The Pickerel Lake 2-Mile Hiking Loop is an Easy Weekday Nature Escape

The Trails at Pickerel Lake Park are a Hit in Every Season

Pickerel Lake, among more than 50 hiking trails in West Michigan, is a popular place for nature enthusiasts of all ages. 

Pickerel Lake Park spans nearly 80 acres, with the park offering over 300 acres of walking and wildlife observation.

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Pickerel Lake Park Details

6001 Ramsdell Dr NE, Rockford, MI 49341

This Rockford area park has several trails to hike, but the 2-mile loop around the lake is the most popular.

It starts on the picturesque boardwalk (modern restrooms are at the end of this) and ends up winding through the woods around Pickerel Lake.

You’ll see great views of the lake and surrounding woods while you walk.

The paths are well marked, with maps found throughout the hike, and signposts pointing the way (including whether sections of the trail are accessible or not).

Pickerel Lake Park map
Photo from Kent County Parks

If you’re feeling extra-ambitious, there are also a number of offshoot trails if you want to get in extra miles and more challenging terrain.

But many visitors simply enjoy the quick walk of the main loop. 

Also known as Fred Meijer Nature Preserve, Pickerel Lake Park is a fun place to fish. (The boardwalk is a good spot for this).

Pickerel Lake boardwalk across lake wide view

Pickerel Lake is Exciting in Spring

With such diverse terrain and varying environments, there’s a lot of wildlife to be spotted.

In spring, it seems like every bird imaginable is singing away in the trees and you’ll catch sight of many native Michigan breeds.

Downy Woodpecker at Pickerel Lake Park.

Frogs are also highly vocal and chipmunks are everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled for flowering trees and new growth.

While it’s very exciting to hike Pickerel Lake in spring, beware the snapping turtle!

We spied one on our walk, hurrying across the path in front of us. (You’ll know a snapper from other turtles by the prehistoric dinosaur tail.)

Always educate kids on turtles in the wild and that they should never approach without an adult confirming whether it’s safe.

Snapping turtle near trail at Pickerel Lake park.

The trails are open through the winter for cross country skiing and in the fall the trees rimming the lake are alive with color.

When planning your visit, note that modern restrooms are only available from May – October. There is a port-a-potty the rest of the year.

What’s your favorite part of Pickerel Lake Park? Have you taken the other trails? What were they like? Let us know in the comments!


Are dogs allowed at Pickerel Lake?


How long is the hiking trail at Pickerel Lake?

The trail at Pickerel Lake is a 2 mile loop.

What is the difficulty level of the hiking trail?

This is an intermediate level trail, with some big hills.

How long should you spend at Pickerel Lake?

If you choose the 2-mile loop, plan to spend at least an hour exploring the park.

Is Pickerel Lake accessible?

Parts are accessible. The board walk is accessible, and much of the trails are wide paths and marked as accessible. However, parts of the trail could be difficult without a jogging stroller or all-terrain wheelchair.

What time of year can you visit Pickerel Lake?

Pickerel Lake is open year-round.

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