Outdoors

Trail of the week

McCormick Forest Park

HIKE DESCRIPTION: McCormick Forest Park, a 122-acre PenMet Parks property, has a web of trails worth exploring. Taken separately, each section of trail is quite short, but start linking them together and visitors can spend hours wandering the woods.

The trails cut through old-growth forest even though they never get too far from state Route 16. The noise from the highway is constant in some areas, but seems to fade quickly.

The highlight of the trails, arguably, is the stretch that runs through the middle of the park visiting the lush green McCormick Creek drainage.

Your first visit to the woods might be a little confusing if you don’t bring a map. There are 26 trail intersections, each marked with a letter. Small maps are posted on the back of some trail markers. Consider snapping a picture with your phone to help navigate the forest.

The trip can be extended across Bujacich Road at the Rotary Bark Park.

DIRECTIONS: From state Route 16, take the Burnham Drive exit and use the traffic circle to turn left on Burnham Drive. Turn left on Sehmel Drive. After a half mile, turn left on Bujacich Road. The parking area will be on your left.

DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (1=easiest, 5 = most difficult).

MILES ROUND TRIP: 4 or more.

ELEVATION GAIN: 250 feet or more, depending on your route.

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.

MAP: Posted at the park. Also available for download on the park website.

PASS: None.

ALSO: A section of trail on the perimeter of the park is open to bikes and horses. The McCormick Creek drainage section in the middle of the park is closed to bikes and horses. The park is open from 7 a.m.-dusk. Geocaches are hidden in the forest. Dogs must be on leashes. Want to cut the dogs loose? The Rotary Bark Park and its 15-acre off-leash area is nearby at 10100 Bujacich Road NW. The surrounding park, 97 acres in total, includes 3 miles of trails open for foot, bike and horse traffic.

INFO: penmetparks.org.

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