GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)-During summer, there’s no such thing as spending too much time in nature. While the weather is beautiful, head out for a walk, bike, or hike, all while observing gorgeous views! Our friends at the West Michigan Tourist Association created a vast list of great spots to explore.
South West Michigan Trails
Lace-up your shoes and head to Kalamazoo to enjoy a variety of trails, like the 35-mile-long Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. Or head nearby to Portage for its fantastic bikeway system with 17.5 miles of off-road trail and 38.5 miles of bicycle lanes.
Bikers will love Battle Creek’s 26-mile-long, paved Linear Park Trail. It’s a great way to enjoy the fresh air along the river! Not a biker? Hikers can still hit this trail and count it toward the North Country Trail (NCT) Hike 100 Challenge. This is even great for beginners, who can start near Friendship Park, head east toward the Underground Railroad Monument, and then circle west through downtown Battle Creek.
Set in the middle of the US-12 Heritage Trail, Coldwater Country is a haven for relaxation. From hiking and biking trails to two chains of lakes, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the area trails. Take a hike on the paved trails at Heritage Park in Coldwater or on the gravel trails along the Sauk River.
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings has 829 acres of trails, open every day from dawn to dusk and free for all to enjoy! Hikers can even bring their furry friends on leashes to join them on their outdoor adventures.
South Haven has been named one of Pure Michigan’s first Trail Towns! They have two very popular biking and hiking trails: the Kal-Haven Trail and the Van Buren Trail. The Kal-Haven trail stretches from South Haven to Kalamazoo for a total of 33.5 miles and has been named a Pure Michigan Trail. The Kal-Haven Trail also serves as the beginning of the Great Lake-to-Lake Route #1 Trail, which extends from South Haven to Port Huron for a total of 275 miles. The Van Buren trail stretches from South Haven to Hartford for 14 miles and passes through the Van Buren State Park. The city is also home to the Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail, which is a great route for kayaking or canoeing for 21 miles. Rent kayaks and other water vessels and accessories at nearby sports shops.
Get ready to hike, sip and wander the Mt Tabor Trails in Baroda. With a little over 3.5 miles of beautiful trails meandering through the woods and vineyards, Mt Tabor Trails connect guests from Round Barn Estate and Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant. The best part of these trails – taking your favorite beverage to-go is encouraged! Mt. Tabor Trails is open year-round, and no reservation is needed.
Whether you run it, walk it, blade it, bike it, or just walk the dog on it, the 17+ mile Lansing River Trail is a gem. This paved trail traces the banks of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers with a few optional off-shoot trails, and takes you by an urban beach, museums, attractions, and more. This summer, enjoy the 20+ art installations along the trail known as Lansing’s ARTpath, which stretches from Old Town to REO Town. The trail winds through multiple parks and ends up at Potter Park Zoo. Trail users will encounter wetlands, urban areas, parks and cool wooded spaces. This trail connects to the Sycamore Creek Trail to the south, so there’s even more to explore.
More Notable South West Michigan Trails:
Central West Michigan Trails
With over 150 miles of paved bike paths, eight miles of mountain biking and hiking at Riley Trails, and over 1/3 –mile of beautiful sandy beach at Holland State Park, Holland has trails for every age and level of outdoor enthusiast! Experience the serenity and natural beauty of over 1800 acres of parks and trails that meander through marshlands, wind through wooded glens, and climb over towering dunes in public parks, nature preserves, and recreation areas. Holland is also home to two nature education centers, both with live animals on site, educational and interactive programs for the family, and trails for hiking and exploring.
In Grand Haven, be sure to check out Electric Bike Place for a new way to experience the trails on their Class 1 e-bike. Class 1 electric mountain bikes have an average range of 50 miles per charge and can reach top speeds of 20 mph. Visit their website for e-bike-approved bike paths and trails throughout West Michigan.
Head to Mount Pleasant for the GKB Riverwalk Trail! This trail is 1.8 miles long and runs from Chipp-A-Waters Park to Pickens Field, providing a universally accessible pathway through one of Mt. Pleasant’s most scenic and protected areas. While in Mount Pleasant, be sure to check out the Bundy Hill Preserve, and Isabella County’s 1,000 acres of parkland.
Whether you are looking for a place to hike, bike, snowmobile, or snowshoe, Mecosta County has the trail for you. With trails for both beginners and experienced hikers, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Some favorite trails in the area include Fred Meijer White Pine Trail and Big Rapids Riverwalk, as well as trails near the White Pine Valley Recreation Area and Hungerford Recreation Area. And stay tuned for the opening of Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam, which when completed, will be a 47-mile non-motorized multi-use trail providing world-class mountain biking, hiking, running, and winter sports experiences.
More Notable Central West Michigan Trails:
North West Michigan Trails
Looking for the perfect trail to walk your pooch after a long drive, show your children where the best blackberry patches are, or break in your new backpacking gear? Gaylord has it all! From parks and nature preserves offering leisurely strolls to the untouched wilderness of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, hiking opportunities are around every corner of their All Outdoors paradise.
Ludington has long been a destination for hiking and biking. The Ludington School Forest, Memorial Tree Park, and Cartier Park trails — all connected by slow-moving streets — are easily accessible in Ludington. They are ideal for people of all ages. If you’re a kayaker, you might try the water trails at Ludington State Park. Find more information on trails and outfitters on their website.
With nearly 5,500 acres to explore, Shanty Creek Resort offers a variety of options to just get outside and play. Grab a pair of hiking boots, walking shoes, or even a bicycle to enjoy the on-site trails at the resort. Or, head just 3 ½ miles down the road from the resort to Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area. Enjoy the 750 acres that make up this combined trail system suited for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
In the Petoskey Area of northwest Lower Michigan, there’s a trail for those who want a leisurely pedal on a paved pathway. Hiking trails from flat to hilly are dotted through Harbor Springs, Alanson, Petoskey, and Boyne City/Boyne Falls. There are also trails for those looking for thrills and a good workout on a mountain bike trail. And the pathways aren’t reserved for dry land – the Inland Waterway is a boater’s paradise that leads 36 miles through lakes and rivers ending up at Lake Huron.
More Notable North West Michigan Trails:
Headway north to encounter an internationally renowned mountain bike trail system that will not disappoint! The Keweenaw Peninsula’s terrain surrounding Copper Harbor is mountainous by Midwestern standards and has some of the highest vertical elevation (up to 900’) between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains! Scoured away by the glaciers over 10,000 years ago, the rocky, rugged terrain of exposed bedrock, spiny ridge lines and undulating valleys left behind offer a “genuine” mountain biking experience unlike anywhere else in this part of the country.
If hiking’s what you’re after, the 40 miles of Copper Harbor Trails system features a diversity of hikes – from the rugged to the relaxed. Trails are interlaced through the Keweenaw’s backcountry, a region that truly allows one to escape into a land that “time forgot.” Epic vistas, towering pines, babbling brooks, and fantastic fungus abound in these enchanted forests.
Visitors to Marquette will find top-rated trails with over 100 miles of stunning routes to explore the Upper Peninsula’s unique landscape. From hiking and climbing to mountain biking and waterfall hunting, Marquette County trails have something to fit everybody’s interests. Gear up at one of Marquette’s many retail shops and outfitters and take to the trails for a day of nature and adventure. Some of Marquette’s most popular trails include Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN), Sugarloaf Mountain, Marquette City Multi-Use Path, and Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
More Notable UP Area Trails:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Drummond Island Tourism Association’s 4 trails
(This article was originally published in July 2021 and updated in April 2023.)