I first heard about the Jordan River Pathway (JRP) about 15 years ago from a friend in college. The JRP is often compared to the Manistee River Trail (MRT) as they are similar in distance and scenery. It was a long time coming, but I finally got my chance to see the JRP first hand on August 20, 2010. I was making a solo trip to the UP to work on my in-law's cabin so it was easy to get the run in on the way. I arrived at the trail head off
|Water, Garmin, duct tape, lighter, TP, GU, chia seeds, LCP.|
I had planned to run the trail in a clockwise direction but ended up getting turned around out of the gates and headed out counter clockwise. That ended up being a pretty big mistake. The trail immediately drops almost 400' to the floor of the Jordan River Valley. As I was headed down the ridiculously steep trail I was thinking how I might have gotten in over my head as I really hadn't planned for a ton of elevation.
The first 8-9 miles were a joy, fairly mellow and not too hilly. I stopped a few times to take photos but it was rather uneventful. The trail wound through a lot of marshy areas that were pretty muddy in a few spots. There were actually a lot of open meadows that were bordered with hardwood forest which I assume would make this area beautiful in mid-October. I was disappointed at how little contact the trail makes with the Jordan River. It just wasn't enough for me. I was able to snap this photo just after Pinney Bridge Campground. The river and associated drainage (even the swamps) were very clear.
Once the JRP left the campground it was a completely different trail. Hills galore. The trail traversed along steep hillsides, through heavy Cedar and Hemlock forests and along creeks. It was pretty, that's for sure, but very hilly. I really started hurting around mile 11 or 12. I had to walk up almost every hill. By mile 14 I was having flashbacks of the Bayshore and wondering how I would finish in one piece. I had to sit down for a few minutes and choke down my GU. After that I felt a little better and was able to tough it out, walking up the hills and lumbering along the flats and downhill sections.
In the end, I would say the MRT is much more scenic. The MRT is easier in terms of elevation, but I would say when paired with the North County Trail, the JRP and MRT are very similar in difficulty. I recommend following the JRP in a clockwise direction to get the bigger hills out of the way in the beginning. I will return some day, but it will be in mid-October.
|For Sale, 5 months old, lightly used. Jason?|
We saw a bald eagle which was pretty cool. We got off the river just before dark and were off the the bar for food and beer. It was a good cap to a great day.