The Lansing River Trail courses along scenic riverbanks and through parks for 13. The trail follows the Red Cedar River from Hagadom Road on the MSU campus border west to its junction with the Grand River and then follows the Grand River north through Lansing. A spur trail heads south from Potter Park through Shubell, Scott Woods and Hawk Island County parks to end at E. Jolly Road.
Despite the urban setting, you will experience wetlands and woodlands and probably catch sight of the trail's resident ducks, squirrels and butterflies. The paved path has sections of wooden boardwalk passing under highways and skirting out over the water, avoiding almost all contact with motorized traffic.
From the Clippert Street trailhead at the trail's southeast end travel 1 mile before coming to the Aurelius Road trailhead and another 0.5 mile to Potter Park. The park is beautifully landscaped, and its locationright on the Red Cedar Riveroffers a soothing atmosphere to feed ducks or simply take a break. It is also home to the Potter Park Zoo and is a popular stop for post-zoo picnics.
Next, the trail crosses Pennsylvania Avenue via a wooden pedestrian bridge. An active railroad bridge parallels the trail at this point, and if your timing is right, you may find yourself racing a train. Where the Red Cedar and Grand rivers collide, head due north along the Grand River toward downtown Lansing. A collection of historical and cultural locations speckle the route from here, starting with the Impression 5 Science Center and its planet walk. Next door is the River Walk Theater and the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum.
Continuing north, beside the trail at mile 4 is the Lansing City Market. The market, in operation since 1909, is the place to stop for fresh local produce and handmade crafts. Shaded benches and tables in Adado Riverfront Park, adjacent to the market, make a great picnic spot.
Old Town Lansingand the northern end of the rail-trailprovide some beautiful scenery. Simply stick to the path and you will see the peaceful Burchard Dam and the architecturally striking Brenke Fish Ladder, which allows fish to bypass the dam by scaling spiral steps. To wander through an art gallery or find a charming cafe, hop off the trail at mile 5 and visit downtown Old Town. The Turner-Dodge House is located at the trail's endpoint. This magnificent brick mansion, one of Lansing's most recognized landmarks, has been restored to reflect life in the 1800s. Arrange for a tour, drink tea on the porch or at the very least stop to admire the beautifully manicured lawns and gardens before returning along this urban oasis of a trail.
Parking and Trail Access
To access the East Lansing trailhead, take Interstate 127 north to Exit 8 onto Kalamazoo Street. Turn right on E. Kalamazoo Street then turn right on S. Clippert Street; go right to access the trailhead.
To access the Turner Dodge Park trailhead, take Interstate 496 through Lansing. Take Exit 6 north on Martin Luther King Blvd. for 3 miles then turn right on N. Grand River Avenue. The trailhead in Dodge Park is 0.5 mile on the right.
You can also park at City Market, Hawk Island, Lot 56/Cesar Chavez Plaza, Maguire Park, Oakland Avenue lot, Potter Park, on Saginaw Street and at Turner Dodge.
Excellent trail. All paved, great condition, scenic.
Not that Bad
I read some reviews that made this trail seem bad, me and the family rode on this trial from McGuire park to the MSU dairy. I must say that they were wrong. Their was plenty of wild life and the trails were clean. On the way we ran into our friendly local ...
Our first Lansing River Trail ride
Quite a varied experience! The physical trail itself has a nicely paved surface throughout and is fairly well maintained. However, the scenery varies from rust-belt urban blight that's a bit scary in places, to strikingly pretty and family-friendly.