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Kent County Parks
Kent County Parks

Accessible Trails and Facilities

Exploring Kent County Parks and Trails with Physical Limitations

Throughout our system of parks and trails, we strive for a high degree of accessibility so people with physical limitations can enjoy diverse outdoor experiences. The links on the left and the information below can help you plan a visit. If you have specific questions about certain parks or facilities, please call us at (616) 632-7275.
guide to accessible trails and facilities
Guide to Accessible Facilities
Most Kent County parks offer a variety of accessible opportunities. We've prepared a guide reviewing which facilities each park or trail has to offer. You'll also find an interactive map to these parks at the bottom of this page.

Accessible Trails
Kent County Parks focus on preserving natural resources and providing access to these areas for park visitors to enjoy. Visitors will find that our parks offer a range of outdoor experiences to suit their differing interests and abilities. In regards to accessible trails, there are four basic categories to consider in our park system.
 
Connecting Sidewalks and Pathways
The parks listed in the guide have paved walkways connecting parking areas with available facilities like picnic shelters, playgrounds or restrooms. Generally, these walkways are fairly short, less than 1/3 of a mile. The walks in some, like Fallasburg and Dutton Shadyside Parks, offer scenic excursions without straying far from parking areas.
 
Hansen Nature TrailShort Routes from 1/3 to 1 Mile
Most of our hard-surfaced trails are paved with asphalt, although some parks like Wahlfield and Millennium offer crushed lime trails for a more natural feel that is still stable and flat. In several parks you'll find loop trails of less than a mile that take you out and back through forests and fields or around recreation areas.  We've provided descriptions of these trails in the top half of our page Paved Trails within Parks.
 
Park Trails and Networks Longer than 1 Mile
If you really want to get out and explore, we have three parks with paved trails more than a mile long. At Johnson Park, the old Scenic Drive has been closed to vehicle traffic and now offers a scenic and peaceful route through the forested uplands of the park. The Buck Creek Trail runs along the west edge of Palmer Park for about a mile. At Millennium Park, an extensive network of paved trails allows you to plan your own route and level of challenge. More information on these opportunities is also on our page Paved Trails within Parks.
 
Regional Trails
Here in West Michigan, we have a world-class network of paved Regional Trials. These are linear routes that can be followed in some cases for tens of miles. The Kent County Parks Department manages four of these regional trails, Kent Trails, the Fred Meijer M-6 Trail, the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail, and the Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail. In addition, as shown in the Guide to Accessible Facilities, many of our parks also serve as trailheads for regional trails, offering easy parking and/or restrooms. 

Other Tips and Recommendations
 
Facilities are Limited in our Off Season

Most of our parks are officially open from May 1 through October 31. In November, we close the gates at many parks and drain our water lines to prevent freezing. In most cases accessible restrooms are not available in our off season
 
Millennium Park - Lots to Do
As you'll see in the Guide to Accessible Trails and Facilities, Millennium Park offers a wide variety facilities and they're all within easy reach of the main parking areas. Paved walkways connect the different locations and will even take you down to the edge of the beach. Boardwalks go out over the water for fishing opportunities and relatively short paved loops follow the edges of ponds and lakes. The longer paved trails within the park also connect to the main recreation area. Note that there is a fee to enter the beach area.
 
Pickerel Lake - view from boardwalkPickerel Lake - Up North Feel
Pickerel Lake is an undeveloped 80 acre lake north of Cannonsburg. Also called the Fred Meijer Nature Preserve, the park mostly encompasses this lake as well as more than 200 acres of natural woods and fields. For the most part, the trails at Pickerel Lake are rustic, natural-surfaced paths which might be more of a challenge for people with physical limitations, but one of the most enticing features of the park is its 800 ft long floating boardwalk. This boardwalk is the gateway to the trail network and is immediately adjacent to the parking area. Once you're out on the boardwalk, you'll feel like you're "up north" whether you're fishing, taking pictures, or just watching for wildlife and enjoying the view.