20+ Favorite Kalamazoo Bike Trails and Hiking Trails for Families

Kalamazoo Hiking Trail

Hike or Bike Your Way Around Kalamazoo

Warmer weather means it’s time to get outside and explore all that Mother Nature has to offer.

Southwest Michigan is a gem when it comes to the abundance of beautiful parks, preserves, and natural settings. There are plenty of paths suitable for hiking and biking. Whether you are looking for an easy enough path for a toddler or something a little more challenging and rugged, we’ve got it covered.

Remember to check opening and closing times for each location. Have handy essential items such as water, sunscreen, and bug spray.

Admittance to the following locations are free, unless listed otherwise.

Hiking for Families

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John Ball Zoo

Take a day trip to John Ball Zoo! Visit meerkats, tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, red pandas, otters, and more. Plus, don’t miss BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise – featuring over 40 life-sized animal sculptures created with over 1.8 million individually colored toy building bricks!

John Ball Zoo

1300 Fulton St W
Grand Rapids, Michigan
49504
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Important Message: Area businesses are working to implement procedures based on the new safety guidelines. For each of the attractions and events we mention, we include a link to the business website. Please use this link to confirm the details, hours of operation and any requirements guests must follow before visiting. Thank You!

HIKING TRAILS

Grab the gear and find an adventure at one of these popular hiking destinations near Kalamazoo:

Al Sabo Land Preserve | 6310 Texas Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

With over 25 miles of trails, there is something for every level at Al Sabo. You and the kids can ride bikes on the marked baths, or you can enjoy a scenic walk. Find a bench along the paths – a perfect stop to rest little feet and take a snack break.

Girls Hiking Kalamazoo


Chipman Preserve | 8395 E Main St, Galesburg, MI 49053

Chipman Preserve is a beautiful location with six miles of scenic trails through forest and grassland. The Preserve is part of the HOP (Hike Our Preserves) Program.

Boy Hiking Kalamazoo


Fort Custer Recreation Area | 5163 W Fort Custer Dr, State Highway M-96, Augusta, MI 49012| Entrance Fee Applies (or free with Michigan Recreational Passport)

An expansive recreation area awaits at Fort Custer with three lakes as well as the Kalamazoo River, high rolling meadows, soggy wetland, and abundant woods. There are 22 miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails, and campsites.

boy hiking Fort Custer Recreation Area


Kalamazoo Nature Center | 7000 N Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 | Entrance Fee Applies

In addition to the indoor exhibit center, there are a variety of trails to hike and a trail map available to guide you along the way. Trails are marked by length and level of difficulty. The nature trails range from 0.2 easy miles to 2.7 difficult miles.


Kellogg Bird Sanctuary | 12685 E C Ave, Augusta, MI | Entrance Fee Applies

We love feeding the geese and the ducks in the pond and walking around to explore the property.  The path is paved and stroller friendly.


Kleinstuck Preserve | 2100 Stearns Ave, Kalamazoo, MI  49008

An easy one-mile hike through beautiful and largely untouched woods is what you will find in the hidden gem, Kleinstuck Preserve. This is perfect for preschool kids, as they will delight at the fallen tree balance beams, the large teepee made out of sticks, and the almost guaranteed deer sighting. Note: there are no restrooms at this trail.


Leila Arboretum and Children’s Garden | 928 W Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49037

The Children’s Garden in Battle Creek is an ever-changing environment where children can explore the world of plants. The larger Leila Arboretum offers spacious paths and landscapes to explore.


Oshtemo Wildflower Prairie | 7265 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Make your way through the wildflower prairie maze just east of the Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library.

Enter the trail from the parking lot of the library, and you can follow it all the way to the Oshtemo Township Park trails and playground, or loop back around to the library.


West Lake Nature Preserve | 9001 S Westnedge, Portage, MI 49002

Grab your rain boots and take a stroll through paths that lead to a scenic view of West Lake. Portions of the bog trail are floating on water, and kids love the water that squirts up through the planks.

There is a nature-themed playground at the trailhead and a pavilion with restrooms.

Bog Hike


W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest | 7060 N 42nd St, Augusta, MI 49012

Established on abandoned agricultural land, the 716-acre forest is an ideal location for a hike when you want to feel completely immersed in nature. We love the covered bridge at the entrance for fish watching.

Due to the changing landscape, hiking may be challenging with strollers or young children.


Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Trails | 34270 Co Rd 652, Mattawan, MI 49071

You may have been to the Fish Hatchery to feed the fish or take a tour, but the often overlooked trails are a great way to explore with the kids. Make sure to snag a scavenger hunt guide in the visitor center. There are bathrooms in the visitor center, and the paths are stroller friendly.


BIKE TRAILS

Southwest Michigan offers a number of options to explore on two wheels; try these 9 Kalamazoo bike paths in varying difficulties and distances:

Eliason Nature Reserve Trail | 1614 W Osterhout Ave, Portage, MI 49024

The Eliason Nature Reserve is a 123-acre property offering a combination of uplands and wetlands and is part of the Bishop’s Bog complex. The paved trail is spacious and allows for easy passing of walkers, joggers, and bikers.


Kal-Haven Trail | Trailheads at 10th Street, Kalamazoo and Baily Street, South Haven

Boasting over 30 miles of limestone path, the Kal-Haven trail connects Kalamazoo with South Haven. The scenic route takes riders through farmland, wooded areas, and over rivers and streams. The trail can also be used for cross-country skiing, hiking, and walking or running.


Kalamazoo River Valley Trail | D Avenue East, Kalamazoo

The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a regional trail connecting parts of Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren County. Currently, there are 22 miles of paved, asphalt trail suitable for non-motorized transportation.

There are entrances to the trail including 10th Street, Westnedge Ave, 35th St in Galesburg, D Avenue, Verburg Park, Riverview Park, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Kalamazoo Bike Trail


Kindleberger Park122 N Riverview Dr, Parchment, MI 49004

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of over 40 acres. There are paved paths around the park as well as playgrounds, tennis courts, pavilions, and summer entertainment.


Lakeview Park | 9345 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002

A great access spot to bike with younger kids is Lakeview Park. There are paved paths across the park perfect for little bikes or strollers. Afterward, you can play at the two playgrounds or go out on the pier overlooking Austin Lake.


Linear Park | 35 W Hamblin Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

Linear Park in Battle Creek boasts over 26 miles of paved trail for biking, jogging, and general recreation. The trail goes around much of the greater Battle Creek area, so visitors to the trail can hop on nearly anywhere.

Free parking with easy access is located near Friendship Park in downtown Battle Creek.


Markin Glen Park | 5300 N Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49004 | Entrance Fee Applies

Beginner and advanced bikers will enjoy riding the five miles of singletrack trails around the Maple Hill Bike Track located on the west side of the park. In addition to the bike trails, the park offers hiking, playgrounds, tennis courts and a sandy beach.


Portage Bikeway | Portage

The Portage Bikeway connects over 55 miles of off-road trails and bikeways throughout the city of Portage. Part of the bikeway is on regular city streets and part of the bikeway is on a separate, off-road paved trail for pedestrian and bike use.

The four-mile Portage Creek Bicentennial Trail is kept clear in the winter months, along with a stretch of trail between Romence Road and Constitution Boulevard. Make sure to use the full Bikeway Brochure.

Biking in Portage


Vicksburg Trailway | TU Ave west of Sprinkle Rd and Richardson St north of North St, Vicksburg

If your family is looking for a shorter ride, the Vicksburg Trailway is a 1.8-mile paved trail through scenic woodlands and northeastern Vicksburg neighborhoods. A portion of the trail passes through the Vicksburg Recreation Area, with areas for picnics, nature trails, and disc golf.

Make sure to stop at the Vicksburg Depot Museum to check out unique artifacts related to the area’s railroad history.

WORTH THE DRIVE

Albion River Trail | Victory Park on Veterans Way, Albion, MI 49224  

For bike enthusiasts, the Albion River Trail provides a fun, shorter ride for families looking to get out together and ride. This trail is 1.6 miles of paved 10-14 feet wide paths conducive to walking, bike riding, running, rollerblading, and skateboarding.


Fitzgerald Park | 133 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, MI 48837 | Entrance Fee Applies

For a unique view, hike the scenic ledges at Fitzgerald Park. Featuring three miles of hiking (plus a nature center), biking trails, disc golf course, playgrounds, horseshoe pits and spectacular views of the registered Michigan Historic Site.


Van Buren Trail State Park | 57th Ave/Prospect St, Hartford & Lovejoy Ave, South Haven 

This 14-mile trail features paved and unimproved grass trail along the old Toledo and South Haven Railroad. Although some of the trails are grass, it is well-maintained. Fat-tire bikes are best for this trail.