Trailheadin’: Musketawa Trail

This country is filled with outdoors enthusiasts. This is a fact made evident by the sheer number of biking, hiking, and overall scenic trails that meander their way throughout America. To celebrate this blessing, each month I will shine the LiveOutdoors spotlight on one of these beautiful scenic routes, in hopes that it will give readers ideas for their next outings, as well as give these trails much needed recognition and praise as means of promoting health and preserving the natural majesty of the outdoors. Dust off your tennis shoes, grab a water bottle, and meet me at the trailhead for the first Trailheadin’ article: Michigan’s Musketawa Trail.

With its trailhead located in Muskegon, MI, the Musketawa Trail spans 25 miles and ends in Marne, MI, just 4 miles from Grand Rapids. The trail winds its way through the towns of Ravenna and Conklin, and each of these locations has its own trail access point, for those who don’t wish to endure the entire 25-mile trek. Ravenna, the trail’s midpoint roughly 13 miles along, is home to shops and eateries, where those making their way along the trail can stop for a rest and fuel for the remainder of the path. Past Ravenna, the trail becomes noticeably more rural, and offers pastoral views of fields and farmland.

Musketawa is a paved trail, which will cause some of the more intense outdoorsmen to shy away in favor of more rugged terrain. However, for those looking to enjoy a good run or bike ride, or even just take a healthy walk with friends or family, the trail is ideal. There are numerous bridges along the way that offer great moments to stop, rest, and take in the view, as well. Though, whether or not paved, flat trails appeal to your personal tastes, no one can argue that 25 miles isn’t a challenge, whether you’re on a bike or footing it.

With only one location along the way at which to replenish water or food (Ravenna), it is important to prepare for Musketawa ahead of time and bring plenty of both. There is very little shade during the first half of the trail (if you use the Muskegon trailhead), and many find their water supply depleted quickly. Plan for this and if you think you’ll need to refill your water, plan to stop in Ravenna if you can.

While there are some who scoff at paved trails, claiming that they aren’t challenging or engaging, the Musketawa Trail’s 25 miles of scenic views and steady terrain offer a great workout and a refreshing break from city life. More often than not, the trail isn’t crowded and many welcome the break from tough climbs or rugged obstacles in favor of farmland and tranquility. If you’re in the Grand Rapids or Muskegon area in the future, and are looking for a great way to exercise, I suggest grabbing your bike or tying on your running shoes, and checking out the Musketawa Trail. I promise you won’t be disappointed.