Sunday, July 31, 2011

Biking Michigan's Musketawa Trail

This 26 mile paved trail travels past farmlands, wetlands, over creeks, and through quaint villages. It gets its name from its travels through both Muskegon and Ottawa Counties as it goes from Muskegon to nearly Grand Rapids. (Click to enlarge map.)

I began in Ravenna, pedaled east for 10 miles, returned to Ravenna, then pedaled west another five miles, for a 30 mile trip. The section heading east had more cover from the hot sun since it was more tree shrouded than the western segment, and I also missed the industrial area in Muskegon. The former Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad used to run on this corridor, and a few mementos from the old railroad days are located in Ravenna, including a replica water tank. Ravenna also offers snacks and food a bit north of the trail.  (A map of the town is located along the trail.)

This interesting rest area at a bridge is the first I've seen like this in all the 130 trails I've biked across the country.  Nicely done!

I hit the town of Conklin at the 20 mile mark and enjoyed a pop and ice cream bar from the general store (the brown-beige building in the distance -- not that you'd have trouble finding it in the tiny town.) A nice shaded park is located at the trailhead lot and I spent an enjoyable 10 minutes talking to a local biker who did the trail regularly.

Friends of the Musketawa Trail website (including maps)

There are 3 trailhead parking lots:

The Marne lot can be reached from Grand Rapids via exit 25 to the stop sign, then left 2 miles. The lot is on the left.

The Broadway lot from Muskegon -- take U.S. 31 to Sherman Blvd., then east to Broadway. The lot is a mile ahead on the left.

The Ravenna lot is off M-46 on Ravenna Road and south to the lot which is on your left.

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