Grass River Natural Area, Bellaire

#2 of 6 in Things to do in Bellaire
Nestled in the hills of Antrim County in Michigan's northwest corner of the lower peninsula, the Grass River Natural Area (GRNA) encompasses lakes, a meandering river, rushing streams and crystal clear creeks — a haven for plant and animal life, including both rare and endangered species. This natural area project lies midway on the renowned Chain of Lakes waterway, a connector of Torch and Clam lakes, and Lake Bellaire. Grass River Natural Area is open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. Stop by to see what’s happening at the Natural Area, peruse the informative displays, and browse the bookstore.

Educational classes for children, adults and school groups, emphasizing the environment and water and land protection are at the core of the popular outdoor curriculum. A network of trails with observation platforms and boardwalks traverse an educational area providing easy access to upland, wetland and aquatic habitats. A portion of this seven mile system is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Grass River Natural Area is publicly owned and managed by a local volunteer board of directors dedicated to water and land protection and environmental education. Visitors are welcome year-round from dawn 'til dusk. GRNA is free to visitors, who are encouraged in return to become volunteers and contributors.
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Grass River Natural Area Reviews
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64 reviews
  • My husband & I stopped at Grass River Natural Area to check it out. There were very nice paths, and the walking was easy. We took quite a few photos as landscape is our thing! As the name of the place...  more »
  • My review is somewhat biased . . my uncle was very involved in the establishment of this incredible area . . . but, it's been some time since we visited. We brought our granddaughters, 4 and 7, and th...  more »
  • We boated in the grass river and enjoyed the calm waters and natural setting along the banks. Easy to share with kayaks, canoes, and pontoons. Not appropriate for speed boats as it is a no wake zone.  more »
  • This is a really nice place to hike. The trails are well maintained, including boardwalk in the wetter areas, and the staff at the visitor center are helpful and friendly.
  • Grass River has a little bit of everything for everybody. There is beauty around every corner and you rarely experience the same walk twice. It is a changing landscape depending on when and where you go and the flora and fauna in the natural area represent that perfectly. It truly is a place where people of all ages and abilities can learn and appreciate the natural world.
  • This place will make your heart sing! The boardwalks are a visitor favorite, offering an intimate experience with the river and its wetlands. Managed by a non-profit (GRNA Inc), it strives to gather community around nature. It connects us to what sustains us. This place, the staff - they encourage you to ask important questions about the natural world and explore answers....OUTDOORS. Grass River is yours to explore and yours to protect. So, come on out and play!
  • Great stop to hike trails along the Grass River that connects Clam Lake to Lake Bellaire (called Grass Lake in the 50s). Some trails are covered with wood making it easy to hike in the wetland sections. You can hike right up to the river itself and occasionally spot a bald eagle that is in the area. Along the trail there are labels explaining the various plants/trees. There are a couple of buildings, one fairly new that is great for kids and adults a like to study the surrounding environment and Northern Lower Michigan's nature. The trail distances are clearly marked, level, and are easy for all ages.
  • Outstanding trails in beautiful wetlands. Go for a walk in the woods, a kayak on the river, or attend an educational program. Trails are open all year, and in the winter some trails are groomed for cross-country skiing!

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