It is often difficult to find challenging trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or running when living in a large city. Trail maps found online and in books are not always the most telling of a good trail and can often lead a skier or runner to a flat, short, open trail that seems great in the description but fails to live up to its expectations in person.
One trail near Grand Rapids that far exceeds its description is Grand River Park in Georgetown Township. The park, which sits on the Grand River, even features a boat launch for those planning a river trip. The trail system features 5 kilometers of un-groomed terrain, but enough winter hikers and snowshoers frequent the area that the path is beaten down for easy cross-country skiing.
Along the trail are two ridge loops that offer both challenging climbs and exciting descents that are fast enough to give most skiers a thrill. Do not enter signs signify the end of the downhill sections and should be taken seriously considering the narrowness of the path and the speed that can be accumulated during the long descents.
Other interesting features of this trail include a circle around a vast meadow and a straight and flat section following the Grand River. Creeks leading from the river intertwine with the trail as it winds through forested areas. The result is a number of wooden bridges and spectacular scenery.
Dogs are allowed in the park, but remember to clean up waste as a courtesy for other trail users.
For more information about parks in the Grand Rapids area please visit the Kent County Parks website.