“A great trail along the Galien River. The old growth trees are amazing for this part of the country.”
— Rafi Wilkinson
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildlife
Pets permitted on a leash (6' or shorter). No bicycles or motorized vehicles. No fires or camping. Stay on designated trails. No picking or collecting of plants or animals. There are two picnic benches and a vault toilet at the parking lot. There is no potable water source. The parking lot is closed in the winter. When closed, park on the street. Warren Woods
Road, which runs along the north boundary, has room for parking on the shoulder.
is an easy trail that follows the scenic Galien River. There is a nice bridge crossing the river and much of the trail has views of the river. The American beech, sugar maples and tulip poplar trees exceed 100 feet in height and over 5 feet in diameter. In the summer, the canopy can block out almost all the sunlight creating a great shady outing.
Wear adequate footwear. Most of the trail surface is packed dirt with leaf litter. In the flood plain, it can be quite muddy or even impassible with standing water from the Galien River.
The trailhead at the parking lot is well marked. The trail itself does not have markers, but this is not an issue as the trail is easy to follow. The first third of a mile is a wide path that winds through the forest. The trees get larger and larger as you approach the Galien River overlook. There are interpretive signs and benches at the overlook. There is a commanding view of the river and the old growth forest. The trail continues down a set of stairs and across the bridge. Stay left and the trail will enter the flood plain. You are now away from the river as you weave through vernal wetlands.
Next, the trail will climb up onto high country. At the trail junction (which is unmarked), stay left. The forest is massive with with an airy understory. The trail widens again into an easy path. The Galien River is on your right. The path ends at the northern boundary.
The 311-acre Warren Woods
State Park is a hidden gem in dunes country. This little-known park contains some of the last old growth trees in the region. While most visitors go to its sister park on Lake Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park, Warren Woods
is worth seeking out.
E.K. Warren purchased the land in 1879. He was originally going to harvest the trees but changed his mind. This is the only climax beech maple forest remaining in the state of Michigan. E.K. Warren is the inventor of the feather bone corset.
was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967.
For more information, visit the Michigan DNR's website
for Warren Woods