Local Hike & Bike Trails

By+Kelli Stopczynski

Warmer weather is finally here and a lot of us are spending more time outside. Whether you prefer lavishing your sunny days in the garden, at the beach or exploring your neighborhood on foot, there’s no doubt you’re looking for something “new and different” to do.

Well you’re in luck! Both Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan have miles upon miles of hike and bike trails to explore. Some of these local trails are new and others have been around for decades.

"I think if you look around to really vibrant communities throughout the country they’re ones who have invested in bike and pedestrian trails – especially those that link schools, parks, homes and businesses,” said Evie Kirkwood, Director of Parks in St. Joseph County, IN.

Parks in St. Joseph County, IN have more than 15 miles of hiking paths, some of which interlink with each other. Most St. Joe County Park paths are only for pedestrians, but the Northern Indiana Mountain Bike Association is in the process of partnering with Bendix Woods County Park to construct a 3 to 4 mile mountain bike trail there.

Berrien County in Southwest Michigan also operates a thriving parks and recreation department.

“From hiking and mountain biking in Madeline Bertrand County Park to Love Creek County Park where we offer approximately 5 miles of rolling trails through fields, beach and maple forests, we have so much to offer,” said Parks Director Brian Bailey.

Aside from saving money on gas, going for a walk or hitting the pavement on your bike will also get your blood flowing and burn calories. It’s also a fantastic and inexpensive way to pull the whole family together for some quality time. What are you waiting for? Check out our guide on the next page for hike and bike trails near you and get moving!

Haven’t been on a bike in years?

Don’t worry, there are many different levels of bicyclists – from those who ride dozens of miles a week to those who haven’t been on a bike since, well, they learned how to ride one. Steve Peterson owns the Elkhart Bicycle Shop and he insists getting started is easier than you might think.

"Ten years ago, you didn’t have near the selection and variety in bicycles as you do today. It’s literally changed 1,000 percent. There used to be about 3 styles of bikes. Today there are 33 styles,” Peterson said.

To get started, Peterson suggests visiting a professional bicycle shop rather than a large sporting goods store. Whether you’re a first timer or you’ve been pedaling a long time, there’s a bike and equipment for you. Happy Trails!


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