Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crystal Valley Cross-Country Ski Trail

The Crystal Valley Cross-Country Ski Trail is about 10 miles east of Pentwater, Michigan in the Manistee National Forest, just north of the tiny hamlet of Crystal Valley. It's a couple of hours drive from Kalamazoo and the snow conditions there can be better than Kalamazoo's due to a combination of deeper lake-effect snow and colder temperatures. The trail system is much more extensive than Kalamazoo's local options, easily offering a whole afternoon of skiing.

The trails are groomed regularly by the Oceana Cross Country Ski Association. Restrictions on pedestrians and snow-shoers keep the tracks in good shape. The association developed the trail system and continues to expand it. [pdf trail map]

The trails run through hilly hardwood forests and pine plantations. The "Get off the couch" website has trail descriptions and driving directions for Crystal Valley.

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