In November of 2015, the 5.5-mile section of trail from Van Buren State Park to South Haven was completed, paved with a 10-footwide asphalt surface and extended within six blocks of the downtown trailhead. We rode it this past summer, and it's a real gem, connecting two of Michigan's most beautiful beaches. It was over 90 degrees that day, and the cool swim at the end was refreshing.
The 15-mile Van Buren Trail State Park runs from South Haven to Hartford on the former Toledo & South Haven Railroad. The 2.5-mile spur from 16th Avenue to Van Buren State Park was built on an abandoned rail line that was used during construction of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. The trail surface from 16th Avenue to Hartford is unimproved grass and gravel, but nicely maintained, and mowed, and best suited for fat tire bikes. Equestrian and snowmobile use is permitted along this grass and gravel section.
Enjoy the quiet solitude of nature as you travel through blueberry fields, woodlands and meadows and cross a bridge over the Paw Paw River just west of Hartford. The village of Covert marks the approximate halfway point. There are no public restrooms or water along the Van Buren Trail, so plan accordingly.
South Haven is an ideal location to stage your rides on the Van Buren and Kal-Haven trails with ample lodging, restaurants, and local atractions.
Kal-Haven Trail Scenic Connector Route
The city of South Haven has developed a connector route that links the Van Buren Trail with the Kal-Haven Trail, passing through the downtown shopping and dining district, and along the Black River channel to South Beach Park, the lighthouse, and a bluff with panoramic views of Lake Michigan. It's well worth the extra time and highly recommended.