Created in 1973, the Pigeon River Country State Forest is a rugged 105,049-acre tract located 20 miles north of Gaylord and occupying the high central plateau of the Lower Peninsula. The forest is an outdoor playground crisscrossed with dirt roads, old two-tracks, and trails and dotted with lakes, trout streams and rustic campgrounds. It’s best known as the home of the Michigan elk herd that was reintroduced here in 1918.
There are three major hiking trails in the state forest. The best known trail system, popular with mountain bikers and cross-country skiers as well as hikers, is Shingle Mill Pathway with loops of 11, 10, 6, 1.2 and 0.75 miles. Its 10-Mile Loop is ideal for weekend backpackers, a scenic, overnight trek with an evening spent at a dispersed campsite on Grass Lake.
Green Timbers is a 6,300-acre slice of the state forest that is split by the Sturgeon River and laced by a trail system of more than 20 miles. Once the site of a company retreat, the state took over the property in 1983 and removed the cabins with the exception of the Green Timbers Cabin on the banks of the Sturgeon River and Honeymoon Cabin overlooking Sturgeon River Valley. A wall in both structures was removed by the DNR to turn them into three-sided public shelters.
Sample of the Shingle Mill Map. The Shingle Mill & Green Timbers map is part of the Classic Trails of Michigan series from MichiganTrailMaps.com. The large format map measures 11 by 17 inches, is printed on durable card stock and coated to be water resistant. Includes all distance markers, contour lines, historic buildings and ruins. Best of all, when folded it fits in your back pocket or the side pouch of your pack.