TrailsA variety of paved and natural-surfaced trails are available for exploring the park. The paved Buck Creek Trail is multi-use and runs along the park's west edge, connecting 44th St to 52nd St. A narrower paved loop trail is available from the parking lot on the park's main drive. Interconnected pathways and loops also explore wetlands east of the drive and a creek tributary south of the ball diamond.
All the trails at Palmer are closed to motorized uses except for golf carts on the cart paths at Kaufman Golf Course. The trails are also closed to equestrians. Bike use is only allowed on the paved Buck Creek Trail.
PlaygroundsPalmer Park has two large play structures for active kids, convenient to the picnic areas, parking and restrooms. One is located adjacent to open shelter A at the edge of the ball diamond field. The other is centrally located in the woods near the restrooms, between the "B" and "C" picnic areas.
Picnics and Group EventsPalmer Park has six picnic areas and two open picnic shelters that are available for picnics and other group events such as weddings, meetings, reunions and parties. All of these may be reserved for a fee. If picnic areas or the open shelter are not reserved, they are available first-come first-served for no fee.
Cross Country SkiingIn the winter, Palmer Park and Kaufman Golf Course switch gears to become one of the best cross-country skiing sites in the Grand Rapids area. Skiers will find three groomed loops of roughly two miles each, winding through wooded areas of the park and more open stretches through the golf course. The trails offer flatter areas and hills and valleys for a varied and scenic experience. Here's a link to our ski trail map. We also have a brochure with details on skiing at Palmer Park.
There is a $2 trail fee per visit, or skiers may purchase a season pass for $25.
The clubhouse at Kaufman Golf Course serves as the hub for skiers, with snacks and beverages for sale, heated restrooms, and often a fire in the fireplace. We also rent skis in all sizes at the Clubhouse. Rates are $8 for adults, $7 for kids age 17 and younger, or $26 for a family of up to five. There's no trail fee if you are renting skis.
Skiing is allowed if we have 4" or more of snow on the ground. For ski trail conditions, call (616) 538-5050.
Baseball and SoftballA ball diamond with ample parking is available near open picnic shelter A. From the park's main drive, take the first two rights to reach the parking lot.
FishingBuck Creek passes through Palmer Park from the southeast corner of the park to the northwest on its route to the Grand River. Within the park, fragile wetlands surround much of the creek but fishing opportunities are available off bridges and drier creek banks.