Michigan Trail Tuesday: Hudsonville Nature Center

Michigan Trail Tuesday: Hudsonville Nature Center

Hudsonville Nature Center Tree Mushrooms Trail

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.

A February “false spring” day here in Michigan gave us the chance to take a muddy but scenic hike through a park we had never been to before, the Hudsonville Nature Center. Located just off of I-196, this preserve of more than 70 acres has hiking trails, picnic areas, lookouts, and abundant wildflowers (in season). The trails here were well-maintained and clearly signed, with lots of boardwalks and bridges to help navigate wet areas. It wasn’t heard to imagine how beautiful this place must look in spring and summer as the flowers bloom and trees fill in with green leaves, or in the fall when the¬†woods here explode with color. We will definitely be back to visit in other seasons but for now let’s take a look at the trails and what you can expect when you visit.

Hudsonville Nature Center boardwalk trail woods

There is a small parking lot at the end of New Holland St. just a few blocks from the Hudsonville exit off of I-196, and that is where your Hudsonville Nature Center begins. We started off on trail (11) that borders a nearby mobile home park, and at our first chance took a right and headed into the woods (8). The trail drops down here and there are boardwalks in place to help navigate areas that get a little wet in spring and summer. We followed the boardwalk through the woods (12) then headed out to explore the prairie area (17) where there is an observation deck that overlooks an open area that fill sup with plants, flowers, and birds once temperatures warm up.

Hudsonville Nature Center Prairie Observation Tower

After walking through this grassy/muddy area while traffic flies by on I-196, we took the trail that heads back into the woods. There are some uphill/downhill sections that might be a bit of a workout, and we were glad to have on good hiking boots to deal with the muddy and wet areas.

Hudsonville Nature Center Icy Creek February 2024

Staying to the outer loop whenever possible, we were treated to more bridges, some frozen ice that was still lingering, and some great scenic views of the creek that winds through this preserve.

Hudsonville Nature Center Tree Identification

We started to notice that some trees had signs posted in front of them identifying what kind they were and providing a QR code for more information. We will definitely be making a return trip here in the spring to see what they look like in the spring!

Hudsonville Nature Center Creek Footbridge 2024

There is a picnic table and overlook area near point #28 on the map, then a scenic footbridge near point #29 where we spent some time looking at the animal tracks in the soft mud and sand. This appeared to be a popular spot for deer and raccoons!

Hudsonville Nature Center Trees Along Trail 2024

From the bridge we followed a ridge (19) with great views of the entire forest before emerging at the other side of the prairie area. From there it was an easy trek (14,16) back to where we had parked. Total distance covered was just under two miles and we loved everything about this new-to-us park. Signs are posted at most major intersections so it is hard to get off track, and the multiple path options make this a kind of “choose your own adventure” hike. If you’re looking for some great time in the outdoors, head to the Hudsonville Nature Center!

Hudsonville Nature Center Trail Map Michigan Hiking

The Hudsonville Nature Center does allow dogs, provided they are leashed and cleaned up after. The physical address for the parking area is 2700 New Holland St.