Trail Introduction | Guide | Facilities | Getting There | Additional Information
New Isle Royale Book Released
After two years in the works and almost 100 miles trudging across the trails of Isle Royale, MichiganTrailMaps.com is proud to release the fourth edition of Jim DuFresne’s classic Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes. The new edition is the largest yet, featuring more than 60 photos and 35 maps designed with the detail that backpackers, day hikers and paddlers have come to expect from us. Even the price has been improved, we lowered the suggested retail price of the new edition to $16.95.
We could rave on about this guidebook but the Chicago Tribune put it best when in a review it said: In a day when few travel guides are well written – and that is even more the case with outdoor guides – author Jim DuFresne gives us a book that is a joy to read. He understands the special love that binds hikers, fishers, and canoeists to the things of nature; dewy mornings, mischievous wildlife, lonely shorelines. And he describes those things endearingly.
You’ll be able to purchase the book in your favorite outdoor store, book shop or online soon but MichiganTrailMaps.com is offering Trail Mix subscribers a Hot-Off-The-Presses special; a personally autographed copy of the new edition for $15 and we’ll pick up the sales tax and the shipping.
To receive a copy of the fourth edition send a $15 check made out to MichiganTrailMaps.com, P.O. Box 852, Clarkston, MI 48347. Don’t forget to tell us who you want DuFresne to autograph the book to, especially if it’s a stocking stuffer for somebody else. We’ll make sure it's sent out long before Christmas.
The Chippewa Trail
For trail users in Michigan late November is the “in-between” period. You’re in between that great Indian summer you just enjoyed and the arctic temperatures of winter. In between when trails are easy to follow and when they are covered with snow and ice. In between when there is almost nobody in the woods and when state and national forests are filled with 700,000 deer hunters.
What to do when a November day is sunny and the temperatures climb into the 40s or 50s? Find a paved path where the asphalt provides a dry surface through an area off-limits to hunting.
Among our favorites at www.MichiganTrailMaps.com are the Little Traverse Wheelway that stretches 26 miles from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs along Little Traverse Bay and the Huron Sunrise Trail that skirts the shoreline of Lake Huron for 8 miles from Rogers City north to historic Forty Mile Point Lighthouse. We also like the 17-mile portion of the Huron Valley Trail that begins in Island Lake Recreation Area and then passes underneath I-96 — with semi trucks rumbling just above — to merge into the paved 8-mile loop around Kent Lake in Kensington Metropark. And don’t forget TART Trail in Traverse City or the Lansing River Trail that skirts the banks of the Red Cedar River in East Lansing and the Grand River in Michigan's state capital city.
Our newest paved discovery is the Chippewa Trail, which winds 3.5 miles from downtown Midland to the outstanding Chippewa Nature Center. This is an excellent family adventure whether on bicycles, in-line skates or on foot. It begins at the unusual Tridge, a bridge that spans the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers, and ends at the nature center where you can view the confluence of the Pine and Chippewa rivers.
In between is a flat asphalt path that is lined by almost a dozen interpretive panels describing historical, cultural and natural features of the land it passes through. The award-winning panels were designed by the staff at the Chippewa Nature Center and make for an educational experience as well as an outdoor adventure.
Click on the map to the right to view a larger version or print.
Start in downtown Midland at the Tridge which city officials claim is the only three-way footbridge in the world. Built in 1981, the wooden spans of the Tridge connect three shorelines. In the middle they form a hub where benches overlook the merging currents of two rivers and from each one a paved path spirals out like spokes on a wheel. On the east bank of the Tittabawassee is the Pere Marquette Trail that heads northwest towards Clare.
The left span leads to the south bank of the Chippewa River where at the corner of Townsley and Chrissey streets is the trailhead of the Chippewa Trail with a parking area and a large display map. The trail begins in the City of Midland’s Redcoat Complex winds pass softball fields and a disc golf course and crosses two roads. Spurs lead to restrooms and a picnic area.
At Mile 0.7 a sign announces you’re entering Chippewa Nature Center and that dogs are not allowed further on the trail. Transitioning from softball fields to an open meadow, you’ll see more birds and other wildlife than pop-ups and foul balls. At Mile 1.5 the trail crosses Patterson Road and then hugs Pine River Road past Bicentennial Forest.
Eventually the trail enters a young forest and swings away from Pine River Road, arriving at the trailhead parking area for the Chippewa Nature Center’s Ridge Trail. There is a large display map and vault toilet here along with the opportunity for hikers to add additional mileage. The Ridge Trail — closed to bicycles and mountain bikes — is a 1.5-mile loop with a crossover spur that includes climbing a shoreline ridge of an ancient lake.
From the parking lot, the Chippewa Trail briefly parallels Grey Road before crossing it at Mile 2.5. On the other side is a scenic patch of woods that gives way to the nature center’s Wetlands Area, making this the most interesting area of the trail. The Chippewa Trail skirts the cattailed-infused east end of Heron Marsh where there is a bench, an interpretive display and access to the Wetlands Trail, a 1.7 mile loop.
Beyond the wetlands, the Chippewa Trail briefly parallels Pine River Road and then crosses the busy road at Mile 3.25. You pass through one more tract of woods, passing signs for the River Trail before arriving in the nature center’s parking lot at Mile 3.5.
Chippewa Nature Center is place for an extended break before heading back. Extensively renovated in 2009, the center features a popular Wildlife Viewing Area, the River Overlook with its view of the confluence of the Chippewa and Pine rivers, Ecosystem Gallery and a hands-on, kid-friendly play area along with restrooms and drinking water.
Trailhead parking is available at a number of places along the Chippewa Trail including the Tridge, Redcoat Complex park and Chippewa Nature Center.
Head west on US-10 and follow Business US-10 (also labeled M-20) into Midland. Downtown, Business US-10 becomes Indian Street. Turn left on Ashman Streetwhere the Tridge is posted. Follow Ashman five blocks to the Midland Farmers Market where there is parking at the foot of the Tridge.
Contact the ChippewaNatureCenter(989-631-0830; www.chippewanaturecenter.org) or the Midland County Convention & Visitors Bureau (888.464.3526; www.midlandcvb.org).