The Muncie Lake Pathway is Traverse City, Michigan, area delight
by Dave Foley
The Muncie Lake Pathway has been open for years, but until last year, we’d never been on it. That’s surprising since it is only 30 miles from our home. Every time we head toward Traverse City to cross-country ski, we end up on the VASA Ski Trail. Although the Muncie Lake Pathway is just 13 miles from downtown Traverse City, there’s no sign of urban sprawl, as the trail is entirely within the Pere Marquette State Forest.
Maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the pathway has the usual amenities: plowed parking lot, an outhouse and good trail markers. Trail grooming is done once a week by Vasa Ski Club volunteers and you can help them by leaving a donation. State recreational passports are required and there’s a pipe in which to deposit the $5 daily fee. Most people buy their passport when they renew their Michigan license plate.
As we started down the trail, it was apparent the trail groomers knew what they were doing. The path was packed with a crisp set of parallel ski tracks running down the center, wide enough that you could snowplow on the downhills.
Much of the time we found ourselves skiing in an oak forest thinned by logging. What struck us as unusual were the many young white pines growing among the oaks. Notably absent were any traces of larger white pines. Numerous animal tracks, principally deer and rabbit, crossed the ski trail.
The entirety of Dave Foley’s account of skiing the Muncie Lake Pathway appears in the January 2016 print edition of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy, call 888-706-4045. Or subscribe online here and never miss another issue!