Nature Notes – McCoy’s Creek Trail

McCoy’s Creek Trail

by Jill McDonald

As the weather is warming and you’re getting the itch to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, you need not go far to enjoy a wonderful trail system. Buchanan, Michigan is home to McCoy’s Creek Trail!

Peacefully winding through forests with babbling streams, graced with the beauty of woodland spring wildflowers and the melodies of many birds, the E.B. Clark Woods section of this trail, off of Schirmer Parkway, meanders into the heart of downtown Buchanan.  

Stop by a local restaurant or coffeehouse on your way if you like and then continue on the trail past the historical Pears Mill, seasonal Farmers Market, The Common amphitheater, Tin Shop Theatre, a mural near Oak and Smith Streets, and then continue southwest of town just behind the McCoy Creek Recreation Area near the Dog Park. The southwest loop is marked as the Elliott Property Entrance. At the end of that section, the pavement turns to a smooth dirt loop trail.

The beautiful McCoy Creek begins in wetlands near the Michigan-Indiana border.  It flows northeasterly for 8 miles where it joins with the St. Joseph River in Buchanan. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the McCoy Creek watershed encompasses 22 square miles.

The Creek is named after Rev. Isaac McCoy who, in the 1820’s, fished in the little creek. By the late 1800’s, 13 mills had been located on the creek within the city of Buchanan, providing the city with its lifeblood. 

All seasons offer unique sights along the trail. Springtime brings continually changing beautiful wildflowers, including hepatica, spring beauty, Mayapple, and several trilliums.

This unique trail system is thanks to The Friends of McCoy’s Creek Trail, established in April 2004. For further information, check out their page at: For a trail map, go to

Buchanan Scarecrow Charities donated to McCoy Creek Trail, Photo provided by Jean Rose
Honor Credit Union donates to McCoy Creek Trail, photo taken from Facebook of Karol Behrle of Honor Credit Union (right)

Jill K. McDonald is a freelance nature & travel educator, writer, photographer, and speaker. She can be reached by email at or connect with her on Facebook at:

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