Kent County Parks: Our Guide To 40+ Amazing Sites
There are close to 40 great parks and trails that are part of the Kent County Parks system in the greater Grand Rapids area. These parks offer trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, equestrian areas, fishing, kayaking, beaches, camping, and more. Future plans will improve the park system even more as new units are developed and added. One of our 2021 travel goals was to visit all of the remaining Kent County Parks we had not been to, and as of mid-April that goal is complete! Today we will share a little bit of information about each park, special notes for 2021, addresses, and links to more information. All Kent County Parks will be officially open as of May 1st, so get out and explore all these great parks and trails!
The rules for Kent County Parks vary a little by specific location, but these rules are in place at all of them: keep your pets leashed and clean up after them, dispose of all refuse in proper containers, destruction to park property will be prosecuted, and parks close at sunset. These are pretty simple rules to follow, please keep these parks beautiful so everyone can enjoy them!
Brewer Park (399 84th St., Byron Center) – Well-known for its soccer fields that are used by many of the area’s youth teams, Brewer Park is also home to a disc golf course, as well as fields/courts for basketball, volleyball, baseball, cricket (!), and softball.
Special note for 2021 – be aware of a construction project that has closed 84th St. between Division and Eastern that is slated to be completed in July.
Caledonia Lakeside Park (370 N. Lake St. SE, Caledonia) – This park has 1,500 feet of frontage on Emmons Lake, several, sports fields, plenty of open space, playgrounds, and access to the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail.
Chief Hazy Cloud Park (150 Pettis Ave. NE, Ada) – The main draw to Chief Hazy Cloud Park is its location along the Grand River. With more than 100 acres of woods and wetlands, the trails here are popular for hiking and biking.
Coldwater River Park (9901 Morse Lake Ave, Alto) – This small park offers a great spot for a roadside picnic, as well as fishing opportunities in the Coldwater River (type 4 gear-restricted trout and salmon stream).
Cooper Creek Park and Spencer Forest (13807 17 Mile Rd., Gowen) – One of Kent County’s top destinations for equestrian trail riding, these two adjacent parks have miles of trails that cover fields, pine stands, and forests.
Creekside Park (1935 68th St., Dutton) – A family fun destination that has a country feel despite being close to the city, Creekside Park has ball fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, and plenty of open space. The park also connects to the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail.
Douglas Walker Park (1195 84th St., Byron Center) – Sports fields, playgrounds, and rentable indoor and outdoor gathering areas make this a popular park in the warmer months. The park has a connector trail to the Kent Trails and undeveloped area in its north end.
Dutton Shadyside Park (7343 Hammond Ave., Dutton) – Fresh off of a restoration project that focused on the creek that winds through the park, Shadyside is an ideal place for a family picnic. A playground, ball field, and more await those who come to explore the park.
Dwight Lydell Park (4040 Leland Ave., Comstock Park) – Ongoing construction projects will limit access to Dwight Lydell Park in 2021, but the end result will be worth the wait. New trails, an updated playground, a boardwalk, a new bridge, and new trees are just a few of the things to look forward to as this beautiful park next to Mill Creek is returned to a more natural state.
Fallasburg Park (1124 Fallasburg Park Dr. NE, Lowell) – One of our absolute favorites, Fallasburg Park features many recreation opportunities in its different segments. Here you can hike the North Country Trail as it winds through the park, enjoy the disc golf course, rent the shelterhouse for a wedding or other event. Try your hand at fishing on the Flat River, or enjoy a kayak trip, or just get your feet wet while wading. The historic Fallasburg Covered Bridge has stood since 1871 and is still open to vehicle traffic; on the other side you will find the Pioneer Village, cemetery, and historic schoolhouse.
Fisk Knob Park (17533 Algoma Ave., Cedar Springs) – This small park offers views from the top of the highest point in Kent County. At 1,072 feet above sea level, Fisk Knob is a popular stop on a Kent County Fall Color Tour.
Fred Meijer M-6 Trail – This paved trail runs nine miles parallel to the M-6 highway, and connects the Kent Trails in the west with the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail in the east. Parking is available at Creekside Park, Division Ave. near M-6, at Burlingame and 60th St., and on Wing Ave. just north of 60th St.
Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail – Te second trail on this list is one of the newest additions to Kent County Parks. Covering nine miles and connecting to the White Pine Trail and the Musketawa Trail, this multi-use trail is wide and paved. Kent County Parks manages a portion of this trail; parking is available at Lamoreaux Park, on Fruitridge Ave. north of I-96, and 8th Ave. north of Garfield.
Gordon Park (17150 Northland Dr., Sand Lake) – Kent County’s oldest park dates back to the 1920s, and based on its location it is little surprise that this park has remained a popular stopping spot for travelers. Gordon Park has lots of open, scenic areas and plenty of spots for picnics. It is also a trailhead for the White Pine Trail.
Johnson Park (2600 Wilson Ave., Walker) – I have some good memories of running cross country at Johnson Park during high school. There’s something for everyone here: fishing on the Grand River, disc golf, playgrounds, hiking trails, ball diamonds, and a sledding hill.
Kaufman Golf Course (4807 Clyde Park Ave., Wyoming) – A public golf course that has been in operation since the 1960s, Kaufman is known as a popular but challenging course that hosts many events. Find out more at https://www.kentcountyparks.org/kaufman/index.php.
Kent Trails – There are four main access points for this 15 mile long trail that runs through Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker, Wyoming, and Byron Center: 84th St. in Byron Center next to Alebird Brewing, Johnson Park, Douglas Walker Park, and the north end of Millennium Park. Perfect for walking, running, or biking this trail mostly follows old railroad lines.
Knapp Valley Forest (4255 Knapp Valley NE, Grand Rapids Twp.) – The woods behind Knapp Valley Forest Elementary contain a network of trails for hiking as well as winter activities. A large hill behind the school is also a very popular sledding spot.
Lamoreaux (Donald J.) Park (4585 Coit Ave., Grand Rapids) – The beautiful trails here follow along the Grand River, allowing for scenic views, wildlife watching, and fishing.
Lamoreaux Memorial Park (3500 West River Dr., Comstock Park) – This park is basically a parking lot for those looking to tackle some of the trails in the area on foot or bicycle. “The park’s location at the corner West River Drive and North Park St. provides easy access to the Fred Meijer White Pine State Trail heading north, or to the City of Grand Rapids’ trail system heading east along the North Park bridge and through Riverside Park.”
Lepard Preserve (6030 76th St. SE, Caledonia) – It might be right next to the busy M-37, but the Lepard Preserve will have you feeling like you’re out in the country! Trails run through the woods here as interpretive signs tell visitors about the trees, wildlife, and more.
Long Lake Park (13747 Krauskopf NE, Sparta) – The obvious highlight of this park is the lake, which offers swimming, boating, and fishing options. There are multiple picnic pavilions here, and lots of forested shoreline to explore.
Luton Park (5950 10 Mile Rd., Rockford) – The trails here are for many uses, but are incredibly popular with mountain bikers. Nearly 10 miles of trails wind through forest and over Rum Creek, making Luton Park popular for bird watching, family hikes, and cross country skiing too.
Millennium Park (1425 Maynard Ave. SW, Walker) – The crown jewel of the Kent County Park system is massive (1,400 acres!) and full of fun for the entire family. Rent a kayak, relax at the beach, take the kids to the splashpad, explore the nearly 18 miles of trails – the possibilities are almost endless. Many unique habitats allow wildlife to thrive in this large urban park, so keep your eyes peeled. Some activities at this park require a fee.
Myers Lake Park (7350 Hessler Dr., Rockford) – Playgrounds and picnics are perfect activities for Myers Lake Park, but the main draw here is the free public swimming beach. Open Memorial Day to LAbor Day, this park fills up fast when the weather is nice!
Palmer Park (1275 52nd St., Wyoming) – Palmer Park is loved for its open space and picnic areas; it also offers trails for walking (and cross country skiing in the winter).
Paul Henry Thornapple Trail – Another great trail in the area is the Paul Henry Trail, which will eventually span more than 40 miles in three counties once all sections are finished. Kent County Parks manages a little more than seven miles of this trail, starting at Wing Ave. and 60th St. and heading southwest to Cherry Valley Ave. at 100th St. Parking is available at multiple locations. More information is available at https://www.thornappletrail.com/.
Pickerel Lake Park/Fred Meijer Nature Preserve (6001 Ramsdell Rd. NE, Cannonsburg) – One of our favorite parks in Kent County, this site offers more than 300 acres and a network of trails for hiking and cross country skiing. The Pickerel Lake Park boardwalk trail that crosses the lake is a popular fishing spot, and a stroll along these trails almost guarantees views of birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
Provin Trails Park (2900 4 Mile Rd., Grand Rapids Township) – A great way to feel like you’re miles away from the city without having to drive far is to visit Provin Trails Park. A network of trails here winds through the woods, perfect for quiet hikes or challenging winter recreation.
Rogue River Park (6300 Belshire Ave., Belmont) – There are e things that bring people to Rogue River Park: great trails and open space near the river, a variety of sports fields/courts and picnic areas, and trailhead parking for the Fred Meijer White Pine State Trail. Whatever activity is your favorite, you’ll find Rogue River Park is a great locations for it!
Ruehs Park (7602 68th St., Alaska) – This smaller park has a nice wide open area and a playground, but most visit it because of its frontage on the Thornapple River. Ruehs Park is perfect for a picnic, playing catch with friends, or maybe even some fishing or kayaking in the river!
Seidman Park (8155 Conservation Dr., Ada) – 400 acres of fields, woods, and wetlands await at Seidman Park. Trails (including part of the North Country National Scenic Trail) wind through different habitats with lots of potential for wildlife sightings here, and parking lots at both the north and south ends of the park allow for easy access. Spend an hour or half a day here, and you’ll keep coming back!
Townsend Park (8280 6 Mile Rd., Cannonsburg) – A scenic spot centered around Bear Creek, Townsend Park is a popular spot for family gatherings with its multiple picnic pavilions and shelters. This is also a great place for a picnic, a photo shoot, or a hike along the trail through the pine trees.
Two Rivers Greenspace (10548 Whitenyville Ave., Middleville) – One of the more developed greenspace areas (see more at bottom of post), this park is located at the confluence of the Thornapple River and the Coldwater River. When we stopped to check it out, we quickly noticed how many different bird species we saw in the meadow area. We also loved the old barn and the great views of the river from high up on the bank.
Wabasis Lake Park and Campground (11220 Springhill Dr., Greenville) – The only Kent County Park with a campground, Wabasis Lake Park offers a beach, sports facilities, playgrounds, trails, a boat launch, and more. Find out more about the campground at https://www.kentcountyparks.org/wabasislakecampground, and keep this park in mind if you’re ever looking to experience the feel of Northern Michigan just a short drive from Grand Rapids!
Wahlfield Park (6811 Alpine Ave., Alpine Township) – North of Grand Rapids and south of Sparta, Wahlfield Park offers a trail system for hiking and mountain biking, a playground, picnic areas, and great scenery.
White Pine Park (13590 Lincoln Lake Rd., Gowen) – This mostly undeveloped park features a trail that winds through one of the last remaining white pine stands in the county. Since the 1920s, this park has been set aside with preservation in mind. This is a great place for a quiet hike!
Additional sites that are undeveloped planned for future parks include the Thornapple River Greenspace in Alaska, Bettes Memorial Park in Sparta, 12 Mile Conservation Area in Rockford, and the Lowell Regional Greenspace.