Michigan Trail Tuesday: Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve, Antrim County

Michigan Trail Tuesday: Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve, Antrim County

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve Jon Hiking

Michigan Trail Tuesday is our attempt to showcase a different trail or trail segment each week. The Mitten State is home to thousands of miles of trails, including the new Iron Belle Trail that runs from Detroit in the southeast to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula and more miles of the North Country Trail than any other state.

Heading home from a trip up north recently, our attention was grabbed by a sign for a nature preserve just south of East Jordan on M-66. The Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve is a beautiful piece of land protected by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy that offers one mile of trail and the chance to see wildlife and plants.

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve Information Sign

A small parking lot is available for visitors, and a large sign with information greets you at the trailhead. It reads: “As an enduring tribute to their late father and mother, Daniel and Bertha Cosner, sisters Rosemarie Abbott and Johanna Rowe donated the original portion of this preserve to GTRLC in 1996. The Cosners had originally purchased the land in 1970 simply because of its beauty. James and Shirley Petrie later purchased another contiguous parcel with the generous intention of donating it to GTRLC as an addition to the Cosner Nature Preserve, which they did in December 1998. It was named in honor of James’ great grandparents (of the Bennett and Barnes families), who homesteaded the property. The one mile trail loop as Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve is relatively flat. It includes some sections of boardwalk and two bridges, and it takes users through a variety of habitats on the property. users will enjoy views of the creek, and the abundant floras of the high quality wetlands.”

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve Trail Split

This preserve is open for fishing and hunting, and pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash. It is asked that you remain on the main trails and be aware that both poison ivy and ticks can be present here.

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve Boardwalk Wetlands

We found the trail to be easy to follow and loved how quiet things became once we headed into the woods, even though we were still close to the road. The creek crossings provided some beautiful scenery, and while we seemed to be a few weeks early for spring flowers and plants we could see the potential for this to be a very colorful area once things bloom.

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve Northern Water Snake

This is supposed to be a great spot for birdwatching, though we didn’t see many during our visit. The creeks also looked to be a perfect spot for spotting turtles, frogs, and other animals during warmer weather. As we made our way through the back half of the trail, a snake crossed our path then disappeared into the tall grass.

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve Antrim County MI

If you’re looking for a great place to spend some time soaking in the scenery or watching for wildlife, this is a great preserve. The trail was almost entirely flat and should be easy for most, but you will want boots or good shoes if there has been wet weather recently.

Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve GTRLC

The Cosner & Bennett-Barnes Nature Preserve is located on M-66 three miles south of East Jordan. If heading south it will be on your left after you pass Bellaire Rd. If heading north, it will be on your right just after you pass Kidder Rd.