I rode a portion of this trail picking it up from an entrance off Bob Shetler Recreation Area campground.
Part of an expansive trail network in the Greater Des Moines region, the 26-mile Neal Smith Trail rolls along the banks of the Des Moines River through the Ding Darling Greenway conservation area and makes its way through a variety of landscapes, including riverbanks, wildflower meadows, lakeshores, and dense forests. Plenty of benches offer ample opportunities for trail users to rest and enjoy the deer, rabbits, butterflies, and other critters active along the route.--TraiLink.com
We stayed at Bob Shetler Campground while exploring Des Moines, Iowa.
Kal-Haven Trail provided one of the best rail-trail rides I'd had in some time. It didn't hurt Fall colors were nearing their peak in the area. The only qualification I have about riding Kal-Haven is since the surface is crushed stone, dry conditions are preferable. I still haven't pried the smile off my face. What a fantastic ride through the Michigan countryside.
The trail follows the rail bed laid down in 1870 for the Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad, which was almost immediately purchased by the Michigan Central Railroad. The New York Central Railroad took over the line in 1950 and ran trains on it until a 1968 merger to create the Penn Central led to the line becoming disused in 1970.
Opened in 1991, the trail is one of the oldest conversions in Michigan. Old depots serve as trailside visitor centers in Bloomingdale and South Haven, and an old red caboose offers trailhead services on the outskirts of Kalamazoo. The majority of the route is crushed slag and limestone and slopes gently down toward the lake; note that while the trail can accommodate road bikes, the crushed stone may prove challenging in a few sections.--TraiLink.com
Sometimes you land in a very cool spot, but due to circumstances beyond any control you may believe you have, things don't go as planned. We arrived at Wild Cherry Resort on a Friday and, as I was setting up and leveling Miranda, a problem with the leveling system occurred. Three days later, we were able to resolve the leveler problem well enough for travel to the manufacturer 250 miles away, but during the interim, we were stuck. Stuck in rainy and cooler weather for the most part too.
The folks at Wild Cherry were more than accommodating. The park is very well kept and I'm certain, given better circumstances our stay with them would have been much better. Next time, eh?
Steven and Melanie