There, Route Description, and Maps and Route Changes sections, update made to External Links
14 Jun 2010 - editing