Chapter Trail Section
The Chief Noonday Chapter welcomes everyone to explore the section of Trail in Southwest Michigan that we build, maintain, protect and promote. Located within Calhoun, Kalamazoo, and Barry counties, we have a unique blend of sections in villages and cities and in rural areas, including State Game Areas and State Recreation Areas.
Trail Town: Albion
The home to Albion College with the heart of a rich industrial past and the pulse of a revitalized present, Albion is experiencing a downtown renaissance. By car, it is conveniently located on I-94 just 15 miles west of Jackson, 30 miles east of Battle Creek and 45 miles south of Lansing.
Trail Town: Marshall
Full of small town charm, unique and beautiful history and attractions, Marshall is perfectly positioned at the intersection of I-94 and I-69, or the old blue highways of Michigan Avenue and Old US-27 in Southwest Michigan.
Trail Town: Augusta
With a population of around 900, the village of Augusta is located where Augusta Creek joins the Kalamazoo River. You will pass over the creek several times during your local hikes.
Trail Town: Middleville
Located in the Thornapple River Valley, the Village of Middleville is located about 16 miles southeast of the metropolitan area of greater Grand Rapids.
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Use the Report Trail Condition form to alert NCTA and the Chapter to poor trail conditions. Visit the Trail Alerts page while planning your adventure.
Fort Custer National Cemetery, Kalamazoo County: 2.9 miles. Located in the backcountry section of the Cemetery property, the Trail transverses (from the east) an old pine plantation, then into a hardwood section. It drops down slightly to a wetter area, and we use old dikes crossing a bog in beaver habitat before crossing a stream on our new bridge on Fort Custer Recreation Area property. East of Augusta on M-96, turn north on Armstrong Road going 0.7 miles north, past the VA Hospital to the east end of the Trail section. The west end is just across the bridge from Augusta on M-96, on the northeast corner of the Fort Custer Drive intersection. If hiking, this section is on hallowed ground. Dogs, weapons, bikes, and use of the Trail during hours of darkness are not allowed. If you park on Armstrong Road, please notify VA Police at 269-223-5365.
Historic Bridge Park to Downtown Battle Creek, Calhoun County: 10 miles. Visit old bridges along the Kalamazoo River within Historic Bridge Park, before joining sections of the Calhoun County Trailway in Kimball Pines Park and the Ott Biological Preserve (OBP). Join the Battle Creek Linear Park along the Battle Creek River as the Trail runs downtown. Historic Bridge Park is located on Wattles Road, about 0.7 miles south of E. Michigan Avenue on the east side of Battle Creek. The Trail downtown passes next to the Underground Railroad Memorial and Clara’s Restaurant in the old train depot. If hiking, after leaving Historic Bridge Park, cross Wattles Road following the Calhoun County Trailway (CCT) until the bridge crossing a mile down the Trail. Hop off onto a hiking path for about a half-mile before rejoining the CCT until it enters the Ott Biological Preserve, where again it splits onto a hiking trail. At the end of the OBP, rejoin the CCT until the parking area on Raymond and Emmett Streets (about 5 miles so far). Cross the big overpass bridge, and turn left along the river as we join the Battle Creek Linear Park. Follow signs to downtown.
Yankee Springs Recreation Area, Barry County: 8 miles. This trail travels through the woods of the Yankee Springs Recreation Area (YSRA) before a short section of the Barry State Game Area. Reach Hall Lake about 2 miles in and a little farther along, there is a spur trail to Devil’s Soup Bowl. The trailhead on the south end of this hike is on Norris Road (use the west trailhead, about a quarter-mile south of the Yankee Springs Road / Gun Lake Road intersection. Yankee Springs Road ends just before the trailhead and the road continues south as Norris Road. The north end of this hike is at a trailhead 0.3 miles west of the Yankee Springs Road / M-179 intersection on the north side of the road. If hiking, cars should have the Recreation Pass to park in YSRA or a day pass from Park Headquarters. Hiking from Norris Road, head west, soon crossing some puncheon installed in 2014. After a couple miles cross Gun Lake Road, with Hall Lake on the north side of the road. Hiking along the west side of Hall Lake, continue north until near McDonald Lake, then east to the trailhead.
Chapter Maps and Guidance
View our section of the Trail on the interactive online map
Camping along the Trail
*The Chapter’s section of the NCT includes many miles that pass by beautiful farmland. We remind all campers that respecting private lands is a priority and having respect for property owners is a must. Should you need to stealth camp in farm areas, we ask that you please receive landowner permission first.
Additional Local Resources
Yankee Springs Recreation Area
Barry State Game Area
Middleville State Game Area
Fort Custer National Cemetery
Calhoun County Parks and Recreation
W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest
Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail