thornapple River Walk - hastings


river trailThe Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail, in west Michigan is under development. One of the best completed sections for a quiet afternoon, is the Thornapple River Walk in Hastings, Michigan. The walk is a paved pathway, that runs a mile and a half along the Thornapple River with loop trails at each end. One end is in Bliss Riverfront Park, and the other is in Tyden Park. Tyden Park, has plenty of parking and a few picnic tables, making it a good beginning for a trails and treasures day trip.

First, there is the walk along the Thornapple River itself. Where you park, the pathway is only steps away, and there are map signs right at hand, so you know where you are. Follow the course of the river, and you will be treated to all of the natural beauty that the Thornapple River Valley is known for. If you don't want to walk the full distance to the Bliss Riverfront Park, take the foot bridge across the river, and enter a network of groomed trails that meander through the trees and wildflowers.

This is the loop at the Tyden Park end of the trail, and it is worth going to the park just to wander around in this tiny wilderness, on the edge of town. As soon as you cross the bridge, turn left, and you will be in the trails. One part follows the course of the river, and others branch off looping into a maze of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. At one junction, there is an enormous Sycamore tree, that is so large you can't get your arms all the way around it. The canopy of trees and dense undergrowth, are home to a wide range of waterfowl and songbirds. Another interesting feature here, is the fantastic number of tiny gossamer webs to be found at ground level. They are usually nearly invisible, but if you come while the dew is still on the ground, you can see dozens glistening in the early morning sunlight.

Local Treasures: For a decade AlFresco Suites has offered exceptional quality and service to hundreds of suite guests. Conveniently located two blocks from the Waldorff Banquet facility, it is a local favorite for wedding guests, as well as local Corporations. Guests enjoy comfort, security, privacy, and downtown convenience. Below the luxury rooms is the gift shop. All over the store, are antiques and unique items, many that are one of a kind. At one time, you could even get a stuffed hippopotamus head here. Their collection changes almost daily. Stop in, browse, and thank them for sponsoring this trail.

The historic Charlton Park Village and Museum, has been a tradition in Barry County since 1936, and is often referred to as the "jewel of Barry County." Situated on more than 300 acres along the Thornapple Lake, the recreation area offers many options for outdoor activities including hiking, boating, swimming, and fishing.

All of this hiking and shopping can work up an appetite. Of all the options in town, we keep returning to Kloosterman's, right next to AlFresco. They call it a sports tap and grille which is accurate. That doesn't begin to tell you how good the food and service are. Their burgers and steaks are always cooked just exactly the way you want them.