Moving To Grand Rapids
When searching “hiking trails near me,” it can be overwhelming all of the parks and trails that come up, especially in Grand Rapids. There are so many parks and little pockets of wilderness that beg to be explored. I know when I first moved here I was desperate for some time surrounded by trees as I had never lived in a big city before. I definitely made the mistake of showing up to Millennium Park with my hiking boots and walking stick. I was expecting a dirt hiking trail and if you haven’t been to the paved and manicured Millennium Park, it is absolutely gorgeous, but not the wilderness excursion I had in mind.
How I Started Hiking
I grew up in a small town that had a lot of woods that I deeply enjoyed exploring as both a child and an adult. One of my favorite pastimes was walking through that old woods, building forts from the fallen branches and foliage, and trying to find a new spot I had not explored before. After years of my own games amongst the trees, I found that I depended on my time in solitude with nature for both my mental and physical health.
It sounds simple, going for a walk, but the benefits that hiking has brought to my life are deep and complex. I am a grade A hiking fan, so when I moved to a city for the first time in my life I felt like a fish out of water. Without my contemplative weekly woods hikes, I found myself being more anxious and high strung. Thus my commitment to find a new woods to explore began and through my own journey I found some pretty amazing spots. I weirdly almost don’t want to name a few because of how hidden they are, but that’s just the “only child” syndrome in me. Check out my top 5 hiking spots!
Top 5 Hiking Trails Near Grand Rapids
It took me three years to find the best hiking trails, so here are the top 5:
Number One: Lamoreaux Park
Lamoreaux Park is easily my favorite slice of woods and hiking trail. There is a 1.5 mile loop that is both riverside and wooden. You can hike the loop or explore Mother Nature, where you can expect to find some hidden gems. This is the park that I find the most seashells for art projects, take the most pictures, and I have even followed a deer trail or two. This park is my go-to when I need some mental peace of I want to move my body and get out of my head.
Number Two: Provin Trails
If you are looking to both go for a hike and eat a snack of picnic, Provin is the place for you. Scattered throughout the woods there are little lean to forts that are perfect for a private rest between hiking. Moreover, there is a little sand dune in the middle of the park that is beyond fun to roll down, though I warn you that coming back up is far harder than going down. You can
Number Three: Ball Perkins Park
If you want to go for a hike/walk with water views, Ball Perkins Park is a great choice. This is a straight trail, 1.3 miles, instead of a loop and a more leisurely hike. The path is predominately gravel and somewhat narrow with absolutely stunning views. If you like watching water, something I have done since I was little, you won’t be disappointed as there are great lookouts to enjoy the views. You can often see someone walking their dog on this trail so if your furry friend also needs a walk, don’t hesitate to bring them along for the ride.
Number Four: Ken-O-Sha Park
Ken-O-Sha Park is a great option if you are looking for a more family oriented and accessible park, this paved trail has something for everyone. You can both explore the wilderness and play a game of basketball or baseball. There is also a picnic area that is great for a mid hike lunch. If you have younger kids, they may also really enjoy the playground in between smelling the wildflowers. My absolute favorite experience when walking through Ken-O-Sha park was when I walked across the bridge, went right and followed the path nearest to the river to see the salmon mating in mid May. There were 10s if not 100s of salmon flopping about the river and it felt like a nature documentary unfolding before my eyes. It was an experience that I will remember for many more years to come.
Number Five: Millennium Park
Although Millennium Park did not offer the strictly wilderness experience that I initially was searching for, it is undeniable how lovely this park is. This extremely large park has something for everyone, any time of year. Whether it is going for a swim, hiking through the woods, or even cross country skiing in the winter, this is an amazing place to be. You can even rent kayaks and canoes for a water adventure! Every time I visit Millennium Park, I am pleasantly surprised.
Now that you know some of my favorite hiking trails, hopefully if you are in the Grand Rapids area you feel inspired to go for a hike. Hiking trails are not all the same and every time I put on my boots, I know that a lovely few hours are ahead of me. Even when I deviate from the trail and get lost, something that has happened more times than I want to admit, it has been nothing short of lovely at each of these hiking trails.
Please feel free to share your hiking experiences, your favorite hiking trials, or any special spots in Grand Rapids with us! You can find us on social media or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org your favorite hiking trails. I assure you, I will appreciate challenging my top 5 favorites. Happy hiking!