Yankee Springs Recreation Area

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Trail Type:

Counties Trail is in:

Recreation Passport Required: Yes
Approximate Size: 5200 (Acres)

Three special points of interest in Yankee Springs are: Devil’s Soupbowl, a glacially carved kettle formation, Graves Hill Overlook and The Pines. The park has mountain biking, horseback riding trails, fishing piers, beaches and nine lakes for fishing and lots of winter activities.

Yankee Springs Recreation Area was once the hunting grounds of the Algonquin Indians and the famous Chieftain, Chief Noonday. The site was established in 1835 and the village was made famous by Yankee Bill Lewis who owned and operated a hotel along the stagecoach run from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids. The rugged terrain, the bogs and marshes, the lakes and streams, and the unique beauty of the park’s 5,200 acres lend itself to many forms of recreation.

A modern campground is located on the shores of beautiful Gun Lake while rustic camping is available at Deep Lake. An equestrian campground and a youth organization campground also are available. Nine lakes are located within the park boundaries providing excellent fishing and water sports of all kinds.

As a year-round park, cross-county skiing on its more than 10 acres of Nordic ski trails, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice fishing are all popular winter activities. Three special points of interest in the park are: Devil’s Soupbowl, a glacially carved kettle formation, Graves Hill Overlook and The Pines, accessible from the extensive trail systems.

Favorite fairweather activities include 30 miles of hiking trails, 12 miles of challenging mountain bike trails, 9 miles of horseback trails, as well as two public beaches, picnic shelters, and two universally accessible fishing piers one at Gun Lake and one at Deep Lake.

Trails

Yankee Springs-Chief Noonday Trail
Trail Length: 4.00 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking

Yankee Springs-Gun Lake Trail
Trail Length: 0.50 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking

Yankee Springs-Hall Lake Trail
Trail Length: 2.00 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking

Yankee Springs-Long Lake Trail
Trail Length: 5.00 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking

Yankee Springs-Mountain Bike Trail
Trail Length: 12.00 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Mountain Biking

Yankee Springs-Sassafras Nature Trail
Trail Length: 1.00 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking

Yankee-Springs-Deep Lake Trail
Trail Length: 4.00 (Miles)
Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Mountain Biking

Campgrounds

Yankee Springs Deep Lake-Rustic
120 site(s)
Rustic Site, Vault Toilet

Yankee Springs Gun Lake-Modern
200 site(s)
Boat Launch, Electrical Service, Modern Restrooms

Yankee Springs-Crane House Cabin
1 site(s)

Yankee Springs-Deer Lodge
1 site(s)

Yankee Springs-Equestrian
25 site(s)
Equestrian Camping, Rustic Site, Vault Toilet

Yankee Springs-Group Use Area
0 site(s)
Rustic Site, Vault Toilet

The park is 5,200 acres (21 km2) in area. It has 120 rustic, 200 modern and 25 equestrian camping sites, plus two cabins. There are 30 miles (48 km) of cross-county ski/hiking trails, 12 miles (19 km) of mountain biking trails and 9 miles (14 km) of equestrian trails. 6 miles (9.7 km) of the North Country Trail pass through the park. 30 miles (48 km) or more of seasonal two lane roads open to any road legal vehicles and is a popular destination for Enduro Riders. Nine lakes, Gun Lake being the largest, provide fishing, boating and swimming.

Points of interest in the park include the Devil’s Soupbowl, a glacially carved kettle formation, Graves Hill Scenic Overlook, The Pines and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) era buildings.

The park hosted the annual Barry-Roubaix cycling race for several years, prior to the event moving to Hastings, MI to accommodate a larger number of participants; the race course still traverses parts of the recreation area.

History

In the 1830s, the Yankee Springs area was opened up for homesteading. By the 1930s the land was eroded and depleted from farming. The federal government acquired the land and the CCC began reforesting the area. In 1943 the land was turned over to the State of Michigan and became a park in the state park system.

Facilities and activities

Facilities and activities include a beach area, fishing, boating, hiking, camping, equestrian, permanent orienteering course, mountain bike trails, and in winter, cross country ski trails, snowshoeing, and groomed fatbike trails.

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References and More Info

 

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