If you venture a few yards off M-37, you will find some amazing hidden gems within White Cloud city limits that most travelers don’t know exist.
Hidden Gem #1
If you’re heading North into town, Rotary Park is the first stop you’ll make. Taking a right on James Street and heading over the train tracks, you will come to a 4-way stop. The views will catch your attention as you take in Lake White Cloud which is known to the locals as The Mill Pond. Turn right and park in the Rotary Park Parking lot. There you will take in even more magnificent views of the White River and Rotary Park. Some amenities at the park include a paved walking path, beautiful beach with a swim area, pavilion for daily use, kayak launching in the White River, playgrounds, and capturing a view of the feisty rapids coming off White Cloud Dam. This is a great fishing spot for the locals! If paddling, you will launch at Raceway Park- where you can enjoy the three-mile White River Blue Water Trail. If paddling, halfway down the trail you will come to our next hidden gem…
Hidden Gem #2
Keep heading North and take a left onto Wilcox Ave, taking you through downtown. You will head about a mile west and come to the White Cloud City Park. The campground is located across the street from White Cloud Public Schools and next to the football field. Many campers enjoy the track for walking or the football field to toss a ball around with the kids. It offers a community building or pavilion you can rent for day use. There is a White River walkway with a connecting trail to the North Country National Scenic Trail that will meander along the banks of the White River. There are stairs at the end of the path in the campground that are a great challenge for even the most seasoned cross-fit athlete. There is ample parking, camping, and bath facilities in the White Cloud Campground and Park. Please see the following link for reservations and additional information:
If this wasn’t enough of a gem for you, get back on the road (or river) and keep heading West on Wilcox past the school and cemetery. You will come to our final destination…
Hidden Gem #3
The paddle ends at the takeout in the 6.7 acre Flowing Wells Park located at Herald Street and Echo Drive west of White Cloud. The takeout is just past the iron snowmobile bridge on the right. There are no restrooms here and the parking is somewhat limited. The trip downstream from Raceway Park (#1) to Flowing Wells Park (#3) usually takes about an hour to an hour and half depending on water flow. (It is strongly advised that paddlers not continue past the takeout at Flowing Wells Park). Hike to the North Country Trail and fill your water bottle at the natural artesian well. The NCT is a beautiful trail that runs from New York to North Dakota, and right through Newaygo County. www.northcountrytrail.org
The next time you drive or paddle through White Cloud, take time to check out these hidden gems!