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This rugged 18-mile trek winds through the wildly scenic Jordan River Valley, an 18,000-acre swath of state-owned forestland. The tract has dramatic elevation changes and is home to the pristine Jordan River. This is a great destination for a weekend backpacking trip; stay overnight at Piney Bridge Campground, a rustic camping spot with 15 hike-in tent sites located about halfway along the trail. For an easy day hike, try the three-mile Deadman’s Loop. Find the main trailhead off Deadman’s Hill Road, six miles north of Alba on US 131. State Recreation Passport required. 989.732.3541, MICHIGANDNR.COM.
Watch video of hikes at both the Grass River and Jordan Valley Pathways to get you inspired for a trip of your own!
Coy Mountain Preserve
Many visitors overlook this pretty 1.4-mile hike, but it’s a treat worth seeking out. The 17-acre tract, tucked down a residential road near downtown Alden, encompasses a 140-foot ridge forested with virgin hardwoods. It’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs and search for wildflowers; come fall, the foliage is magnificent. From downtown Alden, follow Coy Street south for one-third of a mile; turn east on Valley Street. The preserve is two blocks in. VISITALDEN.COM.