West Michigan Trails Challenge

Tue September 1 - Thu December 31 Grand Rapids, MI 49505 US
Description

Do you love West Michigan Trails?  Have you been to them ALL?  We want trail lovers to get out and explore all that West Michigan has to offer.  Walk, hike, bike, run, ski or snowshoe (well, might want to wait for some snow), paddle, or skate.  Whatever your favorite mode of transportation - just get out there and explore.

This isn't a race in the traditional sense.  This is a challenge to get out, get moving, and check out the trails of West Michigan.

Each time you explore a new trail and log it on your personal page, you get a badge!  Complete all the trails and ......

Your entry gets you a super cool shirt and medal.  But, if you're really into swag - you can always add on!

Register today and invite your friends.  Exploring is always more fun with friends!

Which Trails are Included?

Big Rapids Riverwalk -A popular destination for runners, cyclists, or those seeking a scenic stroll through nature’s beauty, the 4.5-mile Big Rapids Riverwalk offers intimate views of the Muskegon River as it follows along the water’s edge.

Buck Creek Trail -A beautiful trail that follows the course of Buck Creek through the cities of Grandville and Wyoming, Buck Creek Trail consists of three segments that pass through three parks and a natural area. Riding all three segments of Buck Creek Trail on a single trip requires some good navigation skills, but the reward is well worth the extra effort.

Butterworth Trail -Completed in 2010, the Butterworth Trail derives its name from the old Butterworth landfill that is being restored as a natural area on the banks of the Grand River. Public access parking is located on the south side of John Ball Park. The trail entrance is on Butterworth Avenue between the freeway over-pass and the Coca-Cola bottling
facility. Follow the paved path along the Grand River or Wealthy Street and cross over a restored railroad trestle where you can enjoy spectacular views of the river and Grand Rapids skyline.

Forest Hills Trails -True to their name, the Forest Hills Trails take you on a scenic tour through the rugged ravines, rolling hills, lush woodlands, wetlands and streetscapes of this picturesque community where the great Thornapple River joins forces with the mighty Grand. This extensive network of nearly 50 miles of paved pedestrian paths, boardwalks and several covered bridges, offers stunning views of the community’s natural features while connecting local residents with several township and county parks. Be advised that some of the trails, especially along Knapp and Bailey roads, are very hilly and can be a bit challenging. 

Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail -Built on an abandoned C&O Railroad line, the 11.5-mile Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail is a new paved pathway that allows you to ride from Muskegon to the William Field Hart-Montague Trail in Whitehall. The trail south of the McMillan Trailhead meanders through mostly oak and pine forest and crosses Bear Creek.

Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Rail Trail - The 42-mile Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Rail Trail was completed in the spring of 2015. It gets its name from the three counties it spans on the former Central Michigan Railroad. The abandoned rail corridor was acquired by the state of Michigan in 2007 and developed by the DNR through a broad coalition of federal, state, and local organizations.

Perfect for day rides of just about any distance, the trail goes through the center of several quaint farming towns where you will find easy access to local stores, eateries and ice cream shops. It also runs parallel to highway M-21, offering convenient access. 

The trail officially begins at the Prairie Creek bridge east of Ionia and crosses over the Maple River east of Muir. It then travels through the heart of Michigan farm country before it crosses the headwaters of the Maple River in Ovid on its way to Owosso. A thick hedge of trees shelters the trail most of the way. At Smith Road, west of Owosso, a signed, designated bike route guides you into downtown Owosso. Trail planners envision future rail-trail extensions to downtown Owosso and east to Durand.

Fred Meijer Flat River Trail -The 8-mile Fred Meijer Flat River Trail leads you on a tour through the natural beauty and historic landmarks that make Greenville one of Michigan’s most picturesque river towns. The loop is uniquely situated between two major trail systems: the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail to the north and the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail (to Lowell) to the south, which is currently under development. This thoughtfully landscaped, paved path is amazingly scenic with deeply wooded areas, open grasslands, boardwalks over wetlands, numerous bridges, and long sections following along the river's edge. Much of the trail is fairly flat with a few rolling hills near Tower Park and a steep bluff that climbs above Baldwin Lake Beach. The trail boasts one of the most unique tunnels in Michigan under the busy M-57 thoroughfare. The 14-foot wide and 10-foot tall tunnel features museum displays on clay mosaic tiles depicting the history of early settlers along the Flat River.

You’ll find several nice staging areas with easy assess to the trail. From the Baldwin Lake Beach staging area, follow Baldwin Lake Drive along the edge of Baldwin and Manoka lakes to connect with the parking areas at Tower Park. The home town of Fred Meijer, and the birthplace of the Meijer retail chain, Greenville offers lodging, restaurants, ice cream shops, and of course, a Meijer store near the trail.

Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail -The first 2.28-mile section of trail through the city of Belding was opened in 2014. This section from the M-44 bridge to Long Lake Road is paved with asphalt and crosses three bridges over the Flat River. The trail is surfaced with finely screened and compacted limestone through the rural and natural areas and paved with asphalt through Greenville, Belding, and Smyrna.

Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail - The first 8.25 miles of trail from Saranac to Ionia was completed in 2013. This exceptionally scenic section of trail travels along the edge of the Grand River and through the Ionia State Recreation Area, with no road crossings, for a peaceful, serene commune with nature. It also includes an amazing five restored railroad bridges, including one towering bridge spanning 466 feet across the mighty Grand River. Trail users have reported a lot of wildlife sightings along this stretch of trail, including whitetail deer, turkey, great horned owls, eagles, a wide range of waterfowl, and even the rare pine marten.

Fred Meijer Heartland Trail -The 45.8-mile Fred Meijer Heartland trail travels through a serene landscape of picturesque natural areas and fertile farm country. It’s one of Michigan’s most scenic trails. You’ll enjoy every inch of it.

Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail - The 9.8-mile Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail travels through quintessential Michigan farm country along large expanses of corn, wheat, and soybean fields with pastures with grazing livestock.  The Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail was strategically developed to create an important nonmotorized path connecting trail networks in the Grand Rapids and Holland metro areas. Spearheaded by the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition, the project was especially challenging since no abandoned railways or suitable right-of-ways existed between the two urban trail systems.

Fred Meijer M-6 Trail -The Fred Meijer M-6 Trail was built along the M-6 highway. The trail connects Kent Trails with the Paul Henry–Thornapple Trail. A new section of trail, from Division Avenue to 68th Street, was completed this past year. Construction is planned for an extension of the trail that will go north along Buck Creek to the old Interurban Trail.

Fred Meijer Millennium Park Trails -Load up your bikes or running shoes (and don’t forget your picnic basket and swimming suit) and head to this recreation destination just west of Grand Rapids. Double the size of New York City’s Central Park, Millennium Park encompasses 1,500 acres of wetlands, lakes and rolling terrain between Johnson Park and John Ball Park on the west side of the Grand River. Known for its swimming beach, splash park, fishing docks, and huge playground, the park also includes an extensive network
of nearly 20 miles of paved bicycle paths and improved nature trails. This network of trails guides you through the park’s natural features and along several lakes, ponds, and wetlands teeming with wildlife and migratory birds. A series of new trails, boardwalks, and a huge trestle bridge, plus a new parking area, pavilion, and amphitheater were added to the park in 2016 on the east side of Maynard Avenue.

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail -The Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail begins where the Musketawa Trail ends,at the Marne trailhead, and will eventually continue on to Comstock Park where it will converge with the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. The trail is paved with asphalt, passing through a scenic landscape of farms, woodlands and urban neighborhoods, including a tunnel under Fruit Ridge Avenue. The dream of one continuous trail connecting Grand Rapids to Muskegon is inching closer to reality. 

Fred Meijer Standale Trail -The 6.5-mile Fred Meijer Standale Trail is a series of nicely landscaped paved paths and elevated boardwalks that connect the Walker Sports Complex with the trails in Millennium Park. In 2016, a new tunnel was opened that now offers safe passage under Lake Michigan Drive in Standale. The Fred Meijer Standale Trail is viewed as an important “keystone” connector for the Grand Rapids Metro Area Trails Network that will eventually link the Musketawa Trail in northern Kent County to an extensive network of trails in southern Kent County.

Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park -The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park is the longest linear state park in Michigan. Established in 1995, “The Great White Pine” stretches 93 miles from Comstock Park near Grand Rapids along the former Michigan Northern section of the Penn Central Railroad to Cadillac through 31 cities, villages and townships.

When you head north on the White Pine Trail, you’ll discover a quiet, scenic corridor that takes you through several trailside parks, quaint villages, farms, meadows, wetlands, shady tunnels of trees and wide expanses of unspoiled nature. The entire length of trail runs parallel to US-131, providing easy access along its route. And because it was built on an abandoned railroad bed, the grade is fairly flat and well suited for people of all ages and physical abilities. Each section of the trail has its own natural features and unique personality.

Grand River Edges Trail -The Grand River Edges Trail network guides you along the banks of the Grand River. It links downtown Grand Rapids to Kent Trails and Millennium Park and includes 2.2 miles of paved path in Riverside Park that connects to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park.

Grand River Explorers Trail or Idema Explorer's Trail - This 10-foot paved trail for hiking and biking along the Grand River Greenway has access to public lands and the Grand River Heritage Water Trail all along the route.  This is a beautiful trail that will eventually link Grand Haven to Grand Rapids along the Grand River.

Harbor Shores Trails -Explore nearly 10 miles of scenic biking and hiking trails in Harbor Shores along Lake Michigan and the Paw Paw and St. Joseph rivers. Harbor Shores is a multi-use recreation and residential community nestled among the dunes, marshes, bayous and beaches in the Paw Paw River delta. The Trail includes several bridges and boardwalks crossing the marshes, bayous and Paw Paw River. Most of the trails travel along or over these water features. Some stretches of the paved trails share use with the golf cart paths. Make sure to observe signage along the trails to make sure you stay on the right path.

Holland Metro Area Trails - If you enjoy biking, running, blading, or strolling along scenic beaches, or exploring quaint harbor towns, then Hollan should be your next trail vacation destination.  The greater Holland area boasts the most extensive network of paved trails in the Great Lake State, allowing you to ride from Holland State Park along Lake Macatawa to Saugatuck Dunes State Park and the Village of Saugatuck on one continuous series of trails.

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail -Following along the Kalamazoo River, through ravines, several parks, and the downtown entertainment district, the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail offers a fun and healthy way to explore the natural beauty of the Kalamazoo area. Built on the former Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad, the west section of trail is a continuation of the Kal-Haven Trail State Park, making a gradual descent from the 10th Street Trailhead to Westnedge Avenue. From there, follow the directional signs through downtown Kalamazoo to the main spine of the trail along the Kalamazoo River.

The north section of trail travels along the river through several parks and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. The northernmost part of the north trail is very hilly and exceptionally scenic. The east section of the trail goes to Galesburg, passing through River Oaks County Park. County trail officials are currently working on a plan to extend the trail east to Augusta.

Kal-Haven Trail State Park -The 34.5-mile Kal-Haven Trail runs from South Haven to Kalamazoo on the former Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad. The trail now extends into the heart of downtown South Haven, where you can enjoy0 downtown shopping and dining and connect with the Van Buren Trail State Park and South Beach Park. Cyclists, runners, and hikers alike will enjoy a peaceful journey past blueberry fields, cool tunnels of trees, quaint villages, and over six bridges, including a covered bridge over the Black River near South Haven. The trail is mostly flat with some slight grades at each end. The trail is surfaced with finely screened and compacted limestone and remains in good condition. This hard-packed white surface is exceptionally smooth and well suited for all bikes. 

Kent Trails -Kent County’s first paved rail-trail, the 15-mile Kent Trails opened in 1992 linking John Ball Park in Grand Rapids to downtown Byron Center. This interconnected series of trails take you across several bridges, through two tunnels (under I-196 and M-6) and along some very scenic stretches as you pass through several parks in urban, suburban, and rural Kent County. The journey from the Millennium trailhead to Byron Center is a popular day trip.

Lakeshore Trail - The Lakeshore Trail is Ottawa County’s showpiece. The 20-mile paved pedestrian path runs parallel to Lakeshore Drive and offers many recreational opportunities along the way. Aside from the famous state parks at either end, the trail travels through three Ottawa County beach parks and natural areas: Rosy Mound Natural Area, Kirk Park, and Tunnel Park. Along the route, the trail follows a ridge of rolling dunes surrounded by a protective canopy of shady trees. Tunnel Park and Holland State Park are good access points if you would like to begin your trek from the south. At the north end of the trail, Rosy Mounds Natural Area offers the easiest access. Kirk Park is a great midway point with a beautiful beach, nature trails, parking, restrooms, and picnic and playground areas. Lakeshore Trail Access A boardwalk along Pigeon Creek, south of Kirk Park, offers great views of a pristine wetland and natural area. Just south of the Pigeon Creek, an alternate eastern spur of the trail follows Butternut Drive to downtown Holland.

Lakeside Trail -When you cross over the north side of the US-31 drawbridge, the trail system connects with the 15-mile Lakeside Trail, which encircles Spring Lake through the communities of Ferrysburg, Fruitport and Village of Spring Lake. Trails in the Village of Spring Lake also lead to the new NorthBank Trail and the Grand River Greenway Trail with views of the Grand River.

Lowell Area Trailway - The 2.5-mile Lowell Area Trailway is a 10-foot-wide, paved community pathway that connects the Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center, Lowell High School, Cooper Woodland Preserve, Creekside Park and Cherry Creek Elementary School to the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail in Lowell. At the northern end of the trail, you can explore a network of nearly 4 miles of nature trails at the Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center

Muskegon Lakeshore Trail -The 12-mile Muskegon Lakeshore Trail follows along the southern shore of Muskegon Lake from Pere Marquette beach to North Muskegon. Spend an afternoon on this series of paved paths and elevated boardwalks and you discover why Muskegon is one of Michigan’s top tourist destinations. The trail offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake as it travels among the dunes and through several parks and marinas along the way.

Musketawa Trail - The trail features 13 wooden trestles, the longest a 200-foot trestle over Crockey Creek in Ravenna, plus five observation decks (two of which are roofed). There is also railroad memorabilia along the way with railroad crossing signs, and a restored water tower and railroad caboose at the Ravenna Staging area.

North Bank Trail - The North Bank will provide connections to other regional trails including the Lakeside Trail in Spring Lake, the Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail, the Musketawa Trail and the Spoonville Trail offering access to the south side of the Grand River where it meets up with the Grand River Explorers Trail. It will also link to local trails in Spring Lake Township and Ferrysburg offering a connection to US Bike Route 35 running along Michigan’s west coast from New Buffalo to Sault Saint Marie.

Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail -As you venture along the trail, you’ll travel through the Thornapple River Valley with its mix of farmland, quaint country towns, lush wetlands, shady woodlands and long tunnels of trees. The 42-mile nonmotorized trail is being built in phases and will eventually connect Grand Rapids with Vermontville. Fully developed paved sections of the trail currently include 12.8 miles from Kentwood to 108th Street, 4.6 miles through Middleville to Irving, the 2.4-mile Hastings Riverwalk, and 1.5 miles from Maple Valley High School near Nashville to Vermontville.

Pere Marquette State Trail - Baldwin to Clare - The 56-mile Pere Marquette State Trail slices through Michigan’s midsection on a former CSX Railroad line, traveling through quintessential small towns from Baldwin to Clare. Along this route, you will encounter a diversity of landscapes as the trail takes you past woodlands, wetlands, and farmland, through tunnels, and across several bridges with picturesque views of the Baldwin, Hersey and Muskegon rivers. The 33-mile section of the Pere Marquette State Trail from Baldwin to Evart is a story of two very different trail experiences. Your adventure begins at the trailhead in downtown Baldwin where you will see the World’s Largest Brown Trout Sculpture

Plaster Creek Trail -Plaster Creek Trail takes you along the course of Plaster Creek as it meanders through southern Grand Rapids. The trail begins on Ken-O-Sha Park Drive (off Kalamazoo Avenue) and travels along a series of paved paths, boardwalks, and bridges to Division Avenue.

Portage Bikeway Trail System -The main spine of the trail system runs 7 miles from the Kilgore Road Trailhead to the new Osterhout Avenue Trailhead, meandering along Portage Creek and through the Celery Flats Historical Area north of City Hall. The trail is 12 feet wide, nicely landscaped and well maintained.

Reeds Lake Trail - Reeds Lake is one of Kent County’s largest inland lakes. Providing a picture-perfect backdrop for the city of East Grand Rapids, it has attracted visitors to its shores for nearly a century. The 4.5-mile Reeds Lake Trail encircles the lake on a series of paved paths, elevated boardwalks, and residential sidewalks. The trail passes by several parks, the city’s community center, and is just a few steps away from downtown dining and shopping in nearby Gaslight Village. Waterfront Park features a paved parking area, a series of walking paths and nature trails, and several floating boardwalks that guide you through a grassy marsh out into Reeds Lake. This is a popular trail that hosts several running events during the year.

Seward Avenue Bikeway - Completed in 2015, the 3.5-mile Seward Avenue Bikeway was developed to create a safe nonmotorized north-south route for cyclists and runners connecting Riverside Park and the River Edges Trail on Ann Street to the Butterworth Trail and Kent Trails network on Wealthy Street. The Bikeway is a combination of dedicated bike lanes (sharrows) on Seward Avenue, paved bike paths on the northern section of the trail, and widened sidewalks along Ann Street. The bikeway also includes a bicycle repair station and rental storage lockers on the corner of Lake Michigan Drive.

Spoonville Trail -Named after a ghost town that once stood at the mouth of Crockery Creek on the Grand River, the first 1.8 miles of the Spoonville Trail was opened in 2016. This first phase of the trail goes from North Cedar Drive to Leonard Road, crossing the Sgt. Henry E. Plant Memorial Bridge. Construction should begin this summer on two more miles of trail from Leonard Street to Nunica. When completed, it will create an important link between the North Bank Trail and Grand River Explorers Trail.

Upper Macatawa Greenway Trail - The 2.8-mile Upper Macatawa Greenway Trail provides a critical link between the Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail and a vast network of trails in the Holland metro area that leads to the Lake Michigan shoreline. “Short and sweet,” we think you’ll relish every inch of this beautifully landscaped trail. Developed and maintained by Ottawa County Parks, this paved path begins at Adams Road and meanders through the Upper Macatawa Natural Area, passing along the Macatawa River, through meadows, grassy wetlands, rolling hills, dense hardwood forest, and several bridges and boardwalks over steep ravines, before crossing another bridge over the river and linking up with the Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail on Byron Road

Van Buren Trail State Park -The 15-mile Van Buren Trail State Park runs from South Haven to Hartford on the former Toledo & South Haven Railroad. The 2.5-mile spur from 16th Avenue to Van Buren State Park was built on an abandoned rail line that was used during construction of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. The trail surface from 16th Avenue to Hartford is unimproved grass and gravel, but nicely maintained, and mowed, and best suited for fat-tire bikes. Equestrian and snowmobile use is permitted and popular along this section of the trail.

William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail - This 22-mile trail was Michigan's first paved rail-trail. This classic American rail-trail travels by cherry and apple orchards, picture-postcard farms, woodlands, and waterways, connecting John Gurney Park in Hart to the twin cities of Montague and Whitehall. Along the way, you’ll see vast clusters of wildflowers, flowing fields of asparagus, historic train depots, and inviting ice cream stands. You’ll find camping and lodging at both ends of the trail and restaurants and stores in all of the small towns along the way.

I'm up for the Challenge! What do I do next?

It's as simple as 1, 2, 3!

1.  Register today and invite your friends & family to join you!

2.  Go explore West Michigan's Trails and check-in. Here's how

3. Explore the trails in your cool new shirt & earn a finisher's medal by exploring every trail!

Challenge Contact Info

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Referral Rewards

Refer 5 friends, who register for the race using your unique referral code, and get $25 back in the West Michigan Trails Challenge.  Refer 9 friends, who register using your unique referral code, and get your full registration refunded!  For the No Swag option, maximum refund is $25.

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