CULTURAL

TRAIL TALK

COUNTY OVERVIEW

LOCATION

Wexford County
Exact Location:
Wexford County is positioned between Manistee and Grand Traverse Counties along the North Country Trail in Michigan's Lower Peninsula
 
Wexford County satellite image
Wexford County, Michigan, and the approximate route of the North Country Trail in blue (Google satellite image with trail overlay)

Wexford County is considered to be a micropolis of Cadillac. However, most of the northern part of the county is within the Pere Marquette State Forest along the Manistee River, and is rural/forested in nature.
Services Pertinant to the Trail:

Mesick is the closest village to the trail. There are motels, campgrounds, restaurants and a host of small town services. Mesick is about 1 mile off the trail from two different road crossings (M115 and M37). Post Office 49668. There are no other services near the trail in Wexford County.

Cadillac is the largest city with a population of 10,000. Manistee National Forest Ranger Station, Wexford County Sheriff Department, and Wexford County courthouse are all in Cadillac which is about 20 miles southeast of the trail.

Trail Overview:

Hodenpyl Dam Pond Wexford County Michigan
Hodenpyl Dam Pond (photo by jhy)
The North Country Trail enters Wexford County along Hodenpyl Dam Pond. The first six miles are on Consumers Energy property near the water's edge. For most of the remaining miles in the county the trail roughly follows the Manistee River through the Pere Marquette State Forest on high sand bluffs with some wonderful views. There are 43 trail miles in the county and only about six of these are roadwalk.

The Manistee River from the North Country Trail
A curve in the Manistee River (photo by jhy)
Wexford County has moderately easy trail miles with some good backcountry experience. Dispersed camping is allowed with a free permit within the Pere Marquette State Forest. Some of the area along the river bluffs is accessible via 2-tracks for vehicle camping which renders the area less pristine. However, if the trail were to be moved deeper into the woods the great river views would be lost.

History:

Wexford County was first formed in 1840 under the name Kautawaubet County, which means "broken tooth" in Potawatomi. It was the name of a local Potawatomi chief. In 1843 the name was changed to Wexford to honor a county in Ireland of that name. In 1869 it was formally organized as a Michigan County.

Geology:

Briar Hill, just south of Mesick, is the highest point in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan at 1706 feet. It is visible from several points along the trail. Soil varies from pre-glacial clay to the sand of Wisconsin Ice Age moraines. Some of the sand hills were formed by wind action following the glacial era.

Also see:
Pere Marquette State Forest

Sources:
The Surface Geology of Wexford County, Stewart, David Perry, 1948
personal experience and various public records
Every effort is made to provide up-to-date accurate information, but errors are bound to occur. Please contact explorer@exploreNCT.info about errors, corrections or additions.


Main Index     MI Lower Peninsula Index


The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4800 miles long, spanning eight states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association


5/10/20
MILP-We3
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