Rails to Trails: Kal Haven Trail in Michigan
Start: 10th Street Trailhead just west of Kalamazoo.
Route: Ride west to South Haven and back.
Distance 76 miles round trip.
Weather: Mostly Sunny. Temp: 50-70 degrees.
Low Elev 590, Hi Elev 960. Feet Ascended: 1150
Trail Material: Crushed Limestone. Asphalt in South Haven.
Rating: Thumbs Up.
I liked this trail because of the smooth limestone (smoother than many paved trails). South Haven is a rather touristy type town offering plenty of shopping and cuisine. The scenery around Black River and South Haven is wonderful. Saw kayakers in the river and lots of big pleasure boats. Since the trail slope is mostly down hill from Kalamazoo to South Haven, expect an uphill ride in the other direction. The long railroad grade climb is barely noticeable. Nice trailheads. Camp sites are available on the trail.
The possible negative about this trail is lack of variety with regards to scenery but that is probably a positive thing on a hot day as temperatures will be 10 degrees cooler on the trail under the dense tree canopy. I certainly enjoyed the cooler weather and it was actually cold (50s) in the early morning. The trees probably provide a colorful experience with the fall foliage.
Highlights of this trip: A native wildflower area with signs identifying wildflowers, creek crossings, cool dense canopy, Black River and South Haven.