There’s no better way to stay active, get outdoors and explore the area than cross country skiing. This activity is fun for all ages, and there are a variety of trails between Kent County and Ottawa County offering varying levels of difficulty to meet every level of skier.
Try out some of these great spots this season and slide through the winter wonderlands of West Michigan.
A great place to start is Palmer Park. This is the only spot in Kent County where the trails are plowed and ski equipment is available for rent. Trail fees are $2 per person or $25 for a season pass. All trailheads begin at the Kaufman Golf Course clubhouse, and there is also year-round access to heated restrooms, snacks and beverages within the clubhouse. Palmer Park offers three different loops, each loop being 2 miles long.
Rogue River Park
For a riverfront ride, visit Rogue River Park located off Belmont. This trail is just 1.5 miles round trip for a quick and easy ride with great views of the woods, wetlands and river. Access the trail at the White Pine Trailhead.
If you want a longer trek, try out Millennium Park and it’s nearly 18 miles of trails. This park offers countless options and numerous trails so you’ll never get bored. The terrain is mostly flat, with a few loops containing some hills. Millennium Park is located in Walker, with trailheads at Buttworth/O’Brien intersection as well as on the east side of Maynard Avenue.
*Note that at Rogue River Park and Millennium Park, parking lots are only plowed on weekdays and there are no public restrooms available from November through April.
Pigeon Creek Park
For a full day of activities and fun for the entire family, head over to Pigeon Creek Park. The park has lighted and groomed cross country trails for both traditional cross country skiing and skate skiing, and they also offer ski lessons. Ski lessons are available at beginner, intermediate and skate ski levels, offered several days per week from January through February (visit website to pre-register). Ski rentals are available for $8 for adults and $5 for youth at the lodge.
In addition to skiing, Pigeon Creek also has snowshoeing trails and snowshoe rentals for adults, $6, and youth, $3, and an excellent sledding hill located just beside the lodge that is free to use and well lit. The lodge is heated with public restrooms and concessions open every day of the week. Bundle up, pack the sleds and bring the whole family along for a day full of winter activities.
Another great spot for family fun is Hemlock Crossing. Cross country skiing trails are open to the public, and snowshoeing trails give guests fun and frosty views. Snowshoe rentals are available for all ages at the Nature Center for $6, and frequent guided walking tours are available throughout the winter (view calendar to learn more). There’s always a fire burning in the Great Room during park hours to warm you up after your outdoor adventures.
*Photos courtesy of Ottawa County Parks & Recreation