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Sand Dunes Cross Country Trail

 

 



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Sand Dunes Cross Country Ski Trail

Rock Crack, Photo by Dave Curl Hair.

Hike Sand Dunes Cross Country Ski Trail Ski Sand Dunes Cross Country Ski Trail

Trail Distance:

15.6 kilometers with 7 loops varying from 2.4 km to 12.3 km.

Description

Located on federal land of the Hiawatha National Forest, the Sand Dunes Cross-Country Ski Trail was built through cooperative efforts in 1985-86. The trail is mainly for skiing, but is open for hiking. To protect the trail from damage and to provide a quiet experience MOTORIZED USE IS NOT ALLOWED ON THE GROOMED SKI TRAIL. Parts of Loop A located on old roads are open to vehicles during the snow-free season. Signs are posted showing where vehicles are not allowed.

The trailhead is located on the west side of the Brevoort Lake Road (H-57) about 0.4 miles north of US-2. The open area around the trailhead is the site of the Round Lake Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp which started in June 1935. Loops B and C of the trail are located in jack pine timber stands planted by the CCC's in 1935. These trees helped to stabilize the sand dunes and build the soil.

The trail system is complete. Two new loops, F and G, were added in 1987. Trail grooming is done by the Hiawatha National Forest who accepts donations to defray the cost of trail grooming.

The Trail Loops

Loop A is on gentle terrain next to the steep sand dunes. It starts just west of the parking area. Loop A is designed for beginners as a warm-up and cool down for the other loops, and as a route from Loop B back to the parking area. If you want to ski a loop more than once the back segment of Loop A is set up for two-way traffic.

Loop B starts 0.4 miles (0.6 km.) from the parking area. The two biggest hills on this loop both have bypasses around them. This loop allows advanced beginners and more experienced skiers to enjoy skiing together.

Loop C starts where Loop B turns west. This intermediate trail has several "decent" hills.

Loop D is an intermediate trail winding through a partially open area. As a result you may encounter drifts, bare spots (in the spring), and variable snow conditions. The wax that was working in the woods on colder, drier snow might not work on the warmer, wetter snow in this opening. If Loop D is closed or looks marginal, we recommend you follow Loop C and re-enter the pine forest.

Loop E starts at the junction of Loops B and C. This is a challenging intermediate trail with several exciting climbs and descents wit the change from pine to hardwood forest. The trail passes the junctions of new Loops F and G.

Loops F and G are new additions that will prove to be a challenge for the advanced skier. These Loops are characteristic of steep hills and sharp curves.

Points of Interest

The Sand Dunes Ski Trail is located on old Lake Michigan sand dunes which were formed by blowing sand. These dunes are called "extinct" because they are no longer active or being moved by wind.

While skiing Loop A, look for the claw marks from black bears on the smooth gray bark of the beech trees. Bears climb the trees in search of beech nuts in the fall.

The short pine trees that you pass through on Loop B and C are jack pine which were planted by the CCC in 1935. Look also for the natural oak and white pine trees which are mixed in with the planted jack pine. Loop D is in an open area which was not planted to pine trees.

From the bottom of "Sand Slide" on Loop E the trail passes through open country and then into hemlock, pine, and hardwoods. These "Eolian Hills" are some of the largest wind blown sand dunes on the trail. Loops F and G will wind through this area and afford views of Lake Michigan.

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