Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Island Lake Yellow Loop

Island Lake Yellow Loop:
Island Lake State Recreation Area
Trailhead Elevation: 913 ft.
Distance: 5.52 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 624 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 2:49pm
End Time: 3:46pm

Trip Report:

With a business conference up in Flint all morning and into the afternoon, it seemed like the perfect day to shoot for another good trail-run after the other responsibilities were finished. I had debated heading over to Brighton again where I had run last October. I was also interested in exploring Highland where I plan to run the Highland Loops 25k in a few weeks, but ultimately I decided that Island Lake would fit my needs perfectly. I was hoping if time allowed to do the full Blue Loop but that wouldn't be the case. I had about an hour to spare and the distance of the Yellow Loop suited that perfectly.

I drove into the park and found the main trailhead parking area not sure what to expect in terms of signage. Thankfully at the south end of the lot there was very good signage pointing runners/hikers to either the blue loop or the yellow loop. At the northwest end of the lot there was another trail coming in but was unsigned. I would later find out that was where the yellow (and I also think the blue) loops return. There were also pit restrooms available at the TH which was nice to have.

In the first half mile of the yellow I had to pay close attention at the junctions to ensure I was following the trail I wanted. For the most part there were small yellow arrows pointing you along. I also had BackCountry Navigator going on my phone with a GPX track of the loop to ensure I was on track. At just over half a mile in the yellow loop breaks north and is finally on its own.

It was pretty much all basic single track dirt trail from that point on with modest hills and not too much rock or root. Definitely an easier trail than say the Poto trail over at Pinckney.

For the first 3 miles its all in the woods with not too much for views. Just before mile 3 the trail runs alongside Kensington Rd for a bit and then breaks west. In that area there was a large open field to the south which opened up the views more as well as the closer views of the Huron River. The last two miles of trail stayed thick in the woods for the most part with just the occasional view, like around mile 4.75 that took in the river. There were a few quick junctions as I neared the end of the loop with the bike trail and I think the blue loop joined in at the very end.

I was pleased with my time at Island Lake, though not quite as enjoyable for me as Pinckney, it was easily as nice as the Penosha Trail at Brighton and I look forward to giving the Blue Loop a try nex

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in a KML file that you are welcome to download and use (at your own risk). 

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