Posts Tagged ‘Leelanau Trail’

Last month, I wrote about our walk to Cedar Lake on the Leelanau Trail. In that post, I promised that David and I would be back in the winter months to enjoy the trail and the DeYoung Natural Area while covered with snow. The 15-mile Leelanau Trail is groomed for skiing and lucky for us, the trailhead is located just 4 minutes from our house. We arrived in no-time, clicked into our skis and were off. We enjoyed the sunny skies and friendly smiles from the fifteen other skiers we passed.

We also decided to take the winding Conservancy trail through the Cedar forest to the fishing platform to take a peek at the ice on the lake. We noticed a few ice-fishing shanties on the lake especially near the public access boat launch area. It was a beautiful outing to enjoy the fresh air, stretch our legs and work up a sweat. We’ll be back for sure.
Trail grooming updates can be found on the TART Trails website.


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A few weeks ago, David and I went for a looooong walk with the dog. We walked from our house to this stunning Cedar Lake fishing dock.

The walk consisted of taking the TART and Leelanau Trails and the 1/4 mile foot path trail in the DeYoung Natural Area. The 145 acre natural area which includes nearly a mile of Cedar Lake frontage has been permanently preserved by the Leelanau Conservancy. Portions of the preserve are actively farmed and the historic barn and farmhouse are being restored.

When it was all said and done, we walked about 5.5 miles. This winter, we plan on doing this walk again (albeit a bit abbreviated) either on skis or snowshoes.

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The old caboose car on the Leelanau Trail is receiving a bit of TLC this summer. A dedicated volunteer crew leader has taken on the project as his own and has been scheduling painting bees throughout the spring/summer. An enormous amount of prep work was needed to blast off the rust and old paint. The primer coat was a dark maroon color.

Caboose (4)

The Leelanau Trail runs along a former rail bed, most recently used by the Leelanau Scenic Railroad. The railroad operated between Greilickville and Northport. Long ago, one of the most important uses of the railroad was providing transportation to and from Traverse City for people who lived in Leelanau County. Now the rails have been removed and it’s a multi-use trail used for biking, walking and skiing in the winter. The trail property- all 185 linear acres- is owned, operated and maintained by TART Trails, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

TART’s caboose identified as #2938 has a bed, a bathroom, table and
chairs, and a stove. Cabooses were used as a place for eating and sleeping, conductors would use the space to do paperwork and it’s where the train brakeman would “throw switches” to slow down or stop the train. They would also radio information about the train to the engineer up front. Cabooses were painted “boxcar red” for high visibility. After World War II, however, the “little red caboose” started showing up in many different colors. The caboose will go from red to yellow this year, with many helping hands and paint brushes to get it there. Go for a bike ride and check it out. The caboose is located on the Leelanau Trail at the Carter Road intersection, on the west side of Traverse City just outside the city limits.

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Leelanau TrailA recent 30-mile bike trip out to Suttons Bay and back on the Leelanau Trail was met with blue skies and scenic vistas. Roughly half the trail is paved, the other half is a hard-packed two-track. The unpaved section goes through beautiful agricultural fields planted in cherry orchards and grape vinyards. The Leelanau Trail is a rail to trail conversion and goes from Traverse City to Suttons Bay.

On the way back to Traverse City, we stopped at the water pump at the DeYoung Natural Area to refill our water bottles. The cold well water sure was a treat!

Overall, it was a wonderful excursion and it’s great to see many happy faces enjoying the beautiful weather. It was especially nice to see many elderly utilizing the trail near Orchard Creek Assisted Living. There were two trail users plodding along with walkers and a family taking a relative for a walk on the trail and pushing her in a wheelchair.

Isn’t life grand?

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