Read this Before You Hike the Trails at Rosy Mound Natural Area

13925 Lakeshore Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Rosy Mound is my Favorite Local Trail

Rosy Mound Natural Area in Grand Haven is easily my favorite place to go for a quick hike. By now you know that I’ve seen my fair share of trails in West Michigan – and it still gets my top vote!

Maybe it’s my favorite because I call Grand Haven home and can hike it whenever my heart pleases (which is often), but I think it has more to do with the sweeping lake views.

The main trail runs from the parking lot about .7 miles over the dune to end at Lake Michigan. Once you get to the lake, there’s a smaller boardwalk loop that goes by the dunes. 

There is public beach access and restrooms at the end of the trail, so feel free to bring your towel and swimsuit and stay awhile! (Note: as of summer 2019, there is not much beach space left due to high water levels.)

  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate with lots of stairs.

  • Dogs Allowed? No, and you will be fined for bringing a dog.

  • Facilities: Restrooms in parking lot and by the lake (to the left at the fork).

  • Stroller Friendly? No.

  • Time of Year Accessible: Open year round from 7:00 AM to dusk (10:00 PM March-October and 8:00 PM the rest of the year).

Thanks to our sponsor, Kent District Library.

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Work Up a Sweat Before You Jump in the Lake

It’s important to note that Rosy Mound has a lot of stairs. It actually has 360 stairs, to be precise!

With kids ages about 2 through 4 years old, this can be tricky to manage. If you can wear your little one in a baby carrier, it’s perfect (and a super-fun cardio challenge). Once my oldest hit about 4 years old he could hike there and back without needing a “ride” from mom or dad for part of it.

As you hike back to the parking lot, there’s a split in the trail and I’d advise you to go to the right (the Acorn Trail) and hike through the beautiful pine forest.

It’s just a little longer than the other trail, so the scenic route is the easy option if your kids are still hanging in there!

Unlike a lot of our recent hikes that have been dog-friendly, you cannot take your dog here (you not only can’t take your dog, but you’ll be fined if you do). If you’re looking for stairs and a lake view that’s dog-friendly, check out Kirk Park farther south on Lakeshore Drive.

The Best Time to Hike Rosy Mound? Always!

I find this trail magical in every season.

It’s lovely during autumn as the trees change colors down the shoreline. It’s beautiful in the spring as the wildflowers pop out from the forest floor. It’s even pretty spectacular during the winter as you take in the silent, frozen lake (but the trail does get slippery, so hike with caution and good shoes).

It is busiest during summer months and parking fees are enforced Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you frequent some other family-favorite Ottawa County parks and beaches (like Kirk Park or North Beach Park), it’s worth it to get a parking pass for the year.

Book Club at the Beach

Once you get to the beach-side of this hike, there’s a wooden pavilion with plenty of benches, cool shade, and a view of the lake. I can’t help but think what a fun spot this would be to catch up with some friends over a thermos of coffee or how it might be the perfect place to host your next book club.

KDL offers a fantastic service called Book Club in a Bag. They offer Book Club in a Bag for kids in over 270 popular fiction titles! Each kit includes 12 copies of the book and a discussion guide to aid your conversation.

You need to reserve your kit through their online KitKeeper service but you can pick it up at any KDL branch. These kits can be reserved ahead of time, so go ahead and plan a few months at a time to make sure you get your top book picks first!

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