Over the last few years the mountain biking community has seen a nice uptick in new and improved trail systems around the area.
New trails at both the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s Maplehurst Natural Area and the Leelanau Conservancy’s Palmer Woods offer short flow-like trails.
And, of course, you have the beautiful flowing trails cascading up, down and around the Glacial Hills for over 30 miles.
One of my favorite trails, the VASA Single Track, has undergone some significant trail improvements over the last three years and added another delightful 4.5 miles of new single track that meanders around the recently acquired 160-acre Strombolis property.
The trail passes a couple of scenic little lakes that I had never seen before and snakes around the much larger Strombolis Lake offering picturesque views from several different sides of the lake.
The redesign of various sections of the single track that needed to be changed and the newly completed addition were done by longtime trail building guru Tom White, Duane Archambo and with the able assistance of Northern Michigan Mountain Biking Association members.
It’s easy to add on the new section of trail to the original 13-mile single track for a ride of 17.5 miles. However, once you commit to the new section you are on it for the entire distance. If there is a way to shortcut it I haven’t figured it out yet. The good news is that it’s a trail with a lot of interesting scenery and topography changes that will occupy your attention. At times you are riding above valleys where you can’t see the bottom and skirting picturesque small lakes. This spring I saw both Canada geese and trumpeter swans on one of the small lakes. The trumpeter swans are making a comeback in our area.
The long stretches of trail that flow around the 26-acre Strombolis Lake are particularly picturesque, especially during sunny fall days with colorful lake reflections. You won’t even notice the longer distance.
Be warned it’s not as easy and smooth as the original single-track. For me it’s a slower, deliberate ride, but it will improve as more riders discover it. It was amazing how quickly those newer sections of trail that replaced old, rutted and poorly designed sections of the original track smoothed out; most within a season at most.
The new section of trail can be accessed about three-tenths-of-mile past the twin lakes with the bench overlook around post 5 on the original single track. The new trail takes off to the right. When you return at the end of the 4.5-mile ride on the new section you will rejoin the original single track about 10 yards up the trail from where you entered the new section.
Unfortunately there isn’t a map that I could find available of the new addition to the VASA Single Track Trail. The good news is that it’s a pretty simple loop to follow, and it’s well marked.