Prairie Getaway - Hastings, Michigan

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute - www.cedarcreekinstitute.org

 

Institute Building boardwalk rodent ravine huggers river tree

Michigan has only a few small remnants of its original prairie grasslands remaining. The wildflowers, songbirds, and other wildlife that inhabited those prairies and nearby fens have become more scarce as well. Those seeking great stands of tamarack trees, rolling hills, and deep trillium-filled canyons usually travel to the northern reaches of Michigan, yet Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is a West Michigan distinctive destination where more than 660 acres of pristine wilderness are being preserved. Over seven miles of groomed trails beckon the visitor to explore this unique conservation preserve.

 

The view looking out from the Visitor Center is a mix of broad prairies, deep ravines and rolling forested hills. One can just glimpse the nature trails, wetlands, a kettle lake, and constructed prairies. Not far from the Visitor Center on a separate parcel of Institute property is a deep canyon with a spring fed stream that fills with wildflowers at winter’s end when the trilliums are in bloom. It is accessible on scheduled guided tours in the spring time only.

 

The grounds of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute include seven different trails, each of which has its own special characteristics. One trail has wetlands and retention ponds as its main features. Another passes through a fen, an oak forest with huge trees, a pasture/prairie, and a view of Brewster Lake. Yet another trail runs through a sand prairie and is characterized by being more primitive than the others. Walkers, hikers, skiers, and snowshoe enthusiasts will find a trail that fits their fitness and skill level.

 

Day 1 – Short Trails - Getting there you'll take a winding road through the wetlands and tamarack fen. If it is autumn, the tamaracks will be golden and the hardwoods will be ablaze with color. Read More ...

 

Day 2 - 2 Trails - Two excellent trails in any season for both forest and prairie views.  Read More...

 

Day 3 - 2 Trails - Two more unique trails.  Both feature unique topography including old forests, fen and swamp environments.  Read More...

 

Another favorite eatery is the Walldorff Brew Pub & Bistro in Hastings which is only about 10 minutes away. Lots of cool shops line the streets and there is an excellent pawn shop for bargain hunters.