The detailed information on these pages will remain free thanks to those who advertise here. If you shop or use their services, please thank them!



eBook $2.99
no special reader required!

eBook $1.89
no special reader required!



Advertise on this page





This information is entirely my responsibility and has no connection with any official entity


Shark Enterprises
Joan H. Young
861 W. US 10
Scottville, MI 49454
jhyshark@gmail.com
© all rights reserved
this page updated 3/10/10




at Bowman Lake

Bowman Lake

Bowman Lake

Bowman Lake Semi-Primitive Area is a wonderful glacially sculpted landscape with small pointed kames and kettle holes. Semi-primitve areas are designated to be characterized by a predominantly natural or natural-appearing environment with a moderate probability of experiencing isolation from the sights and sounds of man.

The small kettle-hole lake is walk or bike in only and there are designated campsites. The area has several miles of ski trails, and the North Country Trail also passes through.

Camping- There are 4 primitive sites around Bowman Lake. Hike or bike-in only. Two sites are on the east side of the lake, and two are on the west side including a larger site. Level, built-up tent pads, fire rings with grates.

Boat Launch- I have seen people carry canoes in or bring small boats on a cart. No vehicle access!

Fishing- panfish, bass

Skiing- The primary use of these trails, other than the North Country Trail, is for skiing. See trail descriptions under Hiking.

Snowshoeing- These trails have moderate hills at most and make for very pleasant snowshoeing. See trail descriptions under Hiking.

Biking- These trails are open for bicycle use. See trail descriptions under Hiking.

Bowman Lake Ski Trails

The numbers on the map are arbitrary for the purpose of descriptions. There are no numbered junctions on these trails.

Point 1 to 2 0.25 mile. Follow the narrow trail which leads directly north from the Trailhead. Go across level meadow and enter the trees going slightly uphill. The trail continues level and then drops steeply down to the lake through white pine. Just as you enter the denser woods there is a second trail to the left which goes off and then turns north and also drops steeply to the lake. The route to the lake via the NCT connector and the old road is better- less steep, less eroded.

Point 2 to 3 0.3 mile. Follows an old 2-track. Go east from the lake and pass through a cut in the ridge. The NCT goes south beside the ridge, but climbs to the top as it goes north from this point. Continue straight to Mack Road. There is a very large white pine on this route.

Point 2 to 4 0.25 mile. Follows an old 2-track level beside the lake and then climbing slightly on cut-in roadbed as you leave the lake. Pass the turnoff to campsite 4, the largest of the sites. Continue to ascend gradually to the southwest and then south. As you turn more to the south there is a faint trail that continues almost straight ahead down a valley. You are now at point 4.

Point 4 to 5 0.25 mile. Follows an old 2-track and ascends gradually till reaching a sand parking loop on 56th Street where there is room for 2 or 3 cars.

Point 5 to 6 0.12 mile. Strait, level, less-used trail parallels the road. When you reach the edge of a valley and begin to descend you are at point 6. You can cross the power line right-of-way on an angle here to reach the road, and you used to be able to park here. Road work a couple of years ago has made that option less viable, but you could probably carefully get a car off-road here.

Point 6 to 7 0.13 mile. Angle to the northwest downhill into a valley on single-track trail and turn due north at the bottom of the valley. Continue to descend until reaching the bottom of an old kettle hole (a shallow bowl) now growing up with small oaks

Point 7 to 8 0.37 mile. Climb gently out of the bowl to the north on trail that is there, but less obvious, you may need to look for it when the ferns are tall. Then enter the forest of cottonwood, sassafras and oak. Continue to climb up a broader valley and then drop into another small open bowl with grass and blueberry bushes, but very few small trees. Go straight across this very shallow bowl, up a hump and descend into another, larger bowl of irregular shape, again very open with few trees. Angle slightly to the right across this one. There are two clumps of trees, one is black oak with 3 trunks, the other is black cherry with 7 trunks, at the northeast corner of this bowl. This is point 8.

Point 8 to 2 0.5 mile. Climb away from the bowl to the east. In a few paces you pass through barrier posts blocking vehicle access since this was an old road. Most of this trail is quite level to very gently descending to the lake. Although this is an old 2-track, until you reach the lake it has grown in enough that it doesn't feel like you are on a road. In 0.3 mile reach the turnoff that goes around the west end of the lake and to campsite 3. The trail continues on the old road around the east end of the lake where you will pass campsites 2 and 1 and a bench near the lake. Reach point 2 where the trails are at their lowest point around the lake.

Point 2 to 2 0.6 mile. Circle the lake. You are on old 2-tracks on the north, east, and south sides. The west side is a narrow path near the shoreline. You can walk around close to the lake shore if the water is not high, but it will be muddy. The trail is obvious on the north side of the lake, but passes directly through campsite 3, which may disturb campers. If you stay close to the lake there are wild blue flag, marsh fern, and other wildflowers to be found. On the south side of the lake there are several eroded routes from the 2-track to the lake edge.

Point 4 to 7 0.12 mile. Take this little used path straight west from the old road following a valley. The hills on your left rise as you descend gently into a small bowl beginning to grow up with small oaks.

Point 8 to 11 About 3 miles. This is the section which will be rebuilt by the Forest Service this year. At the present time it is best followed S to N, as the final turn is very difficult to find in the other direction. A nice loop can be made by taking this north to 40th St and returning on the North Country Trail. Angle NW across the open area from the clumps of oak and cherry and find a wide sand trail climbing out of the bowl into the woods. Follow this until you come to a very old 2-track and turn north. Follow this across rolling hills, crossing a pile of logs over the trail, past a very large hemlock, and an "island" in the trail with a large erratic rock. Eventually you angle into the NCT. Follow it for a very short distance and angle off to the right to reach the parking on 40th St.

Point 9 to 10 An old 2-track that connects the NCT to Mack Road.

Access- From Bowman Lake Trailhead, or a small parking area off 56th St., from 40th St (dirt), and from Mack Road (dirt) with very limited parking.
Fees- Bowman Lake is NOT a fee site. Some sites require a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). See
Manistee National Forest Recreation Fees
Restrictions- National Forest regulations apply, no motorized vehicles
Distance and time- see individual segments, ski trails measured by pacing at which I am fairly accurate
Trail Markers- gray diamonds
Condition of Marking- sporadic- don't count on them to guide you
Treadway- natural surface, packed sandy soil to loose sand
Grades- flat to rolling
Ecosystem- glacially sculpted region of kames and kettle holes, one of which- Bowman Lake- still has water in it.
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- September 2010
Back to map
Comment

North Country Trail

Follow the link for a description of the North Country National Scenic Trail in Lake County.

NCT connector About 0.1 mile. From in back of the kiosk take the trail marked with white blazes. This angles NE and descends to the bottom of the ridge. It meets the NCT at an extreme angle, and if you want to go south on the NCT you need to turn practically 180 degrees. There is a 4x4 post at that junction.

Rest Rooms- none
Potable Water- none

Access- off paved 56th St. at large dirt parking area
Fees- Bowman Lake is NOT a fee site. Some sites require a Recreation Fee sticker to park there (self-pay tubes are available for daily passes, yearly passes may be purchased at a Ranger Station). See Manistee National Forest Recreation Fees
Restrictions- Forest Service regulations apply
Seasonality- parking lot at Trailhead plowed for ski access
Ecosystem- mature oak woods, some younger woods, glacial kames and kettle holes
Other points of interest- connection to the North Country Trail
Most recent date this info personally checked- June 2007
Additional Facilities- none
Maintained by- Baldwin District of the Manistee National Forest
650 N. Michigan Avenue
P.O. Box D
Baldwin, MI 49304
231-745-4631
More- Michigan DNR Lake County Lakes
See Manistee National Forest Recreation Fees

[Counties] Lake County Manistee County Mason County Oceana County

56th St Trailhead (Bowman Lake)- From Ludington/Scottville, go east on US 10 to Walhalla and turn south at the blinker. Take a left at Kinney (following the main route) and this becomes 56th St. About 8 miles to the corner of Evergreen. Continue "straight" (the road takes a little twist) and the trailhead is in about one more mile on the left side of the road as you begin downhill. Do NOT go all the way to Bowman Bridge Campground!

Or from Baldwin, turn west on 7th St, go 5 blocks to the end and turn left. In one block make a right on Carr Road which becomes 52nd St. The road will jog south and become 56th St. 4.5 miles from MI-37 in Baldwin you will reach Bowman Bridge and the campground. The trailhead is another 1.5 miles on the right as you go up the hill.

40th St Parking- From Ludington/Scottville, go east on US 10 to Branch and turn south on Tyndall Rd. Take a left Stevenson Road before the RR tracks, and then follow the pavement as it turns south on South Branch Road. Turn left on 40th St and go 1 mile to the corner of Hamilton Road. Continue straight for another 0.6 miles, and there is a pull-out to the right.

Or from the Trailhead, go east on 56th St 0.5 mile to Mack Road (dirt) and turn north. This will curve around the east side of the Semi-Primitive Area and you will reach the parking turnout on your left in under 3 miles.

Home

Mason County map
Ludington map
Lake County map
Manistee County map
Oceana County map

Events
Kids & the Outdoors
FAQs
Links
Current News
News Archive

Hiking Trails
Interpretive Trails
Accessible Trails
Small Boats
Camping
Horseback Riding
Bicycling
Swimming
Picnicking
Fishing
Skiing
Disc Golf
Snowshoeing
Exercise Trails
Scenic Views
Geocaching
Playgrounds
Historic Sites
Wildlife Watching


Baldwin Park
Big Star Lake
Bowman Bridge
Bowman Lake
Bray Creek
Lake County Veterans' Memorial
Leverentz Lakes
McCarthy Lake
North Country Trail
Reed Lake
Sheep Ranch Pathway
Silver Creek
Sulak Landing
Timber Creek
Upper Branch Bridge

Oceana Cross Country Ski Assoc
----------
Your non-profit outdoor organization could be here for just $1 a year!
Contact jhyshark@gmail.com

You are person #

to find this page since 5/30/07