Outdoor activities in Kalamazoo
August 9, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

What are the primo outdoor fun opportunities in Kalamazoo, MI?

I'm moving to Kalamazoo, MI and will live there from September through December. I love all outdoor activities. I will have 2 or 3-day weekends from my job and a functioning car (so a couple hour's drive is ok). I will also have my road bike.

I want to max out on my hike/bike/run-beautiful-places/kayak/canoe/x-c-ski in the time I'm there. What places would you recommend? Do you know of any not-to-be-missed events in the outdoors vein in the region?
posted by thewestinggame to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go to the Kalamazoo Nature Center!

Check out the Kal-Haven and Kalamazoo River Valley trails!

Go ride with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club!

Avoid the horrible recent oil spill!
posted by Anonymous at 9:55 PM on August 9, 2010

Take a trip up north and ride your bike around Leelanau County.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:42 AM on August 10, 2010

Spend as much time in the parks as you can. Kalamazoo has beautiful parks. Milham and Crane were my favorites growing up, and the Hall (Hull?) Estate was next to Milham. Absolutely beautiful places. And yes, do go to the Kalamazoo Nature Center. I went there a lot as a kid.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:44 AM on August 10, 2010

I enjoyed the Fredrick Meijer Sculpture Garden very much- beautiful landscaping, interesting sculpture. Very nice place to walk around on a fall afternoon.
posted by Adridne at 7:23 AM on August 10, 2010

Breakaway Bicycles (in Portage, right next to kzoo) has regular, well-attended group road rides. In the past they were on Tuesdays and Thursdays, one a hammerfest and one more relaxed.

As for outdoor activities, I don't have that much experience in the immediate vicinity (I grew up up North). Everyone outdoors-oriented that I know that lives (lived) there ended up working at Lee's Adventure Sports, so I would recommend swinging in there to get advice on where to go, find climbing buddies, etc.

As for cross-country skiing, the earliest snow will be at Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, since they actually make it! Their trails are relatively short and flat though, especially the loop that they make snow on. Due to state budget cuts, there are only a few major trails in the Lower Peninsula that have really good grooming. One is the Vasa Trail in Traverse City, which has almost 50km of groomed trails. Another place is Hanson Hills in Grayling. They both have really great trails, the Vasa trail being more long uphills/downhills, cruising, while Hanson is a lot more short steep rollers.

Other places...hiking and/or kayaking the Sleeping Bear Dunes and camping at DH Day Campground is totally excellent. The Pine River is the fastest river in the Lower Peninsula, and is closer to you. If you can go on a Friday or Monday, it is less crowded, and I don't think you need a permit. The Manitou Islands are also worth a visit in the early fall, when there are fewer people and good colors.

I could go on for quite a while about Up North, but have work to do. Enjoy your time in MI!
posted by rockindata at 10:01 AM on August 10, 2010

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