The Kal-Haven Trail is a multi-use trail that is open year-round, seven days a week. According to the Van Buren County website, it connects the cities of Kalamazoo and South Haven, a popular resort for Western Michigan residents, known for its bed and breakfasts and, as well as the scenic water beauty of its beaches.
You may think to yourself, “I love to bike, but not in the winter.” Not to worry. Although the Kal-Haven Trail is normally thought of as just a bike path, it also is ideal for people who like to hike and snowmobile. The only thing Van Buren County, who has run the path since 2004, asks of you is, if you are a snowmobiler, wait until at least four inches of snow have fallen before attempting to operate a snowmobile on the trail.
Back in 1997, I went along the trail twice–once in a car with a couple of my friends, and once on my bike. I the first thing I marveled at was how long the trail was–33.5 miles. That is long. Long enough for you to need to pack a lunch, or to take money for food. I didn’t make it all the way through. I turned back–I forget why. On a warm day, please take something to keep your body from becoming dehydrated. Take a sports drink, and a small cooler. If you have a thermos mounted on your bike, use that.
The prices for this resort are reasonable as well. According to the Van Buren website, you can enjoy a full day as an individual for just $3. A $15 pass pays for you year-round. If you decide to bring the family, you pay $7 if you want to enjoy the path for the day. A $35 pass pays for you year-round.
In case you’re wondering where to pick up tickets for the Kal-Haven trail, the Van Buren website points out that the Kal-Haven trail has three staffed locations. One is on 10th Street in Kalamazoo. There is another one at the Bloomingdale Depot Train Station, in Bloomingdale. The final one is at the end point in South Haven.
Don’t try to go down this trail for free. Rangers are around, and they could catch you at any time, and you could be in for big trouble.
But the trail is open from 8am to 10pm daily, Monday through Sunday.
Now that’s what I call a bargain.
“The Kal Haven Trail.” Van Buren County Community Center website.