Distance: 0.6-mile loop
Type: Interpreive path
Terrain: Old growth pines
One of the first things most visitors notice in Interlochen State Park is the well-preserved "Big Wheel," the device the loggers used to haul timber out of the woods at the turn of the century. It's a bit ironic, of course. Interlochen was one of the first state parks preserved because loggers and their big wheels had passed it over.
The 200-acres of virgin white pine that somehow escaped the lumbermen's axes were preserved as Michigan's second unit in 1917 by the state legislature, which paid $60,000 for the land, the price of timber on it. Although its trees were spared, there was a large sawmill located near Interlochen's northern campground that produced barrels from logs that were floated across Duck Lake.
Today the 200-acre park is probably best known, not as one of the few remaining stands of virgin pine, but as the park next to renowned Interlochen National Music Camp, which was established next door in 1928. The state park might be the only place in Michigan where you can bed down to Bach or Beethoven. Interlochen is actually the thin strip between Duck and Green lakes and features almost a mile of lakeshore along with its towering pines.
Unfortunately trails are limited at Interlochen. The park features only the Pines Nature Trail, a 0.6 mile-long loop that winds through a woodlot that includes the few remaining large white pine. The interpretive path is short but for those camped at the large Duck Lake campground it can be a quite reprieve from the busy facility during the summer.
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