North Country Trail Springvale to Thumb Lake Road

Petoskey, Michigan 49770

North Country Trail Springvale to Thumb Lake Road

North Country Trail: Springvale to Thumb Lake Road Professional Review and Guide

"The North Country Trail (NCT) once again delivers with this aerobically challenging ride where sweeping descents mingle with grueling climbs. Early in the ride, cyclists shift into their granny gears for a 0.5-mile, 200-foot grind up a sandy hill. The top of a ridgeline offers a chance to rest, but the climbs aren’t over yet. There are equally exciting descents, so fast that the trees become a green blur.

Like most of the NCT, this segment is marked with blue diamonds or blue paint. There are a few route-finding challenges, but if blue isn’t visible after a few minutes of riding, you know you took a wrong turn. The loop returns on relatively flat paved and dirt roads; if you feel like a challenge, make it an out-and-back ride."

North Country Trail: Springvale to Thumb Lake Road Reviews

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This is locally known as the "slashing road" section of the nct, and is an absolutely awesome section. Locals generally ride from the South to the North (oppisite of the description here) and avoid much of the sandy two-track. Starting at the intersection of Thumb Lake & Slashing road, take the trail north following the blue blazes on the trees (re-marked this spring, very easy to follow) after several miles of flowy single track, cross chandler hill rd. (paved) and then begin a grinding uphill on a fairly decent two-track. At the top of this climb is a real treat if you know what to look for...on the right side is a faintly visible single track that has been built and maintained by a local guy who lives nearby. This "bootleg" section is not marked, but generally easy to follow and forms a 5 mile loop that re-connects with the NTC about a mile from your point of origin. This makes for an awesome 11 miles of riding on mostly single track, while eliminating all of the sandy two-tracks and paved roads in the description. The soils here drain well, so this is a good choice when other trails are too muddy to ride. First timers should take a good topo map and a compass or gps, since the area is criss-crossed with old logging roads and it can be easy to get lost if you get off-track. After the ride, check out Jakes Place in nearby Boyne Falls for your favorite adult beverage, great burgers, and ....for the brave... a huge selection of pickled eggs, sausages, and gizzards..... Note: there has been recent logging activity on the "bootleg" section of trail..we had to carry the bikes over downed trees & tops, and the area was torn-up pretty well for about 1/4 mile. Be careful!

North Country Trail: Springvale to Thumb Lake Road Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Technical Difficulty
Moderate to Difficult
Physical Difficulty
2 - 3 hours
Best spring through fall
Mackinaw State Forest, Indian River Unit
Local Contacts
USGS Thumb Lake
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018