Load ’em up and head to Jackson

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Seriously, you can load up any outdoor gear and head to Jackson to find some fun. You can load up the kids, your friends, and the dogs to find great places to hike and bike across the county. There are paved and natural trails to get some fresh air and exercise for everyone. Get started with the free trail guide and pick from over 100 miles of trails to explore.

Bringing the bikes?

Jackson County is covered in great trails for biking. Jackson is part of the Iron Bell and the Great Lake to Lake trail system, so you could bike across the state in any direction from Jackson. First choice for you is, pavement or dirt? If you’re going for the smooth ride of pavement, check out the Falling Waters Trail. This is a 10 mile smooth and nearly perfectly flat trail on an old railroad bed that runs from Concord to Jackson. You can then follow it all the way to downtown Jackson on the Martin Luther King Equality trail to grab a bite and explore the city.

If you’re looking for some natural trails, the best spot to bike in the ‘Mitten’ is at Waterloo Recreation area. On the east side of Jackson County, Waterloo is the largest state park in the lower peninsula and features the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, which takes you to some amazing places. With four loops covering 21 miles, you’ll find challenges and fun for everyone. Jackson also has some mountain biking trails closer to town. Ella Sharp Park offers multiple trails across the park, cutting through the woods and open fields.

Plan on bringing the boots or running shoes?

Well, Jackson has the trails for great hiking, walking, or running. Hikers, walkers and runners can enjoy Falling Waters and Waterloo trails just like the bikers, but you can also check out these trails that are only for foot-traffic.

MacCready Reserve is south of downtown Jackson and includes 6.5 miles of dog-friendly trails in 400 acres of forests. Designed for education, research, and outreach programs in wildlife management, you’ll find hills, ponds, and even an accessible island to discover great views along with some fun nature facts. 

Next, for a gentler pace, check out the Dahlem Enviromental Education Center. Home to five miles of trails, and 3/8 mile trail for limited mobility guests, you’ll find forests, marshes, and ponds with great features for kids to learn more about nature. The Dahlem was voted the best place to take a toddler by Jackson Magazine readers in 2018.

When you’re ready to refuel

If you’re coming into Jackson to find some trails you’re going to work up a hunger and a thirst. Downtown Jackson has a great food culture. From breweries and burgers to sushi and ice cream; your entire group will find a great place for a bite to eat. Check out the foodies section of Experience Jackson to find the iconic Jackson specialties.

Make another stop

After the trails, be sure to check out more things to do around Jackson. Home to the Cascades Falls, Michigan’s first state prison, and great theaters and art centers, be sure to check out the Uniquely Jackson page for more ideas to explore.

Jackson, Michigan is great for any outdoor adventure. Be sure to load up your gear and your friends and family to come and check out all the trails — and adventures — in Jackson.

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