Vandalia, MI (about 2.3 hours east of Chicago)Trail MapTrail Photos Trail Review
There is about 10 miles of mountain biking trails here that is packed into a small area; it is one long loop that folds back on itself repeatedly. Tight and technical, this trail is not dramatic, but it climbs, drops and shouldn't disappoint. Best of all, trail traffic is low. You'll find some log ride-overs, whoop-de-do's, a banked S-curve and a drop-off. At a T intersection halfway through, there is a cut-off on your right that is close to the lot if you need to bail.
The park is on the north side of Monkey Run St. and the good trails are on the south side. Look for a trailhead at the southern end of the lot, by a big signboard.
North of the lot, there is a network of jogging trails, and some singletrack, over rolling hills that are good for a few miles of warm-up riding. If you want to try them, take a left at the lot's north end, go by the covered picnic area, over the short, steep hill and around the small patch of crops. You'll quickly get to an intersection where you take a left onto Trail 7. It dead ends, but it's a decent singletrack stretch with a grinding climb that you can fly down on the way back. When you get back to the intersection, keep taking lefts (except where it leads you to deep water) until you get to the paved trail. Take a left here too and you'll quickly end up back at the lot.Getting There
This trail is near Cassopolis, Michigan, with the nearest major city being South Bend, Indiana.
Take I-94 to I-80/90 east. Before South Bend, take US31 north about five miles to MI-60 east. Follow this past Cassopolis. A couple miles past the tiny city of Vandalia, look for signs to Dr TK Lawless County Park. Take a right onto Lewis Lake Rd, go a mile and turn left on Monkey Run St., then another mile to the park.
If you're hitting TK Lawless on your way back from, say, Ft. Custer, catch 131 south. At MI-60, go right towards Vandalia. Before town, you'll pass Patterson Hill Rd., and Born Rd., before taking a left onto Lewis Lake Rd. Then turn left on Monkey Run Rd. and go a mile to the park.More Info
The park lost a few miles of trail after a tornado went thru several years back, and some technical features have been removed in recent years. But it's still a good ride. The place closes for winter after 11/1. It is maintained by the Cass County Road Dept., call them at (269) 445-8611 for further info. $2 parking fee or $20 annual pass.