Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail


6 Reviews

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Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Kent, Ottawa
Length: 9 miles
Trail end points: Musketawa Trail at 8th Ave. and Garfield St. (Marne) and N Park St. NE (Walker)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7495594

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail Description

The Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail is the last trail of a dozen trails in western Michigan to be named after philanthropist and Rail-Trail Champion Fred Meijer.

The trail is an important connector between two long-distance rail-trails: the Musketawa Trail, stretching 25 miles from Marne to Muskegon, and the White Pine Trail State Park, running 93 miles from Grand Rapids to Cadillac. The trail's western end meets up with the Musketawa Trail and the eastern end ends 700 ft from the western end of the White Pine Trail State Park. 

Currently, the paved trail spans two counties (Ottawa and Kent) as it travels from the southern terminus of the Musketawa Trail in Marne and heads southeast toward Walker, a suburb of Grand Rapids. Quaint, tree-lined Fred Meijer Park (across from Meijer headquarters), features a bronze statue of the trail's namesake, benches and a bike rack. 

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the trail's western end at the Marne trailhead for the Musketawa Trail. Take westbound Interstate 96 to Exit 25. Take 8th Avenue (turn right at the bottom of the ramp and then left at the T intersection) and follow it north for approximately 1.5 miles. The trailhead will be on your left just past Garfield Road.

An additional trailhead parking lot is also available on the west side of Fruit Ridge Avenue, about a half-mile north of the trail tunnel under Fruit Ridge and at the eastern trailhead along N Park St. NE.

See TrailLink Map for more detailed directions.

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail Reviews

Makes the connection, sorta

This trail is the perfect example of serving an important purpose- connecting to other trails to make the entire area more desirable as a biking destination. WIth a network of trails, riders can all find their sweet spots for distance and topography. HOWEVER, in order to be effective, it should be evident to riders using the trail how to connect. The Fred Meijer White Pines Trail winds down to mile marker 0 when it first reaches Mill Creek Trail, but then seems to continue for another half mile or so parallel to the street. It then abruptly ends at N Park St NE. This trail begins at N Park St NE just a little way down, BUT THERE IS NO SIGN TO INDICATE ANYTHING. The TrailLink app is helpful to explain where the trails are, but why not put up a sign or two at such junctures? It will make the trail system that much more attractive.

Not your typical rail trail

Starting at the end of the Musketawa trail that is a true rail to trail, this follows a rail bed for less than a mile. The next couple of miles are along side a rail bed but go up an down at their own pace. Cross under the highway and you get a long down hill winding back up to 3 mile road. Next couple of miles are on concrete along 3 mile road with hills up and down. Completed in 2020 the last section is a twisting down hill to west river drive. Overall a great trail but be ready to climb hold

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail extension

The trail has been extended and now goes down 3 Mile road past Alpine to West River Drive and North to Lamoreaux Memorial Park. (Now connects to the White Pine Trail.)

Good 10 mile workout.

Started at 8th Avenue went East. Nice inclines made for a great ride. Couldn't find the Meijer Park. The ride back West was a good cruise. Many downhill stretches made the trip a lot of fun.


NIce surprise

My wife and I wanted a shorter ride for this Saturday morning and found the Pioneer trail to be just perfect. It has several surprises for a rail trial...curves and hills..just enough to make it challenging and yet doable. A nice mixture of shade, sun, hills and flat....not real busy...only wish it was a little better marked near the Walker and 3 Mile intersection...couldn't find the trail and to park at the Musketawa parking lot. Great trail.

Few road crossings

Of the many trails to ride in West Michigan, this is one of my favorites. It passes by a few light industrial buildings between Walker and Fruit Ridge but they are all relatively neat and clean. The majority of the trail is bordered by scenic farmland and woodland where wildlife and wildflowers are frequently seen. Much of the trail follows existing railroad tracks but they are owned by a tourist railway and are not used for regularly scheduled runs. There is usually a nice tree-lined buffer between the tracks and the trail. Plus the trail does not follow the same grade so the tracks are often not visible.

Because this trail does not follow a railroad grade, there are some uphills and downhills that are much steeper than those found on a rail-trail. It takes a little extra effort going up but I love the coasts going down.

Considering how close the trail is to Grand Rapids, I feel one of the best features is the small number of road crossings. Extra care is needed at the west end where there are some odd angle crossings of high speed country roads. But thanks to a tunnel under Fruit Ridge Avenue, you can ride for 4.0 miles between Hayes Avenue and Walker Avenue with only the crossing of Walker Ridge Drive. And Walker Ridge is used very little in the evening and on weekends.

The section I enjoy the most is just west of Fruit Ridge where the trail winds through a woodlot thanks to the generosity of nearby Irwin Seating who also provided space on their property for trailhead parking just north of the Fruit Ridge tunnel.

One negative about the trail is that you can sometimes hear I-96 expressway traffic noise. In fact the trail is right next to the expressway right-of-way for a short stretch. But the noise does not keep me from enjoying my rides so I still feel the trail is worthy of five stars.

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