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The Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail links the cities of Lowell, Belding and Greenville in Kent, Ionia and Montcalm counties, respectively. Running along a former railroad corridor, the trail is the first rail-trail in Michigan to be surfaced with finely screened and compacted recycled asphalt, which makes a smooth and firm surface. Traveling primarily through hardwood forests and quiet farmland, trail makes for a scenic and accessible route perfect for recreation and commuting alike.
The 2.3-mile stretch in Belding between Long Lake Road and State Street heads through the community's downtown and features three restored trestles over the Flat River.
The trail is an integral component of the Mid-West Michigan Rail-Trail Network, which will eventually stretch 125 miles from Owosso to Alma. Like the other pathways in the system, the trail is named after Fred Meijer, the grocery magnate and philanthropist who generously contributed financially to its development. In Greenville, trail users can connect directly to the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail at Jackson’s Landing Park on East Washington Street/State Route 57. The trail makes a scenic loop around Greenville. A short trip north on the local trail also leads directly to the paved Fred Meijer Heartland Trail, which stretches north 41 miles to Alma.
At the trail’s southern end in Lowell, the trail will one day meet an extension of the Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail, allowing trail users to travel to Saranac and Ionia and, via the Fred Meijer CIS Trail, farther east to St. Johns and Owosso.
Parking for the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail can be found in Greenville at Jackson’s Landing Park on E. Washington Street/SR 57 and in Belding at a park located at the intersection of Depot Street and Broas Street. Additional parking locations will be made available as the trail is improved.
July 2022 - Started in Lowell and rode north about 12mi to Smyrna and came back. It was a great trail. The first mile or two was paved, then it switched to well maintained crushed gravel. Most of it was very solid, with a few wet parts that were a bit soft but easily passible on a fat tire e-bike. While there were roughly 10 road crossings, it was very rural with most of your view being pasture, woods, ponds, and farm fields. I saw multiple deer, woodchuck, birds, and other wildlife. They were harvesting haybales at the farms, so that was cool to see as well. The trail was well traveled, so it felt remote yet safe given all the other walkers, runners, and bikers around.
May 2022, we started in Lowell at Trailhead (parked at Creekside Park) and rode to Belding. Trail starts with blacktop then changes to crushed asphalt. Trail is in excellent condition for hybrid bikes. Beautiful countryside. This is a must-do trail! We’ll do Belding to Greenville and back next time.
Previous reviewer had it pretty accurate for the Lowell to Belding stretch. Paved in the cities, leads to hard-pack (like crushed gravel/old asphalt but highly compressed) with some dirt mixed in. Mtb bikes, hybrids and gravel bikes will not have any problems here; I rode an average 15MPH from 4 Mile (Lowell side) up to north of Belding and back on a gravel bike, very few soft spots and they were marked for repair. And I'm a larger guy, but no worries about tires. Land around the trails was beautiful!
I have ridden this trail from Greenville to mile marker 94 it crosses several roads. it is mostly solid surface but there is loose gravel in places. There are benches every mile from Greenville to Belding if you need a break. from Belding to Lowell there are benches but they are around 3 miles apart. there are no real hills with only about 100ft of elevation change total. No place to camp as most of the land is private along the trail. The trail is owned by the state with maintenance provide by Ron Gunderson and the FMRVRT.org, He is on the trail daily his is the only vehicle you will likely see. He does a great job at maintaining the trail
This trail is incredibly well maintained and could be ridden with a road bike however gravel tires are best.
Only one busy intersection at Lincoln Lake Road, most others are gravel roads with good sight lines making it safe to see approaching car traffic.
I sincerely hope this doesn't get paved as the gravel experience is unlike cement or asphalt AND it moves moisture away nicely...
Recently (late November 2020) the trail was swept and loose spots at several intersections were addressed making it literally the best gravel trail I've ridden yet..
I ride my bike from Lowell to Greenville - this is one of the nicest trails in MI! The gravel is a special composite for biking and walking. It is well maintained and scenic with mostly flat rides through forest and farmlands.
Ran from Greenville. Towards Belding. First mile is paved. Then gravel. Great scenery. Definitely will do again.
Wow! Recently updated and paved. Such a great scenic route north. Walked 8 miles and so much wildlife and amazing scenery. Park at Creekside Park and walk a few minutes to the trail head.
Fun ride a with a few crossroads ; hope they put up the trail crossing signs soon drivers flying by
Rode this today 5/3/20. The path itself is nice and wide but the gravel makes for a very bumpy ride. The scenery was pleasant but the best part of the trail was the two miles of pavement in Belding. If you’re trying to do a long ride find a different trail.
The new improved trail is a hidden gem. I run often from Foreman north. It has a slight incline which is great for doing negative splits when I run an out and back
If paved with asphalt, this would be a great, scenic trail. Unfortunately there is a crushed asphalt, gravel surface not suitable for road bikes, recumbents or anything without fat tires.
The trail starting from Foreman Street in Lowell is still a rocky rough ride. The rails are gone, but that's about as far as it has progressed.
I was riding from Alma to Greenville (FM Heartland), Greenville to Lowell (FM Flat River), Lowell to Ionia (FM Grand River), Ionia to Fowler (FM Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee), then roads back to Alma.
On the FM Flat River segment I made it about 5 miles from Greenville, almost to Belding, before bailing and using roads to cut over to Ionia and skipping the Grand River segment.
FM Flat River between Greenville and Belding is not recommended or fun on any bike I can think of, due to occasional pockets of deep loose basalt that cause tires to dig in and fishtail/skid suddenly. Anti-truck and ATV barriers are missing and surface has loose areas from vehicle traffic. As of 7/3/18 the cover photo blocking tree is still across the trail too, though enough branches are trimmed off to climb through with a bike.
Disappointing as I wanted to do the whole loop, but the potential for this to be epic in the future is high.
mostly rock and grass between Belding and Greenville. Not rideable at all in current state.
I drove to Lowell to take this trail north from there. It is not paved. It is rocks about the size of a small fist at least where it starts in Lowell. I was on my mountain bike, but only ended up going a short ways along it as the size of the rocks made it very bumpy and for me unpleasant. I ended up taking the shorter paved trail that started at cedar park and went to the high school and back.
I had an appointment in Greenville, Mi. Took my bike along. I did the circle around Greenville. For bike riding not impressed. For a family with small kids or those that walk or skate it is perfect.
Work has begun on developing approximately 2.3 miles of trail from M44 on the south side of Belding up to Long Lake Road north of town. It includes the addition of new decking and railing for three existing trestles.
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