By srobak on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 09:20 pm: Edit Post
Planning this years snowmobile trip for motorcycle pals from Chicagoland, and am looking for a little bit of info...
We will be riding from Gwinn/KI towards Houghton one day and returning to Gwinn the next.
1> Will Trail #14 between MQT and L'Anse be open all the way this year? I heard part of it was shut down last year
2> How about Trail #15 from L'Anse to Pike Bay/southern end of Portage Lake? Can we get from there to Houghton on trails - there are none indicated on the DNR map? Would rather not have to take #109 all the way around to get there.
3> Looking for trail-accessible cabins/rooms/lodging at good rates anywhere between just south of L'Anse and up to Houghton.
Looking to have a large group this year, several first-timers - so I think Gwinn to Houghton is about all the further I want to push it.
Thanks in advance!
By limey on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 05:54 am: Edit Post
Regarding trail #14, it was open all the way last January from Big Bay to L'Anse as my group rode it. Really good trail. Snow in L'Anse does get thin when traveling through town.
Regarding trail #15, you can get as far as Chassell on a groomed trail. From Chassell to Houghton, you have three options;
1) ungroomed railroad grade running near Portage Lake all the way to Houghton
2) ungroomed trail from Chassell to Painsdale, then groomed trail to Houghton
3) ride Portage Lake to Houghton
My group did #1 last year in January and I will never ride that stretch again. It is a legal section to ride but it is not groomed and the local landowners pile up snow where the snow crosses their driveways (not blaming locals as the trail is within 50 meters of their house).
I've done option #3 in the past and this is by far the best alternative provided the lake ice is good. There were open spots last January and it was dark so we didn't want to chance it. You should stay within 100 meters of the shore on Portage Lake. Given that you will have a large group and several first-timers, I'm not sure the lake is a good choice. But then again, options 1 & 2 on ungroomed trails will really turn them off.
By frnash on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:41 pm: Edit Post
"2) ungroomed trail from Chassell to Painsdale, then …"
How'd ya do that?
I thought that (former) trail was closed 'cuz a landowner refused to allow a snowmobile trail easement through his property?
By limey on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 04:30 pm: Edit Post
I was told by dealer in the area that it was open last season but not signed or groomed. My understanding of this saga is that court ruled in favour of the State and not the landowner, so the trail was "open" last season. We took the railroad because a DNR guy sitting at the Green Light car park told us to go that way, so I don't have first hand information to say that the (former) trail was "open". Happy to be corrected.
By frnash on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 05:57 pm: Edit Post
"Happy to be corrected."
1. The court saga was indeed resolved as you said, and that referred to the "old railroad bed" trail between Chassell and Houghton. It was indeed, and still remains, an ungroomed, "unofficial" trail, legal to ride, though perhaps impractical. In addition to some residents along the trail "inadvertently" (I'm being kind!) leaving snowbanks across the trail as they plow their driveways, I also understood that MTU had been dumping some of their excess snow off the cliff (perhaps "inadvertently") onto the former railroad bed between the campus and the canal, all of which rendered the "rail trail" pretty nasty for snowmobile travel.
2. Beyond that, the Chassell to Painesdale trail was closed 'cuz a landowner refused to allow a snowmobile trail easement through his property. So my question remains: How do you take the (former) Chassell-Painesdale trail (your option #2) to the west out of Chassell?
In this thread, rsvectordude suggests using the "back roads to Painesdale instead." However, I haven't yet seen a reply to my followup question.
(Anyone is welcome to correct me anytime!)
By limey on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 04:12 pm: Edit Post
Thank you for the clarification. I've done a little research and this is what I have found. Provided there is good ice on Portage Lake, you can take the route highlighted in red on the attached map. As you ride north to Hancock and approach the north shore, there is a white and orange billboard thats says DO NOT ANCHOR CABLE CROSSING on the shoreline (north side) of the canal and next to it is the trail from the lake to the snowmobile trail. Hope this helps.
By limey on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 04:19 pm: Edit Post
I cannot get the image to upload; gives me an error about hash and that I should contact John. Oh well, hopefully the text is self explanatory.
By srobak on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 08:06 pm: Edit Post
Ok... so any ideas on lodging?
By venturenorth on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 08:58 pm: Edit Post
Tom and Juanita at Big Bay Motel are the best...great rates, right on trail in town, good food and drink at the Thunder Bay Motel, and then you get to ride trail 14 west thru the Huron Mtns and L'Anse. aint no better......