My son Drew and I checked out the new groomed xc loop trail by the Activity Barn recently on snowshoes, and I thought it was a cool addition that adds value to the whole xc ski, snowshoe or snow-bike experience at the Activity Barn and North Valley Trail.
The trail vectors off to the left as you’re going south on the North Valley Trail from the Activity Barn trailhead. It climbs a steep hill next to the Activity Barn tubing hill, and then you cruise by the top of the tubing hill and drop into a beautiful meadow just to the east of the Activity Barn. We circumnavigated the meadow on the groomed trail, and then we returned to the North Valley Trail for a little more adventure.
It took us about 30-45 minutes to snowshoe the new Activity Barn loop trail, so with the addition of a little more time on the North Valley Trail, an hour-long snowshoe walk was just the perfect length for Drew. We probably walked 2.5-3 miles.
Anyway, I recommend the new loop trail for all uses. For snowshoers, it seems like a reasonable climb to the top of the Activity Barn tubing hill, but for xc skiers, it will seem steeper and harder. That pitch is rated black diamond on our trail map. But don’t let that scare you. Once you’re on top of that hill, it’s easy-going from there, downhill to the meadow, and then a tour around the flat meadow.
Try it, and I think you’ll really enjoy it!
For xc skiers, skate skiers, snow-bikers and snow-shoers, the Activity Barn loop can be combined with the 2.5-mile out, and 2.5-mile back North Valley Trail, which runs out south of town along the old railroad right of way. There is a rest room at the southern trailhead on Heinrich Lane.
The North Valley Trail is mostly flat, with a short uphill and downhill around an old embankment. It’s very scenic, with trees lining the pathway for much of its course, a wildlife area in the middle, and some open vistas of pasturelands and rural homes at the southern end.
There is no charge to use the xc trails by the Activity Barn or on the North Valley Trail, but Valley County Pathways appreciates donations to help with grooming costs.
For more information about the Activity Barn, go to the Brundage Mountain web site.
– Steve Stuebner