Round trip Muskegon to Ravenna
Had some time for a long ride and decided to make the trip from downtown Muskegon to Ravenna on the Musketawa Trail. Found a route to link from downtown to the trail by taking the Laketon path through town towards the trail. It appears that the Laketon path has been recently added to, taking the route past US-31 and towards the Musketawa trail. The trail ends leaving you heading East towards the trail with no well marked route. Fortunately someone has posted so small stenciled signs that direct you towards the trail.
I found the trail, beginning at Sherman and Black Creek Rd, and I was off to Ravenna. Heading East is relatively easy as I had strong West wind at the back. The trail itself is in great shape with only a few minor ruts. The width is consistent, and overall I never saw any sign of neglect. Muskegon County was even trimming trees that were encroaching on the trail, very nicely cared for. Numerous riders were on trail, walking, roller blading, even had to dodge some horse patties. Looks like people are using the trail as intended. Not one sign of any litter of glass, very refreshing.
As for stop points, there are few. You better be packing fluids. Except for one sign for a store about 1/2 mile off trail, and a vending machine, there is nothing until Ravenna. In Ravenna you will need to look for some stores to recharge your fluids. The main part of town is North of the trail, near the trail head parking. I did not go past Adams Rd, so there may a store near Ravenna Rd.
The ride back to Muskegon could wear on you, if a strong west wind is present. The round trip from the Holiday Inn to Ravenna was 40 miles, a good ride on mostly level terrain.
I would rate the trail condition as 4+, and the scenery as 4. The points lost for scenery result from the trail running adjacent to high voltage lines. I did see several turkey cross the trail and the stop was worth watching.
Look forward to a revisit to find the last connection from Muskegon's Laketon route into the Musketawa Trail
Definately bring liquids
I've done the entire trail twice.
The first time was on a hot windy day. Leaving from the 8th Ave trailhead, it's pretty nice and shaded until you get to Ravenna. Once you get west of there you are heading almost due west, and the prevailing winds start to come into play. Since it was close to 90 degrees that day and it was windy, I ran out of water before I even got the the Muskegon trailhead. Like a previous reviewer started, there aren't too many places to get water along the trail. I was looking for someone with a garden hose, to no avail. I had run my hydration pack and 3 water bottles dry (I must have been really thirsty - that's 5 liters of water!).
The second time I had much better luck since it was cooler and less windy.
Overall it's a nice trail, well maintained, a few ruts, but not too bad. The section between Ravenna and Muskegon is pretty wide open and there isn't much shade or shelter from the wind. Since it runs along the power lines, it's easy for the wind to slow you up if you are heading westbound. If you keep riding west past the trailhead you can find some restaurants to get a bite to eat.
Very Enjoyable Ride
"My wife Susan and I rode the Musketawa Trail on Saturday, July 12, 2003, along with my brother, John, and 14-year-old niece, Carolyn.
It was a perfect day for riding--pleasant temperatures and a mix of clouds & sun. We started at the trail's east end, outside of the town of Marne, and pedaled the length of the trail.
The trail is paved (asphalt) for its entire length, with the exception of boardwalk bridges and one crossing of a dirt road. Given that snowmobiles use the trail in winter, I half-expected the asphalt to be torn up. There were a few rough spots, but overall, I thought the trail was in very good condition. (Much better than the roads & trails I usually ride in and around Lansing, MI.)
The Musketawa runs mostly through farmlands and meadows, and gets into some slightly forested areas as you approach the west end in Muskegon. The topography changes subtly over the course of the ride, as you'll notice more sandy soil and evergreen trees near the west end.
You'll also pass through the small towns of Conklin (about 7 miles from the east trailhead) and Ravenna (about 12 miles from the east end). There are parking areas for trail access in both Conklin & Ravenna as well as at Marne on the east end and Muskegon on the west.
There were plenty of small critters to be seen--rabbits, chipmunks, and songbirds. Vegetation along the trail was mostly trees & shrubs, with few wildflowers. To our great surprise, though, Susan spotted cactus plants (yes, CACTUS!) growing alongside the trail in various places. Yellow cactus flowers were in bloom above the green prickly plants when we did our ride.
You'll travel through some farm areas, too, so you'll also see lots of corn & bean fields and domesticated livestock. (This landscape is a midwestern paradise!)
At the Muskegon end of the trail, there are plenty of places to eat lunch. When you reach the trail's end (just past the Muskegon prison), turn left to the traffic light, then right onto Sherman Rd. Less than a mile away from the trail you'll find restaurants (Ruby Tuesday's, Applebee's, Fazolli's) and fast food places (McDonald's, Arby's, Wendy's). We chose Ruby Tuesday's for an excellent lunch, then rode the 25+ miles back to the east end of the trail.
On the return route, we stopped in Conklin for ice cream. Just off the trail is a small party store that normally has self-serve soft-serve ice cream. The day of our ride, however, the equipment was out-of-order and we settled for prepackaged ice cream bars.
The entire ride took us just about 4 hours of riding time (plus the lunch & ice cream stops, and one short rest stop in the town of Ravenna on the return trip)."
Best Paved Trail
"This was the first bike trail that we have rode on.We got new Mtn Bikes and wanted to find a safe ride away from the city traffic.It was early June,cool and rain in the forecast.We arrived at the large parking lot at E.Broadway (1 of 4 lots along the trail) and prepared for the days ride.We packed rain gear in our backpacks,helmets on (safety first) and on our way.The trail begins a few twisty turns then starts a long straight downgrade that gets you up to speed quicky.The views of farmland, creeks and rivers are a welcome site.We saw Quail and Turkey crossing our path ahead,not another rider in site.The rain held off all day,but the wind kicked up later,making the trek back a little more difficult.The wood bridges with overlook platforms are a great place for resting and taking in nature.The parking lots along the route have Portajohns (restroom) and some picknic tables in the shade,near Blackmer road in Ravenna.It also had bike racks to park in.We rode to Conklin and found a party store, a stones throw away from the trail,that had self-serve soft icecream. We refilled our waterbottles with sportsdrinks and returned to the course.We headed back to homebase at this point and did not continue the remaining 7 miles to Garfield,having a severe case of saddle fatique (ouch!).We found the complete trail paved with the exception of some large rocks thrown in our path by some dirt bikers riding the trailside.The Trail is marked as off limits to all motor vehicles,but some seem to be ignoring the law.On our way back we were dodging golfball size rocks in our path of smooth blacktop.The Motorcycle rider was found later brokedown and pushing his bike home on the trail as we past.I should have got his plate number and reported it.Hope this note gets some attention that if I catch him again I'll make sure he will be sweeping the entire 26 mile Musketawa Trail with a broom.Sorry,but it made me mad.Alot of time and energy went into this trail for us all to enjoy and I will return to ride again.I believe we need more of these trails and hope you will enjoy them as much as we did. Hope you found my info useful.Thanks,Dan "