The North Country National Scenic Trail, generally known as the North Country Trail or simply the N.C.T., is a footpath stretching approximately 4,600 miles (7,400 km) from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota in the United States. Passing through the seven states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, it is the longest of the eleven National Scenic Trails authorized by Congress. As of early 2019, 3,129 miles (5,036 km) of the trail is in place.
The NCT is administered by the National Park Service, managed by federal, state, and local agencies, and built and maintained primarily by the volunteers of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) and its partners. The 28 chapters of the NCTA, its 3,200+ members and each affiliate organization have assumed responsibility for trail construction and maintenance of a specific section of the NCT.
|North Country Trail|
NCT in the Manistee National Forest
|Length||4600 mi (7403 km)|
|Location||New York / Pennsylvania / Ohio / Michigan / Wisconsin / Minnesota / North Dakota|
|Designation||National Scenic Trail (1980)|
|Trailheads||Lake Sakakawea State Park, North Dakota|
Crown Point State Historic Site, New York
|Sights||Northern hardwood forest; prairie; agricultural fields; low mountains; sand dunes; boreal forest; lake shores; small towns.|
The NCT was created on March 5, 1980 by an amendment to the National Trails System Act. When the Trail was established in 1980, portions of it were designed to follow the already existing Finger Lakes (New York), Baker (Pennsylvania), and Buckeye (Ohio) Trails. Their sponsoring organizations became affiliates of the North Country Trail Association and agreed to maintain those portions of their trails to be used by the North Country National Scenic Trail. The Northwestern Ohio Rails-to-Trails Association joined later to help create a link between the Buckeye Trail in Ohio and newly constructed trail in Michigan; the Superior Hiking Trail Association and the Kekekabic Trail Club joined when it was proposed that the North Country National Scenic Trail route through Minnesota be changed to include an already-completed section of the Superior Hiking Trail along Lake Superior, and the Kekekabic and Border Route Trails along the Canada–US border in Minnesota's Arrowhead Region. Legislation has been introduced to both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate which would authorize the "Arrowhead Re-route" as well as an extension to the trail's eastern terminus, connecting it with the Appalachian Trail in Vermont.. On March 12, 2019 the North Country Trail reroute and extension was signed into law as part of the omnibus "John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act".
The trail begins in northeast New York and proceeds to the western end of the state. It cuts across northwestern Pennsylvania, then follows a southwesterly course through the hilly region of southern Ohio until it nears Cincinnati when it runs north through western Ohio to the hills of SE Michigan. It continues from southeast Michigan through the western Lower Peninsula, crosses the Straits of Mackinac, and takes a northern route the length of the Upper Peninsula. After crossing northern Wisconsin, one leg follows the Lake Superior shore to the northeast corner of Minnesota before turning west, where it meets the other leg in central northern Minnesota. The trail enters southeast North Dakota, and continues to its other terminus in the center of the state.
The NCT connects more than 160 public land units, including parks, forests, scenic attractions, wildlife refuges, game areas, and historic sites. The list includes:
Other federal facilities along the NCT include:
The NCT also threads its way through 57 state parks and state historic areas, 47 state forests, 22 state game areas, seven state water conservation districts and at least ten county forests and parks. Several hundred miles of trail eventually will also cross private land thanks to owners who have granted easements across their property.
The center point of the trail is located near the NCTA headquarters in Lowell, Michigan.
Though the eastern terminus of the North Country Trail is only a few miles from Vermont's Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail, there is not yet a connecting trail to either of those trail systems. Efforts are under way to connect to the Appalachian Trail.
Existing and new sections of the NCT are generally limited to foot travel, including hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Other non-motorized uses, such as bicycling and horseback riding are generally limited to areas specifically designed to withstand such use.
About 10,000 people are involved with the NCT in one way or another, either through membership in the North Country Trail Association or membership in one of eight organizations affiliated with the NCTA: the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, the Buckeye Trail Association, the Superior Hiking Trail Association, the Kekekabic Trail Club, the Northwestern Ohio Rails-to-Trails Association, the Butler Outdoor Club, the Rachael Carson Trails Conservancy and the Friends of the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery.
The Black River is a 41.1-mile-long (66.1 km) river on the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan, flowing mostly in Gogebic County into Lake Superior at 46°40′03″N 90°02′57″W. Its source at 46°18′54″N 90°01′15″W is a boreal wetland on the border with Iron County, Wisconsin. The northern section of the river, 14 miles (23 km) within the boundaries of the Ottawa National Forest, was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1992.
At the Lake Superior mouth of the Black River is Black River Harbor, a former fishing station where commercial fishermen brought in cargoes of lake trout. The North Country Trail crosses the river here via a suspension footbridge.Border Route Trail
The Border Route Trail is a 65-mile (105 km) long hiking trail that crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in the far northeast corner of Minnesota (Arrowhead) and follows the international border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. It connects with the Superior Hiking Trail on its eastern terminus and with the Kekekabic Trail on its western end at the Gunflint Trail (Cook Cty. Road 12). In addition to the eastern and western termini, the Border Route Trail can be accessed through several spur and connecting trails, allowing for hiking trips ranging from short day-hikes to multiday backpacking expeditions.
The Border Route Trail Association was incorporated in 2004 to coordinate the maintenance and increase public awareness of the trail. The National Park Service is pursuing a re-route in northern Minnesota which will include the Border Route Trail into the North Country Trail.
The trail was planned and built in the early 1970s by the Minnesota Rovers Outing Club with the help of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. It was the first long-distance, wilderness backpacking and hiking trail in Minnesota planned and constructed by volunteers.Brule River State Forest
Brule River State Forest is a state forest located in Douglas County, Wisconsin, U.S.A. that encompasses the Bois Brule River for most of its length from its headwaters to Lake Superior. It is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is nearly 47,000 acres (190 km2) in size, making it the fourth-largest state park in Wisconsin. It was founded in 1907 and is the second oldest state park after Interstate.
The Cedar Island Lodge, or "the Summer White House," where multiple American presidents and generals have vacationed, is located here. The state forest is popular with canoeists, and cross-country skiers.Burr Oak State Park
Burr Oak State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Ohio, located mostly in Morgan County, with part extending into Athens County. Its postal address is in Glouster.
The park is centered at Burr Oak Lake. The dam for the lake is federal property under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, and is named Tom Jenkins Dam. It was built in 1950 for flood control. The maximum depth of the lake is around thirty feet.
The lake and park are named in honor of the burr oak tree, a variety of oak.
The area of the park is 2,593 acres (1,049 ha), while that of the lake is 664 acres (269 ha). The park was dedicated in 1952.The Buckeye Trail passes around the lake, and the North Country Trail is coincident with the Buckeye in this location. The park features a total of 28 miles (45 km) of trails.
A guest lodge was available until it closed in 2012 for renovations and has reopened in 2013. Cabins, picnic grounds, and camping, including a group campsite have also reopened. The park also features boat docks, ramps, tennis, mini-golf course and a swimming beach. Hunting is permitted in some areas of the park.The park borders the Wayne National Forest and the Sunday Creek State Wildlife Area.
Historically, the park has maintained a number of open areas along roadways as wildflower meadow-type areas.Glacier Ridge Trail
Glacier Ridge Trail is a 14-mile-long (23 km) trail in Butler County, Pennsylvania. The trail extends from Jennings Environmental Education Center to Moraine State Park.
Glacier Ridge Trail also comprises a small portion of the scenic North Country Trail, which stretches from New York to North Dakota. The Pennsylvania portion of the North Country Trail passes through Moraine and McConnells Mill state parks, as well as the Allegheny National Forest.Hiawatha National Forest
Hiawatha National Forest is a 894,836-acre (362,127 ha) National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan in the United States. Commercial logging is conducted in some areas. The United States Forest Service administers this National Forest; it is physically divided into two subunits, commonly called the Eastside 46°14′N 84°50′W and Westside 46°08′N 86°40′W. In descending order of land area it lies in parts of Chippewa, Delta, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft, and Marquette counties. Chippewa and Mackinac counties are in the Eastside, whereas the rest are in the Westside. The smaller Eastside contains about 44% of the forest's area, whereas the larger Westside has about 56%. Forest headquarters are located in Escanaba, Michigan. Eastside ranger district offices are located in Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace, while Westside offices are in Manistique, Munising, and Rapid River.Eastside was a large infertile sandy area that was never homesteaded or developed. It was designated Marquette National Forest by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909. This land was administered with Huron National Forest as the Michigan National Forest from 1918 until 1962, when it was transferred to Hiawatha. The forest was authorized to buy an additional 307,000 acres (124,200 ha) in 1925 and 50,000 acres (20,230 ha) in 1935. Westside began being purchased in 1928 and was designated Hiawatha National Forest in 1931. This unit was extensively replanted by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Many wildlife species roam in this forest including timber wolves, white-tailed deer, golden eagles, black bears, moose, coyotes, bobcats, bald eagles, beavers, red foxes, river otters, Canadian lynxes, hawks, muskrats, weasels, sandhill cranes, minks, and wild turkeys.
The forest has over 100 miles (160 km) of shoreline. Both east and west units have shoreline on both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan; the east unit also has shoreline on Lake Huron and includes Round Island and its lighthouse. The west unit borders Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which is administered by the National Park Service, and the Grand Island National Recreation Area, which is separately administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
Several lighthouses are located along the shores. The Point Iroquois Light is operated as a museum. The segment of the 4,600-mile-long North Country Trail passes through the forest.
The Hiawatha National Forest contains six designated wilderness areas:
Big Island Lake Wilderness
Horseshoe Bay Wilderness
Rock River Canyon Wilderness
Round Island WildernessThere are five National Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Forest: Carp River, Indian River, Sturgeon River, Tahquamenon River (East Branch), Whitefish River.
According to the forest service, it was "Named after the Mohawk chief, Hiawatha, who brought about the confederation known as the Five Nations of the Iroquois. He was also the hero of Longfellow's poem, 'Hiawatha'."Lake Superior State Forest
Lake Superior State Forest is a state forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The North Country Trail utilizes this state forest for 43 miles (69 km) of its route.
The Lake Superior forest region was one of the last areas in Michigan to be logged for old-growth Red Pine and White Pine. Logging continued into the 1910s. Much of the sandy, cut-over land was seen as worthless and was allowed to revert to the state of Michigan in lieu of unpaid property taxes. The state reorganized these parcels of property as the Lake Superior State Forest.Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park
Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park is a waterfall and state park located in Onota Township and Rock River Township, in far western Alger County, Michigan. The waterfall is in the southern part of the site, in Rock River Township, 8 miles (13 km) south of Lake Superior near M-94.Laughing Whitefish Falls is formed by an abrupt limestone escarpment of the Laughing Whitefish River, which flows northward into Lake Superior. The escarpment is shaped so as to draw out the cascade into an unusual fan-shaped wall of water. The falls is located within the Escanaba River State Forest. Foot trails connect the falls to the North Country Trail, which runs through the north end of the park.From M-94, a 2.8-mile (4.5 km) drive northward on Dorsey Road and a one-mile (1.5 km) hike from the roadhead are necessary to reach the falls.Little Miami Scenic Trail
The Little Miami Scenic Trail is the third longest paved trail in the United States, running 78.1 miles (125.7 km) though five southwestern counties in the state of Ohio. The multi-use rail trail sees heavy recreational use by hikers and bicyclists, as well as the occasional horseback rider. Over 700,000 people made use of the trail in 2014.Most of the trail runs along the banks of the Little Miami River, in a dedicated, car-free corridor known as Little Miami State Park. This unusually linear state park passes though four counties, with a right-of-way running about 50 miles (80 km) long and averaging 66 feet (20 m) in width for a total of about 707 acres (286 ha). Elsewhere, the corridor ranges from 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3.0 m) in width.The Little Miami Scenic Trail is signposted as State Bike Route 1 south of Xenia and State Bike Route 3 throughout. It is the backbone of a nearly continuous network of paved multi-use trails, centered on the Miami Valley area, that stretches 330 miles (530 km) and connects the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus metropolitan areas. The Little Miami trail is an incrementally growing section of the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail, while the trail south of Xenia also forms the southern leg of the Ohio to Erie Trail.McConnells Mill State Park
McConnells Mill State Park is a 2,546 acres (1,030 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Perry and Slippery Rock Townships, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The park features a deep scenic gorge with the restored watermill and a covered bridge at the bottom, accessible by a roadway that winds between large, room-sized boulders on the hillside. McConnells Mill State Park is along the Slippery Rock Creek just southwest of the intersection of US 422 and US 19.
McConnells Mill State Park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of Parks as one of "25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".Moraine State Park
Moraine State Park is a Pennsylvania state park on 16,725 acres (6,768 ha) in Brady, Clay, Franklin, Muddy Creek, and Worth townships in Butler County, Pennsylvania, in the United States.
The park's main feature is its man-made lake, Lake Arthur, formed by impounding Muddy Creek, which is 3,225 acres (1,305 ha) and is used for recreational purposes. The surrounding park is used for hiking, bicycling, group camping, picnicking, and hunting. Moraine State Park hosts the annual Regatta at Lake Arthur in August. The park was the location of the 1973 and 1977 National Scout Jamborees. Moraine State Park is at the intersection of Interstate 79 and U.S. Route 422 and shares a border with Jennings Environmental Education Center to the north.
Moraine State Park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of State Parks as one of "25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".North Country (New York)
The North Country is a region of the U.S. state of New York that encompasses the state's extreme northern frontier, bordering Lake Ontario on the west, the Saint Lawrence River and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec on the north and northwest, and Lake Champlain and Vermont on the east. New York's North Country shares with Ontario the Thousand Islands, an archipelago within the Saint Lawrence River. The region is the most sparsely populated but is also the geographically largest, in New York. At the 2010 United States Census, the population of all six counties is 428,357.
The New York State Department of Transportation defines the northern lobe of the state as part of the Adirondack Region, which includes the counties of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Warren.The North Country incorporates cultural similarities with Canada.
The North Country Trail, more formally known as the "North Country National Scenic Trail," is a 4,600-mile (7,400 km) long-distance trail being developed and is proposed to begin at Crown Point, New York on Lake Champlain and traverses New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.Pere Marquette State Forest
The Pere Marquette State Forest encompasses lands in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, on the western side of the state. Counties within the Pere Marquette are: Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Oceana, Newaygo and Mecosta.
There are several trail-ways in the Pere Marquette, the longest of which are the Muncie Lake Pathway, at 11.5 miles (18.5 km) in length; the VASA Pathway, at 16.7 miles (26.9 km); and the Cadillac Pathway, at 11.3 miles (18.2 km). The trails are well suited to biking, hiking and cross country skiing.
The North Country Trail includes 65 miles (105 km) within the Pere Marquette, and over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) in Michigan as a whole.
It is named after French explorer Jacques Marquette, who founded the first European settlement of Michigan in 1668.Sheyenne National Grassland
Sheyenne National Grassland is a National Grassland located in southeastern North Dakota in the United States, comprising 70,446 acres (28,508 ha) of public land amid 64,769 acres (26,211 ha) of privately owned land in a region of sandy soils in the vicinity of the Sheyenne River in Ransom and Richland Counties. It is the only National Grassland in the tallgrass prairie region of the U.S. The grassland provides habitat for the largest population of greater prairie chickens in North Dakota, as well as the Dakota skipper butterfly, the western prairie fringed orchid, and numerous ferns, as well as grazing land for approximately 83 cattle ranchers.A 25-mile (40 km) segment of the North Country Trail crosses the Grassland from east to west.
The grassland lies in eastern Ransom and western Richland counties, about 12 miles (19 km) east of the city of Lisbon. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service as part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands from offices in Bismarck, North Dakota. There are local ranger district offices in Lisbon.Straits State Park
Straits State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Michigan located in St. Ignace, Mackinac County, on the northern shore of the Straits of Mackinac. The Father Marquette National Memorial and park is also located within the state park boundaries. The park has 255 campsites and several locations for viewing the Mackinac Bridge.Tahquamenon Falls State Park
The Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a 46,179-acre (186.88 km2) state park in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the second largest of Michigan's state parks. Bordering on Lake Superior, most of the park is located within Whitefish Township in Chippewa County, with the western section of the park extending into McMillan Township in Luce County. The nearest town of any size is Paradise.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park follows the Tahquamenon River as it passes over Tahquamenon Falls and drains into Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior. The Tahquamenon Falls include a single 50-foot (15 m) drop, the Upper Falls, plus the cascades and rapids collectively called the Lower Falls. During the late-spring runoff, the river drains as much as 50,000 U.S. gallons (190,000 L) of water per second, making the upper falls the second most voluminous vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River, after only Niagara Falls.
The North Country Trail passes through the park. There is a seasonal shuttle service that allows hikers to walk between upper falls and lower falls without doubling back, the Tahqua Trekker.Tahquamenon Falls is also called Rootbeer Falls because of its golden-brown color, caused by tannins from cedar swamps that drain into the river. In winter, the ice that accumulates around and in the falls is often colored in shades of green and blue.
Much of the park is undeveloped but it has more than 22 miles (35 km) of hiking trails. Row boats and canoes are rented to use to approach the lower falls. The upper falls are accessible from the visitor center parking lot via a paved walking trail. There are five campgrounds in the park with a total of 350 campsites. The park receives as many as 500,000 visitors per year, many of whom drive in on the state park's only paved road, M-123. M-123 intersects with Interstate 75 at exit 352.
Nearby attractions include the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, and the Point Iroquois Light and Museum at Bay Mills on Whitefish Bay.Wayne National Forest
The Wayne National Forest is located in the south-eastern part of the US state of Ohio, in the Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. It is the only national forest in Ohio. Forest headquarters are located between The Plains and Nelsonville, Ohio, on US Route 33, overlooking the Hocking River.
The originally forested land was cleared for agricultural and lumbering use in the late 18th and 19th century, but years of poor timbering and agricultural practices led to severe erosion and poor soil composition. The Wayne National Forest was started as part of a reforestation program.The forest comprises three administrative and purchase units: Athens, Marietta, and Ironton. Many of the lands included in the forest are former coal-mining lands, and much of this land is owned by the federal government without the mineral rights, those having been retained by former owners.
As of January 2012, the forest has 240,101 acres (972 km2) in federal ownership within a proclamation boundary of 832,147 acres (3,368 km2).
The Athens Unit is located in Athens, Hocking, Morgan, Perry, and Vinton Counties, and includes 67,224 acres (272 km²) as of 2002. It features the Wildcat Hollow Trail, a hiking trail just northeast of Burr Oak State Park in Morgan County; the Stone Church Horse Trail in Perry County; the Utah Ridge Recreation Area in Athens County, and the Dorr Run ATV Trails in Hocking County.
The Marietta Unit is located in Monroe, Noble and Washington Counties, and includes 63,381 acres (256 km²) as of 2002, with over half of the total being within Washington County.
The Ironton Unit is located in Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence and Scioto Counties, and includes 99,049 acres (401 km²) as of 2002, with over two-thirds of the total being within Lawrence County.The area of Ohio included within the Forest is based on late Paleozoic geology, heavy in sandstones and shales, including redbeds, with many coal beds. The topography is typically very rugged, with elevation changes typically in the 200–400-foot range.
The North Country Trail passes through several areas of the Wayne, in which it is coincident with the Buckeye Trail and the American Discovery Trail.White Cloud, Michigan
White Cloud is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, a small town on the bank of the White River. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,408. It is the county seat of Newaygo County. Being designated a trail town, the outdoors are a big part of life in White Cloud, with the 4,600 mile North Country Trail stretching nearby, the Mill Pond Park with a beach and playground, and the White Cloud County Park and Campground, being major draws to the area. White Cloud was recognized by the North Country Trail Association as a "Trail Town".Yankee Springs Recreation Area
Yankee Springs State Recreation Area is a state-managed protected area located in Yankee Springs Township in Barry County, Michigan.
The park is 5,200 acres (21 km2) in area. It has 120 rustic, 200 modern and 25 equestrian camping sites, plus two cabins. There are 30 miles (48 km) of cross-county ski/hiking trails, 12 miles (19 km) of mountain biking trails and 9 miles (14 km) of equestrian trails. 6 miles (9.7 km) of the North Country Trail pass through the park. 30 miles (48 km) or more of seasonal two lane roads open to any road legal vehicles and is a popular destination for Enduro Riders. Nine lakes, Gun Lake being the largest, provide fishing, boating and swimming.
Points of interest in the park include the Devil's Soupbowl, a glacially carved kettle formation, Graves Hill Scenic Overlook, The Pines and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) era buildings.The park hosted the annual Barry-Roubaix cycling race for several years, prior to the event moving to Hastings, MI to accommodate a larger number of participants; the race course still traverses parts of the recreation area.
Articles relating to North Country Trail