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Glacial Hills Outside Loop

Intermediate
 4.5 (33) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Outside loop of Glacial Hills


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Map Key

9.5

Miles

15.3

KM

100%

Singletrack

956' 291 m

High

648' 198 m

Low

978' 298 m

Up

983' 300 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Family Friendly We have an excellent, albeit short, family loop that connects with several miles of fun, rolling novice plus riding.

Overview

Fun and fast singletrack trail that winds through some of Antrim County's highest ridge systems. The outside loop includes the greatest elevation change and is easy to follow by bearing either right or left at every intersection (depending on whether you have chosen to ride counterclockwise or clockwise). Trail has been designed to IMBA sustainable design standards so features grade reversals, switchbacks and flat rest zones on the climbs( several of which exceed 300 feet).

The outside loop includes some of the most revered trail at Glacial Hills including Never Never Land (markers 56 to 57), Area 55 (the 55 loop), the Wall climb (up from 54) the original hand built singletrack and the Holy Grail downhill (14-13-10).

Description

The outer loop can be accessed from any of the three parking lots (Eckhardt Road, Vandermark Road, Orchard Hill Road). The Eckhardt lot has the novice/warm up trail that many choose to hit before making the climb out of the lot. Accessing from Eckhardt also puts you on the tighter original handbuilt singletrack almost immediately. The most "gentle" climb from one of the parking lots would be from the Vandermark lot heading east (markers 23-32-24).

Whatever your chosen entry point, you'll encounter frequent elevation changes and fairly twisty trail. Except for the original four miles built from the Eckhardt lot, the trail has been constructed by machine so the corridor is a bit wider as you head east. There are four large ridge systems (at least for the Midwest) that the trail climbs and descends on the Outside Loop. The stretch between Eckhardt and Vandermark is the tightest and includes two of the favorite downhills on the system (14-13-10 and 17-18-7). The area between Vandemark and Orchard Hill has some of the most enjoyable switchbacks and bermed corners and is generally considered the "fastest" part of the system. East of Orchard Hill the terrain gets steeper and the trail itself has some longer, steeper climbs/descents. The Never Never Land section (the long stretch between markers 56 and 57) has frequent 100+ foot elevation drops and gains.

History & Background

Although you really cannot see the slopes any more, Glacial Hills was home to a small ski area (Glacier Hills) that was loved locally.

Shared By:

MTB Project Staff with improvements by Michael Murawka

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 33 votes

#366

Overall
  4.5 from 33 votes
5 Star
64%
4 Star
27%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#15

in Michigan

#366

Overall
405 Views Last Month
5,557 Since May 25, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Awesome flow!
Sep 10, 2016 near Bellaire, MI
Very well maintained
Aug 8, 2019 near Bellaire, MI
Panorama.
Sep 4, 2019 near Bellaire, MI

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Jul 3, 2020
Jon Buckles
Outside loop. Started at Orchard Hill Rd. Then followed the Saturn signs. Thanks to the guys at NMMBA for keeping this trail in good shape. 9.5mi — 1h 44m
Jun 28, 2020
Ann Duncan
The outside loop is great, very flowy. It's more like 19 miles. 19mi — 2h 00m
Sep 1, 2019
Yosuke Kanii
Didn't actually do the outside loop. Not sure exactly which paths we took.
Aug 31, 2019
Mike Leppek
Rolling hills and bear den loops. Very fun, fast and flowy. Bear den had decent uphill but then great downhill. Rolling hills majority great downhill 8.2mi — 1h 26m
Aug 5, 2019
Anna Plotnik
A good climb for the first part, then a good mix of hills and valleys there on out 12.3mi
Jul 6, 2019
Erik Schleede
Awesome trail
Jul 5, 2019
Scott Pope
Dry and sandy since last time 23mi
Jun 30, 2019
Justin Whiting