The 34.5-mile Kal-Haven Trail, on the former Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad, runs from South Haven to Kalamazoo. A recent trail expansion and streetscaping project in South Haven now extends the trail into the heart of downtown South Haven, where you can enjoy downtown shopping and dining and connect with the Van Buren Trail State Park via a scenic connector route.
The Kal-Haven Trail opened in 1991 and was one of Michigan's first rail trail conversions. Towns like Gobles, Bloomingdale and Grand Junction, which popped up when the railroads prospered in the 1870s, now provide food and amenities for trail users who have replaced rail passengers along this historic route. Cyclists, runners and hikers enjoy a relaxing journey past blueberry fields, cool canopies of trees, wildflowers, quaint villages, and over six bridges, including a covered bridge near South Haven. The trail is mostly flat with some slight grades at each end.
The eastern half of the trail was resurfaced in 2010 with finely screened and compact limestone. This hard-packed white surface is surprisingly smooth and remains in good condition. Some highlights of the trail include the ghost town of Mentha, a historic mint growing area, and the Bloomingdale Depot Museum with exhibits about the Bloomingdale Oil Boom in the 1930s. The trail offers plenty of opportunities to view wildlife. You'll find a campground and picnic area by the Black River near the first mile marker in South Haven.
The Kal-Haven Trail offers two top-notch trailheads. The 10th Street Trailhead near Kalamazoo, with its famous red caboose, is 2 miles north of West Main Street (M-43) and the US-131 intersection. The Bailey Street Trailhead in South Haven, perched on a bluff overlooking the Black River waterway, is located one block west of Blue Star Highway off Wells Street on Bailey Avenue. Staging areas in Grand Junction, Gobles and Bloomingdale are good halfway spots with local stores, restaurants and amenities.