Autumn is upon us. Put away your flip-flops and pull out your favorite sweater. Tis the season for hot apple cider, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes. And of course, time to wonder in the beauty of the Fall color change. You can drive down any back road and see the red, orange, and gold leaves lighting up their branches, but the best way to experience Autumn is on the trail.
Want to stay close to town, but still get forest benefits? Along with the golf course, museum, and baseball fields, Ella Sharp Park offers miles of trails. With plenty of parking and the proximity to all the park has to offer, this is an excellent spot for the novice or experienced hiker. The trails here are excellent for mountain biking too.
Falling Waters Trail spans over 10 miles from Weatherwax Rd to Concord. This trail is loved by those just on a stroll, and serious runners and bikers looking to get their miles in. The fact that the trail is paved and relatively flat makes it accessible to all abilities.
Yet, even though paved, the natural scenery is still a sight to see and enjoy. If you don’t plan to do the 20-mile round trip, I recommend checking out all three trailheads (Weatherwax, Teft Rd, and River Street), as they each offer their own unique natural setting.
The Kate Palmer Sanctuary is a hidden gem in Jackson County. Located off of McCain Rd, the 53 acre wildlife sanctuary was purchased by the Michigan Audubon Society in 1926. The society continues ownership and maintenance to this day. Stroll by Sandstone Creek, and delight in the songs of the many birds that make this forest their home.
Taking children on the trail? Head to The Dahlem Conservancy. Along with trails, kids can enjoy The Children’s Garden, The Nature Playscape with a climbing tree, and the exhibit room.
Dahlem also offers a short paved trail for those with limited mobility, perfect for little feet. There is no doubt about it, October brings beauty to Jackson County. So pull on your boots, order that pumpkin spice latte, and get out into nature. Autumn is waiting for you.
Toni Lee is a lifelong Jackson resident. She spends her time raising her three children, two dogs, nine chickens, and her husband in Southwest Jackson. A proponent of keeping Jackson active, she also volunteers as one of the Jackson ambassadors of Hike it Baby