Fred Meijer Flat River Trail

Michigan

Fred Meijer Flat River Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Montcalm
Length: 6.5 miles
Trail end points: W. Baldwin Lake Dr. at Baldwin Lake and E. Baldwin Lake Blvd. at Tower Park
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6559100
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Fred Meijer Flat River Trail Description

The Fred Meijer Flat River Trail connects 2 mountain bike trails and 5 city parks in Greenville. The trail follows the winding Flat River, offering scenic views and incorporating forest and wetlands. Trail users can access parks, Community Center events, shopping, historic sites, the Flat River Museum and schools. A unique feature of the trail is the tunnel under the busy M57 highway that features a mosaic mural depicting the local history.

The trail connects to the paved Fred Meijer Heartland Trail, which extends north 41 miles to Alma, at Water Works Park. A direct link to the unimproved Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail is also available at Jackson’s Landing Park on E. Washington Street/State Route 57. That trail extends southward 22 miles to Lowell.

Like the two longer trails (and several other trails in Michigan), the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail is named after the grocery magnate and philanthropist who generously contributed financially to its development.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail can be found at Jackson’s Landing Park on E. Washington Street/SR 57; Alan G. Davis Park off S. Walnut Street; Tower Park on E. Baldwin Lake Drive; and Baldwin Lake on W. Baldwin Lake Drive.

Fred Meijer Flat River Trail Reviews

I did part of this trail today - would have done the whole thing but quite frankly I kept getting lost (I cant read a trail map if my life depended on it). I did 58 miles on the FM Heartland Trail - from Greenville to Vestaburg. I had planned on Greenville to Alma and back (80+ miles which would have been my longest single day ride to date) but when I got to Vestaburg I was not sure I was up to the full 80+ miles so turned around and headed back (after ice cream of course) However as approached my car in Greenville I was still feeling feisty so picked up another 10+ miles on the Flat River Trail. Some wonderful views and a few curves that made a slow roll on the trail the perfect finish to my day!

There are manhole covers about every 100 feet on this trail, at least as it leaves Greenville at the trailhead parking area. There are also dangerous road crossings, especially near Greenville Tool & Die. Some pretty wetlands, but not a relaxing ride when one is dodging covers and crossing streets. Try the White Pine Trail instead.

As the other reviewer mentioned; you will not want to use this trail for speed biking, too many twists and blind corners. There are more pedestrians than bicyclists so that is another reason to keep it fairly slow. But for pure pleasure and to help keep in shape it is a great place to bike. The views are beautiful especially around Baldwin Lake and the broad meadows behind the Meijer store (careful of the goose droppings though). There are enough uphill grades to get your heart pumping as well as the downhills to glide. With many connectors from the trial to local neighborhoods, you can really create your own route/distance. There are also several parking lots/parks with facilities so you can start pretty much wherever you wish. My wife and I usually start at the Meijer parking lot. We ride the trail several times a week. A great deal of boardwalk goes through high water areas (is there a nicer way to say swamp?), with several rest stops along the way. Other local businesses and individuals have contributed benches and other rest areas.

One of the great things about the Flat River trail is that it connects to the Heartland trail as well. You can take a ride from Greenville to Alma or beyond.

Accordion

Started at the Baldwin Lake trailhead. Did the whole ride easy one way then faster the way back. Nice to ride along the river in some parts, open prairie in others, and even some city. The only road share is around Baldwin Lake where speeds are no more than 10mph for cars. Take a dip in the lake when your done.

I first should say, if speed cycling is your thing, this is not for you. Otherwise, this is one great trail!! From meadows, dense forest, wetlands, wooded riverside, and lakeside to strip malls, a Meijer supercenter, restaurants, fast food, and convenience stores to parks, museums, and a swimming beach, I can't imagine anything more being packed into an 8 mile trail. And with a little street navigation, I was able to make it a full circle ride with new scenery from start to finish instead of seeing everything twice that goes with the typical "up-and-back" ride. The 1.5 mile section north of the tunnel under M57 is probably the least interesting as it is basically an expanded sidewalk alongside a four lane road. Most of the trail is relatively flat. But on the southwest side of town, there are a few grades between the tunnel and Baldwin Lake that could challenge the casual rider.

A counterclockwise ride makes the street connection at Baldwin Lake the shortest. After the switchback to the bottom of the hill where the trail ends, take a left at the beach, follow Baldwin Lake Drive around the north cove of the lake. Just past the public boat trailer parking, the road turns into one-way. Take a left at the next T-intersection to Tower Park where you can pick up the trail again. I rode clockwise and had to ride around the south side of Baldwin Lake because of the one-way street, although the additional mileage was still very enjoyable. I had a great view of the beach and the switchback on the opposite side. Either way, I would advise printing out a map of the Baldwin Lake area to take along. It took me awhile to figure things out without one.

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