See the Historic Train Trestle and a Waterfall at Schutmaat Park in Hamilton
Michigan is full of many charming small-town parks, and we recently had the chance to explore Schutmaat Park in Hamilton. This park is located on the Rabbit River, providing access for fishing, kayaking, and more. Here you will also find an old dam and waterfall, as well as a picturesque wooden train trestle bridge that is still in use today.
I had driven over the Rabbit River on M-40 several times while in the area for work and could see the train trestle and dam, and in November I finally stopped by to check it out. While the U.P. has hundreds of waterfalls, there is only one official named waterfall in the Lower Peninsula so even finding a dam/waterfall like this is always a treat. Add in the train trestle and river access, and this is a great park for the whole family.
The train trestle bridge dates back to the 1900s, and was rebuilt in 1912. It is 420 feet long and the tracks are 35 feet above the river. The dam is a popular fishing spot as the river is home to brown trout and steelhead. It might be hard to imagine now, but a sawmill and later a flour mill were among the early buildings in this area.
The park received a makeover in 2015 and 2016 that helped make it one of the most accessible parks in the area. A wooden ramp from M-40 makes sure everyone can get to the park, and the large platform by the river is a great addition as well. The park has a picnic pavilion with tables and a grill, and sidewalks that run through the park.
A plaque near the parking lot identifies this as one of the sites on the Allegan County Heritage Trail. You can see many historic photographs and learn about the history of Hamilton here while enjoying the park. Schutmaat Park (shown on the map below as Heath Township Park) is located at the end of Willyard St., just a block off of M-40.