Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail

Michigan

Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Ionia, Kent
Length: 15.5 miles
Trail end points: Riverside Dr. and S. Montcalm Ave. (Lowell) and creek south of E. Main St. and east of Beardsley Rd. (Ionia)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Ballast, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6319752
Trail activites: Bike, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail Description

The Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail is one component of a network of trails in mid-west Michigan that, when complete, will stretch 125 miles from Alma to Owosso. The trails are named after Fred Meijer, the grocery magnate and philanthropist who generously contributed financially to the development of the trail system.

The Grand River Valley Rail Trail extends from Ionia to Lowell, passing through Saranac on the way. Although taking a more direct route, the trail runs in the same general direction as the Grand River.

As of 2014, the easternmost 8 miles of the trail are improved. They include 1 mile of asphalt through the village of Saranac, 2 miles of asphalt heading into the city of Ionia, and 5 miles of crushed limestone in between. The remaining miles still have the original railroad ballast. While open to the public, this section of trail is best suited to sturdy hiking boots and mountain bikes.

The highlight of the trail is its trek through the Ionia State Recreation Area, which features a mixture of open fields and dense woodlands, as well as recreational access to the Grand River. The scenic area, filled with wildflowers, waterfowl and other wildlife, spans much of the distance between Ionia and Saranac.

In Ionia, the trail links with the Fred Meijer CIS Trail, which opened in 2015 and heads east through St. Johns to Owosso. In Lowell, the Grand River Valley Rail Trail will ultimately connect to the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail, which will whisk trail users north through Belding to Greenville.

Parking and Trail Access

Dedicated trail parking is not yet available at either end of the Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail, but parking is plentiful in downtown Ionia, just a few blocks north of the corridor.

Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail Reviews

I love riding this trail. You do need bug spray and I suggest you find a spot for it on your bike as it does ware off. Last summer it ended at Burger King, With the Bridge finished over 66 I am looking forward to a longer ride. I have to say a bathroom stop in the middle woul be nice.

I love the ride from Saranac to Ionia and back. Granted there are days the Mosquitoes will carry you off you need bug spray and sunscreen. I see a lot of wild life. I wish they would finish the trail to Lowell.

This trail is my favorite thing about living in Ionia! So far, I have only ridden this trail to Saranac and back since I usually have road tires on my bike and the stretch to Lowell is unimproved. This ride is a decent workout without being overwhelming and I haven't noticed any flooding like the Ionia River Trail experiences.

Accordion

I rode this trail on the longest day of 2014. I started in Ionia, rode to Saranac where I got a snack, and then rode back. (rhymes are intentional.)

About half of this trail has tree cover, but for the rest of it, the sun will bake you in the summer. It is wide, totally flat, and had few other riders. Mile markers help you know where you are. Mile 125 = Ionia, Mile 132 = Saranac.

This is a nice leisurely ride offering mostly woodland scenery. The Grand River, for which it is named, is rarely visible.

Rode this trail today with a road bike with 28 mm tires, a very smooth and wide trail, can be ridden with almost any bicycle. Other than totally paved trails this is one of the better trails I have ridden.

Just getting a new hybrid bike, this trail is great with both paved and crushed limestone. I just started riding it this year, since it was completed last year and I am glad it is there now. So nice to have a place to ride and very serene as it follows the river!

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