my favorite (and most overlooked) Grand Rapids park

Located just a little north east of Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids Township is Crahen Valley Park. I've lived in the Grand Rapids area for almost 20 years and have only recently discovered this gorgeous hidden gem.

I love the rugged trails, abundance of wildlife and the varied terrain.

After taking in the view from this stunning overlook that is rare in our area, follow the paved path until you come to the fork in the path.

The paved path takes you around the small upper section of the park. If you're looking for a real adventure though the unmarked gravel trail to the right of the small white bird house is the one you want.

It's a steep descent down into the valley but well worth it. There are miles of trails that go through a Red Pine grove, around ponds, deciduous woods and if you hike far enough north you will find a high prairie with another pond.

On our forays into this gorgeous park we have spotted deer, a Pileated woodpecker, Red-Headed woodpeckers, and a Barred owl!

One of the reasons I called this park rugged is because it's not at all well marked. Once you're in the valley there's little to no signage. If you're someone that gets easily lost, I highly recommend downloading the All Trails app and using the navigation feature to get around.

The other reason I think Crahen Valley is on the more difficult side is because of the "bridge" pictured here. This is the only way across the stream and after you've walked quite a bit your only option is to cross it or go all the way back around.
Crossing it when the weather is wet and muddy was especially tricky.

If you're up for an adventure, put Crahen Valley park on your list and give it a try. I truly love spreading the word about great wild places in West Michigan and would love to hear about your experience.

About Lindsay

My car bumper sticker says "Dangerous Women Read". My home is covered in plants and I'm always looking for the next great park to hike or river to kayak.

Follow me on Instagram where I share my favorite West Michigan parks and hikes, books I’m reading, and my thoughts on creativity.

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