Except as otherwise noted, all contents of this Web site are Copyright © Chief Noonday Chapter, the North Country Trail Association.
 
 

Hiking Trails in Calhoun County Michigan

Data compiled by
Ron Sootsman

(Updated April 2007)

Note: Clicking on the decimal GPS coordinates below will take you to a Google Map at those coordinates.  In this zoom-able map you can generate driving directions to the starting point of the hike from your home or other origin of choice by clicking on the the green arrow pointer, then on the "directions" link, and plugging in the address in the "A" box that pops up in the left column.

 

Albion River Trail

Location: Albion
Sponsor's Web site

Victory Park GPS: 42.239317 -84.744633
Harris Field GPS: 42.245950  -84.766217

 Chief Noonday Chapter Map Mash-up for Albion

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Commentary: Albion has put the finishing touches on the brand new Albion River Trail.  It is a ten- to fourteen foot wide paved path running along the Kalamazoo River for 1.6 miles through the City of Albion.  The trail is open to walking, running, biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding (but no motorized vehicles except motorized wheelchairs).

A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the creation and completion of the River Trail was held on October 5, 2007, at Victory Park.  The ceremony was followed by an initial trek down the trail, led by a large contingent of the school children.  Congratulations, Albion!
 

 

Albion College Whitehouse Nature Center

Location: Albion

Sponsor's Web Site

Sponsor Contact

GPS: 42.242550 -84.735417

Albion College has every reason to be proud of the gem it has in the Whitehouse Nature Center.  Offering a wealth of environmental educational resources to the college and the community, it comprises 135 acres of varied terrain and habitats, both natural and created, including 25 acres of woodland along with extensive marsh and swamp lands along the east branch of the Kalamazoo River. 

There are six hiking trails totaling about 8 miles which are well marked, featuring numbered posts indicating points of educational interest keyed to the printed trail guide, available for each trail, which interprets the features.  There is no fee for hiking the trails, and free maps and trail guides are available in the Interpretive Center.  A map and map key are also available from the Web site.

Directions: To access the Interpretive Center from Hannah Street, just a few feet south of the rail crossing turn east into Farley Drive (the Google map shows where Farley Drive starts but doesn't show the route of the street itself) and drive all the way back past the Dow Center and the various parking areas till you see the sign indicating the Whitehouse Nature Center and Joranko Field.  Turn right/south into that parking lot and bear left toward the Interpretive Center at the east end of the parking area.  (See campus map -- southeast quadrant.)

  

Battle Creek Linear Park

Location: Battle Creek

Sponsor's Web Site

Sponsor's Phone: (269) 966-3431

Places to park:

Jackson & Helmer: 42.337367 -85.230317
Near former Cereal City USA: 42.323413 -85.190156
Kellogg House: 42.319433 -85.179167
Horseshoe Bend Park: 42.322767 -85.158600
Emmett & Wagner: 42.330883 -85.153533
Bailey Park Playground: 42.339317 -85.147050
Bailey Park Capital & Wagner: 42.338583 -85.154267
Kellogg Community College: 42.338583 -85.176100
Fell Park:
42.346500 -85.219733
Leila Arboretum: 42.339467 -85.215267
Gallaria Lane:
42.260167 -85.187950

Some point-to-point approximate distances:

Downtown Friendship Park to Bailey Park 3 miles
Bailey Park to KCC 2.25 miles
KCC to Leila Arboretum 2.25 miles
Leila Arboretum to McCamly St 2.5 miles
20th St at Jackson to Dickman Rd 3.6 miles

Commentary:  The Battle Creek Linear Park's certification as part of the North Country National Scenic Trail is older than the Chief Noonday Chapter itself!  Certified in July 1995, it offers a beautiful and safe trail for walking, jogging, cycling, and skating.  It joins many picturesque spots for fishing in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo rivers, canoeing or a picnic. 

Over 17 miles of paved pathway wind through wooded areas, open fields, parks, and even some commercial areas.  Marker posts along the way let you measure your progress in miles or kilometers and to set training goals.

Historical, cultural and point of interest signs are also found along the way.   Printable maps are available on the Web site.  50 interpretive panels along the route describe natural and historical features. 

Open daily 5:30 AM to 1/2 hour after sunset.

  

Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary (Baker Lodge & Doty Wildflower Trail)

Location: Junction Road, Convis Township

Sponsor's Web Site

Phone: 269-763-3090

GPS: 42.392483 -84.975300

Commentary:  Baker Sanctuary, founded in 1941, was the Michigan Audubon Society's first sanctuary. 

It is 897 acres in size and features a varied habitat.  It is dominated by Big Marsh Lake and also contains ponds, streams, cattail marsh, tamarack bog, oak opening, flood plain forest and wet meadow.  A 15 acre tall grass prairie restoration experiment was initiated in the spring of 1998. 

Nearly 200 bird species and many other animals have been observed in the sanctuary.  Prominent among the birds is the the Greater Sandhill Crane, a subspecies of Sandhill Crane, the world's oldest living bird species.  Greater Sandhills stand four to five feet tall with a wing span of six to seven feet.  Baker Sanctuary is a nesting area and migratory staging area for Michigan's largest bird.

The highly informative Web site provides a link to a Google map of the area as well as diagram maps of the sanctuary and its trails, plus abundant other detailed background information on the sanctuary's features and its history.

   

Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary (Meadow)

Location: 15 Mile Road, Convis Township

Sponsor's Web Site

Phone: 269-763-3090

GPS: 42.379967 -85.005083

Commentary:   Baker Sanctuary's Meadow and Marshland Trail, accessible from 15 Mile Road between T Drive North and Q Drive North, was established in the spring of 1996 for hiking, cross country skiing, and nature observation. In 1998 a controlled burn was conducted as part of a prairie restoration project.

The Meadow & Marshland Trail is a mowed trail of easy to moderate difficulty.  It twists and turns for two miles across rich rolling Michigan meadows and marshland edges while taking advantage of the ample shade provided by many trees along the trail. 

Throughout the spring and summer, an abundance of wildflowers and the fauna they attract can easily be found.  At numerous points along the trail circular "exploratoriums" provide convenient vistas in a shady resting spot that are fun areas to explore. 

Deer, turkey, pheasant, grouse, fox, coyote, hawks, frogs, turtles, butterflies, bluebirds and other species frequent the area surrounding the trail.

A printable PDF trail map of the Meadow and Marshland Trails is available on the Web site.

 

Brooks Nature Area

Location: Marshall

Sponsor's Web Site

Sponsor's Phone: (269) 781-5166

GPS: 42.240733 -84.936133

Commentary:  Brooks Nature Area is located on the west side of 18 1/2 Mile Road on the south side of Marshall north of Stuart Lake. 

According to the Web site, Marshall's largest park features 188 acres of diverse habitat and ecology teeming with a wide variety of wildlife including waterfowl (sandhill cranes in flight pictured here), many types of birds and mammals. In 2006 native prairie plantings were re-introduced to 88 acres of the Nature Area.  Fields, wetlands and hardwood stands are all part of the park's ecosystem.

Some mammoth hardwood trees along the lake are estimated to be over 300 years old.

 

Grever's Nature Center

Location: Verona Road, Marshall Township

Sponsored by Marshall Public School System
Sponsor's Brochure (facsimile)

GPS: 42.307867 -85.051233

Commentary:   Grever's Nature Center is a gem to visit!  About 90 acres in size, it was donated to the Marshall Public Schools by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Grevers. 
 
Mr. Grevers, who with his wife had immigrated from Holland, purchased the land in 1941, raised perennial flowers on some of it, planted seedling pines on the more hilly portions, and maintained over six miles of trails through the acreage.  The western portion of Mud Lake lies within the center.

All areas except the narrow strip of swamp land at the north end are accessible by trail.

A very informative brochure can be picked up at the parking lot which provides a map of the trail system and a commentary on the variety of habitat, flora and fauna to be found.

One point of interest is that the swamp directly north of the Center is the headwaters of Dickinson Creek which flows through the Historic Bridge Park at Battle Creek.
 

Historic Bridge Park

Location: Emmett Charter Township (east of Battle Creek)

Sponsor's Web Site
Sponsor's Brochure

Another Related Web Site

Sponsor's Phone: (269) 781-0782

GPS: 42.290233 -85.114717

Commentary:   The North Country National Scenic Trail passes through Historic Bridge Park, formerly known as "County Park", which lies along the Kalamazoo River and Dickinson Creek with a scenic overview of the river.  The Historic Bridge Park offers many recreational opportunities such as picnicking, walking/hiking, bike riding, fishing, boating and wildlife observation.

The unique feature of Historic Bridge Park are its restored bridges.  The concept of Historic Bridge Park is to rehabilitate historic bridges, which can no longer serve vehicular transportation, to another use such as pedestrian or non-motorized activities. 

The restored bridges are placed within the park to serve not only as part of a pedestrian path, but also as a "hands on" exhibit of Michigan's transportation history and the technology of cast iron and steel fabrication.
 

The park has five refurbished bridges.

The park is open year around from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily.

 

Homer Linear Park

Location: Homer

Sponsor's Web Site

GPS: 42.148417 -84.805433
Chief Noonday Chapter Map Mash-up for Homer

Commentary:  The Village of Homer's Linear Park is a beautiful and quiet bicycle trail that begins near Grist Mill park, goes under the M-60 bridge, and continues along the Kalamazoo River and all the way out to Hillsdale Street. 

The entire trail is is paved  except for a stretch of boardwalk in a marshy area.

 

Towards the end of the trail, there is a scenic resting point which is especially pretty in the spring.


 

 

Kimball Pines County Park

Location: Emmett Charter Township

Sponsor's Web Site
Sponsor's Brochure
Sponsor's Phone: (269) 781-0782

GPS: 42.307133 -85.126650

Commentary:  Kimball Pines County Park is located off Michigan Avenue behind the Calhoun County Medical Care Facility in Emmett Township. 

Kimball Pines has almost 100 acres of hiking opportunities in a rural setting with largely new growth of plants and trees.

The North Country National Scenic Trail and the Calhoun County Trailway pass through this park.

On May 29, 2011, the plantation pines that used to be the focus of this park (see pre-storm picture above) were toppled due to straight line winds. Thousands of trees were destroyed or had to be removed later, profoundly altering the park's ecosystem.

Since that time the park is slowly being rebuilt to include the amenities it once had. The disc golf course is being reassembled and a restroom is open seasonally from May 1st to October 31st.

  

Marshall Riverwalk

Location: Marshall

Sponsor's Web Site
Sponsor's Brochure (facsimile)

Sponsor's Phone: (269) 781-5166

East (Stuart's Landing) GPS: 42.260917 -84.951833
Public Services Building (parking) GPS: 42.262767 -84.956167

West (Pearl Street parking) GPS: 42.265917 -84.960783
Chief Noonday Chapter Map Mash-up for Marshall

Commentary:  The marvelous Marshall Riverwalk has many spectacular views along the beautiful Kalamazoo River. 

Cooperative efforts on the part of NCTA and the City of Marshall are under way to incorporate the Riverwalk into the North Country National Scenic Trail as it passes through Marshall.

Construction for the Riverwalk began in 1996 through the City of Marshall’s Capital Improvement Program and a series of DNR grants.  The Riverwalk was a four-phase project that was completed in June of 2002.

The first phase of the Riverwalk began at Stuart’s Landing, a popular park at the east end of the trail which offers restrooms, parking, a picnic pavilion, picnic tables and grills, benches, a fishing dock and a boat ramp.

The 1.6 mile Riverwalk comprises both elevated boardwalk and paved pathways.  There are five pedestrian bridges, boat and canoe launches, as well as scenic overlook areas.  Wooded pathways follow both Rice Creek and the Kalamazoo River, providing a great opportunity to view wildlife in its natural habitat.

Along with the long and winding boardwalk, this Riverwalk also features thousands of feet of scenic sidewalk paths intertwined with the Riverwalk.  A canoe launch, restrooms and ample parking can also be found at the Public Service Building just off South Marshall Avenue, midway through the boardwalk.

Near the Public Service Building is an authentic Pagoda constructed in China for the Riverwalk through donations.  Along the Riverwalk you can view a number of places significant in Marshall's industrial and social history, including a relic from Marshall's first stone flouring mill, the Marshall Power House, Perrinville, and "Bums Alley."   For details, pick up an interesting brochure at the Recreation & Parks office in the Public Service Building (or click here for a facsimile).
 

 

Ott Biological Preserve

Location: Emmett Charter Township (east of Battle Creek)

Sponsor's Web Site: click here

Sponsor's Phone: (269) 781-0782

North side GPS: 42.322617 -85.126650
South side GPS: 42.313483 -85.121683

Commentary:   The Ott Biological Preserve comprises 300 acres of green space located just east of Battle Creek in Emmett Township. This county park contains natural habitats that have been shaped extensively by glaciers.

Within the boundaries of the preserve are two spring fed kettle lakes, Brigham Lake and Hall Lake, as well as the east edge of Dexter Lake, along with wet peaty lowlands and dry, sandy uplands.  The uplands include two prominent eskers (glacial ridges), one traveling nearly the length of the property from southwest to northeast.

Elevations in the preserve range from 852 to 920 feet above sea level, with the lowest point being Hall Lake and the highest point near the northeast edge of the property.  Well-developed hardwood forests of the uplands include black, red and white oaks, and pignut and shagbark hickories with flowering dogwood as a common understory tree.  The Web site provides a wealth of information on the numerous species and varieties of trees and plants to be found in Ott Preserve, as well as the variety of birds and critters who make their home here.   

A small map is available on the Web site which can give you an idea of the routing of the main trail through the preserve along with the Stuarek Trail Loop and the J. H. Kellogg Trail.  The preserve is open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Because the area is a nature preserve, all natural features, including flora and fauna, are protected.  Activities such as hunting, fishing, flower-picking and firewood cutting are prohibited as are motorized vehicles, with the exception of wheelchairs or other conveyances for disabled persons. 

 

 

 

 

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