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Walloon Lake

Directions - Walloon Lake is off Highway 131, halfway between Boyne Falls and Petoskey. Just north of the road to Walloon Lake is Country Club Road. Go west on Country Club Road for about one mile. The Postle Farm Preserve entrance is just after a 90 degree turn, and is marked by a large wooden sign.

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Postle Farm Trails

 

postle farm trail barnNorthwest Michigan, has become a famous for its resorts and tourist destinations. The fame has brought explosive growth, urban development, and crowds. Right in the middle of it all is the Postle Farm Preserve. In a region where most nature preserves are kind of wild, this one preserves an historic agricultural environment. The Postle Farm Preserve consists of 113 acres, encompassing three distinct habitats. The habitats include, an open field farmstead area, a northern hardwood forest area, and a low meadow wetland area. Each habitat can be explored via easy loop trails in a family friendly environment. The longest loop is only one mile long.

The trails are well marked to guide hikers through the various regions, each with its unique character and wildlife. There are a few interpretive stations along the way. Upon leaving the parking area, the entry path leads to one of the original barns, now used as a visitor center. There are exhibits inside, open in season, and period farm equipment is on display outside. The entry trail continues for a short distance to a signpost, where you can choose the Open Fields and Farmstead habitat, or, take a branch that leads into the Northern Hardwood Forest habitat.

The trail through the hardwood habitat slopes gently down hill into the woods consisting of beech, maple, evergreen, and hemlock trees. About a third of the way along the trail, a second loop, marked in red, is an option for a longer hike. Continuing on the original loop will take you to the third habitat, the Wetland and Lower Meadow. A trail follows the course of a small stream, for a short distance, before turning back in the direction of the farmstead area. After a short walk, you arrive at a spur that leads to a region the preserve has named, the Hemlock Cathedral. At the end of the spur, you find yourself in a grove of towering hemlock trees.

The Postle Farm Preserve contains some of the first cross country ski trails ever developed in Northern Michigan. Long before it became a craze, these trails were created by a few enthusiasts from the Sierra Club. While many of the natural areas near Petoskey have been lost to development, and others are crowded much of the year, the Postle Farm Preserve, in the heart of it all, is a place where families can go to wander the quiet meadows and forests of an historic farmstead, right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.