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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > southern lower peninsula > yankee springs

95 Yankee Springs Recreation Area And Barry State Game Area Southern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

The sandhill cranes that use this area will
migrate south all the way to Georgia
and Florida to spend the winter.
Photo: David Kenyon, Michigan DNR

When combined, these two adjoining Michigan Department of Natural Resources properties total more than 22,000 acres of rolling, forested hills, pine plantations, shrubby old fields, wildlife openings, wetlands, and small lakes and ponds.

Yankee Springs has campgrounds, beach areas, and six hiking trails that wind throughout the park and along scenic Gun Lake. One of the trails, the Gun Lake Trail, is barrier-free. Itís one half mile of hard surface and wooden boardwalks are wheel chair accessible. This trail connects the campground to Gun Lake and crosses wooded, wetland and lakeshore habitats ending at a viewing deck and fishing pier on beautiful Gun Lake. Another trail is a twelve-mile mountain bike trail that traverses good woodland habitat well populated with wildlife.

wild turkeys
Female wild turkeys (hens) usually have a bluish-colored head, and are slightly smaller than the males (toms).
Photo: David Kenyon, Michigan DNR

Barry is less developed and is actively managed for upland wildlife such as ruffed grouse, wild turkey, cottontail rabbits, and a multitude of songbirds and other wildlife. These species require a mixture of woodlands, grasslands, and agricultural fields to survive. Management practices on Barry focus on maintaining this habitat diversity and include periodic timber harvesting to maintain openings throughout the area and the maintenance of wildlife openings and food plots. An entry fee is required to use Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. Yankee Springsí most popular geological features are the Devilís Soup Bowl and Graves Hill Overlook. These features are in the same general area of the park and are accessible through most trails. The Devilís Soup Bowl is a glacially carved "kettle" formation descending several hundred feet. A trail winds to the bottom of the formation to provide a unique look at an unusual area. Graves Hill provides visitors a challenging hike to a scenic vista of the surrounding area.

Wildlife Viewing

white-tailed doe White-tailed deer are common throughout the area. Deer can run up to 35 miles per hour, and can cover more than 15 feet in a single bound!
Photo: David Kenyon, Michigan DNR

White-tailed deer and wild turkeys are very common on both areas and the winter months offer excellent viewing opportunities. On Yankee Springs, take the Long Lake Trail to view waterfowl and wading birds such as great blue herons. This trail also contains a scenic wetland boardwalk. Watch for sandhill cranes in and around the northern section of Barry State Game Area. Warbler viewing on Barry during spring migration is also very good. Visitors may travel and park along any roads on both properties unless otherwise marked. Stop at either property headquarters for maps of the areas.

Barry and portions of Yankee Springs are open to public hunting. Contact either property headquarters for hunting seasons and regulations.


From US-131, turn east at Bradley exit (Exit 61) and proceed along M-179 to South Briggs Road. Follow the signs to the Yankee Springs Headquarters.

Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources 269-795-9081 (Yankee Springs Headquarters).

Size: Yankee Springs State Recreation Area: 5,000 acres
Barry State Game Area: 17,000 acres

Closest Town: Hickory Corners. This site is about equidistant from Hastings, Middleville, and Wayland.

Weather and Driving Directions for Hickory Corners

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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