Sunday, September 26, 2010

50 Hikes in Michigan

50 Hikes in Michigan
2nd edition with 10 extra hikes
Sixty Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks in the Lower Peninsula

by Jim DuFresne 1999

This guidebook, by popular Michigan outdoor writer Jim DuFresne, divides Michigan's lower peninsula in an interesting manner, Southeast, Heartland, Lake Michigan, Pere Marquette, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Tip of the Mitt, and Lake Huron. Each chapter has a trail map and detailed trail description. Kalamazoo, along with Grand Rapids and Lansing, is in the Heartland section.

Heartland hikes

1. Doane Lake, Dr. T.K. Lawless County Park
2 miles
"Dr. T.K. Lawless County Park is one of those little-known preserves in rural Michigan that many hikers would enjoy visiting--if they only knew the place existed. Hidden in central Cass County, the park is a place that is enjoyed only by locals and the few lost travelers who stumble upon it accidentally. Of course, that's one of its attractions: a large park with lakes, ponds, and streams in a wooded tract that is lightly used and suffers few crowds other than the occasional familiy reunion."
Access: 30-40 minutes from Kalamazoo between Jones and Vandalia. From MI 60, turn south on Lewis Lake Rd, then east on Monkey Run Rd. Fee.
Lawless County Park

2. Bishop's Bog Preserve Trail, Portage South-Central Greenway
4.5 miles round trip
"Bishop's Bog Preserve Trail is aptly named. It passes through the heart of a bog that's so wet in the spring that the floating trail has the wiggle of a waterbed and every step results in small eruptions between the plastic planking that will soak your boots. But wet socks and damp toes are a small price to pay for this quick and unusual escape from the city."
Access:From I-94 exit 76 onto Westnedge Ave. South on Westnedge about 4 miles. Turn east on South Shore Drive to West Lake Nature Preserve. Bishops Bog trail starts across street in South Westnedge Park
Bishop's Bog Preserve

3. Long Lake Trail, Yankee Springs Recreation Area
6 miles point-to-point, 7.2 mile loop
"The rugged terrain, inland lakes, interesting bogs, and unusual depressions known as Devil's Soup Bowls provide Yankee Springs Recreation Area with ideal hiking qualities. Its location, almost centered between the urban areas of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek, makes it a popular park with everybody."
Access: From US 131, exit 61 and take A-42 east 7 miles to Gun Lake Rd. Then right. Trailhead is just north of the park headquarters.
Yankee Springs Recreation Area

4. Swan Creek Trail, Allegan State Game Area
5.2 miles
"Swan Creek Trail is best done during the off-season-- either in early May when fiddleheads are popping through the forest floor and the flowering dogwood is in full bloom,or in the fall, when one can witness one of the largest migratory gatherings of waterfowl in the state. In mid-July, you'll find the wildlife scarce, the fishing slow, and the mosquitos and black flies ferocious."
Access: West of Allegan, about halfway between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. From US 131 exit 55 to MI 222. Follow 222 west 10 miles to merge with M-89. Follow M-89 to Monroe Rd. West on Monroe to 118th Ave. Parking at the dam.
Allegan State Game Area

5. Grand River Trail, William M. Burchfield Park and Riverbend Natural Area
3.7 miles
"The hike is best done in the fall when the hardwood trees that border the Grand River take on their orange and red hues, the old farm fields become waves of golden grass, and the deer blend so well with the forest that they're spotted only when when they flag their tails. This stroll takes you through Michigan farm country as well as along the state's longest river."
Access: Just south of Lansing. From I-96 exit 101 onto Mi 99 south. Then left (south) on Waverly Rd, then left (east) on Holt Rd. 1 mile to Grovenberg Rd, turn right (south) 2 miles to park entrance.
Burchfield Park pdf

6. Green Trail, Lake Lansing Park-North
3.3 miles
"The 410-acre preserve is across the street from the popular lake and features day-use facilities, picnic areas, shelters, and volleyball and baseball fields. But the vast majority of the park is a natural setting, an intriguing mix of pines, mature oak, and maple woodlands, and extensive wetlands and marshes accessed by a 5-mile system of footpaths and boardwalks."
Access: From I-96 exit 110 north into Okemos. Turn east on Grand River AVe, then north at Marsh Rd. Take Marsh Rd through Haslett then east on North Lake Dr. 1.5 miles to park.
Lake Lansing Park-North

7. Wildwood Pathway, Deerfield County Park
3 miles
"Near its north entrance, Deerfield features the usual park amenities: swimming area and beach, shelters, tables, grill, and a short interpretive path. But by crossing the Chippewa on a swingbridge, you can leave behind the picnic area and enter a quiet woodland. the 8-mile network of trails includes some surprising sights, such as a wooden covered bridge, scenic vistas above the river, and even a pleasant set of backcountry campsites along the banks of the Chippewa."
Access: West of Mount Pleasant, about an hour from Lansing. From US 27 exit Business 27 through Mt Pleasant. Turn west on Remus Rd (MI 20). 6.5 miles on MI 20 to park. Fee.
Deerfield County Park

8. North Country Trail-- Baldwin Segment, Manistee National Forest
13.2 miles
"Passing from Lake County into Newago County, this portion of the North Country Trail begins in hardwood forests, skirts around Sterling Marsh, and ends by traversing rolling hills for excellent views of several small and undeveloped lakes."
Access: 90 minutes from Grand Rapids. From the town of Baldwin, go south on MI 37 for 3 miles then west on 76th St (Big Star Lake Rd.) 2.5 miles to trail, just before Jenks Rd. Backcountry camping permitted. Vehicle permit required to park.
North Country Trail Manistee

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