Hike Our Preserves (HOP!) is SWMLC’s hiking program that encourages kids to get fit while having fun outdoors.

Explore the woods, fields, and water at 10 different Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy preserves.
Get healthy while exploring nature with your kids!

Hike any 10 of these popular Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy preserves to complete the HOP! program – the first 50 participants to visit 10 HOP! preserves will receive a free gift from Jr. Rangerland!

Many thanks to Jr. Rangerland and our generous boardmembers for sponsoring SWMLC’s Hike Our Preserves program!

Let’s get started!

1. Register.

Registrations cost $7 per person and include a free hiking stick. You may register online here. Registration is ongoing, so you can register at any time. If you registered last year but didn’t finish your hikes – no problem, you can roll your registration over to this year’s program at no additional cost. And, of course, if you already have a favorite hiking stick, you’re welcome to use that one!

3. Take a hike!
Map to HOP! preserves

Explore the trails at any 10 of these popular Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy preserves. Find directions, maps, and other information about each preserve by clicking on its name in the list:

1. Black River Preserve

2. Bow in the Clouds Preserve

3. Chipman Preserve

4. Hidden Marsh Sanctuary

5. Hidden Pond Preserve

6. Kesling Nature Preserve

7. Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

8. Portman Nature Preserve

9. Spirit Springs Sanctuary

10. Wau-Ke-Na, William Erby Smith Preserve

11. Wolf Tree Nature Trails

4. Send us a selfie from the preserve.

Show everyone what a great time you’ve had by taking a photo at the end of your hike! Upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #hopswmlc (be sure to include your Instagram handle on your registration so we will know that it’s you and turn off privacy settings or we won’t be able to see your post!) Don’t use Instagram? That’s okay, just email your photos to us.

Please note that by submitting your photos, you give us permission to use them in print and electronic media. Images will not be identified using full names without written approval from the individual. If you do not want us to use your photos for these purposes, you may opt out on the registration form.

5. Get a medallion.

We will send you a special medallion to put on your walking stick for each preserve that you finish!

6. Get a gift from Jr. Rangerland

The first 50 participants to complete walks at all ten preserves will receive a gift from Jr. Rangerland Educational Publishing. Choices include puzzles, books, games, water bottles, and more!

7. Get fit while having fun outdoors!

The added benefit? You’re stronger and healthier! And now that you know the trails, you can take your friends on a hike!

things to know
Our public preserves do not have bathrooms.

Because our staff is small and our service area covers nine counties, we are unable to maintain restrooms at any of our public preserves (except for Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, where portajohns are maintained by SHARA) . Please be sure to “take care of business” before you begin your hike for the comfort and safety of you and your kids!

Dog Policy

Dogs are welcome at SWMLC’s public preserves but must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times. Ground-nesting birds are upset by loose dogs and may abandon their eggs and babies if disturbed. In addition, children, adults, and leashed dogs that are using the trails may feel threatened when approached by a loose dog. Also, please be sure to clean up after your pet and remove the waste to ensure the best experience for the next folks. Thank you for helping to keep our nature preserves a safe haven for people and animals alike.


HOP! is a self-directed, go-at-your-own speed program without “official” hiking events. Instead, we encourage you and your kids to visit our preserves on your own and hike the trails at your own pace. You can also meet up with the Little Adventurers Club and walk with them during one of their Tike Hikes, as these often take place at HOP! preserves. Keep an eye on our events page for upcoming Tike Hikes, there’s usually one every month.

Welcome to the HOP Selfie Gallery!

Just a sampling of the hundreds of selfies we’ve received.

Add your face to the gallery by uploading your photos to Instagram using the hashtag #hopswmlc or by emailing us!

Brought to you by SWMLC in partnership with Jr. RangerLand.

Jr. RangerLand
P.O. Box 115
Hastings, Michigan 49058
Find Jr. RangerLand on Facebook!