As we begin to emerge from our winter hibernation, the urge to get outdoors for some sunshine and fresh air becomes too much to resist. And why would you want to resist when Newaygo County has so much spring to explore? The warmer temperatures not only beckon us to Newaygo, springtime welcomes back native flora and fauna to the area’s natural landscape. Those who enjoy the silent sports of spring flower hikes, bird watching, and morel mushroom hunting will find delight in every corner of the county.

Loda Lake aerial view

Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary

From the very earliest days of the spring season, the flora and fauna of Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary begin to surface. Follow the provided trail guide along the 1.5-mile trail to discover over 150 species of plants, wildflowers, trees, and other native vegetation. Whether you are just out for a casual spring flower hike or are an avid bird watcher on a mission, this destination provides the perfect spot for reconnecting with nature in springtime.

Branstrom Park Bridge

Branstrom Park

When following the Fremont Town & Country Path you will happen upon Branstrom Park. This local gem is a 100-acre park featuring a playground, pavilion, short, looped hiking trail, and even a 24-hole disc golf course. The well-marked 1.9-mile looped trail traverses a canopied forest and can be a fantastic spot for bird watchers, as more than 10 species of spring warblers have been identified in the park’s vicinity.  Although hilly, and considered moderately challenging, the looped trail can generally be accomplished in under an hour. Dogs are welcome to come along but, must be on a leash.

Close up of hikers boots on trail

Welcome Center Loop

Utilizing the 40th Street trailhead of the North Country Trail, the Welcome Center Loop is approximately 2-miles long and provides about a 45-minute jaunt, that is considered an easy trail for beginners or those not seeking too much of a challenge. With scenic vistas and access to open water, it might be just the perfect spot for a short afternoon escape for viewing spring flowers, hunting for morels, seeking birds and other spring wildlife.


Morel mushrooms growing in woods


Morel Hunting in the Huron Manistee National Forest

Morel mushroom hunters know that when the ground begins to warm and spring rains have arrived, it’s time to head to the woods. Although we don’t have a secret spot to share, NewayGo County is home to 100+ miles of trails and  the Huron-Manistee National Forest provides plenty of hunting land for all those interested in mushrooming. The Huron-Manistee National Forest provides extensive recreation opportunities for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, and so much more. In spring, the forest’s rare ecological features: dry sand prairies, coastal marshlands, dunes, oak savannahs, bogs, and marshes provide a unique setting for the enjoyment of all silent sports.


There’s nothing quite like the first adventure of spring. Imagine yourself surrounded by brightly colored blooms against the newly green trees, the sun shining on your face, birds singing, and a full day in front of you for enjoying the splendor of spring in NewyaGo County. Start planning today!