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10 wonderful nature walks around Lansing, Michigan

Posted by 
Peter Watson
Peter Watson
 21 days ago

From city strolls through vibrant neighborhoods to riverside rambles in peaceful parks, here are 10 hand-picked nature walks around Lansing, Michigan.

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Lansing is Michigan is great for walkersSean Pavone/Shutterstock

Lansing in Michigan was recently ranked among America’s 100 best small cities and it's easy to see why.

Michigan's capital city is home to a vibrant community of over 100,000 and offers wide open, green spaces and breezy places to relax and unwind.

You're rarely far from the water in Lansing and the city – along with its surrounding townships – provide a number of opportunities to escape the thrumming streets and enjoy a slice of calm among this buzzing urban area.

As such, I've put together a list of my favorite nature walks around Lansing, Michigan, drawing on personal experience and some recommendations from the thousands of hikers over at AllTrails.

Lansing in Michigan is great to explore on foot (Video: Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau)

How the walks are chosen

I've completed some of the below walks during a visit last year but I know I didn't see everything. As such, I've complimented my list with some crowdsourced options.

Home to over 100,000 trails, AllTrails is one of the world’s premier hiking apps. It has over 20 million global users and is extensively downloaded in the United States.

Use this trail map to plan your Myrtle Beach walks (Map: AllTrails)

AllTrails user reviews are calculated using a five-star rating system with one star being terrible, two stars poor, three stars average, four stars very good and five stars excellent.

10 walks around Lansing, Michigan

I've selected my top 10 nature walks in Lansing, Michigan. I've whittled down the extensive list of trails – featuring hundreds of reviews – to the top 10 best-rated walks according to their average score on the app.

1. Anderson Park Trail

Location: Wainwright Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 5.8 km

Duration: 1-2 hours

Wainwright Park is a public space open to the general public offering outdoor recreation and nature preservation.

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An idyllic scene in Wainwright ParkCaitlin O'Rourke/AllTrails

The park features athletic fields, training facilities, and sports facilities and hosts special community events throughout the year.

The Anderson Park Trail is a moderately trafficked loop trail that features a river and is suitable for all skill levels.

The trail offers a number of activity options along the way and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

2. Hawk Island Loop

Location: Hawk Island County Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4.0 km

Duration: 1-2 hours

Hawk Island County Park is a 100-acre relatively new park offering a public swimming beach, picnic areas and shelters, paved accessible walkways and fishing docks.

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Hawk Island Park in Lansing, MichiganT-I/Shutterstock

The Hawk Island Loop is a moderately busy loop trail that features a pretty lake and is suitable for all skill levels.

The main trails are well paved, clearly marked, and fairly level throughout. There are some gravel trails that branch off, and others that connect to other parks and loops.

The trail offers a number of activity options en route and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also welcome along the trail but must be kept on a leash.

3. Hawk Meadow Park Loop

Location: Hawk Meadow Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4.2 km

Duration: 1-2 hours

Hawk Meadow Park is a pretty nature and wildlife area which includes nearly 4.5 miles of trails. The Hawk Meadow Park Loop showcases the best of this pleasant little green space.

The route is a loop trail featuring a great forest setting and is suitable for all skill levels.

4. Tamarak Trail

Location: Fenner Nature Center

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.6 km

Duration: 0.5-1 hour

Fenner Nature Center is an environmental education center comprising 134 acres of publicly accessible green space.

The preserve includes over four miles of trails, rolling glacial eskers, towering maple groves and so much more.

Inside the Visitor Center, there are collections of live native reptiles and amphibians; a viewing area to watch songbirds, deer and wild turkeys; and opportunities to explore newly renovated hands-on exhibits.

The Tamarak Trail is a moderately trafficked loop trail that features beautiful wildflowers and is suitable for all skill levels.

The trail is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

5. Lansing River Trail to South Lansing Pathway

Location: Lansing, Michigan

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 37.8 km

Duration: 8-10 hours

An intense full-day hike around Lansing along the Lansing River Trail, a route that stretches 16 miles all the way from Waverly Road to Old Town.

The first section of River Trail opened in 1975 and then in 1981 the route was designated a National Recreation Trail by the US Department of the Interior, which referred to it as “a unique central city trail along a Waterfront….”

Lansing River Trail timewarp (Video: Michigan Drone Photography)

The Lansing River Trail to South Lansing Pathway is a lightly trafficked out and back trail that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels.

The trail offers a number of things to do and eating options throughout. Dogs are welcome on the trail but must be kept on a leash.

6. Grand Woods Trail

Location: Grand Woods Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.9 km

Duration: 1 hour

Grand Woods Park occupies 128 acres on the Grand River. The park is a wonderful family-oriented green space.

Amenities include a picnic shelter for up to 80 people, a pavilion, playground equipment, a fishing pond, a nature trail, a softball field, one grass volleyball court, a frisbee golf course, a radio-controlled race car track as well as restrooms and drinking water.

The Grand Woods Trail is a lightly trafficked loop trail that features a river and is suitable for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.

The Grand Woods Park closes at dusk.

7. Red Cedar River Trail

Location: Elm Street Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.3 km

Duration: 0.5 hour

Elm Park, located on the banks of the Red Cedar River in downtown Lansing, covers an area of several acres of recreational and conservation land.

The Red Cedar River is an extensive water resource, stretching from Livingston County to the Grand River in Lansing.

The Red Cedar River provides many opportunities for recreation, education, nature observation (Video: MeridianTownship)

The Red Cedar River Trail is a mostly paved out and back trail that is suitable for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking, running, and road biking.

Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

8. Hunter's Orchard Park Loop

Location: Hunter's Orchard Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.1 km

Duration: 0.5 hours

Hunter's Orchard Park is home to a small network of pleasant trails located alongside Lansing's Grand River.

The Hunter's Orchard Park Loop is a lightly trafficked loop trail that part follows the river and is suitable for all skill levels. The trail offers a mix of activities en route.

9. Lansing River Trail: Moores Park to Sanford Natural Area

Location: Moores Park

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 21.6 km

Duration: 4-6 hours

A shorter half-day option for along the Lansing River Trail is the Moores Park to Sanford Natural Area section.

The route is a moderately trafficked out and back trail suitable for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking, running, and road biking.

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The Lansing River TrailT-I/Shutterstock

Moores Park is named after J. Henry Moores, one of the prominent residents of Lansing having who relocated to the city from Ohio in 1865.

The wealthy business started several enterprises in the area before going on to dedicate much of his life to philanthropy.

Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

10. Fulton Park Trail

Location: Fulton Park

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 9.3 km

Duration: 2-3 hours

Probaly, the least challenging of the West Lansing Trail system, the route offers wonderfully diverse views of the Grand River as awells the chance to spot deer.

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Fulton Park in Lansing, MichiganJen H/AllTrails

The Fulton Park Trail is a reasonably busy loop trail primarily used for hiking, running, and mountain biking in particular.

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