One of the things that I love about Grand Rapids and West Michigan is the extensive non-motorized trail system that exists throughout our area. As I travel about town and cross this network I always see folks enjoying this wonderful, free resource that we have. I love the spring rides when nature is coming to life, summer rides when the woods offer cool respite, autumn when the colors are brillant and the air is crisp and winter when quiet solitude is just a short hike away.
The Kent Trails system is a joint effort planned by the Kent County Parks Dept along with the cities of Grand Rapids, Walker, Wyoming and Byron Township. 15 miles in length it covers abandoned rail lines, some surface streets and easements to provide a non-motorized parkway in the Grand Rapids metro area. The paved path is handicap accessible and is generally flat with no sharp turns so is great for beginner roller bladers and cross country skiers!
Now a new addition, the Oxford Street Bike Trail, connects the Kent Trails system to the Grand Rapids parks and neighborhoods. This 3 Mile bike/pedestrian trail was officially opened last evening and connects the Roberto Clemente Park, (the site of a planned skate park), the Black Hills and John Ball Park neighborhoods (on the lower west side) to Millenium Park and trails beyond. Riders traveling east to west can take the 12-foot-wide paved trail across the river, and then can choose to ride along Wealthy Street SW toward John Ball Park or travel along the Grand River for a ride through the former Butterworth Landfill area along the river.
Grand Rapids is trying to create a more bike-friendly community and has an increased focus on bikeablility within the city.
Take time to enjoy this resource, stop for ice cream, look for wild flowers along the river, slow down and get down to enjoy the sights you’ll see!