Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ski Warren Woods

This Tuesday, I was supposed to be on jury duty but my group was excused. I'd already cleared the day, so I had it free for skiing. Kalamazoo's snow was still a little sparse, so I headed for Love Creek County Park. After a couple of nice loops I decided to try another spot in Berrien County.

A guidebook suggested Warren Woods State Park and it was decidedly different from Love Creek: no grooming, no degree-of-difficulty ratings, no visitor center, no off-street parking, and no other people. It did share a substantial amount of lake effect snow.

Warren Woods has over 300 acres of hardwood forest. About half of it is old-growth maples & beech (with a bad beech vandalism problem.) The path is fairly level except for steep sections on the banks of the Galien River, where I took off my skis and walked. The trail runs nearly a mile from Warren Woods Rd to Elm Valley Rd, a fairly straight line through the center of the park. I'd forgotten how much work it is to break trail in deep snow. The return trip was easier since I could ski in my own tracks.

A few miles further west on Warren Woods Rd, I drove past the Chikaming Township Park and Preserve (pdf) which had some nice looking trails, but I didn't have time or energy to try them.

Warren Woods State Park
Elm Valley Road or Warren Woods Road
about 3 miles north of Three Oaks Michigan
(pdf map)

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