Zippie's Ski Trail

Jordan Valley Pathway

Address: 45.014463,-85.030068
Countie(s) trail is located in: Antrim
Trail Type(s): Camping <> Cross Country Skiing <> Hiking
Trail Measurement: Area: 18,000 Acres & 18 Miles of Trails
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The Jordan River Valley is an 18,000-acre block of state-owned forest land in northeast Antrim County. Good wildlife watching and beautiful scenery are common along the Jordan River, Michigan’s first waterway to be officially designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Much of the area has been proposed as an old growth forest area. Access to the river valley is provided by local county roads and an18-mile hiking trail, the Jordan Valley Pathway, that winds through this portion of the Mackinaw State Forest. The Pathway contains several loops of varying lengths. One loop begins at Deadman’s Hill, which offers a spectacular vista of the surrounding countryside and river floodplain. A second breathtaking and popular vista is Landslide Overlook. Part of this Pathway is the North Country National Scenic Trail, that when finished, will extend 4,000 miles from New York to North Dakota. The seven miles of the Warner Creek Pathway also provide access to the Jordan Valley area. Camping is only allowed at the two state forest campgrounds on the area, the Pinney Bridge and the Graves Crossing campgrounds.

Wildlife Viewing

Good probability of seeing wetland-related wildlife throughout this area. Beavers, raccoons, mink, otters, frogs, turtles, herons, and waterfowl all can be seen sharing the solitude of this beautiful river corridor. Most of the land is forested with a good mixture of forest habitats, home to many species of woodland songbirds and raptors. Hike the trails or slowly drive local roads for great wildlife viewing opportunities. Most of the local access is on unimproved dirt roads not suitable for large vehicles. The hiking trails are moderate to rugged and may be poorly marked in spots. Because of the low, wet nature of this site, spring flooding is common in the floodplain, and black flies, deer flies, and mosquitoes can be extremely numerous in spring and summer, so come prepared. Despite these inconveniences, a summer trip to this beautiful, scenic valley is well worth the effort. Fall colors are noteworthy in early October due to the hardwood forests throughout the valley.

This area is open to public hunting. Contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for affected seasons and locations.


The Jordan Valley can be entered from several points. Best routes are from Mancelona by driving eight miles north on M-66 to Pinney Bridge Road, or 11 miles north of Mancelona on US-131 to Deadman’s Hill Road. From the village of Alba, drive northeast on US-131 about six miles to Deadman’s Hill Road, turn left (west) and follow the signs about two miles to Deadman’s Hill Scenic Overlook. To get to Landslide Scenic Overlook, drive 1 ½ miles west of Alba to Harvey Road and north 1 ½ miles. For more information on the North Country Trail contact: North Country Trail Association, P.O. Box 311, White Cloud, MI 49349.
Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Gaylord Operations Service Center, (989) 732-3541

Size: 18,000 acres of state-owned land

Closest Town: Alba, Mancelona, Elmira, East Jordan

Facilities and Opportunities

Restrooms – Pit toilets at Deadman’s Hill Scenic Overlook and the Penney Bridge and Graves Crossing state forest campgrounds.
Trails –Jordan River Pathway has a trailhead at Deadman’s Overlook, moderate to difficult,18 miles with smaller loops; no bicycling allowed. Warner Creek Pathway, easy to moderate, seven miles in a series of loops.
Picnic – Day use area at Deadman’s Hill Scenic Overlook, picnic tables, pit toilet.
Camping – At the 2 state forest campgrounds only: Penney Bridge has 15 rustic campsites, picnic tables, hand pump, pit toilet, overnight fee. Graves Crossing has 10 barrier free, rustic campsites, picnic tables, lantern posts, fire rings, hand pump, pit toilet, overnight fee.
Cross country skiing –Warner Creek Pathway, easy to moderate difficulty.
Fishing – trout fishing in Jordan River.
Hunting – small and big game hunting on state forest lands.

Access Points

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References and More Info

  • DNR
  • Compass Latitude: 45°00’52.1″N
  • Compass Longitude: 85°01’48.2″W
  • Numeric Latitude: 45.014463
  • Numeric Longitude: ‘-85.030068
  • Elevation in Feet:
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Trail Measurement: Area: 18,000 Acres & 18 Miles of Trails


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