Monday, November 26, 2012

Hiking Michigan

Hiking Michigan (2nd edition)
Roger Storm and Susan Wedzel

This guidebook presents 146 day hikes throughout the state of Michigan, including several hikes on islands in the Great Lakes.  Each entry includes a trail map, a thumbnail state map showing its location, information about the park or recreation area, description of the trails, and a list of nearby points of interest.  Some hikes are illustrated with black&white photos.  The hikes are divided into three regions-- the Upper Peninsula, the Northern Lower Peninsula, and the Southern Lower Peninsula-- with about a third of the book devoted to each region.  I particularly liked the book's "Trail Finder" section, an expanded table of contents that includes distance, difficulty, and features for each trail.   

Hiking Michigan near Kalamazoo

1. Kalamazoo Nature Center
Beech-Maple Riverwalk Trail 1.1 miles
Fern Valley Trail 0.6 miles
"Cooper's Glen, as the area used to be known, is named after James Fennimore Cooper, who visited the area in 1847 and 1848.  While he pursued business interests in the vicinity, he collected information on natural features for a novel, Oak Openings."
Other points of interest:  Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, Kal-Haven Sesquicentennial State Park
Kalamazoo Nature Center

2. Yankee Springs Recreation Area
Hall Lake Trail 2.5 miles
Long Lake Trail 5.2 miles
"Almost 5,200 acres of diverse terrain, once the hunting grounds of the Algonquian Indians, provide varied recreation experiences." 
Other points of interest: Barry State Game Area
Yankee Springs Recreation Area

3. Sarett Nature Center
River-Gentian-Two-Board trails 0.5 miles
Lowland-Upland Trails loop 2.1 miles 
"You cross boardwalks, bridges with benches, and overlook towers, walking along woodchip and natural trails.  You meander on ridges high above the Paw Paw River and cut through wetlands in this variety of habitats." 
Other points of interest: Tiscornia Park, Silver Beach County Park
Sarett Nature Center

4. Warren Dunes State Park/Warren Woods Natural Area
Nature-Blue Jay-Beach- Mt Randal Trails loop 4 miles
Warren Woods Natural Area 1.1 miles
"Both parks evolved through the foresight of Edward K. Warren who, in the 1870s, purchased the land that is now called Warren Woods Natural Area,  His effort preserved one of the few remaining virgin beech-maple forests in Michigan.  He continued to purchased undeveloped land, including land that eventually became Warren Dunes State Park."
Other points of interest: Grand Mere State Park
Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Woods Natural Area

5. Saugatuck Dunes State Park
North Trail 2 miles
BeachTrail 1.4 miles
Livingston Trail 2 miles
South Trail 4.6 miles
"Lake Michigan awaits those who are not intimidated by the 1-mile trek over the sandy dunes from the parking lot."
Other points of interest: DeGraaf Nature Center Preserve, Star of Saugatuck
Saugatuck Dunes State Park

6. PJ Hoffmaster State Park
Loop of Homestead and Dune Climb Staircase 2.4 miles
Walk-a-mile trail 1.6 miles
"A vigorous hike along the Dune Climb Stairway to a platform on top of the towering dune provides a panoramic overlook of the vast open waters of Lake Michigan."
Other points of interest: Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center, Muskegon State Park
PJ Hoffmaster State Park

7. Muskegon State Park
Dune Ridge Trail loop 1.7 miles
Lost Lake Trail 1.7 miles 
"Muskegon State Park's 2 miles of sandy Lake Michigan beach rank with some of the most beautiful in the world."
Other points of interest: Duck Lake State Park, PJ Hoffmaster State Park
Muskegon State Park

8. Aman Park
Yellow Trail 1.1 miles
Red Trail 1.4 miles
"Wildflowers are spectacular in spring, and the diverse terrain and varied plants of the park produce continual showings throughout the year, from skunk cabbage and marsh marigold to beech and aspen, and even to the gray of leafless branches pocketed with ice crystals.  All seasons show off something in this retreat."
Other points of interest:Pigeon Creek Park, Meijer Gardens, Kent Trails, Blandford Nature Center
Aman Park

9. North Country National Scenic Trail
Birch Grove Trail 9 miles
"When completed the trail will stretch some 4,600 miles across seven northern states from Lake Champlain in New York to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota.  Michigan has the longest segment of any state and over half of that distance is complete and certified."
North Country National Scenic Trail

10. Manistee National Forest
Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary Trail 1.2 miles
"Protected species include trailing arbutus, bird's foot violet, bittersweet, flowering dogwood, trillium, club mosses, Michigan holly, American lotus, gentian, and pipsissewa."
Other points of interest: Birch Grove Schoolhouse
Manistee National Forest Loda Lake Sanctuary

11. Whitehouse Nature Center
River's Edge Trail 0.9 miles
Prairie Trail 1 mile
Situated along the East Branch Kalamazoo River, only .25 mile from the main campus of Albion College, are the diverse lands of the Whitehouse Nature Center."
Other points of interest: Marshall
Whitehouse Nature Center

12. Pinckney Recreation Area
Crooked Lake Trail 5.1 miles
Losee Lake Hiking Trail 3.3 miles
"The rolling topography of hills and ridges interspersed with numerous inland water bodies is typical of a landscape shaped by glacial activity."
Other points of interest: Park Lyndon
Pinckney Recreation Area

13. Waterloo Recreation Area
Waterloo-Pinckney Hiking Trail (Portage Lake to Sackrider Hill) 5.8 miles
Oak Woods-Waterloo-Pinckney Hiking Trail -Hickory Hills 4.7 miles
"The landscape was shaped more than 10,000 years ago in the last glacial period.  Receding ice, often more than 1 mile thick, formed the moraines (ridges), kames (hills), and kettles (lakes, ponds, and low-lying areas) that characterize the area, providing an abundance of recreational opportunities today."
Other points of interest: Gerald E Eddy Discovery Center, Waterloo Area Farm Museum, Phyllis Haehnle Audubon Sanctuary
Waterloo Recreation Area

14. Hidden Lake Gardens
 Pine Tree Trail 1.3 miles
Hikers' Trail 2.8 miles
"The 755-acre garden exhibits valuable plant collections and creates landscape pictures, fulfilling the objective of the Michigan State University-owned Hidden Lake Gardens."
Other points of interest: Bicentennial Woods, Walter J Hayes State Park, Walker Tavern Historic Complex
Hidden Lake Gardens

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