Experience Jackson

141 S. Jackson St., Jackson, MI 49201
Ella Sharp Park

Falling Waters Trail & the Trails in Jackson

The trail system in Jackson features three distinct trails. The first and largest is the Falling Waters Trail, an integral part of the statewide proposed Iron-Belle Trail. Situated on the bed of the former Michigan Central Railroad, the Falling Waters Trail is a unique, 10.6 mile-long linear park that is an ideal place to stroll, jog, bike ride or even roller blade.

Next the Falling Waters Trail continues another 3.4 miles as the Martin Luther King Equality Trail, formerly the Inter-City Trail, in the City of Jackson, from Weatherwax Drive to Morrell Street.

Finally the Grand River Arts Walk leads walkers, joggers and bicyclists from Downtown Jackson through the Arts District to Monroe Street.

MICHIGAN DNR TRAILS DEALS

Use code "Trails Jackson MI" when booking directly with the hotel. Each package includes:

Bookings must be made at least a week in advance to receive package.

America's Best Value Inn (517) 783-1900

$39.99 plus taxes and fees
(Does not include peak days. Blackout dates are June 10-12, July 15-17, and August 26-28, 2016)

 

Baymont Inn & Suites (517) 789-6000

$85 plus taxes and fees for a king or $95 plus taxes and fees for 2 queens

(Blackout dates are June 10-12, July 15-17, and August 26-28, 2016)

 

Comfort Inn & Suites (517) 768-0088

10% off rack rate plus taxes and fees

(Blackout dates are June 10-12, July 15-17, August 26-28, 2016)

 

Fairfield Inn Jackson (517) 784-7877

$139 plus taxes and fees

(Blackout dates are June 10-12, July 15-17, August 26-28, 2016)

 

Hampton Inn (517) 789-5151

5% off rack rate plus taxes and fees

(Blackout dates are June 10-12, July 15-17, August 26-28, 2016)

 

Hankerd Inn Resort (517) 769-6153

$80 plus taxes and fees

(Blackout Dates August 12-13)

 

Super 8 Brooklyn (517) 592-0888

$67 Weekday, $75 Weekend plus taxes and fees

(Blackout Dates May 11-14, June 10-12, July 15-17, August 26-28, and November 4, 2016) 

 

Falling Waters Trail Map

Click to download the map.

Other Trails in Jackson

Sparks Park aka Cascades Park has two popular walking trail loops. The interior loop is 1.3 miles while the exterior loop is 1.8 miles. 

Ella Sharp Park features paved and unpaved walking, jogging, and popular mountain biking trails that meander through natural preservation areas.

The Dahlem consists of 5 miles of trails featuring forests, fields, marshes and ponds including a 3/8 mile trail for those with limited mobility called the The Nature For All Trail.

Waterloo Recreation Area, the largest state park in the lower peninsula, contains many trails including 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails and another 12 miles of equestrian trails for horseback riding.

The MacCready Reserve south of town includes 6.5 miles of dog-friendly trails in a beautiful lush forest environment.

Interested? Learn more at FallingWaterTrail.org

Falling Waters Trail

(517) 788-4320
Website | Facebook
Weatherwax Drive to the Village of Concord
Jackson, MI

Falling Waters Trail The Falling Waters Trail is a major east-west component of the Jackson County Regional Trail plan, connecting the town of Concord with the city of Jackson. This 10.6-mile asphalt rail-trail... » More Information

Park Features
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Falling Waters Trail

The Falling Waters Trail is a major east-west component of the Jackson County Regional Trail plan, connecting the town of Concord with the city of Jackson. This 10.6-mile asphalt rail-trail follows the old rail bed of the former Michigan Central Railroad and at its northeast terminus the trail carries on as the Martin Luther King Equality Trail formerly known as the Jackson Inter-City Trail from Weatherwax to Morrell Street. The trail has been dedicated as a Jackson County Park.

The trial begins in the Village of Concord. Start your trail ride right with breakfast at nearby Concord Cafe. The trail is mostly rural, with only a few road crossings. It also crosses the Lime Lake County Park (5501 Teft Road) where you can drop a line for fish. There are plenty of places to stop along the way and admire the scenery, have a picnic and take a swim.

To start at the west terminus look for the intersection of River and Main St. in Concord and the northeast terminus will be on Weatherwax Rd. between Kibby and Horton Rd. Parking is available at the Weatherwax and Concord Trailhead as well as at the Lime Lake County Park at about the middle of the trail. Click here for a trail map.

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Martin Luther King Equality Trail formerly the Inter-City Trail

(517) 788-4040
Website | Facebook
Weatherwax Dr. to Morrell St.
Jackson, MI

Martin Luther King Equality Trail formerly the Inter-City Trail The arrow-straight formerly known as the Jackson Intercity Trail follows the old rail bed of the former Michigan Central Railroad for 3.4 miles through the southwest section of Jackson. The trail... » More Information

Park Features
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Martin Luther King Equality Trail formerly the Inter-City Trail

The arrow-straight formerly known as the Jackson Intercity Trail follows the old rail bed of the former Michigan Central Railroad for 3.4 miles through the southwest section of Jackson. The trail provides a nice non-motorized way for area residents to commute to shops and work, as well as for recreation. For those wanting to venture farther afield, the Martin Luther King Equality Trail turns into the Falling Waters Trail at Weatherwax Drive, which carries on southwest 10.6 miles to the town of Concord.

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Grand River Arts Walk

(517) 788-4040
Website | Facebook
Louis Glick Highway to Monroe Street
Jackson, MI 49201

Grand River Arts Walk Opened in 2010, this one-mile trail follows the Grand River from downtown through the Art District at Art 634 and Armory Arts ending at Monroe Street.

Park Features
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Grand River Arts Walk

Opened in 2010, this one-mile trail follows the Grand River from downtown through the Art District at Art 634 and Armory Arts ending at Monroe Street.

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Sparks Park & The Cascades

(517) 788-4320
Website | Facebook
1400 S. Brown St.
Jackson, MI 49203

Sparks Park & The Cascades Sparks Park & The Cascades a.k.a. Cascades Park & Cascade Falls The best-known attraction of this 457-acre park is The Cascades, a man-made, illuminated waterfall with musical accompaniment... » More Information

Hours

2016 The Cascades Schedule

The Cascades will be open for a light show from 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on these dates:

  • Nightly May 28 - September 5
  • September 10 & 11
  • September 17 & 18

All dates are weather permitting.

Park Features
  • Flower Garden
  • Fountain
  • Benches
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Grills
  • Playground Equipment
  • Basketball Courts
  • Baseball/ Softball Fields
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Golf Course & Golf Learning Center
  • Winter Sledding
  • Fishing Site
  • Modern Restrooms
  • Portable Toilets
  • Sparks Park & The Cascades

Sparks Park & The Cascades a.k.a.
Cascades Park &
Cascade Falls

The best-known attraction of this 457-acre park is The Cascades, a man-made, illuminated waterfall with musical accompaniment enjoyed by all since 1932. Some prefer to watch the dancing lights and listen to the beautiful music from comfortable seats while the most energetic climb to the top of the 500-foot hill alongside the six giant fountains while dodging the spraying water. 

The falls are illuminated every night in season, 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. with an admission charge. Children 10 years and under are free with paid adult. Call for special group rates. 

The park, also known as the Sparks Foundation County Park, features the Cascades 18-hole Championship Golf Course, Cascades Short Course and driving range.  Other features of this park, operated by the Jackson County Parks Department,  include an outdoor basketball court, baseball and softball fields, a very popular walking path, playground area, and a picnic shelter.  

The Cascades Park is also the home of many special events such as the midwest's largest Cascades Civil War Muster weekly summer Family Fun Nights, and spectacular fireworks shows every year. Don't forget to stop by the Cascades Ice Cream Co, featuring "Frozen Dome Malts", open March through September.

Click here to download and print the 2016 Fireworks and Family Fun Night schedule of events. 

Click here to download and print the 2016 Cascades Rotary Community Bandshell Summer Concert Series schedule of events. 

The Sparks Park newest feature is the urban fishery. The fishery was first stocked with 500 Blue Gill and 100 Large Mouth Bass. The urban fishery was completed in June 2012. The area includes a fishing pier, walking path, informative signs and a large picnic gazebo.

Group Tour Information

Groups are encouraged to contact the Jackson County Parks Department at 517-788-4320 for a special behind the scenes tour and pricing information. Guided historic tours of this man-made illuminated waterfall usually last about a half hour and take place before evening light shows in the summer.  Groups should plan to spend 1.5 to 2 hours on site.

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Ella Sharp Park

(517) 788-4040
Website | Facebook
3225 Fourth St.
Jackson, MI 49203

Ella Sharp Park This 563-acre park currently features an eighteen-hole Golf Course & Learning Center, eighteen-hole miniature golf course, four tennis courts, two picnic shelters, rose garden, Carter’s Corner... » More Information

Hours

Park: Daily 5 a.m.- 10 p.m.

Park Features
  • Flower Garden
  • Benches
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Grills
  • Playground Equipment
  • Basketball Courts
  • Baseball/ Softball Fields
  • Tennis Courts
  • Soccer Fields
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Golf Course & Golf Learning Center
  • Mini Golf Course
  • Winter Sledding
  • Fishing Site
  • Modern Restrooms
  • Portable Toilets
  • Ella Sharp Park
  • Ella Sharp Park
  • Ella Sharp Park
  • Ella Sharp Park
  • Ella Sharp Park

This 563-acre park currently features an eighteen-hole Golf Course & Learning Center, eighteen-hole miniature golf course, four tennis courts, two picnic shelters, rose garden, Carter’s Corner Play Structure, two lighted softball fields, three regular softball fields, ten soccer fields, four baseball fields, one basketball court, playground areas, mountain biking trails, the Ella Sharp Museum, Hurst Planetarium and hosts the annual Hot Air Jubilee.

New in 2016 an 18-hole disc golf course!

Mini-Golf (Putt-Putt)

  • Ella Sharp Park's 18-hole miniaturized golf course holds fun for everyone. The mini-course is open 7 days a week. Please call for seasonal hours at 517-788-4696

Lighted Softball Fields

  • The park includes 2 full service fenced and lighted ball fields. Field #1 has a scorer's building while field #2 has a rain shelter.

Open Field Sports Area

  • The park includes 3 full-size football fields, 3 softball fields, 4 full-size soccer fields which can be used as 8 smaller fields.

Fishing Area

  • The park has a stretch along the banks of the Grand River which is available for fishing. The area is handicapped accessible and is located in the southeast portion of the park.

Paved and Unpaved Walking, Jogging, and Bike Trails

  • The park includes a 1-mile path that connects from Fourth Street with Museum and with the South Jackson Street entrance. In addition, the park also keeps some rough trails that meander through natural preservation areas in both the East and West sides of Fourth Street. These trails are ideal for walking, jogging, and cross-country skiing. The Cascades Cycling Trail Map

Tennis Courts

  • The park upkeeps 4 paved tennis courts on a first come first serve basis.

Basketball Court

  • The park upkeeps one basketball court located at the South Jackson Road entrance.

Playground Equipment

  • Includes Carter's Corner located across from the Ella Sharp Museum

Facility Rental

  • The City of Jackson Recreation Department (517) 788-4040 will reserve either the Ella Sharp Park Rose Garden (near the entrance of Ella Sharp Park) or the Rotunda (across from the Museum) for your wedding. The Ella Sharp Park Carters Corner Picnic Pavilion or the West Picnic Pavilion are also available for rental. See Ella Sharp Museum for their Facility Rentals.

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Dahlem

(517) 782-3453
Website | Facebook
7117 S. Jackson Rd.
Jackson, MI 49201

Dahlem Dahlem is a place to experience, study and enjoy nature. With five miles of hiking trails containing forests, fields, marshes and ponds, visitors can enjoy a guided hike or experience... » More Information

Hours

Trail Hours
Dawn to dusk, 7 days per week, including holidays

Guided Nature Hikes
Every Tuesday from 9 am- 11 am

Building Hours
Tuesday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: Noon - 5pm
Monday: Closed 

Meeting Facility Features
  • AV Equipment Available
  • Air Conditioned
  • WiFi Available
  • Multiple Rooms or Facilities
Event Capacity
  • 200
  • Dahlem

Dahlem is a place to experience, study and enjoy nature. With five miles of hiking trails containing forests, fields, marshes and ponds, visitors can enjoy a guided hike or experience the natural wonders on their own. A newly resurfaced 3/8 mile trail has been specially redesigned for visitors with limited mobility. 

Dahlem offers year-round educational programs for students and families, including naturalist programs, workshops, and special events. The exhibit area and Nutshell Gift Shop are located within the main visitor building. 

The Nutshell is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to shop and is an excellent source for nature-related books, clothing, bird-feeding supplies, jewelry and many other items, including fresh wreaths during the holidays. 

Dahlem serves as a natural history education center for kids, but it is also known around the state and country for having one of the largest bluebird trails. Birders can capture the songs of Eastern Bluebirds along this well-maintained trail, as well as the harmonies of other migratory songbirds. The annual festival to celebrate these birds is called the Birds, Blooms, and Butterflies Festival.

Download the Dahlem Center Trail Map 

Venue Capacity

Dutcher Room - 80

Pavilion - 80

Green Space - 125

Group Tour Information

Year round groups of 10 or more are encouraged to take a 90 minute guided nature hike and interactive presentation by a Dahlem Naturalist. Groups will discover seasonal favorites such as dragonflies, bird watching, and butterflies on five miles of well-groomed trails. Meanwhile, limited mobility presentations are also available offered on the paved “Nature for All Trail”. Seated educational presentations are also available in the environmental education space. Groups should plan to spend 1.5 to 2 hours on site.

Groups may also schedule a Dahlem Naturalist to meet the bus at a variety of different birding and wildflower hot spots throughout Jackson county.  

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Waterloo Recreation Area

(734) 475-8307
Website | Facebook
16345 McClure Rd.
Chelsea, MI 48118

Waterloo Recreation Area Located northeast of the city of Jackson near Portage Lake County Park and Phyllis Haehnle Sanctuary, Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula. At more than 20,000... » More Information

Park Features
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Playground Equipment
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Fishing Site
  • Lake Swimming Access
  • Boat Launch
  • Modern Restrooms
  • Portable Toilets
  • Waterloo Recreation Area

Located northeast of the city of Jackson near Portage Lake County Park and Phyllis Haehnle Sanctuary, Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula. At more than 20,000 acres, the park boasts two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, a swimming beach, several picnic sites, 11 excellent fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, three rustic cabins, numerous equestrian trails and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center.

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MacCready Reserve

(269) 731-4597
| Facebook
9243 Skiff Lake Rd
Clarklake, MI 49234

MacCready Reserve The MacCready Reserve is a 408-acre property that is designated for education, research and outreach programs in wildlife and forestry management. The lush environment includes 6.5 miles of trails, rolling terrain,... » More Information

Hours

Daily, Dawn-Dusk

Park Features
  • Picnic Tables
  • Walking-Biking-Cross Country Skiing Trails
  • Modern Restrooms
  • MacCready Reserve

The MacCready Reserve is a 408-acre property that is designated for education, research and outreach programs in wildlife and forestry management. The lush environment includes 6.5 miles of trails, rolling terrain, towering hardwoods, natural springs and colorful wildflowers, creating a diverse habitat for numerous species of birds. This park is also dog-friendly. (Must remain on a leash at all times)

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