Asylum Lake Preserve+  LbNA # 2410

Ownerpale puppy posse      
Placed DateJan 3 2003
LocationKalamazoo, MI
Found By Angel Winks
Last Found Jun 7 2013
Hike Distance?

Placed by Kazoo Dog with help from Golden Retrievers Triscuit & Dewar; Repair to original box with placement of a bonus microbox on Aug. 6, 2004, Triscuit and Chip (Golden Retrievers) helping. Kindly adopted by pale puppy posse in May 2009.

Easy to Moderate Walking

Asylum Lake Preserve, owned by Western Michigan University under an agreement between the University and the City of Kalamazoo, is a 274-acre parcel of land that contains the remnants of an oak savanna and is especially interesting in having been first owned by the first black residents of the Kalamazoo area, Enoch and Deborah Harris, who were known to have participated in the Underground Railroad. The land was purchased by the Michigan Asylum for the Insane in 1887, which accounts for the unusual name of this urban preserve. There are no entry fees to this preserve, which is a very popular area with several entrances.

For more information:


Asylum Lake Preserve can be reached from Stadium Dr. in Kalamazoo by turning south onto Drake Rd.; Drake Rd. is less than a mile east of US-131 (Refer to your road map.). There is a small parking lot about 0.25 miles on the left as well as other entrances to the preserve further south on Drake Rd. and east along Parkview Ave. For this outing, park at the first Drake Rd. lot south of Stadium Dr.


Once parked, go through the cyclone fence opening near the northern end of the parking area. Although the trail is not marked, it is easily followed downhill with Asylum Lake visible on the left. Near the bottom of the trail, take a moment to sit in the tree stump chair to listen for birds, the wind in the trees and even the sound of city traffic that has grown fainter with each step on the trail. Continue along the trail a short distance until you come to the place where you'll see three tall leaners and still others leaned so far that they now permanently rest on the ground. Follow the trail that keeps those three leaners between you and the lake. As you begin to climb upward, you'll see a green post to the west of the trail. Just pass it by, for soon you'll reach a fork in the trail where you'll be right not to go left. Enjoy this relatively flat portion of the trail until you reach the place of three choices. Even those not of "right mind" should choose this trail, which ends at an unpaved roadway. Follow the roadway left until you come to some rusty white posts that form a fence along either side of the road. Here you'll see the lake again. Take the trail past the water, keeping it to your right. As you ascend this trail and get nearer the top, a portion of the lake will seem to form a bowl as two peninsulas nearly meet each other (less easily discernable in summer). From here, on the left side of the trail just ahead, you'll see a large fallen tree, its origin next to the trail, that left an earth bowl where the tree once stood. About 7 paces* into the rather dense thicket beyond this bowl, you'll see a tree trunk about 3' in diameter and maybe 3-1/2' long, obviously cut by man and left on its side to decay. Work your way to that log and then take about 17 paces as the crow flies (if you can stay straight and narrow in this area) in the same direction up the hill to the large upright tree stump that is perhaps 2' tall. Go to that hollow stump to find a letter box with bonus clues for a second microbox resting inside. You may want to return to the path and sit on the large fallen tree to do your stamping if there is heavy trail traffic. Once you've returned the box to its resting place, follow the clues you found in this box to a second bonus microbox. The Bonus box has been reported missing but give it a shot and let me know ;-) PPP

*Note: As a short-legged hiker, I suspect one of your paces may equal two of mine. A pace = every other step in walking.

In wet or snowy weather, portions of this trail can be treacherously slippery, for all the trails are thick with fallen oak leaves at some seasons or muddy or ice-covered at other seasons. Although ascents and descents (and there are several) are not all that steep -- even for this 72-year-old woman -- your 'tush migh contact the ground if you're not careful...and I do speak from experience.