Kalamazoo's inconsistent winter means cross-country skiers need to take advantage of the snow when it does arrive. That often means fitting skiing into a work day, so it's nice to find spots for a short jaunt in town. West Lake Nature Preserve in Portage isn't a big ski destination, but it does have a nice loop path through the woods. It's a good place for beginners since it's a short trail with no hills, only a few gentle grades.
For skiers looking for a longer outing, West Lake park is just across Westnedge Avenue from Bishops Bog which connects to Schrier Park. These parks combine to form the South Central Portage Greenway and offer about 5 miles of trails.
West Lake's trails get a lot of use from non-skiers, so it's best to go shortly after a winter storm while the snow is fresh. If the snow is deep enough, you can ski the boardwalk to the preserve's bog and the overlook of West Lake.
West Lake Nature Preserve
9001 S. Westnedge
parking is off South Shore Drive.
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