Nature Study Trail
New Buffalo Area Schools maintains nearly five miles of Interpretive Trails and Nature Study Areas. Depending on the trails you visit, you will discover native flora and fauna living in harmony with glacial ravines and valleys, streams, wet meadows, emergent marshes, interdunal ponds, forested dunes, or wet Flatwoods filled with hummocks, vernal pools, and rivulets. The trails are maintained by students & staff, volunteers, and most of the structures have been added by local scouts earning their Eagle Rank. The exception is The Nature Nook, a joint effort between our PTO, GRBI, and many volunteers, which provides us with shelter, an outdoor classroom, and an awesome gathering spot for trail users.
The Nature Study Loop (1.6mi) is a series of rural, semi-primitive and primitive trails. This moderately difficult nature walk connects you with trails that pass through our Nature Study Areas and onto community greenways. The wetland trails are teeming with spring wildflowers, but are extremely wet late winter through early summer, so dress your feet appropriately.
The Bison Nature Trail (0.4mi) is the easiest trail on the circuit. It is located behind the school playgrounds with over 40 varieties of trees, shrubs, and vines identified. This self-guided nature tour includes several scenic viewpoints and benches along the way. Most of the trail structures have survived over 20 years of Michigan weather. Note: Due to the age of this trail, some of the flora associated with the markers has changed.
Nature Study Areas (1.2mi) have trails with varying degrees of difficulty and pass through hardwood forests, pine groves, and Flatwoods; along marshes, vernal pools, rivulets, and creeks. A future Marsh & Creek Trail will be physically demanding but brimming with nature
The New Buffalo Turtle Pond Nature Preserve (0.15mi) is a walking trail with boardwalks, a bridge, and on-site parking. The trail meanders through vernal areas and over an interdunal pond that hosts a wide variety of wetland wildlife. There is a hiking connector trail (0.1mi) that conveniently connects trail users with the New Buffalo Turtle Pond Nature Preserve. In the future, this connection will also serve as a walk-only section of the proposed Pere Marquette Railside Greenway Hike & Bike Trail.
The New Buffalo area is both destination and an integral part of a series of bike trails known as the “Backroads Bikeway.” This series of twelve self-guided tours on paved roads, with lengths from 5 to 60 miles have been developed and maintained by the Three Oaks Spokes Bicycle Club, Inc. (Three Oaks, MI). The routes follow area secondary roads over streams, through rolling hills, picturesque farmland, parks, and forests in Berrien County.
Some trails offer riders a chance to swim, taste wine, hike, and view area attractions.
There are also 6 outback trails that travel down secondary, dirt, and gravel roads through Berrien County and LaPorte County (Indiana).
For those who take their cycling seriously, the club hosts one of the Midwest’s most popular Bike Tours – The “Apple Cider Century Tour,” held on the last Sunday in September.
For the ultimate biking adventure, there is the Annual “Pedal Across Lower Michigan.” This week-long bicycle-camping tour across Michigan begins in New Buffalo and ends on the shores of Lake Erie.
For more information on local biking visit the Website www.applecidercentury.com and for information on the Pedal Across Lower Michigan trip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The City of New Buffalo also has a hiking and biking map available for download.
Cross-country Skiing Trail
The newly opened trail project makes use of several undeveloped right-of-ways starting near Turtle Pond Nature Preserve in southwest New Buffalo, connecting with trails in the Chikaming Open Lands Turtle Creek Preserve, and continuing to the nature trails behind New Buffalo Elementary School. Signs are posted at the intersections of S. Chicago and Washington streets and S. Eagle and Clay Streets. Parking is available at both Turtle Pond Preserve and New Buffalo Elementary School.
Snow Mobile Trails
Snowbusters Snowmobile Club maintains a groomed and well-marked trail originating at M-239 and Wilson Road and runs to the Indiana/Michigan line. Riders, if they choose, can continue their run on routes managed by the Michiana Trail Riders Coalition. Various rallying points make joining the fun and getting on the trail easy, starting with a spur that connects to the Four Winds Casino Resort Winds Casino. The trail winds through rural Three Oaks and Galien.
Typical rallying points for riders are:
- Plaza One (Wilson Rd & M-239)
- Four Winds Casino (New Buffalo Township)
- Featherbone Restaurant (Three Oaks)
- The Bungalow Inn bar & grill at 202 East U.S. 12 (Galien)
For more information about the The Snowbusters Snowmobile Club, the trail it maintains and current conditions, visit their Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/groups/1168255739853344/. Information is also available using the mobile app from Polaris called Ride Command and trail condition updates are available @ (269) 684-1749.
For a printable map of the trail, click here.