On my recent trip to South Haven, I had the opportunity to run along the Kal-Haven Trail on the morning I left town. The trail is a 34.5 mile former railroad that connects Kalamazoo and South Haven. I started at the trailhead, which is about one mile northeast of downtown South Haven. I parked in the trailhead's lot, stretched, and began running.
|A view of the Black River from the Kal-Haven Trail|
The first mile of the trail was the most scenic part I saw, as it mostly runs next to the Black River. The glassy water of the river and the lush green trees make a peaceful setting for a run, walk, or bike ride. The highlight was running through an old covered bridge over the Black River. Shortly after the bridge, the Black River section of the trail ends as the river veers away toward the south.
|Covered bridge across the Black River|
|One of many farms along the Kal-Haven Trail|
For a weekend morning, there were not many other people on the trail. After the first mile, I went five to ten minutes without seeing anyone else a few times. I was surprised I didn't see any deer or wildlife other than a few birds, since I see deer a few times a week in my suburban Detroit neighborhood. Although I didn't observe any wildlife, there were wild raspberries growing along the trail. Even though they looked good, I did not stop to try them, because the ones I noticed were too far off the path.
|One of many roads that cross the Kal-Haven Trail|
After my run, I went to one of the public beaches in South Haven. I waded out into the water and just floated, letting the water remove the burden from my legs.
For more information about rails-to-trails across Michigan and the United States, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website at www.railstotrails.org.
For general information about Michigan trails, visit the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance website at michigantrails.org.