Welcome to Wonder and Wander’s Guide to Fall Fun in Jackson County. We’ll be highlighting some of our favorite spots throughout October and handing out some “awards” along the way – so check back often!

If you are new to Wonder and Wander – Jackson, you may have missed our feature on the Haenhle Sanctuary over the summer. I had driven past the signs for the parking area many times over the years as we headed to swim at Big Portage Lake, and one day I finally remembered to google it to see what it was.

When we finally visited, this is what happened:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/CQe9jmGHpmt/

And now? Now, this is one of Big’s favorite places to visit. (Even if he does kick off our visit with some whining.) When the leaves started becoming more vibrant, I knew we needed to make another visit asap, and the visit was absolutely stunning, which means that adding Haenhle Sanctuary to our kid-friendly fall color tour list was a must!

While we slowly walked to the lake overlook (Little was with us, hence the speed), we were greeted by tall grasses, colorful leaves, and the calls of sand hill cranes echoing around us. (This place is a very important location for the cranes and part of the uniqueness of the location!) 

Who knew what view awaited us at the lookout, though. The water was still, and the reflections were next level. Big quietly sat down on one of the benches, had a snack, and just took it all in. Little practiced his jumping skills, his throwing skills, and enjoyed the benches as well. I took in the beauty of the lake, happy that I have two littles who also like going on these adventures. 

The hike from the parking lot to the lake lookout and back was the perfect length for Little, and he found plenty of sticks and stones to keep him entertained along the way. Big and I made a collection of vibrant red leaves as we meandered back to the car. 

The truth is this: it’s not always easy getting everyone ready to leave the house for a hiking adventure like this. Between the packing and the whining, it would be easy to say, “Nevermind!”. Yet, when we pulled into the parking lot and Big exclaimed, “Oh, I LOVE this place!” and Little happily trail-trotted while saying, “Walk more!” I reminded myself that these priceless moments outside together make the initial struggle worth it.

The Haehnle Sanctuary is located near the intersection of Seymour Road and Fairlane Dr. in Grass Lake, Michigan. This kid-friendly spot is a hidden gem that is worth a visit! For more information on the Haehnle Sanctuary, click here.

Fall Color Tour – Haenhle Sanctuary

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