Mountain biking along Fox River

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 10-16, 1997
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Mountain biking along Fox River
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Mountain biking along Fox River
Question: I recently read of the Fox River Trail running along the side of the Fox River in Michigan. Is it mountain-bikeable? What do you know of it? Thanks.

William C. Wood
Birmingham, AL
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: The Fox River Trail is indeed bikeable, however there are a few caveats to go along with that statement. According to Gilbert Joy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the trail is difficult for bikers because it is very isolated and there aren't funds to properly maintain it, meaning you may find sections that are badly eroded or washed out from recent storms.

Another problem is water. There are only three campgrounds along the trail, all of which have hand pumps, but unless you deposit $6 per night to stay at them, you shouldn’t feel obliged to use the water for free. Joy also mentioned that you may be disappointed in some sections of the trail because timber sales have cut out 40-acre swaths of Jack Pine — just like Hemingway lamented in his writings.

Finally, if you’re an avid mountain biker, you may find the terrain to be a bit dull. There isn’t much elevation change and you will be riding through a lot of sandy soil that leads to the buggy, flat swamps infamous in the area. On the brighter side, the trail follows the undulations of the Fox River and you may encounter moose, bear, coyote, and even wolves. You’ll also bike through some gorgeous hardwood forest at the north end of the trail and Jack Pine and spruce at the south end. Joy recommends serious bikers consider the miles and miles of forest roads and cross-country ski trails in the same vicinity. For a map of the Fox River Trail and more details of the area call 906-293-5131.

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