Hike through the Woods at Kirk Park
9791 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive, MI 49460
natural hiking paths through hardwoods, creek & hills
Trail Length: 1.2 miles
Trail Difficulty: Difficult – 500+ stairs make it challenging
Dogs Allowed? Yes, but they must be on a 6-foot leash.
Facilities: Modern bathrooms (closed during winter months)
Stroller Friendly? No
Time of Year Accessible: Open year-round.
2020 Update: High water levels and strong wave action have destroyed the stairs that led to the dog beach – and the dog beach is no longer available.
|This article is proudly presented by John Ball Zoo. We thank them for their support!|
Exciting adventures area happening at John Ball Zoo in 2023! Come see the new animals and join us for all the favorite, fun events. More details at JBZoo.org.
Along the lakeshore, roughly halfway between Holland and Grand Haven, is Kirk Park.
One of the many parks managed by the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission, Kirk Park is a favorite destination for families wanting to have a beach day with their four-legged friends as a large portion of beach allows for dogs to go off-leash.
Kirk Park is one of over 50 walking trails in West Michigan.
Along with the off-leash dog beach, the park also boasts an additional beach, spectacular views from atop their wooded dunes, and fantastic cross-country skiing in winter months.
Kirk Park at a Glance
- Small Playground Area
- Several Hiking Trails
- Picnic Tables
- Covered Picnic Pavilion
- Modern Bathrooms (closed during winter season)
- Vending Machines
- Beach Access to Lake Michigan
- Off-Leash Dog Beach Area along Lake Michigan
- Panoramic Scenic Overlooks
- Marked Cross-Country Ski Trails with varying levels of difficulty
Tips for Your Family Trip to Kirk Park
Even though there is lots of shade throughout the park since it’s a forested dune, it’s full sun on the beach. Bring sunscreen.
There are NO lifeguards on duty at Kirk Park beach, so you may want to bring PDF’s along.
Most of the trails are through densely wooded terrain, so take mosquito and tick prevention measures.
Leave strollers and wagons at home; while some paths have spots of paving, there is only a single barrier-free trail in the entire park.
Bring beach activities (shovels and pails, sports equipment, and binoculars are a few ideas) to keep kids entertained. The playground is very small and somewhat remote.
The hiking along the dune ridges involves many stairs (over 500!) and steep drop-offs, which may prove very challenging for some hikers.
Admission fees depend on the time of year you visit. There is a motor vehicle parking fee from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
County Residents: $5.00/daily; $15.00/annually
Non-County Residents: $7.00/daily, $25.00/annually
Seniors (60+): $10.00/annually (no discount on daily rates)
Map of Grand Rapids Parks and Trails
Find your next outdoor adventure near you with this map of the best hiking trails, playgrounds, and parks in West Michigan.
3 thoughts on “Kirk Park Beach is for Dog Lovers …and People who like Dune Views and Wooded Trails”
With Kruse Park and Kirk Park dog beaches closed in 2020, where can dogs swim in Lake MI near Grand Haven in September? Thanks
Is the beach fenced in for the dogs?
Hi Teri, the dog beach is not fenced in, so if you have a pup who needs limits, leashes of any length are welcome.