Hall Lake in Yankee Springs State Recreation Area, about a 45 minute drive north of Kalamazoo, offers opportunities for hiking and paddling. We walked the Hall Lake Trail on a hot summer day and enjoyed the cool shade of the woods. The trail started at the intersection of Gun Lake Road and the dirt road for the Long Lake Outdoor Center and then skirted the western edge of Hall Lake, sharing the route with the North Country Trail, and then loopsedback to the trailhead. The entire loop took just under an hour to walk. In winter, the Hall Lake trail is part of the Yankee Springs ski trail.
After our hike, we put our kayaks in at the Hall Lake boat launch (a few hundred yards east on Gun Lake Road). The lake was small but mostly natural. There were no structures along the lake, just the occasional car visible on the road. Three small islands added interest. A Great Blue Heron fished in the shallows while Turkey Vulture circled overhead. The lake itself was too small to make the drive worthwhile but it combined nicely with some of the parks other attractions.
I teach economics at Kalamazoo College. My wife is also an economist. We were on sabbatical in Europe for the 2014-15 academic year. (Salamanca, Spain, followed by Oxford, UK.) We were in Uruguay for the 2006-7 academic year.