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Running from the city of Monroe's popular Munson Park, through the city's charming historic downtown, and out to Sterling State Park - one of the most-frequented of Michigan's state parks - the River Raisin Heritage Trail is a lovely trail system that allows trail users to enjoy a host of recreational sites and activities while exploring the history and culture of the area. Composed of a mix of wide asphalt paths and narrower sidewalks, the trail allows cyclists and pedestrians to venture across the width of Monroe, or for shorter trips it provides a great option for a leisurely stroll to local parks.
Starting in the west, the trail begins at Munson Park and follows Custer Road to the east; Munson Park offers a wide variety of outdoor activities and facilities, including a loop trail around the perimeter of the park. The narrow trail soon crosses to the south side of the road, where it runs right alongside the River Raisin and into Veteran's Park, a smaller neighborhood park that offers a great place to stop and catch your breath. Continuing along the roadway (now Elm Ave), the trail takes you into the heart of Monroe, with beautiful historic homes lining the street. At St. Mary's Park, a pedestrian bridge allows you to cross the river and continue on a wider asphalt path along the riverbank, or you can continue along the sidewalk past more lovely homes and the city's statue to controversial local notable George Armstrong Custer. Both paths rejoin on the north side of the river right before crossing a pair of railroad tracks, where the trail widens again and heads into the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, the site of a battle in the War of 1812. Leaving the city, the trail enters into a more natural environment of fields and wetlands, eventually leading into Sterling State Park. The park serves as a hub for recreational activities on Michigan's small stretch of Lake Erie, offering beaches and picnic areas, places to camp, hunt, or fish, and a final stretch of the trail that loops around one of the park's interior lakes.
Parking and restrooms are available on the western end of the trail at Munson Park, off of N Custer Road just east of Airport Road. Parking, with paid admission, is available at the eastern end of the trail in Sterling State Park, on State Park Road south of Dixie Highway - take exit 15 off of Interstate 75 and head east on Dixie Hwy. to reach the park entrance.
Additional parking is available along the trail at Veteran's Park and the Monroe Family YMCA, located to the west and east on Telegraph Road, respectively. Parking is available at St. Mary's Park at the intersection of Elm Avenue and Monroe Street. More parking is available at the Monroe Sports Complex/Monroe County Tourism Bureau on Dixie Highway just north from Elm Avenue.
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