Portland Riverwalk


Portland Riverwalk Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Ionia
Length: 9.3 miles
Trail end points: Portland High School and Cutler Road
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6129792
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Portland Riverwalk Description

Portland, Michigan, is known as the City of Two Rivers, and the Portland Riverwalk could well be called the Trail of Two Rivers. The paved rail-trail serves as a spine for a series of connecting trails, loops, and city paths that circle Portland for approximately 9 miles. Locally, the trail is also called Rivertrail Linear Park.

The trail is suburban by location but quiet enough to make you think you are in the country. Built and maintained by the Portland Parks and Recreation Department, the path connects schools and five parks, and follows the Grand and Looking Glass rivers. Be sure to bring your camera because there are four historic bridges, one railroad trestle bridge and three steel-truss bridges over the rivers and through the woods along the river.

A good place to start is at Portland High School, where a slight downhill carries trail users through a canopy of maples and pines. After only 0.75 mile you can choose to turn onto a spur trail that enters the Bogue Flats Recreation Area of soccer and baseball fields, and then follows the Grand River for a short distance, with many scenic turnouts overlooking the river. Stop, sit on a bench and listen to all that nature has to say.

Returning to main trail, 0.5 mile farther along than where you left it, a lovely old railroad bridge takes you over the Grand River. This is the first of three bridges, all of which allow fishing; you will likely see anglers casting for smallmouth bass, perch or trout from the structures. On the far side of the bridge another spur loops through a residential area and back to the trail; a spur from that loop heads into the historic part of town for shopping, restaurants, banks and insurance offices.

Back on the main trail, you follow the Looking Glass River for a short distance and pass an observation deck and gazebo, where you can relax. As the trail continues at the south end of town, you pass under the interstate, where the trail turns right and leaves the old railroad bed to become a city trail. The trail continues along, separated from the road until you make another right turn and go back under the interstate again.

When you return to the city trail behind the elementary school, it is smooth sailing. Trees lining the trail provide a picturesque tunnel back to the Grand River. Now used exclusively for trail travel, the third steel truss bridge you've crossed transports you across the river. At this point, you head back into town within feet of the Grand River and cut through Brush Street and Thompson parks. A fourth steel truss bridge, built at the turn of the century, returns you to the main trail. When you reach the main trail again, turn right (west) and follow the trail back through the tree canopy straight to your starting point.

Parking and Trail Access

This trip is a loop. To reach the main trailhead, take Exit 77 off of I-96. Turn right on Grand River Road and go 1.25 miles to Water Street/Lyons Road. Turn right and follow the road for 1 mile to Portland High School. Turn left into the school driveway then right to stay on the west side of the school.

The trail starts on the west side of the school between the football field and tennis courts. Parking is available in the school parking lot. The Bogue Flats Recreation Area has restrooms and parking.

Portland Riverwalk Reviews

Rode trail July 6 & 7 2016. This is a series of trails throughout the twin rivers area of Portland. Portland has put a lot of effort for walkers, skaters, and bikers with this trail system. A quaint little town, the trails to us are the main attraction. We did get to see local girl Shelby Miller an American Idol contestant in 2014 perform at the local outdoor band shell. Plenty of wildlife, park benches, and overlooks. Observed fly fishing on local river. Smallmouth bass and rock bass were being caught. The trail did include exercise stations in one section. Each station had two exercises with three degrees of difficulty. We thought this was unique and challenged us to workout and ride. We're 56 and were able to do most of them at varying levels of success. American Heritage Hotel butts up to trail. Hotel was affordable and clean with pool. Was a great couple of days.

This trail is beautiful, every time I ride it I see some type of wild life. I have seen deer with fawns and wild birds (by a river). There are bridges to go over with beautiful views take a pic or two. If you want to plan to eat the trail takes you by a couple of restaurants. With one big hill and several small hills I use this trail as my starter trail every year. To get my gps to read that I've done 15 miles I do have to do the main loop twice.

This is my 2nd favorite trail in Michigan. I like Lansing River trail the best. Beautiful well maintained trail that goes around the river.


This trail is just under 11 miles long and that's if you backtrack from start to finish, some of which is returning on the same pathway. The original information was in fact based on kilometers NOT miles. Personally, I rode this trail 1 time and I found it to be somewhat disappointing in quality and scenery too.

Went to Portland with my family and was very impressed with this trail. Beautiful surroundings, the road is very well maintained and the elevation map is east enough for my 6-year old daughter to make it from the beginning to end. Will probably go again in awhile.

The trail is composed of five linked trails about 10 miles total, round trip. Fun, easy ride with some hills. Well marked and maintained. Beautiful scenery.

Having read the reviews my wife and I drove from Grand Rapids to bike the Portland Trail. We parked at the high school as suggested and found the trail with a little effort. The trail was as advertised except for the length...we found it closer to 10 miles than the 15 listed. However the scenery was great, the path though now somewhat worn made for easy biking. We enjoyed the few small hills and curves in the path as well as friendly trail users. We wish the trail had been a little longer but made for a delightful morning bike ride.

Very nice trail. Fully paved (asphalt) and all off-road. Nice variety of scenery - river, woods, meadows, bridges to go over, passes under the highway, some city, etc. Easy to ride, with a few hills to keep it interesting.

The trail map on TraiLink.com says it is 14.85 miles, but we did the complete trail (starting at the high school, went around the loop and back to the high school in 45 minutes. Our usual biking pace is about 10 mph, so either we were going a lot faster than usual (we weren't) or the trail is shorter than 14.85 miles - we are wondering if the trail is actually 14.85 kilometers?

I also see that someone else mentioned an additional loop that is not on this map, and we saw some turn-offs along the trail, but they were not marked and we didn't know there was possibly another loop.

This is a great trail for a relaxing family bike ride or walk. My husband and I rode from the high school around the entire length of this on our bikes the other weekend and it was great. It's close enough to the city that you can walk into downtown and grab an ice cream or a bottle of water. We'll definitely be riding here again. It's proximity to the river allows some great bird watching too.

Please note that the high school was not easy to find. The sign is on the left side of the road and it's down a side street. Also, the trail maps near downtown show "to be completed" sections still, although the sections are completed.

This is a great ride . I ride a lot of rail trails and this is a good break from the straight and flat trails I'm use to . This trail has it all , bridges , curves , twist , hills , boardwalk , and wildlife . The surface is smooth asphalt and you no longer have to go on any streets , the loop has been completed . Portland has a beautiful city park on the Grand River with a little bit of history too. The trail could be longer , just under 15 miles , but that is my own preference . Great trail , would ride it again .

The city of Portland has done an outstanding job with this trail. Versatality would be a good word. Different sections of the trail take on a whole new feel. There is one thing about the map of this trail though, it is not up to date. There has been another loop added that goes around the Rogue Flats Recreational Area along the river. It's very nice and has interval stop offs for exercising. Very unique.

This is a really enjoyable trail network and it was quite varied - a combination of neighborhoods, the trail along the river, and a section through woods. The surface is ashphalt and was smooth and wide. To do the complete loop, however, you have to ride on some neighborhood streets. Those streets are not busy so it wasn't a problem except for Bridge Street and Charlotte Highway, where we rode on the sidewalk. The trail is easy to follow except through those neighborhood streets and I was glad I had printed to trail map to follow. They could improve the trail by adding signage. I would definitely do it again!!!

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