Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to leave the house to once again explore a section of Kalamazoo I've yet to discover: Asylum Lake Preserve.

The weather was ideal for a stroll around a lake but, even if it wasn't, most of the trails at Asylum Lake Preserve are shaded. Located on the corner of Drake Rd and Parkview Ave, the preserve is owned by Western Michigan University and used for passive recreational activities. That means no bicycles. Dogs, however, are allowed as long as they're leashed.

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Visiting around 10:30 am, the trails were alive with visiting families for Father's Day, lone hikers with their dogs, and a few couples that looked to be on an outdoorsy date. If you're visiting for the first time, here are a few things to note:

Planning a Trip to Kalamazoo's Asylum Lake Preserve? A Few Things to Know...

If you're planning on visiting the WMU-owned Asylum Lake Preserve, this will hopefully help you plan your trip.

If you do happen to come across some up-close wildlife, make sure to walk softly. As mentioned above, the deer I encountered didn't seem to mind that I was there. In fact, I was able to record this video with no issue:

There is no charge to enjoy the preserve. However, I do have a request on behalf of everyone that plans on attending: please pick up your trash. That includes dog feces. The number of piles I had to avoid was surprisingly high. And, trash left behind has the potential of being consumed by local wildlife which is never good.

Find ways to support the cleanliness of Asylum Lake Preserve, trail maps, and learn more about how they're working to make the trails more accessible here.

The Kalamazoo area alone is home to a plethora of trails and preserves. I know winter feels far away but, should you want to go exploring, check out these other hidden gems:

Now, if you really want to call yourself "outdoorsy", you might have to try your hand at making a meal in the middle of the woods. This Yooper shows you how:

Michigan Man Makes the Perfect Midwest Meal in the Middle of the Woods

It doesn't get more Midwestern than this. Cool Ranch Dorito crusted chicken tenders, a can of Vernors, all enjoyed and made in the middle of the woods.

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