Chippewa Trail and Nature Center

June 23, 2013

I am in Midland, Michigan visiting my daughter and grandchildren. I brought my pack with me in case I had the opportunity to take a training hike. After taking my wife on a couple of morning errands I decided that today was the day. I parked at the Tridge (three way bridge, in downtown Midland) and hiked the Chippewa Trail 3.5 miles to the Chippewa Nature Center. I then hiked the River Trail (2.7 miles) and the Arbury Trail (0.4 miles) before heading back to the Tridge. Total mileage about 10.1, with a pack weighing about 30 pounds. It was a hot day, but I need to be training for that too!

The Tridge in Midland (go left). [001]

The Chippewa Trail is a paved bike trail from the Midland Tridge to Chippewa Nature Center, 3.5 miles each way. [002]

Early the trail goes through several parks and around some ball fields. Then it's prairie and marsh. The trail winds frequently. It is never dull. [003]

Lots of variety in ecosystems along the trail. [004]

The Visitor Center is probably the finest I have ever seen for a park of this size. Very kid friendly. At the far end is a lounge area which overlooks the Pine River. It is a very pretty piece of water. Unfortunately, the EPA has issued an advisory against eating fish caught in this river: it is *still* polluted due to a chemical factory incident which occurred in the 1970s! [005]

Sign in the aforementioned lounge. I would be hiking the River Trail and Arbury Trail, both mentioned on this sign. [024]

The River Trail begins and ends at the Visitors Center. This wigwam is at the beginning of the River Trail and is adjacent to the parking lot. [007]

About the wigwam. [006]

A closeup of the construction. Although it was in need of some repair, it seemed to have been well made. [023]

Me at the wigwam. [008]

The confluence of the Pine River and the Chippewa River. I am told the Chippewa has nice fishing, with small mouth bass being the most common catch. [022]

The Chippewa River (after the Pine has joined it). [009]

There is a replica sugar house where they demonstrate boiling down maple syrup in season. The sugar house was constructed using timbers from an old barn. Here is a closeup of the dovetail notching. I have always been fascinated with the dovetail notch for its simplicity and functionality. [010]

Along the River Trail. The trail is level for its entire distance. [011]

One of many wetlands away from the river. [012]

Much of the trail is through pine and deciduous forest. [013]

More wetlands. [020]

More forest. So much variety here. [021]

The River Trail ends near the Arbury Trail. This trail is adjacent to a second nature center designed for preschoolers. The trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. [014]

A kid-friendly pavilion overlooking the Pine River. [018]

A kid-friendly pavilion overlooking the Pine River. [019]

A boardwalk over a pond, sure to please youngsters. [017]

I stopped at the Visitor Center again for a cold drink, then headed home via the Chippewa Trail. [025]

Along the Chippewa Trail. [016]

And I'm back at the Tridge. It was a good training hike. [015]

Copyright © 2013 by Bill Qualls. Last updated June 23, 2013.
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