Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rosy Mound Natural Area

Rosy Mound Natural Area is on Lake Michigan a few miles south of Grand Haven. (It's a little over an hour's drive from Kalamazoo.) It would make a nice stop on the Lakeshore Connector bike trail.

Rosy Mound has more of a back-to-nature feel than nearby Kirk Park since it doesn't offer a playground or large picnic areas. It does offer a well-constructed trail through a mature forest on a backdune, a steep climb up a sturdy sets of stairs, spectacular views from the top of the dune, and a boardwalk through the open dunes to a sandy beach.

The trails are constructed to preserve the dune environment from erosion and blowouts caused by casual trails. This helps protect the endangered Pitchers Thistle.

In mid-December, there were only a few other visitors to the park but the walk was very enjoyable. The forest was a mix of oak, maples, beech, and conifers, with ferns still contributing a splash of green. Nothing was in bloom, of course, but I saw some nice patches of Hepatica suggesting this might be a good spot for Spring wildflowers.

At first, I thought this might be a good cross-country ski destination since the trail starts with a wide, level loop through the woods. The 300+ steps over the hill convinced me to reconsider.

Rosy Mound Natural Area
13819 Lakeshore Drive North
Grand Haven, MI

Parking fee in the summer.
No dogs. No bikes on trail.

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