Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Allegan State Game Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2 months ago

Today I parked in the lot at 118th and returned to the trail I discovered the day before. See my Wakazoo Trail Loop review on 8/31/19. I was wrong, this trail is not an alternate loop that rejoins the Wakazoo Trail. It is actually the North Swan Creek Loop. North of 118th the Wakazoo and North Swan Creek rum parallel to each other. The Wakazoo is on the road and North Swan Creek is just to the east in the woods. The are both marked with the same color. Yesterday I spotted one of the yellow blazes in the woods and assumed it was an alternate loop for the Wakazoo. Today I started at the west trail head (3’ x 4’ wood sign that reads “cross country ski trail”) of the North Swan Creek Loop. I walked the 6 mile loop clockwise. The west side is well marked except for one tricky spot about 2 miles in because of a large deadfall. The west side could use some under growth clearing but it’s not bad. The east side is in great shape, well marked with only a handful of rough spots. It could also use chainsawing in a handful of areas. This is a fantastic 6 mile loop with some great creek views on the east side of the loop.

I couldn't find it! route took me down a dirt road that was absolutely beautiful and nothing but woods. when the map told me I was there, there was nothing there! I drove a little further and there was a small drive with one of those metal swinging doors, but no parking. I have no idea what I am supposed to find, but there should at least be parking, right?? no signs, nothing. bummed.

This is a great trail. There are a couple of trees over the path that you have to climb around/over and the East side of the trail is not flat at all. But it is absolutely beautiful and incredibly peaceful. Bug spray is an absolute must as the mosquitoes were horrendous. Definitely going again.

not ur average Joe hiking spot, I went with my dog and we both fell into the river. proceeded to get lost, turned a 4 mile trip into 6, fun time tho.

Beautiful easy trail. Great visibility, very flat, nice shade, lovely scenery. We saw a deer midday but other than that very minimal wildlife. There are indeed several spots where there are little side paths down to the creek as well as a couple remote campsites. There is one area with a very cool open field - great for the pup to run around.

Gorgeous trail. My Sibe and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. Took us approx 3hrs with water breaks. The east side is very narrow by design and spring fauna, densely wooded with a few trees over the path - it definitely earns its moderate rating. The west side is wider, less dense and more flat. Watch out for hunting and cross country ski trails. I got mixed up and a couple intersections.

Sun Oct 21 2018

This starts at the ely lake campground. I was unable to find the trail marked here. I used the map that records your trip and it sent me into a part of the woods where there wasn’t even a trail. So i went back to main road through the campground and actually found a nice walking trail roughly by campsite 48. Was about 2.5 miles in then back. Marked well with yellow markings on the trees. I went until trail tees into a road. You could cross the street at that point and pick it up on the other side if you wanted.

Sat Sep 22 2018

I just returned from a fantastic hike on this loop. The east section was interesting and fun. The trail wound around the edges of the creek. The west section was faster and on more high ground. We experienced signs of Beaver, Bear and Deer. This app helped us find our way back to trail, when we strayed from the yellow dotted trees.

Although I had a great time in the Pine Plains, there is no trail. At least not what's mapped here. It was a really unique hike, it's one of the few places I've been in the lower peninsula that feels like you're in the wilderness. And the oak savanna ecosystem is something I've never experienced before but I'll definitely be there again soon!

Can get a little difficult to find the trail in a couple areas but its blazed pretty well overall. My kind of hike though. Saw a blue racer catch a mouse right on the path, almost tripped over a turtle, and spooked a few turkeys. Nice forest scenery with a good view of Swan Creek at the North end.

Sun Jul 29 2018

East side of Swan Creek is moderate difficulty. West side is very easy. Trailhead is easiest to find from the parking lot that is East of the bridge / dam. Make sure you look for the Yellow paint marks on the trees and do not simple follow the path that starts at the base of the dam that gets overgrown and ends about 200 feet down stream. Also at the north end, the map is a bit off. Just take the obvious left 90 degree turn when you come out of the woods onto the levee.

This trail is a real ankle twister, you are walking on a slanted slope nearly the whole way, one wrong step and you’re in the river. There are treacherous trees to limbo under and swarms of insects everywhere you look. The trail seems never ending and is not well marked. I would rank this trail as hard due to the unforeseen turmoil on the trail.

I have skied this trail before, but decided to hike it today. Flat trail, easy to follow and 95% in the shade, so it's a great trail for sunny and warm weather.

Easy flat trail if you want something new. Good birding area, will see wild flowers, birds and butterflies. I cleared a bit of the trail down to the Big Daily Bayou, which is off the Kalamazoo River. It's an uneven trail and a bit strenuous. Was fun to explore. Lots of growth has filled in the Big Daily Bayou, so it's not possible to paddle through anymore.

Mon May 14 2018

Great run, despite some moments where you need to stop and crawl over logs. Found a few ticks on me afterwards as well, FYI.

The east bank trail is close to the river edge, nearly all the way to the turn around. Footing is rarely flat and there are several fallen trees to climb over or under. This makes for a great hike! Really enjoyable! We saw several people fishing for steelhead and a section where a beaver really went to town on small trees. On the way down the west bank, we met Lynn, who was maintains the trail. The west bank trail is pretty much a walk in the woods, along the ridge over the river. It’s part two-track and part trail. We covered the trail in about two hours.

Tue Mar 20 2018

My kind of trail, quite primitive. I did loose the trail a couple times but got back on without to much trouble. I would rate it as moderate to difficult with a few quite difficult areas on the east side. Using trekking poles was mandatory for me. I liked the solitude, variety of terrain and nature. Will do this one again.

bird watching
Tue Feb 27 2018

Short trail accessed from two-track at Ely Lake Campground. You need to walk on the two-track for about a mile, on the way to Little Tom Lake, to find the red gate. This trail starts behind red gate and is well used and clear. Parking is there for a few cars and it's only about a mile from the main area of Ely Lake Campground on the two-track. Perfect for trail running or viewing wetland dependent wildlife.

Very beautiful trail along the winding swan creek. Lots of biodiversity with unique setting. Only downside is the trail is very narrow or undeveloped in areas.

Tue Nov 07 2017

Nice trail, very beautiful this time of year. This trail is located within the ely lake campground, and finding were the trail starts and or ends was difficult. I ended up just parking at a campsite and walking along the lake edge until I found it. Now that I walked the trail I’ll know where to get on, but just know it is not marked.

Thu Sep 07 2017

Short trail and you might see some wildlife here. This trail can be started by taking the Ely Lake Loop trail from Ely Lake Campsite or you can drive from the campsite to Little Tom Lake. In the spring, this area can be a little damp so be prepared. It is a swamp. By June it is dry and you won't have a problem walking the trails. It you like the wetlands and what the wetlands offers, this is the trail. Of course, it is good for mileage and discovering nature.

Sat Sep 02 2017

Best place to start this trail is from Ely Lake Campground and start walking around Ely Lake. Trail splits and one of the trails takes you to Little Tom Lake. The part of the trail to Little Tom Lake is heavily used and a little wet in the spring. Still doable, it's just damp. After you get to the two track road to Little Tom, the other side of this trail is not as well used. It takes you through a marshy area that is a bit wet in the spring. The marshy area is a great way to explore with appropriate boots. The area dries up in June. It's neat to venture around a marsh.

Sat Jul 22 2017

Trail is in pretty good shape, if I say so myself. Only a couple of logs across the trail that can be easily cut by some nice person. Volunteers are always needed to help out with the trails. Anytime you see something that should be removed from the trail, even if you have to use a chain saw, the volunteers will love you for it! :) Even though there is a break in the gps map, this trail goes completely around the lake and is relatively easy to find, however, there is no trail head sign. It is well marked around the lake with a couple of signs for hikes branching off the Ely Lake Park Loop trail.

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