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    J C reviewed Minute Man National Historical Park - Battle Road Trail

    over 3 years ago

    For locals, this would be a great place to jog, walk the dog, or stroll with friends. For tourists, it could be a very worthwhile stop in Concord, so long as you understand what to expect. The Battle Road Trail is a flat gravel path tracing the route of the running battle that took place between the Minute Men and the retreating British on April 19, 1775. It's 5 miles linear (10 miles there-and-back) and winds through what today is a mix of farm fields and young woods, with roughly a couple dozen historical markers along the way providing brief narration of who ambushed who at this particular spot, or who lived at the time in the house or site you're looking at. While the walk itself is quite pleasant, and the markers do suffice to give you the bare outlines of the story, some visitors (especially kids) might find all this a bit boring and disappointing on its own, in which case you'd probably do better to focus your visit on one or more of the ranger-guided programs available through the Park's Visitor Center (http://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/ranger-programs-and-tours.htm). If you're mostly just looking for a good walk with a bit of historical interest thrown in, this trail easily delivers, but if you were hoping for a more engrossing and informative experience, then you'll likely appreciate having an expert on hand to help it come alive for you.

    J C completed Battle Road Trail

    over 3 years ago

    J C reviewed Allegany State Park, Red House Lake Area

    over 3 years ago

    I'm not aware of a specifically "10.9 mile trail" in Allegany SP, but there are indeed several hiking trails in the Red House Lake area. We hiked about 10 miles, there-and-back, on the section of the North Country Trail passing through Allegany, accessing it via the Conservation Trail, which starts right behind the Red House Administration Building. This was a moderate hike, with a steady but gradual initial climb and mostly undulating terrain after that. Trails were well-marked. The tree canopy is very dense here, so there's not much understory, which is great for wildlife viewing--we were able to spot and observe a young bear quietly foraging more than 50 yards away. Official trail map here: http://enchantedmountains.com/files/downloads/map/2014-asp-visitors-map-reduced.pdf

    J C completed Red House Lake Area Trail

    over 3 years ago

    J C reviewed Washington Mountain Meadow

    over 3 years ago

    There's no "Washington Mountain Meadow" trail at October Mountain SF; I'm guessing whoever created this entry meant the Washington Mountain Marsh Trail's inner Interpretive Trail loop, which is officially 1.9 miles. We hiked the Washington Mountain Marsh Trail itself (2.7 miles) as part of a roughly 8 mile track loop, starting from the campground (Ledge Loop Trail->Boulder Trail->Washington Mountain Rd->County Rd->West Branch Rd->Washington Mountain Marsh Trail->West Branch Rd->Navin Trail->Boulder Trail->Ledge Loop Trail). The environs here are gorgeous, but October Mountain SF is not for novice hikers--many of the trails were in poor condition, whether from heavy erosion due to seasonal runoff (Navin Trail) or heavy flooding due to beaver activity (Washington Mountain Marsh Trail). They were also very buggy in stretches. But if you can hack all that--don't miss this place! Hiking along the flooded edge of a beaver dam while its builders darted back and forth just a few feet away, slapping their tails anxiously on the water, was a thrill well worth getting a bit wet and muddy for. We also saw numerous species of birds, especially warblers, and a slew of crimson-orange juvenile Eastern newts making their way overland in search of new ponds. Be sure to allow extra time for your hike due to the poor trail conditions--we usually make about 3 miles an hour, but only managed 2 here. You could probably put together a pretty good hike for less effort by driving to one of the parking lots in the interior (if the access roads are open; call ahead to check) and walking the roads instead--they're unpaved and virtually devoid of traffic. Official trail map here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/parks/trails/october-summer.pdf. Official trail mileage counts here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/parks/trails/octmtrailmiles.pdf.

    J C completed Washington Mountain Meadow Trail

    over 3 years ago

    J C reviewed Seminole State Forest

    over 3 years ago

    We hiked the Florida Trail segment that runs through Seminole SF as a there-and-back day hike (around 15.2 miles, from Cassia to Bear Pond and back). Despite its length, this was a very pleasant and relaxing hike through a nice mix of habitat types--primarily pine flatwoods, with one long stretch through palmetto scrub and brief traipses through hardwood hammocks and past lakes, marshes and creeks. There's a good map at OutInTheBoonies.com (http://www.outintheboonies.com/Seminole_Forest/topo_map.jpg) and a good trail description at FloridaHikes.com (http://floridahikes.com/florida-trail-seminole-state-forest). The trail is mostly well-blazed and easy to follow, with a couple turns in the northern half that are easy to overshoot as the path briefly merges onto old forest roads then veers off again--not a big deal, just backtrack a bit if you haven't seen a blaze recently. The section through palmetto scrub is completely exposed, so be sure to take plenty of water if it's a hot sunny day, or a raincoat if it's drizzly (on the bright side, you'll almost certainly see several scrub jays out there). Blackwater Creek, about midway between the two trailheads, makes a lovely picnic spot; the Boy Scout shelter (near the Bear Pond end), would be a decent stop too--nothing much to look at, but it does offer protection from the elements and a comfortable place to sit.

    J C completed Seminole State Forest Trail

    over 3 years ago

    J C reviewed Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area

    over 3 years ago

    Tosohatchee WMA protects a remote, rugged and wild stretch of the St. Johns River floodplain, with large expanses of palm hammock, pine flatwood, and old-growth oak and cypress forest for hikers to explore. (OutInTheBoonies.com has a good trail map: http://www.outintheboonies.com/Tosohatchee/topo_map_north.jpg.) We tried the "White Loop," an 11.7 mile hike following the Florida Trail clockwise from the intersection of Powerline and Fish Hole Roads (parking) to a junction just past Tiger Branch campsite, where a white-blazed connector trail heads north to return you to the same leg of the Florida Trail you started out on, about 2.2 miles northwest of your car. (FloridaHikes.com has a nice description of this route: http://floridahikes.com/white-loop-tosohatchee.) It's an excellent hike, with one major caveat: when the river is high, Tosohatchee gets REALLY wet--we were in ankle-to-calf-deep water more than half the way, which sapped a lot of time and energy, leaving us less able to relax and savor the surroundings than we would've liked. If you're not from the area, I'd suggest calling ahead to ask about trail conditions, and allowing lots of extra time for your hike. Of course, as with most anywhere in Florida, bring insect repellent along, too.

    J C reviewed Bulow Woods Trail

    over 3 years ago

    J C completed Bulow Woods Trail

    over 3 years ago

    J C reviewed Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park Hike

    about 4 years ago

    This hike is described and mapped in detail in Ted Villaire's "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Chicago" (http://www.tedvillaire.com/grand-kankakee-marsh-county-park-hike/), which I recommend taking a look at before heading out here, since the park is crisscrossed with hunting access tracks that can leave you confused about where to turn. From a hiker's perspective, this little-known park is notable primarily for offering the longest hike along the Kankakee River in Indiana. Since the Kankakee River (and bordering Kankakee Marsh) was dredged, straightened, ditched and drained throughout its Indiana course a century ago for agricultural purposes, this is not a pristine wilderness experience; still, conservation has to start somewhere, and it's great that Lake County has reclaimed (and, where possible, restored) this stretch of the river and marsh for locals to hike, hunt and fish. The hike itself is on a flat track heading out east along the river's north bank, then looping back in a barbell shape through wooded marshland to return to its starting point at the visitor center parking lot on the west side of Range Line Rd. (aka Clay St., N 600 E), just north of the river. Be prepared for a few sandy stretches as well as muddy spots, and wear mosquito repellent. There's decent birding in the marsh, and lots of turtles sunning on the river.

    J C completed Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park Hike

    about 4 years ago

    J C completed Bloodroot Trail

    over 4 years ago

    J C reviewed Cowles Bog

    over 4 years ago

    Probably the best hiking trail in Indiana Dunes. It may sound odd to cite a view of the Chicago skyline (from the beach, on clear days) as a highlight of a nature trail, but in this case it really is. The west side of this loop is unmarked at the beach end, so if returning by that route, watch carefully for footprints and a path emerging from the dune scrub. As earlier reviewers indicated, it's pleasantest to do this hike as a semi-loop/lollipop from the Cowles Bog Trailhead parking lot, heading out along the east side of the loop, then returning via its west side, taking the second connector path back towards the Cowles Bog lot (official trail map here: http://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageID=147724). That way, you avoid the unsightly powerlines lining the final stretch of the loop's west side to Greenbelt Trailhead, as well as a boring plod up Mineral Springs Rd. back to your car. However, if you wanted a longer hike, the bridge over Hwy 12 at the Greenbelt Trailhead is part of the Porter-Brickyard bike path (map: http://www.indianadunes.com/assets/2011-Biking-Guide-Web1.pdf), which soon connects, via Oak Hill Rd., with the Bailly Cemetery spur of the Bailly/Chellberg/Little Calumet trail system--watch for the trail marker labeled "CT" on the north side of Oak Hill Rd. to verify that you're turning (south) off the bike path at the right spot. (Official map of the Bailly trail system here: http://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=69224.) These trails could add up to 4 miles to your hike. Either way, you'll probably want mosquito repellent, particularly if you're moving slowly or making longer stops.

    J C completed Cowles Bog Trail

    over 4 years ago

    J C reviewed Skyline Trail

    over 4 years ago

    This is a great trail for kids, and also for those who aren't quite up for the park's Ridge Trail but want to get a taste of the deep, densely forested dune valleys gracing Ludington SP. Good views of Lake Michigan and the foredunes, too. You'll need to climb a long staircase to access the trail, but once you're up there it's an easy boardwalk through the treetops. This trail makes a nice combination with the Sable River Trail--park in the Hamlin Dam lot, cross the dam bridge and follow the easy, flat Sable River Trail to the Skyline Trail access stairs, adding about a mile to your hike (see the park's trail map: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/ludington_hiking.pdf). Or, if you're feeling more ambitious, the staircase running down to the dunes from the Skyline Trail's south side brings you to the northernmost point of the ski trails, three stacked loops through interdunal scrub and wetlands adding anywhere from 1-6 miles to your hike, as well as likely sightings of deer, birds and butterflies. (See the park's ski trail map: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/ludington_ski_trails.pdf; note that the Jack Pine Loop no longer exists, nor does the Visitor Center.)

    J C completed Skyline Trail

    over 4 years ago

    J C reviewed Lighthouse Trail

    over 4 years ago

    The map on this page is misleading--it shows the dirt road running between Pines Campground and the lighthouse (called the Lighthouse Road), not the actual Lighthouse Trail, which runs between Lost Lake and the lighthouse. You can indeed easily walk (or bike) the Lighthouse Road, starting from either Pines Campground or the Lake Michigan Beach House just southwest of it, but it's a far prettier and more satisfying hike to take the Lighthouse Trail, where you can enjoy the succession from beach to foredunes to interdunal wetlands to dune forest that makes Ludington SP special. (See the park's trail map here: http://www.michigandnr.com/Publications/PDFS/RecreationCamping/ludington_hiking.pdf.) Our favorite route is to start at Hamlin Beach, from which the Lost Lake Trail takes you to the Lighthouse Trail, then return after visiting the lighthouse (restrooms, gift shop, tour) by walking about a mile down the Lighthouse Road to the Coast Guard Trail, which takes you through some lovely dune forest back to Hamlin Beach (the Coast Guard Trail ends at Beechwood Campground; just cut across the campground to pick up the Lost Lake Trail taking you back to Hamlin Beach). This adds up to about 5 miles of moderate hiking, with around a quarter of it involving soft sand and/or climbing. Good chances of seeing deer, birds, butterflies and dune wildflowers.

    J C completed Lighthouse Trail

    over 4 years ago

    J C reviewed Bloodroot Trail

    over 4 years ago

    If you're looking for a long day hike in northeastern Indiana, this could be a good choice. The terrain is flat to gently rolling, with a roughly equal mix of woods and open fields (including a few farms along the way, as earlier reviewers noted, but most of the fields are wild meadowland). Lake views are few and unremarkable, unless perhaps you're walking this trail when the trees are bare. The hike took us about 4 hours, including brief stops to photograph butterflies and ID wildflowers. You'll probably want mosquito repellent if you're moving slowly or making longer stops, and be sure to inspect yourself for ticks afterwards. Also, as earlier reviewers mentioned, bring some water along. If you park at the Salamonie Interpretive Center, where the trail officially starts (trail map: http://www.in.gov/dnr/files/Bloodroot_trail_map.pdf), take a peek at the cages beside the building, which often hold a few hawks or owls, presumably injured ones kept for rehab or education. All told, this hike probably isn't worth driving more than an hour out of your way for, but considering what a rarity trails suitable for long day hikes are in this part of the country, it's a nice option to have if you live in Fort Wayne or thereabouts.