Asylum Lake Preserve is my first thought for cross-country skiing. With nearly 300 acres of land, it's easy to ski for an hour or more through a mix of oak woods, restored prairies, shoreline, and rolling meadows. Since fresh snow means slick roads, I like to minimize travel during snowstorms. Since Asylum Lake is right in town, it works. Parking is convenient; street parking on Winchell Avenue is always clear and the parking lots on Drake and Parkview are usually plowed by mid-morning.
Asylum Lake's convenience makes it a popular destination for dog walkers, hikers, and ice fishermen, which means it almost never develops a good set of ski tracks. Last summer's trail work seems to have increased the gravel compared to the old paths and I put some new scratches on my skis on Tuesday. (This would be less of a problem with deeper snow and will likely improve by next season.)
Western Michigan University
Asylum Lake Preserve
immediately north of WMU's engineering campus
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
main parking lot off Drake Road between Stadium Dr and Parkview Ave
a small lot is off Parkview Avenue west of Tamsin Ave
street parking is available on Winchell Avenue west of Shelter Point Dr.
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