Awesome West Michigan Hiking Trails In Ottawa County

Spread the love

Explore West Michigan by discovering the best hiking trails in Ottawa County!

From sandy dune trails along Lake Michigan to wooded trails along the Grand River, West Michigan provides many beautiful hiking trail options. Specifically, Ottawa County, located between Lake Michigan and Grand Rapids, offers wonderful paths to hike through forests or along the water.

Below you will find 8 of the best West Michigan hiking trails in Ottawa County. These are some of my favorite trails that we hike as a family with a 3 and 6 year old. All the trails are an easy or moderate difficulty level.

For more great West Michigan trails, check out my guide to Millennium Park (MI).

Rosy Mound Natural Area

13925 Lakeshore Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Rosy Mound Natural Area

Overlook of Lake Michigan at Rosy Mound

Trail Info

  • Length: 1.5 miles out and back
  • Terrain: Moderate, lots of stairs, sand or gravel paths and boardwalks
  • Stroller Friendly: No
  • Parking: Medium-sized paved parking lot, arrive early in the day during peak season to get a spot
  • Restrooms: Modern bathrooms (open seasonally) and vault toilet in parking lot and vault toilets by the beach
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Fee: $8 daily fee (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) or purchase an annual pass online
  • Fun Feature: Beautiful, sandy Lake Michigan beach
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Rosy Mound Natural Area

Lake Michigan beach at Rosy Mound

As you make your journey to the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan, you will pass through the backdune forest before making it out to the open dunes and beach. The Rosy Mound trail contains lots of stairs as you go up and down the backdune, but there are scenic lookouts and benches to rest along the way.

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Rosy Mound Natural Area

Climbing up the backdune

With all the stairs. this trail could be difficult for small children. I was pleasantly surprised at how well our 3 year old and 6 year old hiked this trail. Exploring a new trail seems to be great motivation for my little adventurers! Also, snacks!

Once you make it to the open dunes, there is nice shade canopy to take a break under and then a short boardwalk path to the spectacular Lake Michigan beach.

Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk

2238 3rd Ave, Holland, MI 49424

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk

Scenic overlook from the top of Mt. Pisgah

Trail Info

  • Length: 0.4 miles out to the summit and back, connects to other trails
  • Terrain: Moderate, lots of stairs
  • Stroller Friendly: No
  • Parking: Use the Black Lake Boardwalk East parking lot (2280 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424)
  • Restrooms: Port-a-potty in the parking lot seasonally; Can also use the Holland State Park restroom if you have a park pass
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Fun Feature: Beautiful views of two lakes from the summit
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk

Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk

If Rosy Mound seems like too much for your little ones to handle, start with the Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk. For a shorter dune hike with gorgeous views at the top, this is your trail.

As part of the Historic Ottawa Beach Park, Mt. Pisgah is the large dune just outside Holland State Park. For parking, use the Black Lake Boardwalk East, cross the street, and take a short walk on Ottawa Beach Road to the trailhead. There is a two hour limit to this parking lot.

This is a short hike with lots of stairs and spots to rest along the way up. At the top lookout, 157 feet above the water, take in the beautiful views of Lake Macatawa, Lake Michigan, and the Big Red Lighthouse.

For more hiking adventures, you can connect with the wooded, natural Holland State Park trails from the top of the dune. When you come back down Mt. Pisgah, the rest of the Historic Ottawa Beach Park features boardwalk paths along Lake Macatawa.

Van Buren Street Dunes

16780 Van Buren St, West Olive, MI 49460

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Van Buren Street Dunes

Sandy, hilly hiking trails at Van Buren St. Dunes

Trail Info

  • Length: Varies, 1.25 miles for the outer loop
  • Terrain: Easy, narrow, sandy paths, some hills
  • Stroller Friendly: No
  • Parking: Small dirt parking area
  • Restrooms: No restrooms, but Kouw Park just down the road has a modern restroom open seasonally
  • Dogs: Allowed on or off leash
  • Fun feature: Quiet, little known park
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Van Buren Street Dunes

Quiet trails at Van Buren St. Dunes

For a hiking trail off the beaten path, check out the Van Buren Street Dunes. Considered Open Space Land rather than a County Park, these short, unmarked trails are fun to explore. As you hike these inland dunes, you’ll meander through sections of pine and deciduous forests along these sandy trails.

There are several more short, interconnected paths in this park than what the information kiosk shows. The beauty of unmarked trails! With all the short trail options, this is a great place to let your little explorer choose the path at each new crossroad.

Pigeon Creek

12524 Stanton St, West Olive, MI 49460

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Pigeon Creek

Wooded, natural trails at Pigeon Creek

Trail Info

  • Length: Varies, up to 10 miles of trails with several shorter 1-2 mile loops
  • Terrain: Easy, natural paths
  • Stroller Friendly: Yes, if your stroller can handle natural, dirt paths
  • Parking: Two gravel parking lots on either side of the road
  • Restrooms: Modern restrooms when the lodge is open & rustic toilets
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash, except in winter when the trails are limited to cross country skiing
  • Fun Feature: Equestrian trails and winter sport rentals
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Pigeon Creek

Boardwalk over Pigeon Creek

With all natural paths and a few wooden boardwalks, Pigeon Creek provides classic hiking trails through mature forests. To trek along the actual Pigeon Creek, hike the trail in the southeast corner of the park.

Hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails are all a part of Pigeon Creek. The equestrian trails are a special treat for kids. It’s a fun surprise to encounter a horse on your hike. Just watch out for any horse droppings on cross-over trails!

In the winter, Pigeon Creek is the perfect place to visit for winter sports. In the lodge, you can rent cross country skiis and snow shoes. Just outside the lodge, there’s a great hill for sledding as well.

Hemlock Crossing

8115 W Olive Rd, West Olive, MI 49460

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Hemlock Crossing

Wooden boardwalk at Hemlock Crossing

Trail Info

  • Length: Varies, 1 mile of paved paths, up to 6 miles of trails total
  • Terrain: Easy, paved and natural paths, a few hills
  • Stroller Friendly: Yes, on the paved paths
  • Parking: Large paved parking lot
  • Restrooms: Modern restrooms (open seasonally) and rustic toilets
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Fun Feature: Nature Education Center
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Hemlock Crossing

Into the beautiful woods at Hemlock Crossing

Just down the road from Pigeon Creek, is another great spot for wooded hiking trails. Hemlock Crossing offers great trails through forested areas and along Pigeon River. Plus, there’s an interesting pedestrian bridge across the river and lots of scenic outlooks.

A fun feature of Hemlock Cross is the Nature Education Center with interactive exhibits, a wildlife viewing area, and gift shop. The Nature Center hosts educational events throughout the year as well as snow shoe rentals in the winter.

Grand Ravines

  • Grand Ravines North: 9920 42nd Ave, Georgetown Twp, MI 49428
  • Grand Ravines South: 3991 Fillmore St, Jenison, MI 49428
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Grand Ravines

Gorgeous fall foliage at Grand Ravines North

Trail Info

  • Length: Varies, 1-2 mile loops
  • Terrain: Easy, paved and natural paths, one section with stairs, some hills
  • Stroller Friendly: Yes, on the paved paths
  • Parking: Large paved parking lots
  • Restrooms: Modern restrooms (open seasonally) near both North and South parking lots
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash throughout the park and off leash in the enclosed Dog Park
  • Fun Feature: Beautiful bridges – a 275 foot suspension bridge and quaint covered bridge
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Grand Ravines

A beautiful view of the Grand River at Grand Ravines North

With a combination of flat, open paths along meadows and wooded trails along the deep ravines, the Grand Ravines is a must see park in West Michigan. In the fall, the colors are phenomenal and in the spring and summer, the meadows of wildflowers are gorgeous.

To access the Grand Ravines trails, you can park either on the North side and on the South Dog Park side. There are several different trail options, with smaller loops on either side or a larger trail encircling the whole park.

The Grand Ravines has so many interesting structures to see and photograph! On the North side, look for the covered wooden bridge near the Grand River. On the South side, the cheerful red barn greets you in the parking lot and the iconic suspension bridge spanning one of the deepest ridges in the park is only a short walk away.

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Grand Ravines

Covered bridge along the Grand River at Grand Ravines North

Coming soon! Construction on a Tree House overlooking the ravines will begin soon to add another fabulous feature to this park.

Grand River Park

9473 28th Ave, Jenison, MI 49428

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Grand River Park

Grand River Park hiking trail along the Grand River

Trail Info

  • Length: Varies, up to 3 miles of trails with several shorter loops
  • Terrain: Easy, natural trails, one short paved path
  • Stroller Friendly: Yes, if your stroller can handle natural paths
  • Parking: Medium sized paved parking lot
  • Restrooms: Modern restrooms (open seasonally) and a port-a-potty near the parking lot
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Fun Feature: Sensory trail for kids
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Grand River Park

One of the sensory trail stations at Grand River Park

While the Grand Ravines is a spectacular park, it tends to get busy during the warmer months. Just down the road, the Grand River Park provides lovely hiking trails that are usually a little quieter.

There are several features of Grand River Park that make it a fun place to visit including wetlands overlooks, a small pond with fishing dock, a playground, and hiking trails through woods, meadows, and along the Grand River. For the sensory trail along the orange Field Loop, my kids love checking out the educational and interactive stations!

Also, if you continue to the parking area along the Grand River, there is a boat launch area.

Hudsonville Nature Center

2700 New Holland St, Hudsonville, MI 49426

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Hudsonville Nature Center

Chunky stairs at Hudsonville Nature Center

Trail Info

  • Length: Varies, 1-2 mile loops
  • Terrain: Easy, natural and boardwalk trails, several sections with stairs
  • Stroller Friendly: Sort of, there are small flat sections, but many paths have stairs
  • Parking: Small paved parking area where New Holland St. ends
  • Restrooms: Port-a-potty near the parking area
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Fun Feature: Wooden boardwalks and overlooks
Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails - Hudsonville Nature Center

Beautiful boardwalk paths at Hudsonville Nature Center

It’s always nice to find a nature preserve in the middle of a residential area. The one downside to the Hudsonville Nature Center is that it is close to the highway, so you can hear some road noise. However, all the winding wooded paths, outlooks over ravines, and great wooden boardwalks make it worth checking out this location.

Although there is no dedicated building for this nature center, various educational hikes are hosted here throughout the year as well.

If you need some inspiration on the trail, check out 16 Hiking & Camping Activities: Fun Times Ahead!

Hike West Michigan: Best Ottawa County Trails

Happy Hiking!

Have you hiked any of these beautiful West Michigan trails? Are there any other must see trails in Ottawa County you would add to this list?


Spread the love

Related Posts

2 thoughts on “Awesome West Michigan Hiking Trails In Ottawa County

  1. I love your hiking post! The only spot on this list I have not been to is Van Buren Street Dunes! But I will have to check it out soon, it looks delightful. My favorite is Rosy Mounds Natural Area! Not only is it a great workout with all those stairs, but it is a perfect place to watch the sunset!
    I would also recommend checking out Eastmanville Farm County Park. It is not only a great place to hike but also educational with a fascinating history of being the County Poor Farm.
    But you can’t go wrong with any of these spots. Happy Hiking!

    1. Thanks for the Eastmanville Farm County Park suggestion! I will definitely check it out this summer. It’s always fun exploring a new park!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *