Hemlock Crossing’s Rivers and Bridges and Boardwalks – Oh My!
8115 West Olive Road, West Olive, MI 49460
I think I’ve discovered a new local treasure. Hemlock Crossing County Park checks so many boxes that make a fun, family hike!
Located in West Olive, Hemlock Crossing is just a stone’s throw off of US-31 between Holland and Grand Haven. It boasts six miles of trails through stunning landscapes.
The trail walks you through truly breathtaking terrain. We started near the pedestrian bridge which weaves its way across Pigeon River. It was fun to watch kayakers traverse the lazy river and wave as they passed.
Hemlock Crossing County Park At a Glance
Trail Difficulty: Fairly easy
Dogs Allowed? Yes, leashed dogs allowed
Facilities: Modern restrooms available in the parks seasonally, rustic toilets year-round
Stroller Friendly? No, I would not recommend
Time of Year Accessible: Open year-round
We followed the shade (pack your bug spray) through the trails here and found some cool boardwalks that outlined the Pigeon River. There are plenty of spots to pause and admire the riverside and look for wildlife.
How to Hike Hemlock Crossing Like a Pro
The trails at Hemlock Crossing are well marked and you can find maps frequently throughout the hike. As always, I’d suggest downloading the map on your phone–just in case.
The majority of the trails are not stroller friendly. There aren’t any significant stair climbs and just a few moderate inclines, so a baby carrier would be a great addition for hiking Hemlock Crossing. My just-turned-four-year-old hiked it by herself just fine (which is rare).
Across from the main parking lot (by the modern restrooms) you can find another trailhead that leads to some paved paths through a beautiful, sun-filled meadow. The colors of flowers were incredible! This short loop is stroller friendly.
Explore Year-Round With a Nature Center, Kayak Launch and Snowshoe Rentals
Hemlock Crossing offers an array of amenities like a kayak and canoe launch, a picnic area with grills, modern restrooms, snowshoe rentals (seasonally) and a Nature Center.
With kids in tow, a stop at the Nature Center is a must! It’s a popular spot for school field trips providing educational resources and exhibits for kids of all ages. Pop in and see the exhibits, the wildlife den, and the wildlife viewing area.
The Nature Center at Hemlock Crossing is currently closed due to COVID-19 (as of July 20, 2020), but they hope to open to the public soon. Click on the COVID-19 closure banner on the Ottawa County Parks website for more information.