Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail

Michigan

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Kent, Ottawa
Length: 5.4 miles
Trail end points: Musketawa Trail at 8th Ave. and Garfield St. (Marne) and Fred Meijer Park at 3 Mile Rd. and Walker Ave. (Walker)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7495594
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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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.

When complete, the trail will be 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.

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. It ends at the quaint, tree-lined Fred Meijer Park (across from Meijer headquarters), which features a bronze statue of the trail's namesake, benches and a bike rack. The final phase of construction—to Comstock Park to connect with the White Pine Trail—is expected to be completed in the near future.

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.

Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail Reviews

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.

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.

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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