In the midst of Kalkaska County is a natural preserve area that allows you to feel like you have stepped into a fairy tale. The Seven Bridges Nature Area is a pristine preserve consisting of more than 300 acres that almost disappeared entirely when it was slated for residential real estate development. If you are looking for an enchanting and mystical Michigan excursion, then this spot should rank high on your summer bucket list.
About Seven Bridges Nature Area
While its name indicates that there are seven bridges to cross in this preserve, there actually are only four existing bridges in the area today. These rustic bridges allow you to cross by foot over the Rapid River, which rushes and winds throughout the park. Most visitors to the area begin on the one-mile-long trail and find that they enjoy complete peace and tranquility as they walk along it. It’s a gentle trail that accommodates hikers or walkers, and its ease of use makes it a favorite spot among people of all skill levels.
Even young children can successfully complete the trail, all while taking in the sights of the forest that looks like something straight out of their storybooks. When you spend a day at Seven Bridges Nature Area, you will quickly discover why this spot is considered by locals to be the “Jewel of Kalkaska County.”
Fishing in Kalkaska
In addition to walking along the trail and crossing over each of the bridges, you also will find that this is the perfect place to try to catch a trout in Kalkaska County. The trout love the speed and depth of the river, and you will often see people fishing along the shores in hopes of catching a bite. Whether you are an experienced fisherman or you are holding a rod for the very first time, you will have a great time trying to get a catch in this part of Michigan.
National Trout Memorial
When you take a trip to Kalkaska, you will soon see that the trout is revered in this part of the Mitten State. In fact, the National Trout Memorial is located in the heart of the village of Kalkaska. It’s impossible to miss this iconic memorial because it’s a larger-than-life trout fountain that is situated in front of the Kalkaska County Historical Museum.
The fountain was built in the mid-1960s, and since then, there have been three massive fish that have served as its centerpiece. The current fish is about 18 feet tall, with dozens of water sprays cascading around it. Known by the locals as the Fisherman’s Shrine, it’s probably the best place to take a selfie while you are in town.
Kalkaska County Historical Museum
After you have posted that to Instagram, head to the Kalkaska County Historical Museum in order to learn more about the place where you are staying. The museum is open during the summer from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and is run by volunteers who are passionate about keeping the history of this part of Michigan alive.
Where to Eat in Kalkaska County
Continuing your trout tour of Kalkaska County, you should head on over to Trout Town Tavern and Eatery in Kalkaska. This restaurant is owned by an experienced chef who likes to showcase the best of what the local trout has to offer. When you dine at this restaurant located in a cozy log cabin building, you will find that you experience the warmth and generosity of the local people. The menu is filled with a variety of delicious meals, including Parmesan Rainbow Trout and the Jumbo Fish Sandwich. Of course, landlubbers will be happy to know that there are many burgers, sandwiches, and salads available as well.
Another hidden gem in Kalkaska is Shirley’s in the Woods Cafe. This is the kind of place that is frequented regularly by the people who live in the area, and that visitors quickly fall in love with. With its welcoming atmosphere, charming home-like decor, and menu filled with homemade delights, it’s easy to see why everyone likes to head to this tiny restaurant that is tucked away in the woods of Kalkaska County. Don’t forget to finish off your meal with one of the homemade pies that are available that day. You won’t regret it!
Where to Stay in Kalkaska County
If you want to extend your summer bucket list adventures in Michigan, be sure to stay a night or two at one of these vacation rentals in Kalkaska County:
- 4 Season Fun at Torch Lake! Hot Tub, Ski, Pontoon Rental, Secluded, Honeymoon!!!
- Brand NEW Cottage on Private, Secluded 10 Wooded Acres 2 mi. From Torch Lake
- Lake Skegemog Dream Retreat: Boat, Ski & Sip!
Photos of Seven Bridges Nature Area