A variety of hikes will be available each day during Celebration. Each hike is labeled with a code you will use to register for that hike.
For example TD-1 is Thursday’s All-Day Hike #1, TA-1 is Thursday’s AM Hike #1, and TP-1 is Thursday’s PM Hike #1. Sunday hikes are designated with an N.
For all hikes, notice the difficulty level and mileage in order to pick the hike that best suits your abilities and desires.
(May 2) Choose either one all-day hike, a combination of one morning and one afternoon hike, or either a morning or afternoon hike if you wish to keep a morning or afternoon free for non-hiking activities.
Thursday All-Day Hikes
TD-1: Muncie Lakes Loop (Moderate | 8.4 miles total | 3.1 miles on NCT)
Loop hike on a popular local ski trail. Shorter 5.3-mile and 4-mile loops are also available but without sweep support. The hike starts and ends at the parking lot on Ranch Rudolf Road, NCT Mile 721.3. The trail runs for a short distance along two undeveloped lakes, follows a narrow ridgeline, makes a steep descent to the Boardman River (great lunch stop), climbs steeply back out of the valley, and eventually returns to the starting point. Terrain is rolling mostly through hardwoods.
TD-2: Sand Lakes Loop (Moderate | 7.5 miles total | 3.2 miles on NCT)
Loop hike on a popular ski trail. The Sand Lakes Quiet Area is a 2,800-acre tract that was designated in 1973 exclusively for non-motorized use. A great place to escape from civilization. The main loop starts at the Broomhead Road trailhead. It passes by four scenic lakes, and goes through rolling terrain with white pines as well as hardwoods.
TD-3: Deadman’s Hill to Landslide Overlook (Strenuous | 13.1 miles)
Jordan Valley tour de force – all of the NCT in the valley! After enjoying the panorama of the valley from Deadman’s Hill, hike down to join the NCT in a half mile. Hike below Deadman’s Hill, enjoy the many seeps and small streams, then view the beaver pond complex, signs of past habitation, crossing the Jordan River at “Three Tubes.” Then hike along the river and up to another overlook, down to Pinney Bridge State Forest Campground, Pinney Bridge, the 45th Parallel, Cascade Creek, and out to Landslide Overlook, another panorama. This hike is repeated on Saturday, in reverse. There is an option to complete the Jordan Valley Pathway Loop with hike FA-2 (Friday morning).
TD-4: Pickerel Lake SFCG to Sand Lake (Moderate | 9 miles)
Start at Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground, enjoy the lake, then hike by two more (Eagle Lake and MacNeil Pond). After 6.7 miles cross Starvation Lake Road from Grand Traverse Hiking Club to Jordan Valley 45° territory. Walk through a pleasant pine plantation then mixed scrub to the shores of Sand Lake. (NCT Miles 682.6 to 673.6.)
Thursday Morning Hikes
TA-1: Deadman’s Hill to Jordan River National Fish Hatchery (Easy | 4.8 miles | 3.8 miles on NCT)
After enjoying the panorama of the valley from Deadman’s Hill, hike down to join the NCT in less than a mile. Hike below Deadman’s Hill, enjoy the many seeps and small streams, then view the beaver pond complex, signs of past habitation, viewing the Jordan River at “Three Tubes.” This is followed by 0.5-mile roadwalk to the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery, where a free tour is available. Food truck lunch will be available for purchase at the hatchery.
TA-2: Deadman’s Hill to Jordan River National Fish Hatchery (Easy, low-impact | 0.5 miles | off-NCT)
Jordan Valley: Stop at Deadman’s Hill and walk up to the scenic viewpoint. Then take transport to the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery for a guided tour, and an optional short climb to another viewpoint nearby. Food truck lunch will be available for purchase at the hatchery.
TA-3: Deadman’s Hill to Warner Creek Parking (Easy | 5 miles | some miles not on NCT)
After enjoying the panorama of the valley from Deadman’s Hill, hike down to join the NCT in less than a mile, then westbound to O’Brien Pond (see the “Beaver Deceiver”), and around the Warner Creek Pathway.
Thursday Afternoon Hikes
TP-1: Jordan River National Fish Hatchery to Pinney Bridge (Moderate | 5.5 miles)
Allows 30 minutes to tour the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery before a 0.5-mile roadwalk to the Jordan River at “Three Tubes,” then along the river and up to an overlook. Hike down to Pinney Bridge State Forest Campground and out at Pinney Bridge. Food truck lunch will be available for purchase at the hatchery.
TP-2: Warner Creek Parking to Dobleski Road (Strenuous | 4.8 miles)
After a short stretch of the Warner Creek pathway, hike up and down over high forested ridges.
TP-3: Muncie Lakes Trailhead to Dollar Lake Trailhead (Moderate | 3.9 miles)
Hike through Muncie Lakes ski trail system and to Dollar Lake. This hike begins at the Muncie Lake trailhead (NCT Mile 721.3) on Ranch Rudolf Road – same trailhead as Hike TD-1. It follows the scenic Muncie Lakes ski trail for 3 miles before leaving and heading north. Near the end it passes by scenic Dollar Lake. It ends at an NCT trailhead on Supply Road (NCT Mile 717.4.)
(May 3) Only morning hikes (and one trail-building workshop) are offered on Friday, as the afternoon is reserved for break-out sessions – which we encourage you to sign up for!
All-Day Trail Building Workshop
FD-1: Trail Building Workshop / Deadman’s Hill to Jordan River National Fish Hatchery (Strenuous, considering work | 4.8 miles)
Hike in for a trail building workshop. NCTA HQ personnel will cover basic layout, design and construction of trails in the wilderness. They will also highlight trail maintenance and safety tips for trail crews to practice. Participants will practice everything they learn in “class” right away by heading to the trail and building a 0.1-mile spur trail to a viewing platform of a beaver pond. Afterwards the crew will hike out to the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery, where a tour is available.
Friday Morning Hikes
FA-1: Landslide Overlook to Pinney Bridge (Easy, low-impact | 3.8 miles)
Low-impact walk past the 45th Parallel. Mostly downhill. Landslide Overlook, Cascade Creek, 45th Parallel, Pinney Bridge. Also offered Saturday morning (SA-1).
FA-2: Landslide Overlook to Deadman’s Hill (Easy | 5.4 miles | off NCT)
Want to finish the Jordan Valley Pathway loop? This coupled with Thursday’s or Saturday’s all-day hike does it! Beautiful forest along the rim of the valley. Michigan Department of Natural Resources trail, also maintained by the NCTA-Jordan Valley 45° Chapter.
FA-3: Cinder Hill Road to Mancelona Road (Moderate | 5.5 miles)
Hike a pleasant section of state forest trail, moderate up-and-down. The first half of the hike is rolling hills and old growth forest, and the second half is relatively flat and near farm fields. See if you can spot a “trail angel!” (NCT Miles 667.5 to 662.0.)
FA-4: Au Sable Institute to Eagle Lake (Moderate | 3.5 miles)
Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies invites you to their campus in beautiful northeastern Kalkaska County. Au Sable staff will provide an overview of their history with the NCT and jump right into an interpretive hike on their trails. A quick walk through their woods will connect you to the NCT where you will walk toward Eagle Lake. Stops along the way will include discussions about ponds, bogs, lakes, and pine and hardwood forests – all of which you will see! Also, this section of Trail is filled with spring wildflowers like Trillium, Spring Beauty, and Pink Lady Slipper. Once we reach Eagle Lake we can enjoy the vista before returning to campus. Hikers should bring water bottles and snacks, transportation will arrive back at Shanty Creek Resort at lunch time.
FA-5: Landslide to Cascade Creek, Hike for Mental Health (Easy, out-and-back)
Self care is vital to our mental and physical health. This hike is all about “nature therapy” and how it can be healing to be out in the woods; a time to “fill our cups” and remind ourselves that we matter!
(May 4) Choose either one all-day hike, a combination of one morning and one afternoon hike, or either a morning or afternoon hike if you wish to keep a morning or afternoon free.
Saturday All-Day Hikes
Venture to a beautiful NCT Trail Town and the nearby trails. Two hikes (AM/PM) with a’la carte lunch at a local brewery overlooking Little Traverse Bay. Morning hikers on these two hikes will hike the other one in the afternoon:
- Brubaker Road to King Road (Moderate | 2.8 miles)
Petoskey Skyline Natural area, the Skyline Shelter, a view of Lake Michigan in the distance, then state forest ridges.
- McDougal Road to Lake Street (Easy | 3.5 miles)
First the North Central Michigan College Natural Area, with views along the upper Bear River, then into the Petoskey Bear River Recreation Area, where the NCT passes through the city without the urban impact.
SD-2: Landslide Overlook to Deadman’s Hill (Strenuous | 13.1 miles)
Jordan Valley tour de force – all of the NCT in the valley! This is the reverse of hike TD-3.
SD-3: Sand Lakes Trailhead to Muncie Lakes Trailhead (Moderate | 10.2 miles | 9.3 miles on NCT)
Start at the Sand Lakes parking lot and hike 0.9 miles to NCT Mile 712. End at the Muncie Lakes parking lot (NCT Mile 721.3). Hike through a portion of Sand Lakes Quiet Area, along scenic North Branch of Boardman River, through part of Muncie Lake trail system.
SD-4: Spring Lake State Forest Campground to US-131 State Forest Campground Parking (Moderate | 10.5 miles)
East portion of the Fife Lake Loop, new portion of Trail constructed by Grand Traverse Hiking Club a few years ago. Start from Spring Lake SFCG on US-131 at NCT Mile 732.6. Scenic trail following Fife Lake Creek and Manistee River, and through MDOT rest area. Cross under US-131 highway bridge and end at Old US-131 SFCG on Manistee River (NCT Mile 743).
*SD-5: Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore Excursion (Easy | mileage TBD)
Come and see Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! This park covers a 35-mile-long stretch of Lake Michigan. It has outstanding natural features including forests, beaches, dunes, and glacial phenomenon, as well as preserved historic districts. The area won the recognition as “The Most Beautiful Place in America” from Good Morning America in 2011. The excursion will include a motor coach ride from Shanty Creek Resort to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Once there, we will stop at the visitor center to view an orientation video then take a drive on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive with an opportunity for a short hike. Lunch will be provided in Glen Arbor after. We will spend the afternoon at Glen Haven where a Dune Trail Hike and tour of the historic buildings will be available. The drive home will take you past the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. *$45 transportation and lunch included.
SD-6: Springvale Road to Slashing and Thumb Lake Road (Moderate-Strenuous | 7.7 miles)
Pass the sites of two small pending reroutes: a steep worn trail section and some beaver flooding. See if your leader slogs through or gives you a taste of the new routes by bushwhacking! Then the long climb to the summit of Chandler Hill. This effort is often rewarded by finding the highly prized morel mushrooms among the spring wildflowers. Descend the even steeper side to Chandler Hill Road. Continuing on, see signs of logging and enjoy the refreshing beauty of a bubbling spring-fed brook. (NCT Miles 625 to 632.7.)
SD-7: Harmon Road to Chandler Hill Road (Strenuous | 9.8 miles | 9 miles on NCT)
After passing through a forest and by scenic wetland, the trail crosses Welsch Road to climb for a scenic view of farm fields. Sign the County Line register box then take a side trip to enjoy the view at Cherry Valley Overlook. Later pass the sites of two small pending reroutes: a steep worn trail section and some beaver flooding. See if your leader slogs through or gives you a taste of the new routes by bushwhacking! Then the long climb to the summit of Chandler Hill. This area is locally famous for morel mushrooms, so keep your eyes open for these tasty morsels. Then descend to Chandler Hill Road where you can rest. (NCT Miles 620.2 to 629.6.)
SD-8: Pinney Bridge toward Jordan River Road (out-and-back)
Details coming soon.
Saturday Morning Hikes
SA-1: Landslide Overlook to Pinney Bridge (Easy, low-impact | 3.8 miles)
Low-impact walk past the 45th Parallel. Mostly downhill. Landslide Overlook, Cascade Creek, 45th Parallel, Pinney Bridge. Also offered Friday AM (FA-1).
SA-2: Muncie Lakes Trailhead to Dollar Lake Trailhead (Moderate | 3.9 miles)
Hike through Muncie Lakes ski trail system and to Dollar Lake. This hike begins at the Muncie Lake trailhead (NCT Mile 721.3) on Ranch Rudolf Road – same trailhead as Hike TD-1. It follows the scenic Muncie Lakes ski trail for 3 miles before leaving and heading north. Near the end it passes by scenic Dollar Lake. It ends at an NCT trailhead on Supply Road (NCT Mile 717.4). Also offered Thursday PM (TP-3).
SA-3: Sand Lakes Trailhead to Dollar Lake Trailhead (Moderate | 6.2 miles | 5.3 miles on NCT)
Start at the Sand Lakes parking lot on Broomhead Road. Hike through part of scenic Sand Lakes Quiet Area and along the North Branch of the Boardman River to Dollar Lake trailhead on Supply Road (NCT Mile 717.4).
SA-4: Starvation Lake to Twin Lake Road, Walk and Write (Moderate | 4 miles)
As a follow-up to the Walk and Write breakout session, hike up to 4 miles on the NCT from Starvation Lake Road to Twin Lake Road, and pause halfway in the woods to journal on our experiences. Journals and pens will be provided, bring a backpack. This section of the Trail has some hills and passes by two small lakes, one with a beaver lodge. Carpooling will be provided.
Saturday Afternoon Hikes
SP-1: Warner Creek M32 to Dobleski Road (Strenuous | 4.8 miles)
After a short stretch of the Warner Creek Pathway, hike up and down over high forested ridges.
(May 5) No buses provided. Self-drive or carpool only. Hike leader provided.
Sunday Morning Hikes
NA-1: Muncie Lakes Trailhead, Loop (Moderate | 5.3 miles | 2.7 miles on NCT)
Shorter version of TD-1. Loop hike on popular local skiing trail through rolling terrain and mostly hardwoods.
NA-2: Scheck’s Valley of the Giants, Out and Back (Moderate | 7.8 miles)
Hike overlooking Boardman River then to Valley of the Giants. This scenic area was missed by the loggers 100 years ago, probably due to the remoteness and the resulting difficulty in removing the timber. The hike continues along very scenic 22 Creek, past beaver ponds. At the second 22 Creek crossing, turn around and head back to starting point.
NA-3: Deadman’s Hill, Jordan Valley Short Loop (Moderate | 3.5 miles | 2 miles on NCT)
Deadman’s Hill, Jordan Valley short loop with an optional side in/out to view beaver ponds (0.5 miles).
NA-4: Warner Creek M32, Loop (Easy | 3 miles | 1.5 miles on NCT)
Warner Creek Pathway loop. Short side trip (0.2 miles) to see O’Brien Pond and its “Beaver Deceiver.”