Welcome to the Habitat Haven Trail!

This beautiful, 0.6 mile loop takes hikers through some of the most outstanding and beautiful habitats in southwest Michigan! On your journey, you’ll explore pond, fen, stream, and forest habitats with a spur trail into the middle of the fen.

The trail begins right under the bridge to the Visitor Center. Other than three sections of boardwalk, the trail is gravel, making it friendlier to strollers and wheelchairs. The section leading from the building to the loop is the steepest part. Stop and visit with the birds in the outdoor mews at the trailhead, then follow the outflow from KNC’s geothermal heating and cooling system down to the fen.

Once on the loop, the first stop is the overlook at the East Fen Pond. Look for frogs and turtles in the water and Wood Ducks in the nest box. The trail continues, always near the fen but with enough forest to have spring wildflowers. A spur trail, mostly boardwalk, goes right out into the fen, ending with an overlook at Trout Run Stream. During the summer and fall, the fen is exploding with flowers.

Right after the juncture with the Ridge Run Trail, the trail becomes a bridge over Trout Run Stream. Michigan’s glaciated past makes an appearance; A sunny hillside is actually part of an esker, sediment deposited by a glacial river thousands of years ago. Trout Run Stream briefly parallels this ancient riverbed. After crossing over the stream, the trail continues as a boardwalk through the delicate wet area. The connection with Cooper’s Overlook trail is near the end of the boardwalk and the loop is nearly full circle.

Learn more about the creatures that call this habitat home below, and plan your visit here >

Beaver  Castor canadensis

The American beaver, common in wetlands, is one of the few animals that can powerfully affect the ecosystem around it. Habitat Haven’s fen is fed by calcium-rich groundwater and relies on regular disturbances, like fire, to maintain its unique character. Seemingly small changes, like fewer fires or more beaver activity, can shift this delicate balance, alter the water cycles, and change the survival of many different species.

Brook Trout

Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis

The brook trout, Michigan’s state fish, thrives in cold, clean waters and aggressively feeds on insects, fish, crustaceans, and worms. Earlier restoration activities for this species improved the flow and health of Trout Run watershed, which runs entirely within the borders of KNC’s land. Maintaining connectivity between streams and other waterways is critical to the health and survival of native fish populations.

Eastern Box Turtle  Terrapene carolina

State threatened, Michigan Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Unlike most Michigan turtles, the eastern box turtle lives on land in high quality forested areas, although it also needs access to water and open, sandy areas for nesting. Each turtle’s shell is slightly different, like a thumbprint. Deforestation and habitat fragmentation have caused significant declines in box turtle populations, making this species one of special concern for conservation.

eastern box turtle
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake  Sistrurus catenatus

State and Federally threatened, Michigan Species of Greatest Conservation Need

This small, shy species is notable as Michigan’s only venomous snake. They require wetlands adjacent to open uplands, like the prairie fen and open-canopy esker along Habitat Haven. Populations of the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake are threatened and declining, primarily because of habitat loss and human disturbance.

Great Blue Heron  Ardea herodias

Easily recognized, the great blue heron is a common migratory bird in a variety of Michigan wetlands. Great blue herons are important predators, eating a variety of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, and small mammals. This species has a widespread range and is very adaptable, but its breeding colonies may be vulnerable as habitat is lost to development.



great blue heron
green darner dragonfly

Green Darner Dragonfly  Anax junius

One of the larger and most common dragonflies, the green darner is a voracious and territorial predator of other insects and macroinvertebrates. It is also important prey for other bird, fish, and insect species. Insects are integral to the functioning of an ecosystem. The presence of immature dragonflies and other macroinvertebrates in waterways is an important indicator of aquatic system health.


Michigan Lily  Lilium michiganense

The Michigan lily is a striking perennial, commonly found in open, moist habitats, such as fens, prairies, or streambanks. This showy, orange-flowered species is often found in higher quality natural areas and readily attracts hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies. The plant is a popular native species commonly cultivated as an ornamental and used in backyard pollinator gardens.


Michigan Lily