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