I believe, thanks to the pandemic, that a lot of people have garnered a new appreciation for things that can be done outdoors. For the average person, myself included, that may not mean scaling up a mountain but enjoying a nice, calm walk on a local nature trail.

One of the first things I noticed about Kalamazoo is the abundance of nature preserves, parks, and nature trails. Delighted, I immediately started exploring. But, now it's winter. Those temps are dipping lower and lower each day...so what the heck am I supposed to do now?

Put on some extra layers and bundle up! I know I can't be alone in loving nature trails so, here's a list of nature trails to check out in Kalamazoo and the surrounding areas during the winter months.

My boyfriend and I visited this preserve just yesterday. If you're looking for an easy and quick walk with a delightful view - this is for you. The entire preserve is tiny, it maybe took an entire 5 minutes to walk around, but the deck overlooking a marsh offers incredible scenery.

This 33-mile trail connects Kalamazoo to South Haven on the coast of Lake Michigan. Definitely for the more experienced if you're attempting to walk/bike/snowmobile the entire length of the trail. As well, be prepared to walk over bridges and through some small towns too. I've yet to check this one out myself but it looks gorgeous.

Another one that I've personally visited, this trail felt very long but, in reality, was just under two miles. I definitely felt surrounded by wilderness on this trail. It's listed as easy or for all skill levels. The website says that the best time to visit is May through October...but I visited earlier in December and did just fine. Keep in mind there are a couple of hills so make sure you're wearing the right shoes if you visit after a recent snowfall.

This park is best visited after fresh snow...and not when there's icy buildup on the trails. Which is when I tried to walk it. ‍♀️ Three slips in and I was done. But, I will absolutely revisit. The West Lake Nature Preserve is located in Portage is, according to the website, is a 110-acre wetland bog with 1,400 feet of frontage along West Lake and within close proximity to the City Centre'. Pets are also allowed in most areas.

Located in Battle Creek, Woodland Park and Nature Preserve is the only community park and nature preserve within the city's limits. Boasting 145 acres, this preserve is also a Bluebird habitat and features lovely wildflowers in spring.

Owned and managed by Western Michigan University, this 48-acre preserve is one of the few open spaces left. Recently, the community banded together to raise enough funds to keep this area wild. You can find more details below. This is another one on my list of "must visits". I mean...look at that view! It's a literal winter wonderland.

More for the 'moderately skilled' than others listed above, Chipman Preserve offers six miles of trails both for hiking or cross country skiing. The preserve is filled with grasslands, rolling savannas and forested areas as well.

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