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Bring your mountain bike for a great trail ride near Grand Rapids

The iconic barn near the trailhead for Luton Park.
The iconic barn near the trailhead for Luton Park.Thomas Scheidel

The Grand Rapids area is becoming well known as a cycling destination. The road cycling is great with a variety of terrain to test even the most accomplished cyclist. And when it comes to trail riding the area is second to none. Thanks to support from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and the Michigan Mountain Biking Association (MMBA) several mountain bike parks have popped up in the area over the last few years. One of the best is Luton Park, just outside of Rockford.

The trailhead for this county park is located on Kies Road, between Northland Drive and Meyers Lake Avenue. There are a variety of features scattered through the trails, like rock gardens, log piles and bridges. It’s also a very tight course. In several places the trees are so close together you’ll swear that the handlebars of your bike won’t fit through. There’s also a lot of climbing with quick descents and 180 degree turns. The riding can be quite technical, but it’s also a real blast.

Luton is comprised of six loops of varying distances. If you ride all six, you’ll put nine miles under your tires. The Blue loop is the flattest and widest loop and all the other loops connect to it. This is a great beginner ride. The Green loop is the next easiest, followed by the Orange. The Red loop has a lot of climbing and some very tight turns. The Yellow loop features the largest climb and is quite sandy. The Black loop is the longest and arguably the toughest. Find a trail map here.

After your ride you can take a short trip into downtown Rockford. This quaint community is home to cyclist favorite Rockford Brewing Company. The micro-brewery and pub sits right along the White Pine Trail, a paved rail-trail that runs from Grand Rapids to Cadillac. There are several other restaurants within walking distance. A favorite of the locals is to get a hot dog from The Corner Bar, or ice cream from Rocky’s, and sit by the dam along the Rogue River. It’s a relaxing way to end a day on the trails.