North Tower Loop

This 3.9 mile fairly rugged trail used to connect with a still-popular cross-country ski trail that began from the North Lookout Tower nearby.  Skiers still use many backcountry trails; now with more mountain bike trails, use will continue year ‘round.  Eventually you will a approach a wildlife pond; 100 ponds like this were installed on the property as late as the 1960s.  These ponds work nicely as “herptile” (reptile and amphibian) breeding sites; frogs, toads, turtles, and salamanders will utilize these “watering holes”.  Within close proximity, a forest clearing was planted with sunflowers and millet as a wildlife food source.  Many trail switchbacks (due to rugged terrain and need to negotiate steep hills) allow users to see or hear others approaching.

Heading left from the intersection with the North Tower Connector you’ll come to a spur trail (.56 mile) that leads up the hill to the park road and the North Lookout Tower.  At mile 3.24 you’ll come to the intersection with the short connector (.14 mile) to the Aynes Loop.  At this intersection go left to the Aynes Loop or travel to the right to finish up the North Tower Loop.  Near the end of the North Tower Loop, at mile 4.08, the wildlife pond is visible to the right through the trees.

Begins: Intersects with the North Tower Connector which starts at the North Gate parking lot
Distance: 3.9 miles
Hiking: Moderate
Hiking Time:  2 hours
Biking:  Beginner
Elevation Gain: 302 ft
Look for: North Lookout Tower, spiderwort, eastern box turtles, firepinks