Dowagiac is also the home of Rudolphi Woods, enjoyed year-round for hiking, running, cross-country skiing and identification of natural flora. Located off Dailey Road, 155 acers of high-quality open space abound, featuring more than eight miles of nature trails.
In spring, nature lovers trek to Dowagiac Woods, known statewide for its spectacular display of wild flowers. The Michigan nature Association calls it the largest woodland of virgin soil in Michigan. Never plowed, planted or grazed, it retains its original natural diversity, as it illustrates how forests looked when the first settlers arrived.
Rich history of the area is shaded at Riverside by the brilliant pink and white Dogwood trees. The area bursts in to a vibrent aray of colors and blooms in May across the serene countryside. Savoring nature's beautiful work in progress, day-visitors often tour Riverside and area parks, where hundreds of Dogwoods and perennials are beautifully maintained.
Cass County Parks
For the active sportsman, while the city is a primary provider of recreational services, the Dowagiac Union School District and Southwestern Michigan College also play important roles. School district facilities are of major significance for softball, soccer and tennis enthusiasts. Neighborhood schools provide additional recreational sites, as volunteers organize baseball, softball, soccer and football programs for youths, ages five to 18 years old.
Neighborhood sites include Water Tower, Lions/Optimist and Walter Ward parks.
Water Tower Park of five acres provides a softball field, basketball and horseshoe courts, playground, and pavilion complete with grills and picnic tables.
Lions/Optimist Park provides four lush acres, adjacent to the Dowagiac Creek off South Front Street.
The three-acre Walter Ward Park offers basketball courts, a softball field, playground and picnic shelter.
The 10-acre Rotary Park, located off Riverside Drive, is the focal point of organized sports and active recreation. It provides regulation baseball and softball fields, skateboard ramps, restroom facilities, and a shaded picnic and playground area.
Rotary Park also serves as the starting point for the eight miles of cross-country walking and skiing trails, which are contained in the Rudolphi Woods and Rudolphi Wildlife Refuge.
Lush and sprawling 18 acre park to enjoy youth soccer, softball and football. All ages will enjoy disk golf, Walking and biking trails, universally accessible playground area and ample parking is available for spectators and park users.