Grand River Edges Trail


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Grand River Edges Trail Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Kent
Length: 5.4 miles
Trail end points: White Pine Trail State Park at N. Park St. NW and US 131 and W. Fulton St. and US 131
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016143
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Grand River Edges Trail Description

The Grand River Edges Trail runs in loops on the east and west banks of the Grand River near downtown Grand Rapids. At the south end, the trail crosses back and forth over the river via pedestrian bridges (including a converted railroad trestle), linking many city attractions, including several parks, some museums, the university and the planetarium. Shops, hotels and the convention center are also nearby. This southern segment runs between Fulton Street W. and Coldbrook Street NW.

A disconnected northern segment runs between Ann Street and N. Park Street, just north of Interstate 96/State Route 37. From here the trail crosses the bridge to the west side of the river to link up with the White Pine Trail State Park.

There are plans to extend the Grand River Edges Trail both north and south of its current endpoints and to join the two disconnected segments.

Parking and Trail Access

For the northern segment, park on the east side of the river at South Riverside Park (the end of Knapp Street NW between the river and Monroe Avenue NW). You can also park at North Riverside Park (2872 Monroe Ave.)

For the southern segment, parking is available in downtown Grand Rapids and at Canal Street Park, 6th Street Bridge Park and Fish Ladder Park.

Grand River Edges Trail Reviews

Riverside Park. We got on at Riverside Park. Nice park with picnic areas and rest rooms. Just outside of the park is a bicycle lane. Nice wide lane. The trail inside the park goes in and around the park along the Grand River. It will connect to the White Pine Trail. So if you are going to bike the White Pine Trail, you can pick it up from this trail. We found this one while trying to find the White Pine Trail.

I have always preferred trails through woodlands and farmland. But I really enjoy this ride into downtown for a fun change of pace. Actually, I find it quite relaxing, often not aware that busy city streets are not far away. I would not suggest this trail for the speed rider, especially on weekends and early evenings when it can be a little congested in places. I typically start at the north end where it is connected to the 93 mile long White Pine Trail. The northern section is mostly shaded, especially the full length of Riverside Park. To get from the northern section of the trail where it stops at Ann Street go east a hundred yards to the traffic light and then head south on Monroe which has designated bike lanes. At the first light south of Leonard, Monroe jogs to the right where you can ride into Canal Street Park and pick up the north end of the southern section of the trail. Relief on hot sunny days along the southern section is limited to that provided by downtown buildings and even then is dependent upon the time of day and which side of the river you are on. At times you have the option of riding a lower trail that is only a few feet above the river level and never more than 10 feet from river’s edge. These lower trails pass under streets so will eliminate a few busy crossings. On the east side alongside DeVos Place, take a ramp down to a boardwalk at river’s edge and eventually a switchback back up to street level. On the west side, I like to carry my bike down the stairs at the west end of the Fulton Street bridge and continue back north at rivers edge until you come to a switchback after traveling under Bridge Street. As the trail description suggests, there are many interesting sites along the way and fun things to do. A little off-trail exploring downtown will reveal even more interesting things. There are no businesses for food and drink near the north sections of the trail. And there are few visible from the south section of the trail. But off-trail exploring in the downtown area will give you many choices (most to the east).

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