Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve in Grand Rapids, MI

Calvin Eco Preserve Malski feature image

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About Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve

Address: 1750 East Beltline Ave. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546

The walking trails at Calvin Eco Preserve cover 44 acres of wetlands and forest (the preserve itself is 100 acres) and are always free and open to the public.

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Located near the heart of Grand Rapids, the hiking trails at Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens are sure to help you escape city life momentarily with wildlife galore and its alluring gardens.

The walking trails at Calvin Eco Preserve cover 44 acres of wetlands and forest (the preserve itself is 100 acres) and are always free and open to the public. Trails are mostly wooded with lots of wetlands so come prepared with bug spray May and throughout the summer months.

You are welcome to walk the trails for exercise, fresh air & sunlight. The Bunker Interpretive Center is closed until further notice, but the restrooms are open in the vestibule (masks required indoors).
With increasing visits, we ask three things of our guests:
* Please KEEP YOUR DOG AT HOME so that our sensitive wildlife will feel protected in their home and stay visible for you to enjoy.
* Please DO NOT WALK in the MULCHED GARDEN BEDS so that our young & fragile native plants have a chance to grow into a beautiful garden for you to enjoy.
* Please give others 6 feet of distance.

Hurry, Scurry, Slither–Wetlands, Forests, and Flowers Attract an Array of Animals
Naturally, 100 acres of forest and wetlands attract a wide variety of animals. Calvin has downloadable documents with every species they’ve seen on their property–so cool!

You could make your own creature scavenger hunt as you hike the trail at Calvin College.

About the Interpretive Center

Get Expert Guidance and Explorer Essentials from the Bunker Interpretive Center
Near the main parking lot you’ll spot the Bunker Interpretive Center (the hours vary seasonally, so check the website if you don’t want to miss it).

Inside you’ll find seasonal educational displays, friendly staff, and interactive activities for kids. They offer a range of programs for toddlers to adults, so check in to see what’s coming up for your nature-obsessed kid…or for yourself!
One of the recurring perks you can pick up in the Bunker Interpretive Center is a Discovery Field Pack to enhance your visit to Calvin Eco Preserve.

The packs are free to borrow (but must be reserved online in advance) and filled with activities and supplies to make your family feel like real explorers!

Outside the Bunker Interpretive Center you can find 21 themed garden beds that feature plants that call Michigan home.

The plants featured in the Native Gardens have a mutually beneficial relationship with local birds, insects, and butterflies–and it’s not uncommon to see them visiting the flowers for a bite to eat.

Calvin Eco trails Bunker

Hiking Trail Details

Covered in wood chips and mostly flat, this is a great spot for younger hikers. There are plenty of water features with places to stop and look for wildlife.

There are several different configurations of trails that you can take. The trails are marked, but not exceptionally well.

Trails are mostly wooded with lots of wetlands so come prepared with bug spray.

Calvin Eco trails stream

Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve Features

  • Free Admission
  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Center
  • Restrooms

Facilities: Bathrooms are located inside the Bunker Interpretive Center, so not always available.

Stroller-Friendly? No, few or no areas

Time of Year? Dawn to dusk year round, see the website for current Bunker Interpretive Center hours (varies by time of year)