Linking Kalamazoo, a major southwest Michigan city, to South haven, a Lake Michigan resort area, the trail provides a unique experience for hikers, bicyclists, nature lovers, snowmobilers, equestrians and cross-country skiers.
In a new approach to park management, the trail was built as a State Park but jointly operated by the Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail, a nonprofit organization, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division.
The EAST TERMINUS is located on 10th Street in Oshtemo Township near the City of Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo offers lodging, refreshments, bike repair, shopping and many other services. Heading west, you'll cross the first of seven bridges which once were railroad trestles. This stretch cuts through a hilly area beautifully covered with wildflowers in the spring.
Continuing westward, the next bridge you'll cross will be the Mentha bridge. Here the land is flat and very rich. Buildings must be set up on blocks to prevent floors form rotting due to extreme moisture. Mentha was once the world's largest producer of peppermint and spearmint.
You'll cross one more bridge, an old cattle crossing, before you get to the Village of Kendall just north of the trail.. The town of Gobles is a little further west. Both Gobles and Kendall offer a variety of services for trail users, from refreshments and restrooms to souvenirs.
On your way into Bloomingdale, our halfway point, you'll cross the Skunk Creek bridge, the shortest of all the trestles. In Bloomingdale is a restored depot used as a museum and a caboose utilized as an information center. Bloomingdale offers restaurants, shops and parking.
Over Barber Creek is an old camelback bridge. At times the camelback design was used on country roads to take vehicles over the trains. Across the trail in the Village of Grand Junction is the operating CSX Railroad. Refreshments can be purchased at a number of locations in Grand Junction and the village of Lacota.
From Lacota you'll travel on to South Haven. Near South Haven, spanning the Black River, is the largest trestle which has been changed to a covered bridge. South Haven, a resort town on Lake Michigan, provides lodging, private camping, refreshments, shopping and a public beach. Just south of town is Van Buren State Park with beach facilities. concession, picnicking and camping.