The 814 acres that makes up the publicly-owned Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area contains a 31.5 mile trail system that is rapidly becoming a destination for hikers and mountain bikers throughout the region. (Click here for the Glacial Hills Facebook page.)
In addition to the outstanding recreation offerings at Glacial Hills (which includes hunting, a long-standing tradition in Antrim County), the property contains five upland woodland habitats, three wetland habitats, and varied habitats that support a complex diversity of plants and animals.
More than 100 species of birds have been identified in this area, as well as more than 20 tree species, over 12 varieties of shrubs, and more than 100 kinds of flowers.
Three units of government own the properties that make up Glacial Hills; Antrim County (608 acres), Forest Home Township (175 acres), and the Village of Bellaire (31 acres).
A key 180 acre parcel was acquired in 2010 by Antrim County with assistance from the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. This parcel connected a number of properties into what we now know as Glacial Hills.
The properties owned by Antrim County include the Walter Kirkpatrick Forest, and all of the County properties are managed for sustainable forestry harvesting.
Eckhardt Road Parking Area & Trail Head: From Bellaire, head west on the Bellaire Highway for about 2 miles. Turn right (north) on Eckhardt Road. The parking lot is on the right, less than a mile from Bellaire Highway.
Vandermark Road Parking Area & Trail Head: From Bellaire, head west on the Bellaire Highway for just over half a mile. Turn right (north) on Vandermark Road. The parking lot is on the right, about a mile from Bellaire Highway, where the road narrows.
Orchard Hill Parking Area & Trail Head: From downtown Bellaire, drive north on Bridge Street. Turn left on Forest Home Avenue. After half a mile, bear right onto Orchard Hill Road and drive less than a mile. The parking lot is on the left.