Michigan Trail Tuesday: Pigeon Creek Park, Ottawa County
Michigan Trail Tuesdays is a new feature that will 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.
Ottawa County Parks manages 26 parks and 12 open space areas, and one of our favorite is Pigeon Creek Park in West Olive. This 282-acre park features 10 miles of trails that are open for hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and equestrian use depending on the season. Trails wind through large stands of red pine and next to Pigeon Creek, where chances of seeing a variety of plants and wildlife are plentiful.
In the winter this park offers groomed cross country ski trails, with a lodge that offers rentals and a warming area. Food and drink is also sold there and a sledding hill can be found near the lodge. The lodge can also be rented out for private events. Three miles of the ski trails are lighted for nighttime use. Lesson are also available. Due to conditions this year, the following message was posted by Ottawa County Parks “Generally, once winter operations begin, no hiking, biking, or dogs are allowed in the park. Because of the unusual weather, we are re-opening the park to hikers and dog walkers. Trails will remain closed to bikes and horses until the end of the season (late March). If we received more snow, trails will close again for hikers/dogs.” Dogs are allowed in the park during hiking season, but must be on leash and properly cleaned up after.
We’ve visited Pigeon Creek Park several times during the spring and summer when it is open for hiking, and have enjoyed the views along the creek. Wildlife in the park includes a wide variety of birds, many amphibians and reptiles, small mammals and more. Much of the area near the river features vegetation typical of swampy areas, and there are many different kinds of trees in each section of the park – trail segments bear names like Red Pine Loop, Hemlock Path, Sugar Maple Lane and Orchid Trail. Most trails are rated easy to moderate, with boardwalks in place where needed and many benches and observation decks along the way. The Pigeon Creek Loop is one of our favorite trail segments.
Find out more about the park at http://www.miottawa.org/Parks/pigeoncreek.htm, maps at http://www.miottawa.org/Parks/pdf/Park_Maps/PigeonCreekSummerMap.pdf and http://www.miottawa.org/Parks/pdf/Park_Maps/PigeonCreekWinterMap.pdf. Stay up to date on trail conditions and special events on the Ottawa County Parks Facebook page.