Van Buren Trail State Park, also known as Trail State Park, is an unimproved rail trail running along a former railroad right-of-way between Hartford, Michigan to South Haven, Michigan in Van Buren County. DNR occasionally comes through and mows down the grass. Van Buren State Park is a 296-acre (120 ha) public recreation area in Van Buren, Hancock County, Ohio, in the United States. I did it on a cross bike and it was a lot of work. I only met one couple riding bikes during my entire 2 hour run (on a thursday). It is a great trail to ride for solitude and just looking at nature. There is a place near South Haven, at 16th avenue, where the trail splits and goes to the Van Buren State Park. Flat course. Found alternate routes on the country roads for the way home. Van Buren Trail State Park, also known as Trail State Park, is an unimproved rail trail running along a former railroad right-of-way between Hartford, Michigan to South Haven, Michigan in Van Buren County. It took me about three hours to do the entire trail from Hartford to South Haven. It's overgrown, dangerously bumpy, and parts of it are flooded. "Don't waste your time with this trail unless your hunting or snowmobling. Plus, we figured there would probably be more fallen trees ahead. If I had had to ride back on my own, there were large sections where paved roads ran beside the trail, so using those would have made the return trip easier. From South Haven to the Van Buren State Park, the trail has been smoothed and topped with crushed limestone. The trails aren’t marked, there is trash everywhere. While you might see deer, rabbit, fox and eagles, this is an undeveloped trail that has rough ballast stones, long sections of … It was great to get away from civilization. There is a trail pass system to pay for maintenance. BUGS TOO! Yep, there are weeds. Van Buren became a state park in May of 1965 when the original 167-acre plot was purchased from the Harry LaBar Drake family. the bugs are not as bad when you are moving. Farmland, blueberry fields, wooded areas. The only way I knew I was on-track was to follow the indentations left by off road vehicles, 4-wheelers and horse tracks. This trail is OK with a gravel or mountain bike. Reading so many negative reviews before I started to ride this trail had me expecting much worse conditions than I actually encountered. I would not recommend for families with children as the water is too deep. My wife and I rode this trail in late September 2012. After the first mile or so, the grass was much taller which made it rougher to ride, but doable, and there were patches of soft sand you needed to look out for. It could be great if some development was done. "When were Michigan state parks and recreation areas established? There was no debris on my trip, but again, after a heavy storm that's likely to change until it's cleared. I saw a skateboarder riding on the trail near 12th avenue in South Haven. Don’t waste your time on this trail and save your money for a bike friendly county. Show more. The 400-acre Van Buren State Park offers a beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline, woodland trails, and a campground. Terrain is flat with farmland and trees. Van Buren trail is awful, awfull, awful. Better for horses and endurance riders, cleared, open, some sand traps, water, and small branches; few people; good ride, Tuesday, 1400 start, 90 deg and sunny. But if you're a newbie on the bike or a runner, then this trail is a great place to start. The other is far more of an adventure trail for the experienced trail cyclist. I found cranberry bogs along my first ride. While you might see deer, rabbit, fox and eagles, this is an undeveloped trail that has rough ballast stones, long sections of sand and grassy two-track. I did three miles thinking it'd get better but it didn't. [3], In 2004, Van Buren County took over operation of the state-owned trail after state budget problems. There were two large flooded areas, with one I was able to ride on the side and get through cleanly, on the other I had to walk on large sticks/saplings that people have put there for that purpose. It feels like walking through someone’s back yard. It's an endurance ride. The next day, July 21, 2011, we traveled to South Haven and rode the KalHaven Trail, which is extremely well maintained and a pleasure to ride. Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more! mile 1-2 are fairly clear, after mile 2.5, trees are down. Your donation will help us to continue connecting more people to trails around the country. There´s not much going on for this trail. Outside Van Buren State Park. Located 3 miles south of South Haven, the campground is only minutes away from local shops and restaurants. If you are into cross country off trail biking, it would be nice. The park's 296 acres offer a calm, peaceful retreat with camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking opportunities. Last fall I saw a lot of trimming being done at the South Haven end. First couple of miles through South Haven and in Hartford are fine, but is mostly grassy and wet. at mile 4 we called it quits and turned around. Oh ya, be sure to bring your bug spray. So, if you want a nice leisurely ride, this is not your trail. I've been hiking the trail in sections and it's a beautiful walk through expansive blueberry fields through the heart of Van Buren County. Doubt this will ever happen in my lifetime. This one was a mistake. You will find yourself close to the beach and if you have a fat-tire bike you will naturally want to ride on the beach next to (and in) the water. On the morning of July, 20, 2011, my wife and I attempted to ride this trail starting at the Hartford end. The trail might be easier going for cyclists in the autumn after the first couple of frosts deaden the vegetation. Trailhead Coordinates 10336 Blue Star Hwy - off Lovejoy South Haven, MI 49090 42.385058, -86.278641 Hartford, MI 49057 42.211410, … There was a lot of signage telling people to stay on the trail. trail spur start & parking ages ed ea. I think my ride yesterday was more fun, though much more challenging, than my ride of the Kal-Haven trail a few years ago. The Van Buren Trail Spur splits off from the Van Buren Trail State Park near 16th Avenue. The trail can be used for mountain biking, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. I had one beautiful pause on the ride, coming across a blackberry bush with hundreds of honey bees (rare enough these days) flitting about the full bloom; their sound alone filling the empty woods. Ran the section Covert to South Haven and back. We started at the Hartford trailhead and road in 7 miles, about half way. To your right is Kalamazoo St., which, if taken north, will lead you to downtown South Haven. You can not do this with a road bike. There is also the potential for the trail to continue past hartford(the east trail head) and go all the way to Paw Paw on the same abandoned railway (tracks still in place). Go west on Aylworth Avenue to Kalamazoo Street and then south on Kalamazoo to Lovejoy Avenue. I was very bundled up, and rode continuously, but even so, the 30-degree temperature was too much for me to think about riding all the way back. The Van Buren Trail State Park is a 14-mile linear, multi-use trail that links the cities of Hartford with South Haven. The trail runs through open farmland, blueberry fields, dense brush, and wooded areas. It rained 4 days ago but didn´t see any wet spots on the trail. Parking is crap! The Van Buren Trail State Park is a 14-mile, linear, multi-use trail that links the cities of Hartford and South Haven. Wildlife abounds on this rural 14 miles between Hartford and South Haven. The trail is mostly a combination of … Van Buren Trail State Park is a recreational trail that stretches from South Haven to Hartford. Cruising northwest to South Haven you pass beneath tall pines, maples and various hardwood trees. Van Buren State Park has some beach and steep dunes, as it is positioned right on Lake Michigan. At some stretches, there are weeds up to your waist. It is unimproved since they removed the tracks over a decade ago. I parked my car there and went for a run. The campground is about 400 yards from the lake and large sandy beach. That parking lot felt a bit isolated, but I had no issues. There´s a small ballast open area/parking lot at the end of the cemetery st. It was fun for us but not for everyone. This area was developed as a park in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps which used native materials to craft the park’s wood and stone structures including a massive native stone dam that spans Lee Creek forming peaceful 8-acre Devil’s Lake. Maybe try in August. Directions. There are marked bike lines extending to the center of south haven and connects to the Kal-Haven trail. Check or FAQs for more common login questions. One trail is nice paved family trail that connects South Haven to the Van Buren State park. In fact this offroad trail is a hidden gem in the Michigan trail system. The trail that branches off towards Hartford is pretty much unimproved and is best if you want to … Head north 2 blocks past the first stoplight. Just north of Van Buren, upstream on Lee Creek, is Devil’s Den State Park. The nortnern part near South Haven is paved, with a trail spur that goes the Van Buren State Park. The trail may also be accessed via a spur from Van Buren State Park. Rode this trail from Hartford to South Haven. Some parts soft sand and we had to walk bikes. The trail sinks into several small boggy fens on the stretch between Hartford and Covert, and between the latter and South Haven, patches of soft sand pose an equal hazard. Enjoy your day! Ok, so my first go at this trail left me very underwhelmed, mostly because it seems to end in a campground only 4-5 miles out of town. It is basically a bulldozer way cut through the country. Unfortunately that left some big ruts in the trail. There are occasional mud holes. Wet in the spring up to 3-4 inches in some areas (these are few.) It may even get black topped next year. I wouldn't try to ride this after a heavy rain, some parts are marshy, a few parts are sandy, just watch where you put the wheel. The paved section from South Haven to the Van Buren state park would be a nice ride for road bikes. until my ride could come and get me. I will probably do the southern part of this trail, but I prefer exploring the other trails around this area before I return and do this again. We tried the trail from Hartford, but gave up in a couple miles. It is great if you wish to have a workout. No chance with a road bike. This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 15:54. The trailhead has a grass-covered parking lot with portable toilets.To start in South Haven, take Lagrange Street to Aylworth Avenue (next to South Haven High School, across from McDonald's). If you're on foot, this is a nice day out. A few times it did seem like I was riding in somebody's back yard, and I did have a small dog chase me at one point. It’s the perfect place to lounge on the beach, walk through woodland trails and enjoy a picnic lunch. Van Buren State Park camping is a wonderful way to see the area, and there is a long trail that starts directly in the park that is fun to explore. The trail can be used for mountain biking, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. I didn’t give up though, as I was chased by several dogs running free in the countryside, helping me keep up the pace. If the Van Buren Trail were maintained a bit better, we believe it would have great potential. Van Buren State Park is comprised of 400 acres of land located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in northern Van Buren County. Did I mention this trail is a piece of crap? The Official Home page for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, DNR. This trail is 2 in one actually. The nortnern part near South Haven is paved, with a trail spur that goes the Van Buren State Park. Van Buren State Park offers approximately 400 acres of land located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in northern Van Buren County. Sometimes it seems like you are riding through peoples backyards. ", TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy, We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors, 57th Ave./Prospect St. (Hartford) and Lovejoy Ave. (South Haven). Unfortunately, we left the trail and rode the back roads back to Hartford. At 16th Avenue, just south of South Haven, you will see a connection to the Van Buren Trail Spur, which opened in November 2015. started in Hartford and rode 4 miles and turned around. There is a section of 100 yards or so that is sand, I had to get off and walk. We loved the quietness and the beauty. I took as many roads as possible on my return from Hartford. It dumps you into a sandy offshoot with no signs. I placed a photo of her, looking from a bridge, on my phone's wallpaper. There is a parking lot on Aylworth Ave. between Kalamazoo St. and Monroe Blvd. The campground has modern restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers. This is about a 5 mile section, and veers off from the main trail at 16th avenue. Didn´t have the trail "feel", in which you are away from civilization. Terrain is flat with farmland and trees. One reviewer said that they stopped and ate blueberries, which I suspect is not allowed. The combined result is a trail suited to hearty mountain bikers, birders and naturalists.Heading north from the grass-covered parking lot in Hartford, which has portable toilets, you glide quietly over bridge spanning the Paw Paw River. Yes, there's some mud and sand, but I was able to pedal through all of it. Van Buren State Park also offers a youth campground, just off the Van Buren Trail Spur about a quarter-mile from the registration office.This is only for official youth groups such as scouts or other groups that are recognized by the state of Michigan. Starting at Covert, the terrain is mostly tall grass under woods. You can take that trail north into downtown South Haven, or follow the pavement southwest for 2.5 miles to the state park. It is much like the Kal-Haven trail. It was completely covered with grass and you bounced along the ATV dented surface. The scent of pine lingers as you emerge from the woodlands and enter fields of blueberry bushes and vineyards.At mile 8 the small town of Covert is located one block south of the trail. I like to take a walking path at the first building by the woods. The trail is 0.1 mile to the west on Lovejoy Avenue on the south side of the street. There is now trailhead parking at the South Haven end of the trail. This is a rough trail. [4], In 2015, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources paved the 4.5-mile stretch which connects Van Buren State Park to the South Haven Trail system The pavement is a 10-foot-wide asphalt surface. At all times you are listening or going very close to a road. This trail is not as popular as the KalHaven Trail although I do suspect it would be, if it were maintained at the same level. It offers a paved, off-road route to the 400-acre Van Buren State Park, where you will find more trails and access to the Lake Michigan shoreline. Ever. The scenery was somewhat interesting, pretty much what you would expect to see in terms of vegetation, lots of trees with no leaves. Located three miles south of South Haven, the campground is only minutes away from local shops and restaurants. Department of Natural Resources - The Al-Van's Firecracker Furry 5K is a fundraiser for the Al-Van Humane Society, a no-kill animal shelter, located in South Haven. This end of the trail is primitive two-track through field and swamp. Recreation Search Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Most bikes can navigate this section. Numerous festivals are held throughout the year, including the National Blueberry Festival and South Haven Jazz Fest. No issues with tall grass either, because I rode on a particularly cold April 6th. The Van Buren State Park Trail will take you north for many miles, connecting through a few other, smaller parks and eventually ending in South Haven. Several road crossings, but most of them are not busy. In addition, because of frequent stops and the necessity of walking the bike, you cannot depend on speed to create a resistance against the advance of mosquitoes. SE of Covert and before Hartford the trail can become very wet (as you approach the Paw Paw River drainage.) The trail is extremely over grown and in need of a little love. Search: Home; List; Map; Events This could be a wonderful spur of the kal-haven trail but it atleast needs a crushed balast surface, if not blacktop. Slightly uphill from Hartford to South Haven, enough to wear you down.There were no fallen trees or branches, so some minimal care is being given to the trail. The trails are crap! The trail from downtown South Haven out to Van Buren State Park is a nice paved trail, and a good way to escape the summer crowds of the town and can be done on any bike. Van Buren Trail State Park, also known as Trail State Park, is an unimproved rail trail running along a former railroad right-of-way between Hartford, Michigan to South Haven, Michigan in Van Buren County. Wildlife abounds on this rural 14 miles between Hartford and South Haven. The temperature was right around freezing and the trail was mostly firm. Erosion often shrinks property along Lake Michigan, but Van Buren State Park is expanding, thanks to a partnership with the Michigan DNR.. A few miles south of South Haven, you'll find the Van Buren State Park along a scenic mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. Many people's back yards contained a surprising amount of probably-no-longer-useful items, so that provided some interesting scenery as well. Get a FREE Rail Trails Guidebook when you become a Member with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. It takes you to the main road across from the beach access parking lot. It is 14 miles (23 km) long and mostly used by horse trail riders in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter. The state park centers on 53-acre (21 ha) Van Buren Lake. If you want to see SW Michigan's nature and all it has to offer....Then, load up your bike and pack. In addition there is 10 miles of hiking trails that allow mountain bikes, and 11 miles of bridle trails that allow mountain bikes. The trail runs through open farmland, blueberry fields, dense brush, and wooded areas. The popular Van Buren State Park has gained 17-acres this week thanks to approval by Van Buren County officials of a 25-year lease with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to expand the park’s footprint to include the Northpoint Conservation Area located in South Haven Township. A few blueberry farmers were out, surprisingly, I guess they were pruning. We both have mountain bikes. It was a workout, which was what I wanted, as I try to get into shape for the riding season. In the dry heat of the summer, the trail is dry. I am up for trying anything once-- especially a bike trail that heads to Lake Michigan. I stayed inside the Hartford public library (bike rack!) We were only able to go a little over two miles, before we had to turn back. The surface of the trail creates a challenging ride that is more … Originally inhabited by the Shawnee, the area surrounding Van Buren State Park is rich in woods and agricultural lands. Van Buren Trail State Park is a recreational trail that stretches from South Haven to Hartford. Rode it both ways today (6/8/13). Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Van Buren State Park campground has 220 campsites (66 with electric hookups) for tents, trailers and RVs. The trail can be used for mountain biking, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. The 5 mile section between South Haven and the Van Buren State Park is nicely paved. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on for when it's better developed. Spend the time you would've spent on the trail writing to county officials to further develop it and spend the money you'd have spent on gas making a donation to its upkeep. However, you have to be prepared for some tough riding in certain places. However, we did not try to get through the third fallen tree which was much bigger than the first two. Not extremely hilly, paved nicely from South Haven all the way to the campground, plus you can park and start with views of Lake Michigan! Van Buren Trail State Park, Trail Guide and Trail Map, Photos, Maps, Links, Resources for horseback riding,hiking and running,bicycling,cross-country skiing,snowmobiling,trail maps, trail information, rail trails, Michigan trails It is 14 miles (23 km) long and mostly used by horse trail riders in the summer and snowmobile Description. The best part of this trail is that it's less than 10 minutes from I-75 to the trailhead. You'll be lost when you get to the state park. You can't tell what terrain you're riding on because of the tall grass and at one point I hit a rut and was thrown from my bike. I consider a fatty, a bike with 4 inch wide tires at low air pressure, the perfect bike for all of the trail. Won't be riding this again. Participants should meet at Kids Corner Park and then will run/walk along the beautiful Van Buren Trail with their pet. As of the end of June 2019 we had to go through up to 16 inches of water at a couple of points. It is not paved so don't expect it to be like a sidewalk. Otherwise it is a nice trail. I road about half of this trail today from the Hartford end. You have to navigate rural State Route M-140 at this point, with no real busy traffic.The last 8 miles from Covert the trail passes through woods, open fields and commercial fields of blueberries (growing on treelike bushes) and grapes. most are small and ridable but multiple portaging over huge trees. Some parts swampy. The trash is ridiculous. Become a member and wear your FREE T-Shirt with pride. Help defend and expand trails nationwide. arking each ed ad y cess pur iendly ... restrooms contact station campground headquarters youth parking campground dump station picnic shelter state land picnic area foot path sports field paved trail camp office trail with sandy dog beach surfaces & inclines north point parking van buren state park. The Kal-Haven Trail starts in South Haven northeast of downtown. Four bridle trails with 12 miles pass through a beech/maple forest adjacent to Van Buren Lake. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Van Buren State Park has one mile of sandy beach and high dune formations. It's in a good location and has a lot of potential but it's not ready for bikers at this time. 7.7 miles, 1hour 28 min cannondale F4. Future plans call for a trailhead at the South Haven end of the trail and for a connection to the Kal-Haven Trail. Head for Van Buren Trail State Park and take a walk (or ride) on the wild side. I just talked to it and kept riding at the same speed and it lost interest. People love … A convenience store in town has the only refreshments and restroom facilities on this rural trail. The newly paved stretch was acquired from Consumers Energy in the mid-1990s. Van Buren State Park The 300-acre Van Buren State Park is quietly nestled in a small but valued remnant of woodland surrounded by beautiful corn, wheat and soybean fields. Van Buren State park has 3 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails. It would have been much easier with standard mountain bike tires rather than road tires, but all-in-all a pleasant ride. The rail-trail begins at 16th Avenue, where it meets the 14-mile unpaved Van Buren Trail State Park. Head for Van Buren Trail State Park and take a walk (or ride) on the wild side. Van Buren Trail State Park Map (PDF) Van Buren Trail State Park is a recreational trail that stretches from South Haven to Hartford. It is not well maintained and is 90% overgrown with grass and weeds. If you are thinking of cycling this trail, you will need either a mountain bike or an all terrain bike, patience to deal with the unexpected, and stamina. This section is much nicer and the ride over the sand dune (on a well packed trail) and the descent into the park is awesome. I rode the entire length of the trail last weekend. The part we disliked was the traffic, especially on Red Arrow Hwy., avoid that road. ", "Paved Van Buren trail extends from South Haven to Van Buren State Park, MLive, Rosemary Parker, Nov 6 2015", Kirtlands Warbler Wildlife Management Area, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Van_Buren_Trail_State_Park&oldid=999714058, Protected areas of Van Buren County, Michigan, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. We would give that trail a four or five star. We consider ourselves average, casual cyclist. I would say that 70% of the trail has a car tire path that you can ride in, the other 30% is grassy. The trail pass is valid for both trails. I rode from 12th avenue in South Haven to the Hartford trailhead, which took about 2.5 hours. You will see a small sign at the split. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/michigan/van-buren-trail Please be advised that motor vehicles included snowmobiles are NOT allowed on the paved section of the trail which begins just north of where the unpaved section runs underneath I-196 expressway. 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