Exploring Bundy Hill Preserve, the Tallest Point in Isabella County
Whether you’re a longtime Mt. Pleasant resident or a first time visitor, it may come as a surprise to learn that in addition to the city’s beautiful parks, there are also several unique nature preserves located just outside of the city center. These preserves, owned and maintained by the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC), offer various opportunities for passive recreation such as hiking, birding, trail running, and fishing. For those who enjoy guided hikes, environmental education events covering topics such as local flora, fauna and geological history are frequently hosted at CWC preserves. One of the best places to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the natural beauty of the Mt. Pleasant area is at Bundy Hill Preserve.
Participants at a CWC guided hiking event learn about the geology of the Bundy Hill Preserve area
One of CWC’s four flagship nature preserves, Bundy Hill Preserve was acquired by CWC in 2016 after a nearly quarter-million dollar capital campaign. Located on West River Road in Broomfield Township, the massive rolling hills of the preserve are more reminiscent of up north than the flatter central Michigan area. With two miles of challenging but rewarding hiking trails to explore, Bundy Hill is a regional destination worth visiting.
With an aim to create the best hiking experience in the central Michigan region, CWC staff and volunteers have been hard at work this field season restoring and building new trails at Bundy Hill Preserve. The moderately challenging Summit Trail will take visitors through a winding pathway from the parking lot to the highest point in Isabella County in just under a mile. A U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey marker embedded in concrete here marks the summit of Bundy Hill at 1,270 feet above sea level. Other visitors may be interested in taking a more leisurely stroll through the newly dedicated Bundy Hills History Trail, dotted with 12 interpretive signs which detail the history of the Bundy Hills region. This History Trail ties in with the existing McNeel Trail and offers another option to the summit. One could spend several hours exploring this 100-acre permanently protected natural area.
A portion of the Summit Trail at Bundy Hill Preserve
On the way home from Bundy Hill, several locally owned restaurants present themselves as options for grabbing a bite to eat and something to drink. The Barn Door Bar & Restaurant offers American fare and a variety of Michigan craft beers in a unique rural setting. Cheers and Freddie’s Tavern are both crowd favorites located just off M-20, and have a variety of different food and drink options.
Whether you’ve experienced Bundy Hill growing up as a child or you’ve never heard of it before, the elusive mountain of Mt. Pleasant awaits you. Make sure your summer to-do list includes a visit to Chippewa Watershed Conservancy’s Bundy Hill Preserve!
Visit www.cwc-mi.org/preserves for directions and more information.
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Katelyn Maylee serves as a conservation intern for the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University and in her free time enjoys hiking, fishing and trying new recipes.