ASH RIVER RECREATIONAL TRAIL KABETOGAMA STATE FOREST
At the start of the route, the wide grassy trail passes through a thin stand of balm of gilead and white birches. Soon, however, balsam firs and white pines appear and the trail begins a very gradual ascent that will continue for the next 2.1 miles to the ridge summit. As the trail heads north and then east, it continues climbing and rock outcroppings become more common. It is along these ridges that you will find the jack pine-oak and lichen communities. The best views of the hike are at the end of a short spur trail at the second trail intersection 1.3 miles from the trailhead.
At the approach to the ridge summit, the forest begins to open up. The trees stand further apart, and more sunlight pours through the fractured canopy of jack pines, oaks, and scattered white pines. Descending from the summit, the trail leaves the ridge tops for their slopes. Here you will find the aspen-white birch-maple community growing in deeper, moister soils. Giant aspen trees, their trunks disappearing through a subcanopy of shorter trees, seem like columns holding up the sky. As the ascent was long and gradual, so to is the descent back to the trailhead. The trail is wide and easy to follow throughout, and while there were probably better views 20-30 years ago when the ridge trees were shorter, the woods are very nice and a spectacular sight in their own right.
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