5 Cool Kalamazoo-Area Trails Your Kids Should Discover (and now is the perfect time)

Trails for Families - kids walking - Schrier Park

It’s Time to Hit the Outdoors with these 5 Trails You May Not Know About

What we all need right now is something to shake away that feeling that everyday is Groundhog Day, and visiting one of these lesser-known trail gems will do the trick. 

I was an avid hiker in Denver, so ever since we moved here roughly three years ago, I have been on the hunt for the paths less traveled. 

A few of the trails below I’ve frequented myself or were suggested to me by like-minded nature enthusiasts.  Wolf Tree was the first trail I went on with kids where I felt like I was actually hiking; it was quiet so you could hear the noises of nature and still relatively untouched. Bishop’s Bog is a close second, and even though it does border a neighborhood, you can still hear the birds singing and the occasional “plop” of something seeking refuge in the water.

It’s no wonder why many of these hidden trails remain Kalamazoo’s best-kept secrets. But now, the mystery is over.

Read on for a quick list of some of the best walks in town. And, review our expanded list (including a map) of the best biking and hiking trails.

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!


5 Hidden Hiking Spots Around Kalamazoo that are Perfect for Families

Hiking trails located within 30 minutes drive from Kalamazoo where you can find something for the outdoors person in everyone! Bonus: all locations listed are free and open to the public. 

1. Bishop’s Bog Preserve | 9920 S Westnedge Ave, Portage, MI 49024

I only recently learned about this natural treasure from a friend, and it does not disappoint. The main attraction is, you guessed it, the ancient bog that is home to several rare plant species. This 152-acre preserve hosts such a wide variety of wildlife, the Kalamazoo Nature Center created a specialized resource to guide you on your journey. The trailhead is shared with the Portage Bikeway Trail System, so veer left towards the bog. 

Bog Hike

Be forewarned though, the trail consists only of floating docks so you will get wet. Pack your boots, a change of clothes and during warmer months, bug repellant is essential. 

Stroller Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: Yes
Best for ages: 3+

2. Wolf Tree Nature Trails | 8829 W KL Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

This Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy park packs a punch for a few reasons: 1) I went several times and never saw more than three cars in the parking lot 2) there is both prairie and forest hikes, so you can avoid or invite the sun depending on the time of year and 3) it has a 5k training path.

Best trails for families in Kalamazoo

As the name suggests, it is home to wolf trees: old, looming trees with low, outstretched, and often craggy branches. We like to make a challenge to find the most of these wise old relics while winding through the trails.

Stroller Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: Yes
Best for ages: 2+

3. Schrier Park | 850 W Osterhout Ave, Portage, MI 49002

If your family likes variety in their modes of transportation, look no further than the smooth paths of Schrier Park. This is one of two southern entry points of the Portage Bikeway Trail System and connects with four South Portage parks, including Eliason Nature Reserve, South Westnedge Park, Bishop’s Bog, and Westlake Nature Preserve. While you can access Eliason Nature Reserve via the paved paths, it is also just a short drive west of the entrance to Schrier Park on Osterhout Road. 

My favorite area of this park is the large field of apple trees where photo opportunities and delightful smells abound in late spring. Though the trail is well-marked, I would advise you to bring a map just in case –  there are a few forks along the way. 

Stroller Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Best for ages: 2+

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

Seize another learning opportunity by taking the family to one of the largest oak savanna restoration sites in the state. Using a combination of fire and brush removal with seed and transplant methods, the SWMLC is working to bring this unique nature preserve back to its original glory. Be sure not to miss the array of color brought about by indigenous wildflowers in May and June!

Stroller Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: Yes
Best for ages: 2+

Boy Hiking Kalamazoo

5. Kleinstuck Preserve | 2100 Stearns Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure that’s a little more central, look no further than the Kleinstuck Preserve. Managed by Western Michigan University, this preserve holds five different types of habitat zones sure to please even the novice flora and fauna viewer. All trails into the preserve descend up to 50ft so you will have beautiful vistas to enjoy while you exercise. Word to the wise with this park: bring a map as there are a few offshoots along the way. 

Stroller Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: Yes
Best for ages: 5+

Hiking Trail

2 thoughts on “5 Cool Kalamazoo-Area Trails Your Kids Should Discover (and now is the perfect time)”

  1. You’ve got a typo on the Kleinstuck entry. It should be Stearns. Thanks for the info.

Comments are closed.