Roscommon Red Pine Natural Area Preserve

East of Roscommon is a small trail system that most people have never heard of. I didn't know it existed until I was zooming around the area with Google Maps (yes, I actually do that) and saw the little icon popup regarding a nature preserve. As I was going to be in the area (that's just how I roll), it seems like a nice little stopping off point before my appointment.

At the intersection of East Sunset Drive and North St. Helena Road, the former turns into dirt, and a little sign says the preserve it straight ahead. The parking lot is a half-mile on the left, a little dirt track off a bigger dirt track. There is no parking lot to speak of, so just park in the grass - you'll probably be the only one there, so I won't tell.

The trail is well-maintained for being such an out of the way location. The trail head has a wooden board with the trail map, and along the way, numbered placards explain a bit about the forest, a nicely thought-of feature to the trail. There are over a dozen such placards ranging from information about trees to the history of the area. You will come away with having learned something. MichiganTrailMaps.com has the PDF online, which is fantastic.

The woods in this area are mostly pines, and you won't hear much noise on this isolated stretch. The trail is shaped like a balloon, with the trail running from the parking lot to a loop. It is mostly flat with a few small rises. On the dry summer day I visited, the bugs were prevalent, and I'm glad I had netting over my head and "Off" on my arms.

If you're in the area, or you enjoy visiting every trail you can, it's definitely worth the visit. It's clear there are people that care about the trail and keeping it maintained, and about sharing their passion for the area through the placards. As someone who enjoys Michigan trails, I appreciate the effort they put forth.

Latitude: 44.493791
Longitude: -84.400531

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