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Shark Enterprises
Joan H. Young
861 W. US 10
Scottville, MI 49454
jhyshark@gmail.com
© all rights reserved
this page updated 2/26/11

Persons associated with collecting and/or posting this information can not be held legally liable for any errors. While every effort is made to present accurate data, errors may occur.


Stories containing:

Crystal Valley Pathway
skiing

at the Crystal Valley Ski Trail

Crystal Valley Cross-Country Ski Trail
Loop 1 Loop 1 Loop 2 Loop 2

Crystal Valley Ski Trail

The Oceana Cross Country Ski Association and the Manistee National Forest are working together to create this trail system. Four of the loops are ready for the 2008-2009 ski season. The club grooms the trail whenever there is more than four inches of fresh snow. There is a gate to the parking area which is locked in summer, but hikers should be able to find space to park on the edge of the roadway.


Skiing- The primary use of this trail is for skiing. See trail descriptions under Hiking.

Loop 1 - Easiest

The description begins at the kiosk in the parking area.

Recommended direction of travel is counterclockwise. Hills and turns are designed to be safer in this direction.

Walk straight behind the kiosk on trail; you will quickly come to the junction with Loop 1. Turn right to ski (The ski association has chosen preferred directions for skiing. Summer hiking matters much less.) You soon pass through an "open gate" railing (these are present at each road crossing) and cross FR 5011. Enter a tall red pine plantation with a "cathedral" feeling. Soon you take a left turn. The straight path is marked "do not enter." In a short distance you come to point 1 on the map. Turn right and go uphill for Loop 2; continue straight for Loop 1. Loop 1 is in a wide opening with a hill rising on your right (south), and climbs gently and then descends to point 6 on the map where Loop 2 comes back in. Cross FR 5314, angling south and watching for the signs through mixed woods grown up among taller red pine. The trail is level and makes a jog right and to join an old 2-track for a very short distance. Veer left up a slight hill and level off. Enter a former clearing that is growing up with young oak and white pine. Cross FR 5011, point 7 on the map. You will now follow a long, long wide corridor through the red pines generally characterized by taller trees on your right and younger ones on the left. Watch for an arrow pointing the way to angle off this to the left. You will quickly come to a right turn, and you will see the kiosk and parking area ahead.
Access- Large parking area off River Road
Restrictions- No motorized vehicles, no horses, no bikes, snowshoe users are asked to walk beside the groomed trails.
Distance and time- 1.5 miles, about 30 minutes
Trail Markers- information signs at road crossings, blue diamonds with skiers and sometimes arrows, maps at some junctions.
Condition of Marking- mostly adequate, if you are the first one to break trail there are a couple of openings where you might ponder where to go
Treadway- wide natural surface
Grades- flat to gently rolling
Ecosystem- mixed xeric forest, oak, white pine, red pine plantations
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- Skied in January 2011
Back to map

Loop 2 - More Difficult

  The description begins at point 1 on the map where Loop 2 leaves Loop 1.

Recommended direction of travel is counterclockwise. Hills and turns are designed to be safer in this direction.

Turn R and go uphill. At the top of the hill turn left into red pines. The trail now begins a series of small downs and ups with quite a few curves. The curves are what makes this part of the loop more difficult. Reach and cross FR 5067 with the usual "gate," at Point 2 on the map. Enter young woods and reach a clearing. Continue straight across this and leave the clearing by an old 2-track. Bear R at the first fork, and R at the second fork into more mature woods. There is now a section with longer, more gradual ups and downs. Reach a sharp turn to the left with a steep uphill, Point 3 on the map. Here is the most difficult downhill slope of this loop with a yellow exclamaion-point warning sign. At the bottom of this hill take a L on an old 2-track. Proceed along this straight track on a slight uphill. This section is very pretty in fresh snow! After a while you come to a T junction with another old road at Point 4 on the map. Take a sharp L onto this road. You will continue to go gently uphill and then level off for quite a long distance. You will eventually pass one of the gate structures on your R at a place where one could access the trail from FR 5314. Watch for a marker and a turn to the L, reach another gate and cross FR 5067, Point 5. Continue on the level to a T at Point 6 on the map where you rejoin Loop 1.
Access-   Large parking area off River Road
Restrictions-   No motorized vehicles, no horses, no bikes, snowshoe users are asked to walk beside the groomed trails.
Distance and time-   2.5 miles, about 1 hour 30 minutes including time to reach this loop from the parking lot.
Trail Markers-   information signs at road crossings, blue diamonds with skiers and sometimes arrows, maps at trail junctions
Condition of Marking-   mostly adequate, if you are the first one to break trail there are a couple of openings where you might ponder where to go
Treadway-   wide natural surface
Grades-   flat to gently rolling
Ecosystem-   mixed xeric forest, oak, white pine, red pine plantations
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot-   Skied in January 2011
Back to map

Loop 3 - Not yet rated

The description of this trail will be posted soon. It is just being opened, autumn 2008.

Access-   Large parking area off River Road
Restrictions-   No motorized vehicles, no horses, no bikes, snowshoe users are asked to walk beside the groomed trails.
Distance and time-   to be determined
Trail Markers-   information signs at road crossings, blue diamonds with skiers and sometimes arrows, maps at trail junctions
Condition of Marking-   mostly adequate, if you are the first one to break trail there are a couple of openings where you might ponder where to go
Treadway-   wide natural surface
Grades-   coming soon
Ecosystem-   mixed xeric forest, oak, white pine, red pine plantations
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- not yet
Back to map

Loop 4 - Not yet rated

The description of this trail will be posted soon. It is just being opened, autumn 2008.
Access- Large parking area off River Road
Restrictions- No motorized vehicles, no horses, no bikes, snowshoe users are asked to walk beside the groomed trails.
Distance and time- to be determined
Trail Markers- information signs at road crossings, blue diamonds with skiers and sometimes arrows, maps at trail junctions
Condition of Marking- mostly adequate, if you are the first one to break trail there are a couple of openings where you might ponder where to go
Treadway- wide natural surface
Grades- coming soon
Ecosystem- mixed xeric forest, oak, white pine, red pine plantations
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- not yet
Back to map

Rest Rooms- none
Potable Water- none

Access- sand road off paved Jefferson Road
Restrictions- Forest Service rules apply
Seasonality- parking area always plowed; trails groomed when there is 4 or more inches of new snow
most recent date this info personally checked- see individual trails
Additional Facilities- none
Maintained by- Oceana Cross-Country Ski Association
P.O. Box 138
Mears, MI 49436
231-873-4486
More- Baldwin District of the Manistee National Forest
650 N. Michigan Avenue
P.O. Box D
Baldwin, MI 49304
231-745-4631
Back to map

[Counties] Lake County Manistee County Mason County Oceana County

To reach these trails you need to get to Crystal Valley.

To reach Crystal Valley from US 10, take Scottville Road south for 9.5 miles. The road jogs east on Washington then south on Darr and east again on Jefferson (just stay on the pavement). Just before the pavement turns south again and enters the village of Crystal Valley you should turn north on 126th Avenue.

To reach Crystal Valley from US 31, take Monroe Road east from Pentwater (the south exit on the freeway). 7 miles east of the freeway, turn north on 126th Avenue and enter Crystal Valley. Continue straight for 2 miles till the road make a turn west and becomes Jefferson. Immediately turn north again on 126th Avenue.

You are now at the corner of Jefferson and 126th Avenue. There is a sign warning of a bridge out ahead, but ignore this. You will turn again before reaching the end of the road. Drive 1.3 miles north on 126th Ave. continuing around a few gentle curves. You will see another sign about the missing bridge, but never fear, before you are in range of plunging into the Pentwater River, you will turn right on River Road. In 0.5 miles River Road makes a ninety-degree turn to the north and you will immediately see the sign for the ski area on the right.

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