The Al Sabo Land Preserve is located a few miles South West of Kalamazoo, near Texas Corners.
Cannonsburg Ski Area and the trails are officially closed to runners until March 28th
Fort Custer State Recreation area is near Augusta off M96 / Dickman Road, with close access for people from Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.
Luton Park is, at its core, a trail with many layers…or loops as it were. That’s because it has a seemingly endless number of options to choose from. The entire trail is 9 miles long at its longest, but there are 6 different loops, all color coded for ease of use; blue, orange, black, red, green, and yellow. The blue loop is the center loop and the connector to the remaining 5 loops (imagine the center of a daisy). It’s about 2 miles long, and fairly uneventful. It is completely utilitarian, and it’s perfect in that it gets you the fun.
There are a lot of ways to begin a talk about the Merrell Trail. After all, it isn’t like any other trail in West Michigan. It was designed by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers, and was funded by the very generous people at Wolverine World Wide. It was completely built, and is completely maintained, by local groups, and has quickly become one of the best spots to ride in our area. This review will be from the vantage point of a trail runner though, so I hope the bikers take it easy on me in their comments.
If the Canonsburg Ski Area Trail is the roomy trail in a "good woods," then Robinette's trail is the tight, mean trail in a haunted woods. Hmm. . . . all of us love this trail, but you'll often hear it referred to as a technical trail. Indeed, it's full of quick turns, steep slopes, tree roots, and even a log here or there to step over.
Tucked into the hills of Ada is a gem of the Kent County Parks. Seidman Park was the first trail I ever ran in Grand Rapids, and continues to be a favorite of mine. It’s also a great trail for new trail runners to “practice” on because there are no mountain bikes to worry about (foot traffic only and closed dusk to dawn!), the trails are wide, the roots and rocks are easily visible, and the majority of the hills are located in the yellow loop so you can avoid them, or mentally prepare for them. The only bad part of Seidman Park . . .
Yankee Springs is my favorite place in Southwest Michigan for a long run. It is a 5200 acre State Park about half-way between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. It has two campgrounds, several lakes, and many miles of trails. Some of the trails are designated for mountain biking, some for hiking, and some for skiing, but as runners we get to explore all the trails.