Cross-Country Race Trail
This trail is actually a cross country foot race course, but the college allows anyone to walk it when it is not being used for races or practices (generally in the fall). It can be difficult to know just which pieces of mowed trail to follow to actually walk the 5K race course, but if you don't care about making a particular distance this doesn't matter much.
Begin this description of the trail at the fork just south of the bridge at the beginning of the Pond Nature Trail.
Take this wide pathway through the woods slightly uphill until you come to the edge where the woods meets a field. Turn right (south) on the wide mowed path and follow the woods edge.
When you are approximately even with the bridge across the marsh on the Pond Nature Trail the path will make a wide sweeping 180 degree turn uphill and continue through the field to the north. You will go up and down several small hills and reach a mowed staging area in the middle of the field. Make another complete 180 degree turn and head south out of this area on mowed path, going downhill. (for a shorter loop, you can continue straight to the upper picnic pavillion)
The trail drops to the south edge of the field, and turns east, and then north again still along the edge of the field. There are two trails that angle off to your left from this leg of the trail which lead to start and finish areas for various race lengths.
When you reach the gravel service road which extends east from the Rec Center Parking Lot, turn right (east) and take that road as it heads toward the trees. You will enter the trees, make a slight "bump" to the right, and then drop down a small hill. Watch for the trail to angle to the left as the road continues straight. Take the left angle, and soon turn sharply left to walk between evergreens on your right and deciduous woods on the left.
Watch for the trail to angle left again, although there is also a path which continues straight. You need to turn left, and now head west. You will be in the low area near the river. Continue west until the mowed path makes another left and takes you uphill until you reach the service road once more. At this point you can follow the road back to the Rec Center and beyond to complete your loop.
If you are going to ski this trail, I would classify it as intermediate, with a number of dips and turns. My ability is on the low side of intermediate, and I would be willing to ski it in the direction I have described. I would not want to ski it in the other direction because of two hills with turns at the bottom that I don't think I could make.
Access- via any parking area on the east side of campus
Restrictions- no camping
Distance and time- 5K course
Trail Markers- some tall 4x4 posts with red and blue triangles, some is wide mowed path through a field
Condition of Marking- Inadequate- posts are not located at intersections, some old posts are visible where the path no longer exists
Treadway- mowed path
Grades- moderate hills
Ecosystem- mixed deciduous woods, open field
Other points of interest- other college facilities
Most recent date this info personally checked on foot- Jan 2008
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Picnicking- Day use area is on the north side of the pond with a pavilion, picnic tables, benches and grills.
There is another day use area with a pavilion, benches and tables east of the Rec Center parking.
Both pavilions have fireplaces. Reservations not required for use, but recommended.
Playground- small climber, with a pole and slide in the picnic area near the pond. Surface is grass. There is a flat area near the pavilion above the Rec Center where you could play ball. The Rec Center is an indoor facility with a gym, track, pool, racquetball, and Wellness Center.
Fishing- There is a pond and fishing is allowed with a special permit from the college.
Boat Launch- There is a rowboat on the south side of the pond which can be put in the water. Call 231-845-6522 for info.
Swimming- The Rec Center has an indoor pool with regular open swimming hours. Call 231-845-6522 for info.
Wildlife Watching- birdwatching could be good in the marshy south end of the pond.
Historic Site- marker "John M. Eaton, Environmental Recreation Area, Dedicated June 12, 1983, to the Founding President of WSCC
Rest Rooms- Latrines in the picnic area by the pond. When the campus buildings are open there are full rest rooms available there.
Potable Water- summer only at the pavilion by the pond (outdoors), When the campus buildings are open there is water available there.
Access- college entrances off both Stiles and Sugar Grove Roads, all paved
Restrictions- no camping, fishing only with permit from the college
Seasonality- water at picnic area turned off in winter, picnic tables stacked in pavilions in winter
Ecosystem- college campus with a mix of lawns, woods, fields, stream, pond
Other points of interest- West Shore Community College
Most recent date this info personally checked- Jan 2008
Additional Facilities- college recreation center, ice arena, other facilities
Maintained by- West Shore Community College , call 231-845-6211