I am in love with Newaygo County. We’ve lived here three years now and keep discovering hidden treasures. If you love to be out in nature as my husband and I do, then each season brings new adventures and experiences.
I did not think snowshoeing sounded like much fun. I have loved cross-country skiing since my teen years. What’s the sense of walking with big tennis rackets strapped to my feet? My husband, from Manton, MI, had his old, childhood pair that I tried on once. No way did I want to traipse around in those. I do love them as winter porch decorations, however!
Yet, after we got our snowshoes last Christmas and took our first outing, I knew it would be a new favorite of mine. The smaller, lightweight shoes allowed us to venture where our skis would not. They also opened up so many more trails to explore.
The perfect snowfall day came the day before the start of the new year. Those of us wanting to get out into the snow, this winter has been a bit slow. So, out we go as soon as it falls. Luckily, we can head out our front (or back) door, to get into the woods or water. Being our lake hasn’t frozen to a safe thickness, we headed into the woods, but we did NOT take the trail. So much fun plowing through fresh powder, the crisp winter air filling our lungs. We kicked up a young deer that bounded off and away. So beautiful to watch as it leaped over fallen trees.
Later, when the snow fell again, I headed to a public, yet little-known trail, just north of Newaygo: Resonate Trail that I had hiked with friends for the first time this fall. This trail is located behind the Resonate Church at 302 E 68th St, Newaygo, MI 49337. Drive into the parking lot and take it all the way back to where it meets the woods. You will see a trail information station. This 2.5-mile Peter-Pan-Adventure loop is full of interesting views, handmade bridges back and forth across Penoyer Creek, hills, fields, wetlands, and forests. Along the way there were benches and now and then fire pits one could set up to roast marshmallows or warm-up. I felt like a kid spending the day in my own little woods (even though it’s walking distance into town and I had cell phone signal the entire hike).
The trail is a mostly easy travel and well-marked by yellow paint splotches on trees or branch-tied orange flags and a few lamented-paper trail signs. At the start the traii is wide enough for two abreast; however, it quickly gets down to single-file. I was glad I had my small snowshoes to get through the trail and then over the bridges. Once, due to ice build-up, I decided to take off my snowshoes while crossing a small bridge. About mid-way into the hike, I decided at the trail split to take the Upper Bridge Trail over the lower. This was a beautiful view. I could see the lower trail and creek most of the way. However, the way down to the Upper Bridge was very steep and somewhat icy, so again, I took off my snowshoes and was thankful I had my hiking poles to dig into the slope. I noticed that had I taken the Lower Bridge trail it would have been a slightly shorter hike. Although the woods called to me to venture off the trail, by the end of my hike, a slushy snow mix started to fall so I headed back to my car. I definitely plan to take my husband here next time.
Other areas for traipsing in the winter:
Baker Woods: Hesperia (a popular X-Country running Race-venue)
Branstrom Park Trails: 1.9-mile loop, Fremont, MI
Coolbough Natural Area- Overall easy hike and well-marked trails
Minnie Pond Campground area-Just northwest of White Cloud near Harris and Alger crossroads
Mosquito Creek trails– On Maple Island about 5 miles N of Apple Ave
North Country Trail: If you park at Pine Avenue and Croton Drive, you will find the trail goes north and south. Also, you could park at Kimble County Park and take it along the river towards Pine Avenue. However, this isn’t a loop trail so you may need to set up a drop-off or pick-up.
Many of the lakes have public access and are great to snowshoe if the ice is at least 4” thick.
Newaygo State Park: 2793 Beech Street, Newaygo MI, 49337
One final word that was suggested to me by a veteran Newaygo County snowshoe aficionado about traipsing into winter wilderness areas such as these, make sure to pack a small backpack with emergency supplies (food, warmth, water, and compass), especially if you go off the beaten path.
By Katie Clark
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