Length: 2,021 ft. • Difficulty: 5 (substantial stretches of rocks and roots; mud)
Terrain: Densely to lightly wooded, peat, rocks, roots
There is no getting lost on Grouse Trail, despite its not being maintained.
The approximately 1/2-mile trail begins just past the 4,500-foot marker on the west side of Deer Trail and runs straight across the southern section of City Forest to West Trail. An extension picks up at West Trail and leads to Quinn Trail near the marsh.
Grouse Trail descends gradually as it heads West. Yellow paint on trees on either side of the well-worn path denote the way. The trail is wide enough so you won’t have to look out for branches in your face, almost giving you a straight view from one end of the trail to the other.
The terrain for the first part of the trail is bumpy with heaves and roots. The trail intersects Main Road at the road’s 2,000-foot marker. After crossing the road, Grouse becomes rockier, requiring you to watch your step. This part of the trail features exposed bedrock and some small boulders protruding through thin layers of moss and peat. Land on the south side here is open because of tree-thinning.
The charted portion of the trail ends just beyond the 16,000-foot marker on West Trail. However, you can follow an uncharted extension – also marked by yellow paint on trees on either side of the path – to Quinn Trail, another trail that is not maintained.
The Grouse Trail extension is rockier than the main part of the trail. It features large shavings of bedrock and large boulders that receding glaciers carried to their current location. The extension eventually emerges from the dense growth of pine trees and cuts through a small bog peppered with deciduous trees and grass. This section of the trail will require you to watch for branches hanging over the path, which is considerably narrower than the rest of the trail. You will have no problem following the yellow paint or tracks left in the soft ground by mountain bikes.
Not far after reaching the bog, you will see a clearing a few hundred yards ahead. This clearing is the marsh. About 100 yards before the marsh, the Grouse Trail extension crosses Quinn Trail. No sign marks Quinn at the junction, but you will recognize it easily by the bike tracks and worn out path that head north. Fallen trees and scattered brush block the rest of Grouse Trail’s way to the marsh, so you probably won’t want to go all the way to the end of the yellow trail.
Despite being bumpy with heaves, roots and rocks, Grouse Trail is simple to hike. Mountain bikers will find it slow going and a good workout for the upper body.
© 2001-09, Ryan R. Robbins. All rights reserved.
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