Mary Burleson
Contributing Writer

As you head south out of Eaton Rapids on South Clinton Trail, blink and you’ll miss a hidden gem of Eaton County. Hamlin Park is located next to the Hamlin Township Fire Department. At first glance it simply looks like a gravel parking lot and a large open field. However, it is so much more than what meets the eye. Featuring 46 acres to explore, four ecosystems and many nature trails; it’s a great place to take your four-legged friend for hours of fun!
Adventurous Aggie, an affectionate and energetic yellow labrador, decided to visit with her humans and explore what the park has to offer pets. Upon arrival, she was greeted with a large open field of lush and beautiful grass. The perfect place to play fetch or stretch her legs. A gorgeous picnic pavilion back by the woods provides a place for a snack or relaxing after a long walk. Beyond that, hidden from the parking lot, is the entrance to a half mile nature trail. The trail is open and grassy, leading to a beautiful wooden bridge built by local Eagle Scout Geoffrey Bessette. Should you wish to continue your journey, there are many more rustic trails beyond the bridge. They are well marked though, so no worries about getting lost. The Hamlin Township Hall, located inside the fire department, is happy to provide visitors with a color-coded map of the park trails should they want one. They are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The future of Hamlin Park is exciting and bright. Renee Taber, township trustee and member of the park board, shared that there are many upcoming updates for this beautiful place. The park board is working on adding the nature trails to the All Trails app. They are also planning on adding a color-coded map of the park near the parking lot for reference. Visitors can look forward to a second picnic pavilion being built this summer by local boy scout Brody Collins. A Little Free Library will be added by the parking lot, run by the Eaton Rapids District Library. Finally, there will be a 5k in the park taking place in June or July. Entry fees will be $20 or $40 including a t-shirt. Proceeds will go to upkeep of the park. Keep an eye out for more information regarding this fun summer event where both humans and their dogs will be welcome.
Upon review, Adventurous Aggie gives Hamlin Park a four out of five paws for its inviting trails with so much to discover like wildflowers, interesting smells, wildlife or even a geocache if you look closely! Two-legged companions should bring some mosquito spray and good shoes, as it can be wet in some areas depending on the weather. Remember to bring your own doggy waste bags and take any trash with you when you leave to help maintain the beauty of the park. Whether you enjoy running through an open field or long walks through the woods, Hamlin Park is a great place to visit with your pet. For more information you can check out the Hamlin Township Hall website at The park is taken care of by a team of dedicated volunteers and board members. If you are interested in volunteering your time, reach out to Renee Taber at