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Over Seven Miles of Nature Trails for Walking or Hiking l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l A Kalamazoo Michigan Area Nature Center


While visiting or staying at the Institute, explore the property by hiking one of the eight nature trails which are open from dawn to dusk. Walk the shorter trails or hike the longer trails in spring, summer, and fall. Enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing when the snow arrives. Restrooms are available at the Visitor Center from dawn to dusk.Hiking Trails l Open Year Around from Dawn to Dusk l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l A West Michigan Nature Center

Download a PDF map

Interactive Map of Institute Property

Three Recommended Trail Routes

Brewster Lake Trail (Red Trail) – 1.8 miles
This trail crosses and passes by a number of beautiful habitats, including a fen, a mature oak forest with unusually large trees, and a pasture frequented by deer and turkey. A trail extension has been added to provide a scenic view of Brewster Lake.

Lupine Trail (Green Trail) – 0.4 miles
The primary features of this trail are retention ponds, panoramic views, a small section of open forest, and a wetland dominated by skunk cabbage.

Beech Maple Ridge Trail (Blue Trail) – 1.75 miles
This trail passes through a second growth forest, mature oak and beech-maple forests, a section of swamp forest, and a fen.

Hiking and Walking Trails l Open Year Around from Dawn to Dusk l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l A Battle Creek Michigan Area Nature Center

Tall Grass Prairie Trail (Yellow Trail) – 0.4 miles
This is a shortcut to the middle of the Blue Trail. View the beauty of the Institute’s constructed wildflower prairie on the west side of the trail.

Old Farm Trail (Orange Trail) – 1.3 miles
This is one of the Institute’s easiest trails to hike. It provides both open and forested views. The prairie loop provides a closer view of the prairie.

Black Walnut Trail (Purple Trail) – 0.2 miles
This trail provides wonderful views of the Visitor Center through a black cherry grove.

Cedar Creek Trail (White Trail) – 0.9 miles
This trail runs through a sand prairie with a great view of Cedar Creek, and then loops back to the Blue Trail. It is a primitive trail and somewhat more strenuous than other Institute trails. Blue and white trail markers, along with white markings on some trees, will help guide visitors along the trail.

White Tail Trail (Brown Trail) – 0.4 miles

This primitive trail meanders along a deer path, providing access to beech forests with a thick Pennsylvania sedge carpet. It provides a great view of the cedar swamps and the lush skunk cabbage the define this lowland area. This dynamic trail may offer more of a challenge than other trails.

Ephemeral Pond Trail – 0.26 miles
Glaciers' influence on the landscape is clearly evident in the unique topography found along this trail. A series of rolling hills and depressions created by the melting ice make for a dramatic landscape.

Big Woods Trail (Blue Trail) – 0.74 miles
Since this wood lot was previously managed for sustainable timber harvest, this trail provides an opportunity to see stands in different stages of succession. Red oak, black oak, tulip poplar, American beech, and black cherry dominate these woods.

Pine Ridge Trail (Blue Trail) – 0.27 miles
Following a ridgeline on steep grades, this trail is one of the more challenging on the property. It was developed from a deer trail that meandered through the trees.

Aurohn Lake Trail (Blue Trail) – 0.45 miles
This trail provides beautiful panoramic views of the shoreline of Aurohn Lake and is a great place to observe waterfowl and sandhill cranes.


Rules and Regulations for Trail Users

Brewster Lake Trail l Open Year Around from Dawn to Dusk l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l A Southwest Michigan Biological Field Station

No hunting, fishing, trapping, or plant collecting, except for authorized research or management purposes.
• Do not release wildlife or domesticated animals on the property.
• No littering or dumping.
• Keep all pets on a leash. Pets are not allowed in the buildings. As a courtesy to other participants please do not bring pets with you to programs, including hikes.
• Clean up all pet waste on trails.
• Respect the rights of adjacent property owners.
• Stay on trails and do not interfere with research projects and equipment. Off-trail hiking may be permissible with written staff consent.
• No bikes, ORVs, or horses on trails.
• No personal or motorized watercrafts on Brewster Lake or Cedar Creek.
• Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, and possession of illegal drugs on the property is strictly prohibited.
• Possession and/or discharge of firearms, weapons, fireworks, and/or explosives are prohibited with the exception of bows and guns used strictly (with written consent) for deer and turkey management programs.
• Camping and campfires are prohibited. Campfires in the designated fire pits adjacent to housing units are allowed with staff permission.
• Recreational swimming is prohibited.

Autumn Hike l Seven Miles of Trails l Diverse Habitats l Native Prairie l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l A Grand Rapids Michigan Area Nature CenterFamily Hikes - Children Outdoors - Seven Miles of Trails - Diverse Habitats - Native Prairie - Pierce Cedar Creek Institute - A West Michigan Nature Center