Kalamazoo Hiking

These 6 Kalamazoo Hiking Trails Deliver Real Adventure in Southwest Michigan

I recently took a trip to visit friends that live by the mountains and I remember sitting in awe as they discussed the laundry list of options for our impending morning hike; there were so many fabulous routes to choose from! To properly compete, I figured I needed to make a laundry list of my own of the best hiking trails Kalamazoo boasts.

Since we don’t have the mountains, we’ll focus on trails: paved trails, gravel trails, dirt trails, and otherwise.

Here are six Kalamazoo hiking trails to try (in no particular order)…

Photo Courtesy Of Sydney Hill
Photo Courtesy of Sydney Hill

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (KRVT)  

Surface: Paved

This is a staple trail in Kalamazoo. Today it’s 17 miles long, however, when it’s complete it will span 35 miles! It’s a great mix of woods and city, adventure and calm, curves and straightaways. The paved trail makes it great for all skill levels, easy to ride, walk, or run on.

Plus, the KRVT connects with the Nature Center and the Kal-Haven Trail (as I’ll explain soon, everybody’s buddy)!

6 Trails To Try In Kalamazoo For Real Adventure - Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Sydney Hill

Kalamazoo Nature Center 

Surface: Dirt

Over 10 miles of trails perfect for walkers and runners – sorry, no bikes or pups allowed! There’s plenty to take in on the wide trail around and through different sections of prairie, wetland, forest, and field.

A beautiful stream runs through nearly the entire area and eventually connects with the Kalamazoo River where you’ll find a series of scenic outlooks. Keep in mind, it’s a great area to visit in the fall when the leaves are changing.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center does a fabulous job of providing trail information and routes on their website, listing 14 different routes in total.

Kal-Haven Trail

Surface: Limestone/Slag (Gravel)

If we were doing superlative awards for trails, the Kal-Haven would definitely be “Everybody’s Buddy” – seasonally friendly, flat, and fabulous. This 33-mile trail welcomes bikers, runners, walkers, dogs, horses, snowmobilers, and skiers!

Plus, the trail lends a helping hand along the way from Kalamazoo to South Haven with several water stations and outhouses. Many people make it a tradition to make a tasty pit stop in Bloomingdale, a town the trail runs through, for a quick bite to eat.

6 Trails To Try In Kalamazoo For Real Adventure - Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Sydney Hill

Markin Glen Park

Surface: Dirt and Paved

Double the fun: Markin Glen has two entrances! The east entrance opens up into campgrounds, picnic areas, volleyball courts, and a section of paved trails. The west entrance has picnic shelters, but also a small series of dirt trails.

These trails won’t be the longest on the list, but rumor has it the open area at the top of the dirt trail is the highest point in Kalamazoo!

Kleinstuck Preserve 

Surface: Dirt

This pleasant trail is part of a 48-acre preserve with rich history, tucked back into the neighborhoods between Oakland Dr. and S. Westnedge Ave. It’s a narrow circular loop inviting to walkers, runners, and dogs. Runners often use the trail for speed work.

6 Trails To Try In Kalamazoo For Real Adventure - Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Sydney Hill

Al Sabo Preserve

Surface: Dirt

Al Sabo, located on the west side of Kalamazoo behind KVCC’s campus, boasts about 25 miles of trails. Be sure to pay attention to your route on these trails, it’s easy to get turned around.

6 Trails To Try In Kalamazoo For Real Adventure - Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Sydney Hill

Chipman Preserve

Surface: Dirt

Chipman Preserve, located on the east side of Kalamazoo, can be considered Al Sabo’s younger brother. A bit smaller, around 200 acres and 5 miles of trails, but with a similar feel. The Trail boasts beautiful areas of open fields and shaded forests.

More Kalamazoo Trails to Explore

Now do me a favor, don’t just click on the links and view the pictures – get out there and walk, run, or ride on Kzoo’s trails!

Do you have any suggestions of more Kalamazoo trails to explore? I’m always looking to find more places for adventures.


  1. I agree that asylum lake is good, the different trails from forest to field is nice. Lillian Ann arboretum, Bow in the clouds preserve, and Wolf tree nature trails are good as well. Not the longest hikes but beautiful at different points in the season

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *