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Jackson County's Falling Waters Trail serves as an important community connector, linking the outskirts of the vibrant City of Jackson to the picturesque Village of Concord, which brims with Victorian homes. With its spectacular scenery and rich connections to history, the Falling Waters Trail, which opened in 2007, has proved popular.
The pathway is also nestled within the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail route spanning the entire Lower Peninsula from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, as well as the even more massive Iron Belle Trail, which connects 2,000-plus miles of trail all across the state.
The trail’s value as a transportation corridor goes back to its days as a Michigan Central Railroad route. The railroad was completed in 1871 and the tracks remained in use for more than a century. In Jackson, you can find one of the old passenger depots still serving its original function; the beautiful red brick building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, accommodates Amtrak trains today. Falling Waters Trail users can travel toward Jackson on a connecting 3.4-mile rail-trail made from the same Michigan Central railbed: the Martin Luther King Equality Trail.
The paved pathway rolls through rural countryside and lush woodlands with few road crossings. On its west end, the rail-trail crosses a branch of the Kalamazoo River and travels over wetlands teeming with birds and wildlife.
The trail takes its name from the natural beauty that abounds here; the region’s Potawatomi tribes called the area “The Land of Falling Waters” for its numerous springs, lakes and rivers. Travelers can learn about the Potawatomi at a preserved village site near present-day Spring Arbor; the Falling Waters Historic Park is located just a half-mile north of the trail near the intersection of Cross and Hammond roads. Pedaling along, history buffs will also enjoy the numerous interpretative signs about the area’s past that dot the trail.
Another of the trail’s best features is a manmade lake that was formed from an early 20th-century mining site; about halfway along the pathway, adventurers will glide right through the middle of Lime Lake with a glistening expanse of water on both sides. You can also go fishing in the lake.
Parking is available at the following locations along the trail from east to west:
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