Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby yukonjack » June 1st, 2009, 6:50 am

Hey Guppie,
Try the NCT from the Marilla trailhead. That will give you some great climbs. Awesome views as well. We rode it last summer in the rain. Some of those climbs didnt feel like Michigan riding to me.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby trout_smith » June 1st, 2009, 6:55 am

Guppie wrote:Can you guys help me with NCT, I've never ridden. Seems extremely complicated. I am coming from Allendale so was thinking about starting at M-20 trailhead in White Cloud but the trail guide says to avoid. Is that up to date or is it okay to ride? Are these two way trails?


I wouldn't pay much attention to the trail status in the guide. They aren't updated. You can ride North from M-20, but not South. It is a two-way trail and it's about 19 miles one-way to the next "no bikes" section at Nichols Lake campground. It's a decent ride. No real climbing except for a couple of steep hills and one longish climb before 6 mile.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby LocoJason » June 15th, 2009, 11:22 am

Rides from this past week:

Hungerford Lake: The MTB trail has been poached by horses as recently as this past weekend. The damage (and crap) is moderate and contained to a few of the sections of trail connecting between horse trails, so I am still concerned that the horse people had used it as a shortcut or otherwise. Perhaps we need even MORE signage to steer them clear of the MTB trails? There are a LOT of sticks and other debris on the trail, along with a couple trees down on both the outer and inner loops, and a big one in the outer loop which forced a reroute. The trail is otherwise in decent shape. Go and ride it!

NCT north of M20/White Cloud (Segment D/E): Absolutely GREAT shape. Go and ride it!

NCT north of US10 (Segment C): A few sandy spots where rain has cleared the ground cover, but otherwise outstanding. Go and ride it!
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby beemane » June 22nd, 2009, 2:15 pm

I'm camping in Ludington Friday - Monday. Looks like the NCT Segments A & B are the closest trails. Is that correct? What are these trails like? Thanks for your help.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby RickPlite » September 17th, 2009, 6:16 pm

Rode Hungerford Lake National Forest Rec Area trail today, 9-17-09. The NFS has done a great job of marking the entire trail with yellow arrows. No need to carry a map anymore! The trail was all clear of deadfall with just minor twigs and leaves covering the trail. This is a fun trail system that gets little respect due to location and horse use near by. In my 9 mile travels today I only saw evidence of horses on the mtb trail in three or four 50 yard sections, one or two of those are actually shared use anyway, so they are obeying the signs pretty good. While this isn't a well worn in path such as CSGA or Luton it is still fun. Reminds me of seldom used sections on NCT or Big M 7-10 years ago. Check it out if you pass through Big Rapids sometime. It could use the traffic. I took some photos, check them out here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/westernmmba/sets/72157617359678164/
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby funkydrum » September 17th, 2009, 6:43 pm

Thanks for the Hungerford update. I need to get over there check it out.

How is the climbing ? Any topography to the place ?
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby Siler » September 20th, 2009, 12:24 pm

LocoJason, thanks for the comps on the NCT from M-20 north earlier this year.

I have two request from MMBA riders as you ride from M-20 north to Nichols Lake. First, many of you have probably noticed a bit of work on the section from Pierce Rd to Croswell the past 12 months. Included in this work has been some rerouting of the trail and the installation of some stiles. This has been done to eliminate the illegal horse riding that has been taking place on this section of trail, along with potential enforcement action by the Forest Service. While none of us, hiker or bikers, like horses degrading the trail experience, this work was also done because of the impact trail sedimentation was having upon the four cold-water feeder stream that cross the trail in this section.

My request is that riders honor the stiles and the "please dismount here" signs. These were installed with conservation in mind. It has come to our attention that a lot of bike traffic has been circumventing the southernmost stile. As a result, I expect this stile is no longer an effective barrier for horses seeking to access the NCT from the end of Parson Road. Please help us preserve that trail and the ecology of the habitat by resisting shortcuts.

Second, we are also aware that someone is also conducting some illegal chainsaw work along this section of trail. This results in hazardous conditions as blowdowns are incorrectly or insufficiently removed. Instead, we would prefer that riders report blowdowns to the Western Michigan Chapter NCTA for removal. We have adopters who are out maintaining the trails three times a year, and a summer roving mowing and chainsaw crew. These folks would be happy to take care of any noted problems.

The problem with uncoordinated volunteers using chainsaw is not just an safety and standards issue, but it also results in people not reporting hazardous conditions because they feel things have already been "fixed." As a result, substandard and hazardous tree removal situations often go unreported for far longer than necessary, posing a prolonged accident risk to riders and hikers. We shudder every time we come across a blowdown that has been insufficiently addressed, thinking about the injuries that could happen to riders from incorrect clearances, sharp points, etc.

Please also be aware that one must be trained and certified to run a chainsaw on Forest Service lands. If you would like to take the class and exam, can finder a trained "swamper" to work with you, and would like to coordinate with NCTA to help, please let us know.

Thanks for your cooperation, and enjoy your ride!

Paul Haan
Volunteer Trail Manager
Western Michigan Chapter NCTA
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby chris_werth » September 21st, 2009, 9:18 am

We did an out and back from Marilla to Sawdust hole and the trail is in outstanding shape. 2 downed trees around Upper river road. Also did an out and back from Timber creek to Freesoil, again the trail was great.

Great job to whoever takes care of the trails. I would say it is the best riding in Michigan.

Thanks for all the work you do.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby stritz » September 29th, 2009, 3:23 pm

I am thinking about road tripping it there (2 hours each way) just based on your post. Can you be more specific as to what makes this the best mountain biking in Michigan? Thanks.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby chris_werth » September 29th, 2009, 8:22 pm

stritz wrote:I am thinking about road tripping it there (2 hours each way) just based on your post. Can you be more specific as to what makes this the best mountain biking in Michigan? Thanks.


First let me say that I love trails like Hanson Hills and Boyne mountain. I love the climbs and the flowing singltrack that both offer. NCT is all of Boyne and Hanson rolled into one, but it is not a loop it is usually an out and back. So what you might of raced down you will have to climb up on the way back or vice versa.
The climbing is awesome, long gradual climbs where you can stay seated for most of the way only to stand at the end to complete it (I ride a Single speed). After the climb you are usually rewarded with a nice flowing singletrack, or a wicked fast downhill on a 3 foot wide trail. The bench cuts are like no others around, cut into the side of the hills like they were suppose to be there. Very little chatter bumps from riders over braking and the view, well I can't describe them.... You have to see them for yourself. You should have some stuff with you in case you break down, there is nothing around. Bring enough water for 3-4 hours. Be careful of hikers and bikers coming up the climbs. I would be very surprised if you don't enjoy the ride. It is well worth a 2 hour car ride. I live 3.5 hours away and would do a day trip with not even thinking twice.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby funkydrum » September 29th, 2009, 10:11 pm

Great description! I dig the NCT north of US10 to Udell Hills and especially north of M55 to Marilla trailhead. Great flow and all the climbing you can muster...
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby stritz » October 1st, 2009, 10:40 am

Thanks for the description. I am definately finding a good fall day in the next week or two and trying out NCT.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby McGurk » October 7th, 2009, 7:54 pm

Can anyone confirm whether the trail is still open? I saw a different site that said the trail closes to bikers on 9/30. I'm not sure this makes sense.
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby funkydrum » October 7th, 2009, 8:35 pm

Which one? They all should be open with the exception of hunting restrictions in the Manistee N.F..
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Re: Huron-Manistee National Forest: NCT, Big-M, Hungerford, etc.

Postby McGurk » October 8th, 2009, 6:01 pm

Big M Trail - this pdf (http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf/pages/Recr ... _trail.pdf) says the bike trail is open until September 30. Is this incorrect? I'm a bit confused.
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