Baw Beese Trail


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Baw Beese Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Hillsdale
Length: 8.2 miles
Trail end points: Sandy Beach Park on Lakeview Dr. (Hillsdale) and Olds St./SR 99 and W. Chicago St./US 12 (Jonesville)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016103
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Baw Beese Trail Description

The Baw Beese Trail, named in honor of a former chief of the local Potawatomi population, connects the Michigan communities of Hillsdale and Jonesville. The paved trail is a model of efficient land use, as portions of it use a former railroad corridor, while others share a road right-of-way. Near downtown Hillsdale, short rail-with-trail segments parallel an active Indiana Northeastern freight line.

The most scenic part of the Baw Beese Trail can be found as it heads south from the charming heart of Hillsdale. After winding through dense woodlands, the trail emerges on the eastern shore of Baw Beese Lake, providing picturesque water views. A series of parks along the lake’s edge offer a boat launch, beach and several sitting areas.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Baw Beese Trail can be found at Waterworks Park, Owen Memorial Park and Sandy Beach Park. The entrances to all three parks are on Lakeview Drive at the eastern edge of Baw Beese Lake.

Farther north, limited parking is available where the trail meets Barnard Street and Bacon Street in Hillsdale.

Baw Beese Trail Reviews

We rode from the parking lot across from McDonald's in Jonesville to Union St in Hillsdale and back this afternoon. There is a nice stretch through the woods and beside the St Joseph River in Jonesville and again in Hillsdale. Most of the route between the two towns parallel s M99 and is, therefore, not scenic. We still enjoyed the ride and plan to ride this trail again sometime starting at the lake in Hillsdale.

I rollerbladed the section right by the lake north to Jonesville. I go for a good workout & like smooth trails 5 to 10 miles long. its a little confusing because there seem to be parallel sections at the south end. The portions by the lake are wide , smooth, and scenic, part wooded, some with nice lake views. when you do get to Hillsdale town proper it is very poorly marked. had to skate back & forth a few block to find the continuation. There is a section of warehouses, and some factories, not really scenic but interesting. Once you get to the northernmost 3.5 miles , up by Jonesville, its one of the worst surfaces for blading I have been on, It looks like it was built 30years ago with not a lick of manteince since. 3 to 6inch gaps, lots of places it was covered in sand and gravel, a lot of it is so worn down the aggregate is exposed to 3/8 to1/2 inch, too rough! Another deficiency is the fact that a couple of mile of this section run with in 3 to 10 feet of the highway, where some of locals take pleasure in blasting their horn, Not pleasant as the y whip by you 3 feet away going 55 to 60 mph. If this section belongs to Jonesville shame on you, Mr Jones. Heading north the bad part stars right where you come across the river, out of the woods, and there is a "republic" recycling/waste building.

I enjoyed this trail. I started in Hillsdale near the recycling center and followed it until I reached the Baw Beese portion, very scenic and pleasant, after Baw Beese portion turns into a Mountain Bike trail, which was fun, but I was a little nervous being by myself as this portion is very remote.


From the pictures it looks very scenic but most of it goes by factories! Not that nice at all

I hiked the trail from the trail head at Osseo to up past Baw Beese Lake. The first couple of miles is poorly maintained, and as another mentioned, the bridge has had no impovements. I hiked it, but it would be a problem on a bike. The trail was so brushy it was like being in a green tunel. Once you get by the lake, the trail is fine, well maintained, and a nice place to walk. Could be a nice trail, but it is going to take some work.

We rode this trail last spring and won't ride it again in the spring at least. It wasn't maintained and we constantly had to duck low hanging branches. While constantly brushing against vegetation my husband ended up with a tic on this head. They are rampant in this area this year, so be careful and inspect carefully after you ride.

Over all, the trail is ok.
When the trail goes into Hillsdale it’s hard to follow.
After Hillsdale and passing the Baw Beese Park, the trail gets very narrow (trees and bushes touch both sides of your shoulders, low limbs too).
Stop and turn around when the trail crosses Blackbrigde rd.
If you do not turn around you will get wiped by pricker bushes and who knows what else.
Then when you least expect it you come on to an old railroad bridge that has a lot of holes in it and it’s about 20 feet off the ground.
Just avoid this part!

From Stocks Mill where we entered the trail to Sandy beach is a wonderful paved ride. If you go beyond Sandy beach, it is more like a flat mountain biking path. The path narrows till about shoulder width and is not maintained all the way to the end on Osseo. So if you are a person used to riding roads or paved trails, the first portion of the trail is for you. If you like more of a tight spaced trail go for the latter part of the trail.

"Nice paved trail, I use it for roller blading and my son rides his bike. Few bumpy areas, but many spots with shade and 1/2 of the trail runs along the Baw Beese Lake. Ends at a beach if interested in swimming."

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