Hit the Trails throughout West Michigan

Business News |Jul 24, 2018|23 min read

West Michigan – West Michigan is rich in natural resources, and the best way to immerse yourself in this bounty is by exploring one of the area’s many trails. Whether you want to get lost in the woods, have a destination in mind, or simply want to wander in the outdoors, you’ll find a great way below to hit the trails. Whether you’re traveling by foot or by bike, once you’ve experienced West Michigan’s immersive trails you’ll have a hard time getting back in the car at the end of the day.



Trail Systems


Kal-Haven Trail


Bikes, kayaks, and canoes are all welcome in South Haven. The Kal-Haven and Van Buren trails each allow biking and hiking, while the Black River is open for all your kayaking needs. The Covert/South Haven KOA, Lake Bluff Inn & Suites, and Yelton Manor Bed & Breakfast are all located in South Haven along the Kal-Haven Trail. Spend your day exploring before returning to your accommodations for a well-deserved night’s sleep.


Hart-Montague Trail


From snowmobiles and bikes to biking and hiking, you’ll find a trail for everything in the White Lake area. Their crown jewel is the Hart-Montague Trail, a 22-mile paved trail that takes you from Montague to the beautiful beaches and sand dunes of Hart. Even more trails await you the White Lake area! Amanda’s Bequest Bed & Breakfast in Montague is located near bike, horseback, and snowmobiling trails. Enjoy your stay at this intimate, cozy and simply grand retreat in a heritage farm-style setting. Buzz’s Lakeside Inn in Whitehall sits on 365 feet of shoreline on beautiful White Lake, where you can paddleboard and kayak. Nearby trails for hiking and biking will surely keep you active during your stay


Whitefish Point Trail


Located near the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise, the new Whitefish Point Trail is a unique trek through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The boardwalk and wooded trail is over two miles, ending at Whitefish Point.


Lansing River Trail


Located in Lansing, the Lansing River Trail offers over 15 miles of biking, walking, and running trails along the banks of the Red Cedar and the Grand Rivers. The Lansing River Trail winds through Lansing’s 10 city and county parks, three museums, two rivers, one creek, and even past a zoo.


North Country Trail


Located near the North Country Trail, Fred Meijer Grand River Trail, and Flat River Trail, the Lowell area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.


Fred Meijer White Pine Trail


Located along Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs and Kayla Rae Cellars in Rockford are great stops during your walk, run, or bike ride.


Located on 327 acres outside of Cadillac, Evergreen Resort has access to the White Pine Trail for motorized and non-motorized trail activities. Their on-site Vita Trail offers hiking and cross-country skiing during the winter. With miles of trails for every outdoor excursion, there is always a reason to relish in the outdoors.


City Built Brewing Company in Grand Rapids is positioned along a trail that is a connector for both the Kent Trails and the White Pine trail system. Stop by for a beer or some of their non-traditional brewhouse fare.


Deerfield Nature Trail


The Deerfield Nature Trail in Mt. Pleasant offers eight miles of hiking and biking trails, leading to a covered bridge, campsites, and beautiful vistas near the Chippewa River.


Calhoun Country Trailway


Battle Creek is home to the Calhoun County Trailway and Linear Park. The trailway is 5.6 miles of paved trails, while the trail at Linear Park runs along the river through downtown Battle Creek.


Kalamazoo River Valley Trail


The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is the newest Kalamazoo County Park! The trail is free to use and has a paved-asphalt surface that is 10-feet wide. It’s a multi-purpose trail for non-motorized transportation and recreation. Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo has direct access to the Kalamazoo River for kayaks and canoes and over 20 miles of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail’s paved bike and pedestrian pathways. Have a brew or some food over a game of shuffleboard and cornhole before heading back out on the river and trails.


Lakeside Trail


The 15-mile Lakeside Trail runs right along the Grand Haven-Spring Lake Holiday Inn. They are also located on the banks of the Grand River, the gateway to Lake Michigan.


Betsie Valley Trail


Vacation Trailer Park is located in the heart of Benzie County. They suggest the Betsie Valley Trail for hiking and biking and the Betsie River for a scenic trip along the waterway.


Both the Harbor Lights Resort and Hotel Frankfort are also located near the Betsie Valley Trailway in Frankfort. If you’re looking to grab a drink or meal during your stay, Stormcloud Brewing Company is only half a block from the trail, making it a go-to watering hole after your day exploring the great outdoors.


Area Trails


Allegan County has approximately 827 square miles of land and 1,006 square miles of water, with 25 miles of shoreline along beautiful Lake Michigan.


Bellaire is home to four-season beauty, perfect to explore on foot, bicycle, or snowmobile.


The Cadillac area is an outdoor enthusiasts dream, with over 500,000 acres of state and national forest, three major rivers, Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, and 200 miles of multi-terrain trails.


There are over 200 miles in the immediate area of Indigo Bluffs in Empire. The Leelanau Peninsula is home to numerous nature preserves that allow you to enjoy quiet recreation in one of America’s most sought-after destinations. Choose between hiking trails or biking trails before returning back to your campsite for a relaxing evening.


Surrounded by glacier-hewn bluffs with breathtaking views and boasting diverse landscapes, Marquette County is the ideal setting for almost every outdoor activity. Here you’ll find trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, skiing, and more.


With over 70 miles of natural and paved trails, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is the perfect place to get outdoors. You can rent bicycles down by the pool house or walk through the gardens and trails on the hotel property. The nearby Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks, offers more than three miles of guided and paved hiking trails.


The Southwest Michigan Tourist Council has plenty of trails for hiking, biking, paddling, and walking. These trails take you along Lake Michigan, orchards and vineyards, peaceful rivers, and more. There’s also the Makers Trail, which showcases the masters of wine, beer, and spirits.


Running through the Wayland Area, add the Rabbit River Nature Trail, Yankee Springs State Park Trails, and Bysterveld Trail to your outdoor-adventure bucket list.


The Livery in Benton Harbor is within walking distance of all of the Harbor Shores pedestrian trails, which are used for hiking, biking, and skiing.


Hudsonville offers five fantastic parks: Hudsonville Nature Center, Veteran’s Park, Sunrise Park, Hughes Park, and Hillside Park. These parks include hiking trails, in addition to the playgrounds and picnic areas that you’d expect.


The Indian River area has unlimited year-round outdoor fun and recreation. Hiking and biking trails connect the Indian River to the great outdoors in all directions, and the waterways are perfect for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, tubing, and rafting.


With a combination of parks, rivers, and multi-purpose trails, the Ionia area captivates any family interested in outdoor recreation.


Lake County has over 300 miles of ATV/ORV trails with easy on and off access. There are the four trail systems within Lake County, complete with trail-head parking and staging areas. More trails, rivers, and lakes await you in Lake County.


Looking for that great spot to hike or bike? Visit Manistee County! Often considered some of the best hiking and biking in the state, Manistee County is home to hundreds of miles of biking, both mountain and road, and some of the most picturesque hiking around.


The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is a statewide advocate for Michigan’s multi-use trails. Non-motorized trails, both land and water, are a valuable asset to communities looking to increase physical activity, attract new residents and tourism, promote a favorable business climate, and provide residents with a healthy transportation choice that accents the community’s best features.


There is so much to see and do in the Munising area. Visitors love to explore the trails that lead throughout the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to view the many great points of interest. The area is filled with incredible scenery, wildlife and birds to view.


Rentals and gear from MACkite or the Electric Bike Place will keep you out and about in the Grand Haven area. For MACKite, their favorite is Pottawatomie Park in Grand Haven, and they recommend Pottawatomie to anyone who is renting their paddle boards. If you’re renting an electric bike, the Electric Bike Place recommends the North Bank Trail, which connects Grand Haven and Spring Lake.


The Ottawa County Parks in West Olive features all the trails you’ll need, from biking and horseback riding to kayaking and hiking. With 26 county parks and 12 county open spaces, you’re going to need to plan accordingly to see it all!


Whether you’re looking for a trail on water or land, Hastings has a trail for you. Explore the Thornapple River in your kayak or canoe, or walk, ride, or run along the Riverwalk Trail.


Cheboygan County has more miles of trails than any other county in Michigan. Their hundreds of miles of four-season trails bring visitors back year after year. These trails connect Cheboygan to the surrounding cities, lakes, and recreational areas.


With nearly 150 miles of trails, Muskegon County will keep you out and active. Paved trails take you through farmlands, wetlands, villages, forests, and more. Whether you’re looking for miles of road biking along Lake Michigan or the area’s state park, Muskegon County has trails for you. Enhance your visit with a stay at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in downtown Muskegon as your home base.


Crystal Adventures in Thompsonville is located adjacent to snowmobile and hiking trails and within minutes of lakes and rivers for kayaking and canoeing. They even offer rentals year-round, with snowmobiles in the winter and kayaks, canoes, and ATVs in the spring, summer, and fall.


Get off the beaten path and explore the biking, hiking, skiing, and water trails of the Sault Ste. Marie area. The St. Marys River offers numerous paddling options for all levels of experience, while the variety of town trails and walking paths have you exploring on dry land.


Looking for a fun outdoor adventure? The trail systems surrounding Charlevoix offers views of Lake Michigan, scenic trails, and opportunities to find Petoskey Stones. Find more outdoor recreation and outfitters on the Charlevoix CVB’s website.


The Petoskey area is the place to hit the trails, no matter the season! This time of the year, hikers are in heaven with a wealth of options. Head in almost any direction to find a beautiful trail or use the visitor bureau’s hiking trail guide to plan your adventure.


Whether you are looking for a place to hike, bike, snowmobile or snowshoe Mecosta County has the trail for you. From a leisurely stroll while taking in a scenic view or for more of a challenging adventure, the trails in Mecosta County won’t disappoint.


Set in the middle of the US-12 Heritage Trail, Coldwater Country is a haven for relaxation. From hiking and biking trails to two chains of lakes, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the area trails.


The Boyne area is home to several trails, spanning from hiking to snowshoeing. With picturesque trails overlooking Boyne City Bay and Lake Charlevoix, your visit will include many photo-worthy opportunities. Elvyn Lea Lodge in Boyne City has 44 acres for snowshoeing and is close to biking and hiking trails. With its central location, Elvyn Lea provides an ideal home base for those wanting to explore all that northern Michigan has to offer.


The Fremont area is home to a handful of trails for walking, hiking, and biking. They also have trails for ORVs in the Newaygo County area.


Choose between an array of nature preserves, wilderness trails, and parks in the Marshall area.


Your visit to the Pentwater area should include a trip along the Old Baldy Dune Trail, Pentwater Pathways, and Pentwater River. The wide variety of outdoor recreation locales should rank it highly on your list of places to visit.


The Gaylord area abounds with pathways for outdoor enthusiasts of every skill and age level, and all are free to use with no trail passes required. With over 30 rental properties and a motel-style inn, Pine Cone Vacations is your hub for outdoor recreation in the Gaylord area. Treetops Resort in Gaylord offers hiking and mountain biking trails in the warmer months and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat bike trails in the snowy months. Their rentals ensure that you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your time.


The Saugatuck-Douglas area is home to unique parks and trails that connect the surrounding area. The trails through Saugatuck Dunes State Park include a beautiful backdrop of the dunes, while the bike trail that connects with Holland is an 11-mile trek to the neighboring city.


Stay at the All Seasons Resort in Kalkaska, and view the splendor of Northern Michigan’s trail system. In the winter, explore hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails, which are accessible directly from the resort’s parking lot.


In the Straits of Mackinac area, acres of woodlands surround scenic trails, ideal for exploring throughout the year. Some of the best hiking opportunities exist in the Mackinaw City area, south of the Mackinac Bridge and once you cross into the Upper Peninsula. Mackinac Lakefront Cabin Rentals in Mackinaw City is located across the road from over 15 miles of biking and hiking trails between Mackinaw City and Cheboygan. Featuring 16 modern cabins and shaded RV sites, this quiet country setting is ideal for your next trail adventure.


The Grand Haven Main Street has bike racks conveniently located throughout downtown Grand Haven, making it easy to stay after you’re done exploring the hundreds of miles of bike trails in Ottawa County.


Make Hotel Walloon on Walloon Lake your home base for a northern Michigan adventure! Take a short walk from the hotel to Melrose Township Park, which has a trail that follows the Bear River. This park is a great place to have a picnic, take a hike, or go for a walk on the beach.


There are more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails and pathways in our state, making Michigan home to one of the largest, interconnected trail systems in the country. This inviting network – and the associated quality of life, health and economic benefits it offers – is fueling Michigan’s drive to be known nationally as “The Trails State.” The trail system offers ample opportunities for bicyclists, hikers, ORV riders, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, horseback riders and more. Many of these trails are located in Michigan State Parks, and the DNR offers comprehensive trail information and a trail search tool on their website.



Self-Contained Trails


The trails at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek encourage children and adults to explore in this unique setting. The zoo hosts two events in July that each feature opportunities to walk these trails: the Zoorific Kids’ Day on July 7th and the Family Safari Slumber Party on July 13th and 28th.


Mt. Holiday in Traverse City is a non-profit ski and recreational area which offers year-round fun with their trails. Venture their mile-long wooded trail on foot or bike, or if you’re looking for some extra excitement, try out their zipline.


Play and explore during your stay at Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. They’re conveniently located near paved biking and walking paths along the West Grand Traverse Bay and they’re only five minutes away from a hiking area and kayaking on Boardman River and Lake.


The Muskegon Luge and Winter Sports Complex has groomed and lighted cross-country ski trails, an outdoor lighted skating rink, snowshoe trails. Stop by for one of the most unique spots in Muskegon!


Immerse yourself in nature at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Augusta, where you can see waterfowl, game birds, songbirds, and birds of prey as you walk the picturesque trails around Wintergreen Lake. Take the wheelchair-accessible paved path around the Sanctuary’s main path, hike the Lake Loop, explore the Bluebird trail, or step onto the nearby North Country Trail.


Fort Custer State Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre park located in Augusta. They have more than 25 miles of multi-use trails, popular with mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers, and dog sledders.


With 310 acres of rolling terrain and miles of river and lake frontage surrounding the Historic Charlton Park in Hastings, it’s a perfect place to spend the day with family and friends. You can wander through deep forests and rolling open meadows great for a short stroll or a long walk using their trail map.


Jacob’s Corn Maze in Traverse City is larger than 10 high school football fields, with over five miles of trails. The maze is open each fall, and their u-pick fruit is available June through October.


A walk through the mines at Adventure Mining Company in Greenland provides the opportunity to experience copper mining as it truly was in the 1800s. View the world’s greatest copper district, actually traversing underground wearing a simple hard hat with a headlamp to light your way. In addition to the underground tours, the Adventure Mine has approximately four miles of biking and hiking trails around the mine site.


Located on 60 acres in Suttons Bay, Black Star Farms combines an award-winning winery with year-round trails. A variety of hiking trails entice you to come walk, ski, or snowshoe through a hardwood forest of towering pines.


Bundy Hill Off Road Recreation Company in Jerome is southeastern Michigan’s largest privately-owned off-road adventure park, full of winding wooded trails, sand, rock crawling, gravel hills, bottomless mud pits hood deep water, and hill climbs.


Go wineshoeing at Maple Moon Sugarbush & Winery in Petoskey. Your snowshoe excursion starts with a glass of wine before your winding trek through the cedar forest and rolling snow covered hills on Maple Moon’s property.


Virtue Cider in Fennville has a variety of manicured trails and gardens for you to explore during your visit to the 50-acre farm.


The walking, biking, and running trails around the Windmill Island Gardens in Holland connect to the area’s trail system. While spending time on the trail, you may want to stop and smell one of the thousands of flowers that call Windmill Island Gardens home.


Mountain bikers can find a variety of trails to conquer at the Boyne family of resorts. Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls has maps available for over 32 miles of adventure. In Harbor Springs, Boyne Highlands caters to all levels of mountain bikers and guests, can even hop on a chairlift to access some parts of the system.


Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire offers casual hikes on seven miles of well-maintained trails, including boardwalk trails floating above northern fen and cedar wetlands. If you are feeling extra motivated, take part in their Trails Challenge and hike all seven of their trails by September 30th to receive great prizes.


With 4,500 acres to explore, Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire offers a variety of options to just get outside and play. Grab a pair of hiking boots, walking shoes, or even a bicycle to enjoy the on-site trails at the resort. The 750 acres that make up this combined trail system are perfectly suited for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.


The 45 North Vineyard Trail is a three-mile, all seasons, recreational trail through a scenic vineyard that you can explore on skis, by bike, or on foot. The trail is free to use during business hours and with terrain covering everything from gentle slopes to uphill climbs, there’s something for everyone.


Leila Arboretum’s dramatic 85-acre setting is recognized as one of the Top Four Public Gardens and Arboretums in the State of Michigan. Located inside the beautiful trails of Leila Arboretum, Kingman Museum is a hidden treasure in Battle Creek, housing an extensive natural history collection and Digistar Planetarium.


Visit the Mission Point Lighthouse in Traverse City to explore the miles of unspoiled trails that run through and around the park (many of which are just as historic as the lighthouse itself!). Many visitors picnic, photograph, watch for birds and other wildlife and stroll the beach during their stay.


Silver Lake State Park in Mears is almost 3,000-acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline. This park includes both the area’s sand dunes and acres of mature forest. One of the park’s biggest draws is the 450-acre off-road vehicle area.


Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings has trails that are open for hiking from dawn to dusk. They have over nine miles of trails for you to explore this summer. Pets are allowed on the trails if they are on a leash and cleaned up after, and there is no fee to hike the trails.


If you are happy swapping hiking boots and a backpack for a glass of wine and sandals, then Waterfire Vineyards in Kewadin is the place for you. Their 26 acres of land is at your disposal to explore, with wine in hand or, even better, with a personalized picnic basket and blanket so you can recover your strength and plan your next adventure!



Water Trails


Riverside Canoe Trip in Honor is sure to be an enjoyable time, whether you take a canoe, kayak, tube, or raft. The Lower Platte trips travel down a friendly river with a gentle current, ideal for the whole family! The average river depth is two to three feet, and the river flows through Loon Lake and eventually ends at Lake Michigan.


The AuSable River, running through the Grayling area, is home to a variety of bird species. A canoe float is a quiet trip and one of the best methods of viewing the area’s wildlife. The Grayling area’s bird watching trails are a highlight for many travelers to the area.


It’s called River Country for good reason! There are many water pathways in St. Joseph County, making it a fantastic place to kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.


Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge in Alanson offers a perfect place to stay for those wanting to experience the Inland Waterway. The area’s waterways include Michigan’s longest chain of rivers and lakes, beginning at Crooked Lake, near the lodge.



Unconventional Trails


South Haven is one of the stops on the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail, featuring the Michigan Maritime Museum’s fish tug exhibit, Evelyn S. The trail highlights the history and heritage of fishing in the Great Lakes.


Nestled along a 30-mile stretch of Michigan’s “Fruit Belt” region lies a collection of orchards, farms, and vineyards known as Lakeshore Harvest Country. Taking full advantage of the lake-effect climate delivered by Lake Michigan, this shoreline area near South Haven offers a self-guided agri-tourism destination unlike any other.


Take a journey on a fan-favorite trail, and visit the 20 wineries that make up the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail in southwest Michigan. While hiking, biking, or driving, make sure to stop at one (or all) of the wineries along the way. They are close enough together that you can visit more than one in an afternoon, tasting award-winning wine after award-winning wine along the way.


As part of the Lakeshore Museum Center, Michigan’s Heritage Park in Whitehall is a unique place to go for a hike, where you’ll hike through history. Kids will love the activities throughout the site, giving them some hands-on time with history. This is one of the more unique trails that you can visit when it’s open from April through the end of October!


Grand Traverse Bike Tours is a full-service bike tour company located in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, just minutes from Traverse City. Tours are hosted throughout the year, including Cycle the Vineyards every Saturday through October 6th and the Traverse City Brewery & Wine Tour every Tuesday and Friday through October 9th. Additional tours and experiences are offered throughout the year, so keep an eye on their website for more bike tours of the Grand Traverse area.


Ever seen trails high up in the trees? TreeRunner Adventure Park in Grand Rapids is a premier aerial adventure park in West Michigan. With over 60 exciting obstacles and zip lines, three difficulty levels, and seven different courses, there is plenty to explore!



Trail Equipment



Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus in Grand Rapids specializes in selling the best outdoor gear and clothing on the planet. Their staff is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and value to every sale, and making relationships with their customers that may last for generations. You’ll find equipment for skiing, snowboarding, paddling, back-country camping, travel, and more. They offer lots of selection from the leading brands in the industry, along with small brands that you won’t find in larger stores.


Bike rentals are coming soon to the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids. Ride around the downtown area or venture the surrounding area’s trails.


The Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph is located on 12 miles of walking trails and parts of these trails allow biking. The inn offers bike rentals on-site, which can be taken on the trails or throughout downtown St. Joseph.


Guy’s Ultimate Kayak Service in Muskegon offers rentals along the Muskegon River. Rent all the gear that you’ll need, float down the river, and enjoy the convenience of being picked up at your end point. They’re also hosting the Muskegon AREA Community Paddle on Saturday, July 28th. This free event will be on Muskegon Lake, and if you need gear, you can rent it for only $5. Take this opportunity to get into the kayaking hobby or explore a new area.


1 Adventure Company in Macatawa offers boat, paddle board, kayak, and bike rentals for all of your outdoor recreational needs. Whether you are looking for a relaxing family experience or a non-traditional epic adventure, look no further.


The Pine River Paddlesport Center in Wellston rents canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, rubber rafts and tubes on Michigan’s premier paddlesport waterways, the Pine and Big Manistee Rivers.


The groomed ATV trails at KJC ATV Rentals show off the many scenic views of South Haven.  The trails are full of twists, turns, hills, and bridges, and are fun for all ages. A variety of off-road vehicles are available to rent and use on the trails.

For more information on trails, visit WMTA.org or check out the 2018 Carefree Travel Guide.