Distance: 3.6-mile loop
Type: Foot trails
Terrain: Woods, wetlands and small lakes
Spring peepers? How about spring walkers? Like the small woodland frogs that burst into chorus on the first warm day of May, there's many of us out there who suddenly drop everything for a walk in the forest when March's finally pass through.
Is there nothing finer in May than a hike in the woods?
Probably not. There's no bugs, there's no scorching temperatures that slow you down in August, there's few people. What you will find are trilliums, marsh marigolds and other wildflowers bursting into bloom, trees greening the forest after a long winter of white and brown and, of course, the high piping whistle from a chorus of spring peepers.
When the temperatures finally break 50 degrees or – gosh forbid - hit 60 degrees in late April or early May, the White Loop is a fine choice for your first hike of the spring in Oakland County. Part of the Bald Mountain’s North Unit Trails, White Loop is only 2.1-mile long but by adding Blue Loop the outing becomes a 3.6-mile hike that stays in the woods the whole time and passes views of five lakes as well as numerous ponds, streams and wet areas. Peeper country.
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From the trailhead at the corner of Harmon and Predmore Road – post No. 1 - you enjoy a good view of Heart Lake then head south to follow White Loop as the path curves around the lake. Within a quarter of a mile you arrived at Post No. 2 and the park's pair of rustic cabins that are perched on a low hill overlooking Tamarack Lake Beyond the cabins, the White Loop turns into a wide path that winds over one hill after another, past tall pines and moss-covered boulders.
Within a half mile of the start you arrive at post No. 3, marking the departure of the Blue Loop. This 1.7-mile spur heads south before swinging west and climbing a ridge that use to serve as the park’s sledding hill. You then head north pass Carpenter Lake and cut through an interesting marsh area before returning to the White Loop at post No. 5.
Head west (left) at the marked junction to continue with the White Loop and quickly arrive at a view through the trees of Chamberlain Lake and then post No. 6. The trail that heads west (left) is a quarter-mile spur that leads past Chamberlain Lake and ends at a DNR access site off of Miller Road.
White Loop swings sharply to the east (right) and heads back, climbing two long hills and then descending past a pair of intriguing marshes. In mid-summer these marshes are buzzing with mosquitoes or deer flies. But April and May are nice. You can pause and search the edge of the swamp for the first tadpoles of spring without first arming yourself with a can of Deepwoods Off.
The outing ends with yet another hill past Shoe Lake, the fifth undeveloped lake along this loop, and then returning to the car park located above at Heart Lake.