The Great Lake-to-Lake Trail offers Michigan’s trail users a unique opportunity to experience quiet rural pathways and urban excursions as it winds its way across the southern lower portion of Michigan from shore to shore. Whether a day listening to the birds chirping is on the docket or grabbing a burger and a quick ride is on the agenda, the trail offers something for everyone.
Both the Kal-Haven Trail (42°19′32″N85°40′08″W) and the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (42°19′32″N85°40′08″W) make up almost 60 miles of the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 in the Western Region, both of which run directly through Kalamazoo.
The Kal-Haven Trail features over 15 historic points of interest along the 33.5 mile-trail. The trail was once the Kalamazoo and South Haven Railroad, providing passenger and freight service between the two communities from 1870 to 1970. Various post office buildings, historic structures and other features supporting the railway can be viewed along the route.
The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail features local history from the Kalamazoo Nature Center and in to. The Nature Center has a historical working farm and contains the scenic Cooper’s Glen, the site of a Native American encampment prior to European settlement.
Points of Interest
Open Roads Bike Program is a non-profit organization created to help youth learn valuable social and vocational skills through the practice of bicycle repair and restoration. Sales support the year-round youth bike programs and their teen Apprentices play a key role in how they operate. Whether you have a flat, need a tune up or need an affordable refurbished bicycle, stop by Open Roads on your route and see if they can help!
The trail is ultimately then connected by a signed-route throughout downtown Kalamazoo.
Points of Interest Near the Route Downtown
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum was voted the top small museum in Michigan by readers of Michigan Living Magazine. The museum offers “Adventure You Can Touch”, celebrating history, science and technology in a highly interactive, hands-on way. It features a Digistar planetarium, simulated missions to space via the Challenger Learning Center, a 2,300 year-old mummy, an interactive Kalamazoo Direct to You history gallery and the Science in Motion gallery.
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts continues to bring art to West Michigan with first-rate traveling exhibitions, a stunning variety of permanent collection works in rotating shows, an Interactive Gallery, a new community cultural center auditorium, an expanded art school for all ages and a truly unique gallery shop. It offers unparalleled ambience for an elegant and memorable event and is ideal for receptions, cocktail parties, banquets and meetings.
You can’t come to Kalamazoo without experiencing some of the local craft! While all of Kalamazoo’s breweries have a unique story, Bell’s Brewery is the oldest brewery east of Boulder, Colorado, and the first Michigan brewery to open an on-site pub, the Eccentric Cafe, in 1993. Not to mention, if you want to drink the #1 beer in America, you can do that at Bell’s!
Be sure to also check out our extensive list of guides and itineraries for things to see and do downtown!
Have even more time to kill or plan to stay overnight in Kalamazoo? Want to visit Kalamazoo’s oldest bar or get your morning pick-me-up at the #1 coffee shop in Michigan? We recommend checking out these 4 Neighborhoods Worth Visiting Outside of Downtown Kalamazoo.