Blow the dust off those running shoes and line up your favorite playlist because it’s time hit up some scenic running trails in Grand Rapids. I’ve been an avid runner for many years, have trained for countless races, and I’m always looking to switch up my running route. Thankfully, there are so many beautiful running trails around Grand Rapids to explore. Whether you’re in the mood to pound the pavement or explore a new West Michigan trail, I’ve got you covered. Here’s my list of top 10 scenic spots that keep me fit, recharged, and coming back for more!
How could I notkick off our list with Reeds? It’s a must. Head over to East Grand Rapids to enjoy this incredibly scenic 4 mile runaround gorgeous Reeds Lake. A total runner’s hub, you’ll also encounter power walkers, those out for a Sunday stroll, and lots and lots of dogs. There’s a paved trail around the entire lake with well-marked pedestrian signs so you won’t get turned around. Enjoy the super cute cityscape, drool over the amazing home architecture, and feel a refreshing breeze coming across the lake. This place has it all.
Riverside Park, I love you. Located on the West Side, Riverside is classified as the largest urban park in the Grand Rapids parks system. This awesome green space has an abundance of paved pathways, perfect for an evening run. It’s also flat (for those who hate hills as much as we do) and situated along the Grand River. Fun fact: this is the longest river in the state of Michigan! Along the way, you will run into walkers, bikers, and probably a few disc golf enthusiasts here and there. Pack some treats for a post-run picnic; it’s easy to spend the day there.
White Pine Trail
This one is a doozy. Recently renamed the “Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park” thanks to a generous donation, it’s a rail trailthat extends from Ann Street in Grand Rapids (Riverside Park) to Cadillac (92 miles) and lies on the path graded for the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. The paved section you would most likely frequent in Grand Rapids is a 22 mile stretch between Comstock Park and Sand Lake. The entire trail passes through 15 Michigan cities. It’s a great escape from busy roads and distracted drivers. GR tip: use this trail for a cross training bike day, you will love it!
This little gem of a trail run is tucked away off 4 Mile Rd between Dean Lake Ave and the East Beltline. A real reprieve from city living, enjoy many interconnected loops of natural-surfaced, sandy colored trails in a heavily wooded forest. Find some serious nature here and gear up for inclines, declines, roots, and of course, relaxation.
Once the site of a Native American village, this fun, foot-trafficked park located in the heart of downtown GR draws tourists and locals alike. Start your run here and dive head first into side streets and cityscapes or run along the beautiful Grand River. The possibilities are endless.
John Ball Zoo – Kent Trails
A fun family space, this is also where the Grand Rapids Running Clubmeets for many of their coordinated group events! From this starting point, it’s a cinch to jump onto the Kent Trail System, a 15-mile rail trail in Kent County that is part of a network of running trails in and around Grand Rapids. It stretches from John Ball Park and Millennium Park all the way to Byron Center. If you’re looking for a scenic space with lots of options that isn’t too far away, you struck gold.
This awesome Grand Rapids staple is part of the Fred Meijer Millennium Trail Network, offering 12 different trail options and running trails ranging from 0.3 to 4.1 miles. Some are paved shoreline trails while others offer a more natural surface, this a great place to run un-abandoned, without a plan, and without getting lost. Bring your swimsuit along for the ride and cool off at the Millennium beach after you get your sweat on.
A hop, skip and a jump away from Grand Rapids, Roselle Parkis part of the Ada Park System and is comprised of 240 acres of natural preserve. The main trail is paved (2.5 miles) and features an overlook and canoe landing on the Grand River. There’s also a fun silo climbing wall, natural streams and many well-marked running trails to explore and enjoy.
Cascade Peace Park
Looking for quick, non-paved running trails that are easier on the joints? ThenCascade Peace Park is a great option! Weave your way through 8 trails that interconnect so you can easily find your way back. The main trail is 1.6 miles and you can find the trailhead on either Grand River or Bolt Dr.
Egypt Valley Trails
Not only can you hit up this 7.1-mile trail for a breathtaking run, but it’s also phenomenal for hiking and biking. Egypt Valley Trailsare located near Ada and feature beautiful wildflowers, wooded terrain, and minimal traffic. They’re accessible year-round and you’ll see numerous activities along the loop. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.