At some stretches, there are weeds up to your waist. It could be great if some development was done. In the dry heat of the summer, the trail is dry. We tried the trail from Hartford, but gave up in a couple miles. I am up for trying anything once-- especially a bike trail that heads to Lake Michigan. However, you have to be prepared for some tough riding in certain places. The focal points of the park are its high dune formations and one mile of sandy beach. The trail that branches off towards Hartford is pretty much unimproved and is best if you want to … It is in a small patch of woods in Northwestern Ohio surrounded by thousands of acres of fields of corn, wheat and soybeans, and is open for year-round recreation. The Van Buren Trail Spur splits off from the Van Buren Trail State Park near 16th Avenue. As of the end of June 2019 we had to go through up to 16 inches of water at a couple of points. I rode the entire length of the trail last weekend. Rode this trail from Hartford to South Haven. The trail from downtown South Haven out to Van Buren State Park is a nice paved trail, and a good way to escape the summer crowds of the town and can be done on any bike. No issues with tall grass either, because I rode on a particularly cold April 6th. In addition, because of frequent stops and the necessity of walking the bike, you cannot depend on speed to create a resistance against the advance of mosquitoes. Very short. You can not do this with a road bike. So, if you want a nice leisurely ride, this is not your trail. It is not paved so don't expect it to be like a sidewalk. I saw a skateboarder riding on the trail near 12th avenue in South Haven. It is much like the Kal-Haven trail. No chance with a road bike. Van Buren Trail State Park, also known as Trail State Park, is an unimproved rail trail running along a former railroad right-of-way between Hartford, Michigan to South Haven, Michigan in Van Buren County. It takes you to the main road across from the beach access parking lot. The combined result is a trail suited to hearty mountain bikers, birders and naturalists.Heading north from the grass-covered parking lot in Hartford, which has portable toilets, you glide quietly over bridge spanning the Paw Paw River. It is not well maintained and is 90% overgrown with grass and weeds. Van Buren State park has 3 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails. Become a member and wear your FREE T-Shirt with pride. The Van Buren Trail State Park is a 14-mile linear, multi-use trail that links the cities of Hartford with South Haven. We started at the Hartford trailhead and road in 7 miles, about half way. The focal points of the park are its high dune formations and one mile of sandy beach. The trail sinks into several small boggy fens on the stretch between Hartford and Covert, and between the latter and South Haven, patches of soft sand pose an equal hazard. It is basically a bulldozer way cut through the country. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on for when it's better developed. One trail is nice paved family trail that connects South Haven to the Van Buren State park. If you're on a bicycle it's going to be a slog since it's grassy and sometimes a little deep but the county just mowed (early fall 2015) several sections and I assume they'll do more. I had one beautiful pause on the ride, coming across a blackberry bush with hundreds of honey bees (rare enough these days) flitting about the full bloom; their sound alone filling the empty woods. Starting at Covert, the terrain is mostly tall grass under woods. This is about a 5 mile section, and veers off from the main trail at 16th avenue. Unfortunately that left some big ruts in the trail. I rode from 12th avenue in South Haven to the Hartford trailhead, which took about 2.5 hours. The trail pass is valid for both trails. The scent of pine lingers as you emerge from the woodlands and enter fields of blueberry bushes and vineyards.At mile 8 the small town of Covert is located one block south of the trail. trail spur start & parking ages ed ea. Yep, there are weeds. At all times you are listening or going very close to a road. The trails aren’t marked, there is trash everywhere. ", TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy, We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors, 57th Ave./Prospect St. (Hartford) and Lovejoy Ave. (South Haven). Please be advised that motor vehicles included snowmobiles are NOT allowed on the paved section of the trail which begins just north of where the unpaved section runs underneath I-196 expressway. South of the expressway the trail is unimproved and snowmobiling is allowed to the Hartford, MI trailhead. ", "Paved Van Buren trail extends from South Haven to Van Buren State Park, MLive, Rosemary Parker, Nov 6 2015", Kirtlands Warbler Wildlife Management Area, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Van_Buren_Trail_State_Park&oldid=999714058, Protected areas of Van Buren County, Michigan, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. I like to take a walking path at the first building by the woods. Four bridle trails with 12 miles pass through a beech/maple forest adjacent to Van Buren Lake. The part we disliked was the traffic, especially on Red Arrow Hwy., avoid that road. You have to navigate rural State Route M-140 at this point, with no real busy traffic.The last 8 miles from Covert the trail passes through woods, open fields and commercial fields of blueberries (growing on treelike bushes) and grapes. I ride this area frequently from the Memorial Day through Labor Day and find it a great trail for folks looking for a challenge beyond asphalt or crushed stone. This part of Michigan is noted for its wine and fruit. I wouldn't try to ride this after a heavy rain, some parts are marshy, a few parts are sandy, just watch where you put the wheel. It was great to get away from civilization. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Van Buren State Park campground has 220 campsites (66 with electric hookups) for tents, trailers and RVs. Van Buren State Park has some beach and steep dunes, as it is positioned right on Lake Michigan. I took as many roads as possible on my return from Hartford. Check or FAQs for more common login questions. I will probably do the southern part of this trail, but I prefer exploring the other trails around this area before I return and do this again. You can take that trail north into downtown South Haven, or follow the pavement southwest for 2.5 miles to the state park. I was very bundled up, and rode continuously, but even so, the 30-degree temperature was too much for me to think about riding all the way back. I road about half of this trail today from the Hartford end. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Van Buren State Park has one mile of sandy beach and high dune formations. The trailhead has a grass-covered parking lot with portable toilets.To start in South Haven, take Lagrange Street to Aylworth Avenue (next to South Haven High School, across from McDonald's). There is also the potential for the trail to continue past hartford(the east trail head) and go all the way to Paw Paw on the same abandoned railway (tracks still in place). Ran the section Covert to South Haven and back. It's overgrown, dangerously bumpy, and parts of it are flooded. Some parts soft sand and we had to walk bikes. The scenery of southwestern Michigan, and the Lake Michigan shoreline, as well as the abundant flora and fauna, are pleasant, but the going is a bit rough. I would not recommend for families with children as the water is too deep. Better for horses and endurance riders, cleared, open, some sand traps, water, and small branches; few people; good ride, Tuesday, 1400 start, 90 deg and sunny. You can't tell what terrain you're riding on because of the tall grass and at one point I hit a rut and was thrown from my bike. BUGS TOO! Cruising northwest to South Haven you pass beneath tall pines, maples and various hardwood trees. You will find yourself close to the beach and if you have a fat-tire bike you will naturally want to ride on the beach next to (and in) the water. Found alternate routes on the country roads for the way home. One reviewer said that they stopped and ate blueberries, which I suspect is not allowed. Van Buren State Park camping is a wonderful way to see the area, and there is a long trail that starts directly in the park that is fun to explore. In addition there is 10 miles of hiking trails that allow mountain bikes, and 11 miles of bridle trails that allow mountain bikes. When you reach South Haven, there is a small sign directing your way to the Kal Haven trail, via St. Joseph St., to your left as you exit the trail on Lovejoy. Many people's back yards contained a surprising amount of probably-no-longer-useful items, so that provided some interesting scenery as well. Located three miles south of South Haven, the campground is only minutes away from local shops and restaurants. I would say that 70% of the trail has a car tire path that you can ride in, the other 30% is grassy. It's an endurance ride. There is a parking lot on Aylworth Ave. between Kalamazoo St. and Monroe Blvd. It feels like walking through someone’s back yard. the bugs are not as bad when you are moving. I only met one couple riding bikes during my entire 2 hour run (on a thursday). The only way I knew I was on-track was to follow the indentations left by off road vehicles, 4-wheelers and horse tracks. The newly paved stretch was acquired from Consumers Energy in the mid-1990s. The trash is ridiculous. You'll be lost when you get to the state park. It was a workout, which was what I wanted, as I try to get into shape for the riding season. mile 1-2 are fairly clear, after mile 2.5, trees are down. The park's 296 acres offer a calm, peaceful retreat with camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking opportunities. This one was a mistake. Head for Van Buren Trail State Park and take a walk (or ride) on the wild side. It rained 4 days ago but didn´t see any wet spots on the trail. It offers a paved, off-road route to the 400-acre Van Buren State Park, where you will find more trails and access to the Lake Michigan shoreline. I did three miles thinking it'd get better but it didn't. This could be a wonderful spur of the kal-haven trail but it atleast needs a crushed balast surface, if not blacktop. To try this on a cross bike and it lost interest festivals are throughout! 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