Looking for an easy beginner hike to take with the kids? Check out some of these free locations in and around Kalamazoo that offer easy trails, and unique ways of experiencing nature.
2100 Stearns Ave, Kalamazoo | Open and unrestricted access
An easy 1 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. The path is not well marked, but is one large loop that is easy to follow. There are no restrooms at this trail.
9001 S. Westnedge, Portage | Open 8:00 am – sunset
Heading out to the bog is certainly an experience to be remembered. Portions of the trail are floating on water, and water squirts up through the planks as you walk along. This is really exciting for adventurous kids. Be sure to bring bug spray for your walk as it is a damp environment. There is a playground at the trailhead and a pavilion with restrooms. You can find a guided tour map of the hiking trails here.
7265 W Main St, Kalamazoo | Open from sunrise to sunset
This is a very small winding trail through a wildflower prairie just east of the Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library. It feels like a maze as you walk through the many trails carved into the tall wildflowers. 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.
34270 Co Rd 652, Mattawan | Open sunrise to sunset
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. Interpretive panels line the paths to offer insights and information about the area. The large lake trail features a birdwatching boardwalk, where you are sure to spot many different birds. For little kids learning their colors, there are signs at every junction featuring fish in primary colors to guide you on the right path. There are bathrooms in the visitor center, and the paths are stroller friendly.