Rosy Mound Natural Area – Grand Haven, Michigan – July 7, 2012
Rosy Mound Natural Area is a 164 acre park managed by the Ottawa County Parks Division. This park is hidden gem just a few miles South of Grand Haven on Lakeshore Drive. Ottawa County completed improvements to this park in 2004 that improve access and at the same time protect this fragile forest and dune area. We should also note that part of this protection plan is not allowing dogs in this park.
Our home is not too far from this park, so for us this was nice weeknight trip. However, this would also be a great place to take a day trip in the West Michigan area. We thought that combining a short hike with a picnic on the beach would be a great way to spend a summer evening. Rosy Mound Natural Area was the perfect fit for this plan.
The parking area at Rosy Mound has spaces for about 50 vehicles and modern restrooms open during the summer months. In the off season there is a vault toilet to the left of the building. There is a $6 parking fee in effect from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The fee is paid at the automated kiosk near the trail map. I have noticed several people parking just up the road at Rosy Mound Elementary School and walking in to avoid paying the fee.
Heading up the trail. The trails at Rosy mound are all crushed stone and can be easily walked in saddles.
It is a 0.7 mile hike from the parking area to the beach on Lake Michigan. The hike is moderately difficult as you climb up and back down the dunes on the way to the shoreline. The kids counted over 400 steps that you are either going up or down in each direction.
After the first section of stairs the trail narrows a little and follows along the top of a ridge on the way to the beach.
The next long stair climb takes you up to the dune overlook.
From the dune overlook you can just see the Grand Haven channel and lighthouse on the horizon to the North. We even got to watch a freighter heading out into the lake.
From the dune overlook you continue climbing up and over a section of long steps.
The final section of stairs takes you down out of the forest and into the open dune area.
At the bottom of the steps follow the boardwalk past the shelter to go out to the beach. There are also about another 1/2 mile of boardwalks down here that can be used to explore the unique dune area and view the big dune blowout. Please stay on the boardwalks to help protect this fragile area.
Rosy Mound Natural Area protects just over a 1/2 mile of nice sugar sand beach. Even on a nice summer night in July there were only a few other people here and about half of the time we had the whole beach to ourselves.
A picnic dinner with a Lake Michigan view.
One thing that makes Rosy Mound Natural Area the perfect place to combine a hike and picnic is that there are pit toilets hidden in the trees near the beach.
Walking South along the beach. After dinner we played in the sand, went for a swim and then a walk along the beach to dry off. Before we knew it was time to start walking back so we could get the little guy to bed on time. If we didn’t have the kids with us, we could have easily read a book on the beach and stayed for the sunset.
Going down the last stairs on the way back to the parking lot.
View Rosy Mound Natural Area Trails 4/4/2013 in a larger map
The above track was from another visit. Combining the all park’s trails with a beach walk makes a nice 2.5 mile hike.
With 3 small children this has become one of our favorite hiking guides. This is really a good book for anyone looking to get out and find short, but interesting hikes all over the state. Like all of the books written by Mr. DuFresne there are well written trail descriptions and nice maps of each outing.
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