Over the next few weeks, we will be social distancing ourselves on the local trails and providing a review of each as we go.
Please know, we are taking extreme precautions to ensure we are following all regulations for social distancing, including leaving if a trail appears to be too populated. We are lucky to have an abundance of local trails that are not well traveled that allow us to continue to use them at this time. More congested areas with fewer parks and trail options do not have this luxury so PLEASE use common sense and do not visit any area that is heavily populated just because it is outside.
SEIDMAN PARK: ADA, MI
Difficulty: Easy to moderate depending on how far you want to go. A decent amount of hills but all very well groomed and nothing too steep.
I love this trail because of the options. You can easily do a short loop or turn it into a half day hike. I did the yellow and blue loops, maybe accidentally followed a path that wasn’t actually a trail for a bit, and it was about 4.5 miles. Plenty of spots to sit for a break. Outhouses and picnic tables at the southern parking lot (map shows there are some at the other lot, as well). A nice variety of scenery. Normally a fairly busy spot but very minimal traffic today.
AMAN PARK: BETWEEN STANDALE AND ALLENDALE, MI
Difficulty: Easy. One slightly steep hill to get down and back up but the rest of the trail is pretty flat and well groomed.
This is great option if your just starting out! Other than the one hill it’s a very flat and easy hike. This would be a good one for kids, there’s a lot of turn offs for exploring or for trail running, the trails are wide and well groomed. There is a portapotty and picnic tables at the trailhead and plenty of parking.
ROSEY MOUND: GRAND HAVEN, MI
Difficulty: Easy but a lot of stairs
Normally this is one of my favorite spots. It’s a pretty simple hike to the beach with a ton of wide, groomed trails to explore the area, however it was very busy today. We got there early enough to avoid most of it but by the time we left cars were parked into the street and there were people everywhere. I think it’s incredibly important right now to be smart with our outdoor activity. Hiking, running, walking, biking are all great options to help us from going to stir crazy but a situation like we saw today defeats the purpose. Be smart, stick with less traveled trails, and if it’s busy when you arrive, leave. Had we gone later and seen that many vehicles we would have turned around. For future use though, there is ample parking and bathrooms.
RICHMOND PARK: GRAND RAPIDS, MI NW
Difficulty: Moderate, not long trails but a lot of hills
I’m partial to this one because it’s right across from my house but it’s a great trail system to practice hills. The trails loop around so although it’s not huge, you could do quite a few loops. This spot is becoming more popular with mountain bikers so I’d suggest hitting it up earlier in the day. The park itself also has a pool in the summer, play equipment, basketball and tennis courts and tons of picnic benches for when we’re allowed to all hang out again. Also some nice grassy areas for picnics.
THE HIGHLANDS AT BLANFORD NATURE CENTER: GRAND RAPIDS, MI NW
This was THE perfect spot for a casual stroll. Almost empty, wide trails, a little muddy but a really peaceful walk. Dogs allowed on leashes. The few people we passed were all very respectful of the social distancing rules. There is parking but no bathrooms.
CRAHEN VALLEY PARK: GRAND RAPIDS, MI NE
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. There is a nice paved trail around the park or you can opt for the trails in the woods. Wooded trails had some hills, nothing too crazy except the climb back up at the end.
This was my first time here and might be a new local favorite! I couldn’t find a map anywhere so I’m not sure how far the trails go or if they loop around or anything. I just wandered a lot and turned around when the mud puddle was too deep. Super muddy right now but I didn’t pass a single other person, was there about 9am. Excited to explore this area more!
FRED MEIJER PIONEER TRAIL: STARTING AT THE TRAILHEAD OFF FRUIT RIDGE
Difficulty: Easy. The portion I did was all paved (and I think the rest of it is too). Would be a great spot for biking, wheelchair, rollerblades, anything with wheels.
So this trail head is about 1/4 mile from the trail but great signage so it was easy to find. I went about a mile and half towards Marne then turned back. It does run along the highway even though your in the trees so it’s kind of noisy. This would be one where headphones might have been nice (I don’t personally ever use those on the trails). Not super nature-y but given the length of the trail in either direction I do think it’s a good one to get some mileage in. I’m looking forward to exploring more of it when I have my backpack and snacks
PICKERAL LAKE: CANNON TOWNSHIP
Difficulty: Easy, nice little loop around the lake with a few side short trails you could explore. Minimal hills and well marked.
This is a great one for families! It was too busy today but I would suspect it gets busy on the weekends. There is plenty of parking, a decent amount of people we’re fishing off the bridge. I think the lake loop was around 2 miles. There are educational boards scattered throughout and plenty of spots you could pull over and have a picnic or something like that. Definitely a fun little hike! I did note on one of the signs they do not allow dogs.
HALL LAKE AND LONG LAKE TRAIL: YANKEE SPRINGS REC AREA
Difficulty: Easy to difficult. This area could be anything you make it! There are plenty of trails so you could turn it into a super long trek or just a short and sweet walk.
I did about 4 miles on the hall and long lake trails. It was a pretty moderate hike, some big hills, great views of the lake. There are plenty of options to go off on various other trails. There were a few different areas in Yankee Springs you can explore with different parking lots. Would be a great area to pack a picnic and plan a full day.