Published: October 1st 2011September 30th 2011
The Fred Meijer Heartland Trail Text and Photos last updated:
September 2011 Number of times we have biked this trail:
Alma to Greenville (almost!) Distance:
42 miles (when completed) or 68 km) Distance markers:
asphalt with some concrete Width:
3 to 4 metres Grade:
Flat Conditions of trail:
Very good Parking:
many Garbage containers:
at towns Rest Areas:
benches and tables Trail marking:
mostly at the towns
The Fred Meijer Heartland Trail travels from Alma to Greenville through the heart of Michigan's farm country. Potatoes, corn and soybean fields were visible on our ride.
There are a number of small benches scattered on the trail as well as a few covered pavilions and in each town there is generally parking, a picnic table and a porta potty. There is no source of water , but towns are about 4 miles apart with the opportunity to purchase liquid refreshment. Each staging area also has garbage containers, but there are none on the trail.
In most of the towns there is a map or some indication of distances to the next town.
As of September 2011 the entire route is now paved
z except for the last 5 miles into Greenville. Some older portions of the trail have a few rough spots but generally the trail is smooth. Future plans are in the works to connect Owosso with Greenfield creating the fifth longest continuous trail in the USA at 125 mile s (203 km)
There are a number of staging points (in the towns) but you can start/end your ride in Greenville or Alma.
The distance markers have no conformity. Between Alma and Edmore, new posts by some road crossings give the name of the road and the distance to the next town. From Edmore to Lake Street a few old markers show up giving the distance from Alma.
This description will be from the end Greenville, where we started our journey. If you are not a Michigan native you might wonder who Fred Meijer is/was. Fred Meijer
started a store chain (in Greenville) which has expanded throughout Michigan and other midwest states. He has donated a lot of money to the trails system and as a result many of Michigan's trails bear his name.
As of September 2011, the
trail was not complete into Greenville. There is parking for a few vehicles at Ferris and Fuller Road about. A sign here says that Greenville is 5 miles away. The trail is completed westerly (towards Greenville) for about 1 mile and stops at Lake Road.
From the above parking area, the trail then travels through wet land on its way to Sidney (mile 32)
with a parking lot and porta potty at Derby Road just a bit north. Continue north on Derby Road for town services.
The next section passes through more wetlands and one of the more scenic sections. South of Stanton the trail crosses Fish Creek Bridge,
a wood and steel bridge built in 1887. There is a picnic table and a viewing area here as well. Stanton (mile 26)
has a parking lot and porta potty and a few metres north is the Stanton City Park. Also just ahead and on the trail is a fast food restaurant.
The next section passes through farms, meadows and woodlands on its way to McBride (mile 22.)
There is a parking lot and porta potty by the trail and nearby a tavern and convenience store.
city of Edmore (mile 19)
has two parking areas. The first one you come to has a large covered area with picnic tables. Just past this is the city park with additional parking. The trail passes by a number of fast food stores and other businesses. Edmore is the approximate half way point.
The 20 mile (30 km) section from Edmore to Alma
was opened in the summer of 2011. We biked on it, just one week before the official opening on October 5, 2011. Benches/tables are only available at the towns. This part of the trail traverses a landscape of farms, meadows, marshes and woodlands.
About 6 miles from Edmore is the village of Vestaburg
. Currently there is parking and nothing else.
Halfway to Alma is the village of Riverdale.
There is a covered picnic area with garbage bins and a few metres further ahead is a porta potty and parking. This is your last chance to purchase anything before Alma. A few more metres along, there is a long, new bridge over the Pine River.
This stretch has wide expanses of farmland with giant irrigation systems and from what we could see, mostly corn.
there are huge grain elevators. There is a parking lot here and nothing else.
The first buildings that greet you as you enter Alma
are the stadium and buildings associated with Alma College. You can continue to follow the trail through the town streets (well marked) to State Street and Riverside Park
which has parking, water and washrooms along the Pine River.
The Heartland Trail is one of the nicest trails in this part of Michigan.
The fact that there is a town/village every 4-5 miles makes it easy to do just a portion of the trail by starting at any of the towns. Food, drink and washrooms are available at many of the towns, right on the trail or very close to it.
For reference here are the towns and their distances in miles starting from Alma:
Alma - - mile 0
Elwell - - mile 4
Riverdale - - mile 9
Vestaburg - - mile 12
Cedar Lake - - mile 16
Edmore - - mile 19
McBride - - mile 22
Stanton - - mile 26
Sidney - - mile 32
Lake Road - - mile 36 (trail ended here
Greenville - - mile 41 (when completed)
There are more photos below