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Jackson County's Falling Waters Trail serves as an important community connector, linking the outskirts of the vibrant City of Jackson to the picturesque Village of Concord, which brims with Victorian homes. With its spectacular scenery and rich connections to history, the Falling Waters Trail, which opened in 2007, has proved popular.
The pathway is also nestled within the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail route spanning the entire Lower Peninsula from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, as well as the even more massive Iron Belle Trail, which connects 2,000-plus miles of trail all across the state.
The trail’s value as a transportation corridor goes back to its days as a Michigan Central Railroad route. The railroad was completed in 1871 and the tracks remained in use for more than a century. In Jackson, you can find one of the old passenger depots still serving its original function; the beautiful red brick building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, accommodates Amtrak trains today. Falling Waters Trail users can travel toward Jackson on a connecting 3.4-mile rail-trail made from the same Michigan Central railbed: the Martin Luther King Equality Trail.
The paved pathway rolls through rural countryside and lush woodlands with few road crossings. On its west end, the rail-trail crosses a branch of the Kalamazoo River and travels over wetlands teeming with birds and wildlife.
The trail takes its name from the natural beauty that abounds here; the region’s Potawatomi tribes called the area “The Land of Falling Waters” for its numerous springs, lakes and rivers. Travelers can learn about the Potawatomi at a preserved village site near present-day Spring Arbor; the Falling Waters Historic Park is located just a half-mile north of the trail near the intersection of Cross and Hammond roads. Pedaling along, history buffs will also enjoy the numerous interpretative signs about the area’s past that dot the trail.
Another of the trail’s best features is a manmade lake that was formed from an early 20th-century mining site; about halfway along the pathway, adventurers will glide right through the middle of Lime Lake with a glistening expanse of water on both sides. You can also go fishing in the lake.
Parking is available at the following locations along the trail from east to west:
Well maintained asphalt paved trail in very good condition provides for a fast and flat ride.
Parked at the Weatherwax Road Trailhead in Jackson and biked to Concord and back. Concord is just over 10 miles away.
Trail goes through wooded areas and open areas of farm fields. You will also pass by Lime Lake.
Mid point there is another trailhead and parking. The trail passes accross several back side roads, some of which are dirt.
People along the trail were friendly.
At the Jackson end of the trail, Falling Waters connects with Martin Luther King Equality Trail for an additional 4 miles of trail.
Services in Jackson include many places to eat a few miles off the trail.
Good condition for cycling and flat. The lakes make for a scenic ride and you can increase the distance easily with a few detours.
Rode the entire trail from Concord to Weatherwax Rd trail head plus the beautiful new 1 mile paved spur to Falling Waters Park. Surface is in excellent condition, suitable for inline skating. Unlike a lot of rails-to-trails locations it has gentle curves to keep it interesting and outstanding detailed signage. It is completely rural and peaceful, very few houses even visible from trail, with vistas of several lakes and lots of wooded sections. Trail is mostly shaded, except where it runs on the causeway through Lime Lake.
One major downside: No access to drinking water directly on the trail. I found outdoor drinking fountain at the Middle School on West Street once the trail enters Jackson and the name changes to MLK Trail and surface is much less smooth past Weatherwax Road. Another worthwhile 1.5 mile detour is about 3-4 miles from Concord north on a small paved country road to the original historic site of the Spring Arbor settlement and college. Entrance is free, several markers explain the history and there is an old-fashioned hand pump which produces fresh cold water, what a delight on a very hot day.
Very nice and well cared for trail. It is flat and blacktop and a nice family ride. Riding past the lakes is very nice and you can see a nice display of wildlife. A mix of runners, bikers, inline and walkers use the trail.
Rode the trail from Jackson to Concord back and had a great experience. It was Memorial Day weekend, and there were many people out. Trail was in great condition and the wildlife is beautiful.
I rode this trail on a picture perfect September weekday. Obviously somebody cares about it, because there were numerous birdhouses, benches, mile markers. I only wished it was longer and perhaps a little more remote. But otherwise, this is an easy trip from Lansing and well worth it.
Awesome trail. Level-Easy. Paved, shaded and have some interesting landscape sightings.
The path is maintained beautifully for bikers, roller bladers, walkers and dogs. There were very view times you had to cross roads.
We did however find it incredibly boring. There are no hills or curves and the scenery is quite limited. There is a small section of the trail that is shaded.
After biking the Lansing River trail, it is hard to beat.
We appreciated how nice the trail was maintained but we did not feel it was a trail we would return to.
Wow, what a great trail! So smooth, the paving is outstanding. Numerous benches to stop and rest or to just meditate on. Great signage with local history and mile posts every half mile. Lots to do on this trail from fishing to bird and wildlife watching or just pounding out the miles. Ice cream at the Concord end is just a little ride past the trail head. Great day trip!
I ride this trail several times a week just for cardio,a very well maintained trail and lots of scenery,very flat and great for those wishing to go a little faster.the parking spot off weatherwax has a new bike pump at the start of the trail. If you go in the evening you will see a lot of deer most of the trail is shaded making it a great place to walk or ride.this trail is patrolled by law enforcement as well. the trail runs between north and south lime lake making it a great place to stop with the kids.
I think that the Falling Waters trail is one of the finest rail-trail in Southeast Michigan. It has beautiful scenery which includes the causeway through Lime Lake, numerous wetlands, beautiful oak tree woods and the Kalamazoo River mill pond at the Concord end. The wildlife on or near the trail is abundant. We have seen deer, wild turkey, sandhill cranes, turtles, snakes, and even a fox. And the sounds of the songbirds and frogs in the springtime is especially nice. It is one of the few trails that is as interesting when all the leaves are down during the cold months. This is when you can really see how much water is adjacent to the trail. But beware during hunting season. Lastly, the Cadet tavern in Concord is a good place to have a half-time burger before you begin the return trip to the Jackson trail head. If you live in Southeast Michigan I highly recommend the Falling Waters trail.
Nice beginners trail from Concord to Jackson Michigan. Three places to park with well taken care of porta potties. Plenty of scenery along the way.
This trail is EXTREMELY clean and well kept. Nice smooth surface and friendly "trailers"! There were several benches along the trail which were well placed. I look forward to returning. THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!!
I just started biking again and decided I wanted to do some of the trails I heard about being made from old railway systems. This one was near my home so I decided to try it out. I rode small segments at a time in order work up to finish the trail from beginning to end and back to the beginning. The trial is relatively flat, very smooth and pretty much a ride through the wilderness. Seeing new parts of the trail intrigued me and kept me going until I finally reached the end of it. The causeway through Lime Lake is my favorite part. There are benches and picnic tables all along the trail for resting areas and to enjoy the scenery, breeze and wildlife sounds. There has not been a ride yet that I have not got to see some deer on the path. Great trail for beginners and the casual get away from the busy/city life. I recommend it.
Loved this trail. Level smooth riding surface, and beautiful scenery.
I have to deeply thank the Jackson,MI area for providing such a well-maintained, gorgeous trail. Seriously, I have now biked many, many miles of SE Michigan's rail trail system and this one never fails to make me smile. Flat, sides are groomed, super smooth surface, plenty of porta-johns and the scenery.... so many trees that even on a HOT day, you ride in shade. Lakes, fields, streams, and TONS of songbirds. Today we even saw twin fawns cavorting along the trail for about 200 feet. It's well-used but you never feel crowded; just happy that others are out getting fresh air as well.
NOTE: today there is construction on Weatherwax so you'll need to turn LEFT on the road before the Trailhead. You're allowed to park up on the left along side the trail. Enjoy!!!
To be honest our local paper identified Hinkley Bakery as one of the best doughnut shops in Michigan...located in Jackson not far from Falling Waters Trail...both proved to be worth the ride from our home in Grand Rapids. The trail was in good shape and well taken care of...bikers all seemed familiar with biking etiquette..making a great ride....20 miles, just enough at our age.
The surface of the trail is smooth, flat and scenic, especially in the Lime Lake area and Concord. It is perfect for bikers. The only problem for me is that no drinking water is available during jogging.
My husband and I love this trail. It is shaded, smooth and flat. For us a perfect combination. Yesterday we started at the Teft Road parking and rode to Concord and back, a distance of about 10 miles. The scenery is rural with farm fields, woods and water. We have done other sections of the trail and the review would be the same for those sections as well. Although it is a well used trail with walkers, joggers and roller bladers people are courteous and everyone coexists well.
I rode this trail on a warm October day in 2011 after a business meeting in Jackson.
It was easy to find a trailhead in the south side of Jackson. I believe its called the Jackson Intercity Trail withing the city limits. The parking lot was safe and nice.
The leaves on the trees were changing colors and it was spectacular. The trail is paved and very smooth the entire length except at gravel road crossings so beware if you are a road bike rider. This is perhaps one of the widest paved trails I've ever been on. You'll enjoy Lime Lake from the causeway. There is a ton of old telegraph poles along the trail from its railroad days--neat to see.
I rode the Falling Waters Trail today and it is a very nice trail. As a previous person had mention parking to leave from Jackson is a bit tricky. I started at Park Rd. and there is a little area to park but no parking lot. I did ride towards Jackson at first to see if there was a parking lot along the path, but did not find one. However the school that had been mention would have parking and would be a good place to start. The path cuts through Lime Lake which is a nice place to stop and if its hot enough out, to take a dip to cool off. I took video of the trail and have posted it to YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHKESzguOvM However even though the trail is quite smooth there is a lot of shaking going on. I will see if I can find a way to improve this for future videos. Still take a look if you want to get a better visual of the path.
To the Web Master: Sorry I forgot to include the 5 star rating of everyone else. Could you please include the rating with my other original comments?
I grew up in Jackson and I am very familiar with the area near the trail. I have biked the trail on a half dozen occasions. The trail goes straight through a causeway on Lime Lake. The lakes 19th century loss is your gain. If you have a fishing liscense the fish are excellent; I can't attest to the numbers of fish near the trail anymore. Much of the trail goes through natural wetlands, and I have seen Hawks, Swans, Geese, Ducks and other Waterfowl so birdwatchers take your cameras. The surrounding lakes and natural ponds have pictures suitable for your PC wallpapers. The view through the brush is improved before and after leaves have fallen from the trees so the trail is still beautiful in fall and early spring on warm days. About half of the trail is through woods so wind is not a problem. There is no drinking water available on the trail, but port-a-potties are available at the time of this review. As the Trail Description indicates the trail continues on into Jackson, and access to the town is available where the trail crosses West Avenue. Parkside Middle school is at that point and you can probably park there after the school is closed for the summer from Mid June to Labor Day. Bikers wanting amenities like restaurants or motels should consider Jackson as the other stops are rural communities. However one particular treat is Ice Cream in Concord. The Satler's Tasty Treat Ice Cream stand has been in business for decades and offers nice snacks that includes Dogs and Burgers. Perfect for a summer break at the midpoint of an out and back. I have no association with the owners, and the web master can feel free to delete this reference if he/she finds it inappropriate. To get there simply continue on the road from the Concord trailhead to the main road in town named main street and turn right to North. The store is on the North side of Michigan Hwy 60 about 2/3 of a mile from the trail end point.
Additional useful information is available about the trail on the Friends of the Falling Waters Trail Website.
My family rode our bicycles along the entire length of this trail over the Labor Day weekend. The trail is nice and smooth and the crossroads had hardly any traffic. There were plenty of benches to stop and rest if you wanted and the scenery was beautiful. There were also nice mile markers to let you know where you were on the trail. We can't wait to try the next railtrail!!
If you are looking for a great paved bike trail that is scenic this is the one! My wife and I really liked it and will ride this trail again.
The parking shown on this map is not correct it will bring you to a cul-de-sac, if you go to Weatherwax road there is parking just south of the trail.
Falling Waters trail running from Jackson to Concord in Michigan is a beautiful, serene trail! It has a pristine paved surface which is very wide making passing or being passed effortless. The views of Lime Lake are stunning as you cross it and on the rest of the trail you cross over streams, farm fields, and pass under a canopy of lovely trees. It is a great trail to be out of the wind or to have shade on a hot summer day. It is well marked, there are plenty of porta-johns, picnic tables, and benches. The road crossings are minimal. A very short side trip would be about 1000 feet (there is a sign) off the trail to Lime Lake park for another lovely view of the lake as well as a boat launch, some park play equipment, grills and picnic tables. Lime lake is very clear and clean. Concord has a grocery close to the trail, a bakery, and a restaurant if you want to take a break downtown. Parking in Jackson for the trail is on WEATHERWAX Road where there is a porta-john and plenty of space. You can also continue north on the Intercity Trail which goes for approximately 3-4 miles through some nice residential areas.
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