Read this Before You Hike the Trails at Cascade Peace Park

8900 Grand River Dr SE, Ada, MI 49301

The Scoop on Cascade Peace Park

Cascade Peace Park is home to a beautiful close-canopy forest that will have you escaping the hustle and bustle of the Grand Rapids Metro area in no time!

This densely wooded and hilly park has almost 4 miles of assorted trails in varying lengths. The main trail loop is around 2 miles long, with plenty of offshoots you can take to add onto the main loop. It’s a great place to see fall color, too!

The incline is a fun challenge (especially if you happen to be babywearing a toddler) and also offers some excellent views at the highest points. A bench perched near the top overlooks much of the surrounding area.

With many other parks and trails in the Cascade area, we found this trail to be quiet and mostly vacant.

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate, with some hills.

  • Dogs Allowed? Yes, but they must be on a 6 foot leash.

  • Facilities: Port-a-potty at the Grand River parking lot only.

  • Stroller Friendly? I would pass–some trail sections are wide enough, but primarily hilly.

  • Time of Year Accessible: Open year round.

Thanks to our sponsor, Kent District Library.

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Keep an Eye on the Trail Maps and You Won’t get Lost on the Many fun Side Paths

The main loop is a relatively wide path (you could potentially get a jogging stroller through the main loop), but there are many shorter, narrower trails that branch off of the main trail.

It can feel confusing at times, but there are plenty of trail maps located around the park so you can’t ever get too lost.

This trail was blissfully quiet. We noticed every bird chirp and squirrel scurry. The dense canopy makes this a perfect habitat for owls, hawks, and warblers.

We had a hard time spotting anything through all the foliage, but we certainly heard a few woodland friends along the way.

While I did not have the most cooperative hiking companions on this particular day, we did manage to find the iconic Cascade Peace Park boulder. The plaque on the boulder has the Wendell Berry poem The Peace of Wild Things inscribed on it:

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Berry is not only a poet, but also a farmer and an avid environmentalist. Finding this poem among the quiet of the surrounding forest gave me goosebumps!

When Nature Strikes a Chord…

Feel like being a “wild thing” amidst the peace of this park? The Kent District Library has you covered! Aside from books and other awesome technology resources, you can actually borrow a ukulele from your local library.

You read that correctly: you can borrow a musical instrument with your library card. How cool is the KDL?!

There are many benches located alongside these trails and it could be the perfect spot to compose a tune or two of your own. While the peace and quiet was nice, I would not have minded a local Trail Troubadour strumming a ukulele (and my kids would have loved it too).

All the West Michigan Parks and Trails Your Family Needs to Know About

Discover even more parks in our list of Favorite Grand Rapids Playgrounds. Trail seekers will find plenty to explore in our list of Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails around Grand Rapids.

Or, use this map of all the playgrounds, trails and dog parks around West Michigan to find your next family adventure!

Grand Ravines is a Blast with a Suspension Bridge, Paved Trails and Doggie Fun

Look for the Big Red Barn to Start Your Hike 3991 Fillmore Street, Jenison, MI 49428 Grand Ravines is Loaded with Things to Do Grand Ravines is located in Jenison and has two trail entrances. I knew of this trail from the big, red barn at the Fillmore entrance (it’s hard to miss!) so that’s where we started. There are several trails at Grand Ravines that are wide, paved trails. You could definitely take a stroller through from one side to the other without a problem. Off of [...]

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