By Danna Nims and Toni Walker, Hike It Baby Jackson MI. Traveling to Jackson County provides the perfect opportunity to experience the great outdoors and let your children find adventure. There are ways to do that within our community at no cost. Hike it Baby Jackson MI has compiled a list of our favorite places to hike around Jackson. Every week we have a variety of hikes scheduled to appeal to different age groups at one or more of these locations.
1. The Dahlem Conservancy is where our branch’s inaugural hike took place. With five miles of intertwining trails traversing through different habitats that are relatively flat, there is something for everyone. Their Nature for All Trail is great for all-access hikes and perfect for our toddler toddles. After our hikes we always end up at the nature playground for the children to play even longer.
2. Grand River ArtsWalk is a great location for urban strolls. Our favorite way to experience the trail and some of downtown is to start at Lions Park and walk to the Toy House. Round trip it is two miles and we are able to enjoy the scenery of the banks of the Grand River, the grounds of the old prison, and the colorful projects at the Arts District. Writing on the large chalk boards outside of the Toy House is a must before returning to Lions Park to play on the playground.
3. MSU MacCready Reserve trails are perfect for our adult paced and even bigger kid-led hikes. There are three looping trails that interconnect. The hilly terrain is moderate to difficult and a great place for children to explore and observe the dynamics of forests and ecosystems.
4. Jackson's Rail Trails are awesome for all ages and a great feature of our community in Jackson. We frequent New Leaf Park on the Martin Luther King Equality Trail formerly the Inter-City Trail for a variety of strolls including Bike it Baby events. There is a lending library box at New Leaf Park so be sure to bring a book to swap before you hit the trail. Another rail trail that we love is the Falling Waters Trail. One of the most scenic areas of the trail is around Lime Lake which is easily accessible from the Teft Road trailhead.
5. Waterloo Recreational Area offers hiking in its truest sense. The trail at Sackrider hill is a favorite. Scenic and strenuous, this footpath is best for kids in carriers, and adults looking for a challenge. A feeling of accomplishment and fellowship with nature always follows.
What can make experiencing these locations even more fun and memorable is experiencing them with other families. Hike it Baby is a national non-profit organization with a branch right here in Jackson. We encourage families to get outdoors with their children from birth to school age. The word “hike” is used loosely because we love our local urban strolls and other events that get us outdoors. Happy hiking and we hope to see you out on the trails with us soon. For more information on Hike It Baby Jackson and their events, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.