Trail State Park has become an important part of what makes
Plainfield Charter Township such an enjoyable place to live and
raise a family. The trail accommodates mountain biking, hiking,
cross-country skiing, rollerblading, walking and running, and the
northern 78.5 miles accommodates snowmobiling.
From Grand Rapids (Riverside Park) on the south end to Cadillac
on the north, White Pine Trail State Park, at 93-miles in length, is
the longest rail trail in the state. It was constructed on an
abandoned rail right-of-way and trail surfaces include natural
ballast, hard packed gravel, and asphalt. From Fifth Third Ballpark
in Comstock Park to the Russell Road Staging Area, north of 15 Mile
Road, the nearly 15-mile paved section that runs through Plainfield
Charter Township, the City of Rockford and part of Algoma Township
are considered by many to be the most scenic segment of the White
Pine Trail, and perhaps the most scenic stretch of rail trail in the
state. Wildlife abounds along this stretch with much of the trail
running adjacent to the Rogue River, offering scenic views of the
river, lush woodlands, rolling terrain and numerous varieties of
Plans for the former Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad line
started long before dedication on July 20, 1994, when Michigan
residents began petitioning the state government to establish a
permanent, paved trail for all non-motorized, recreational uses.
Future trails will intersect the “White Pine”, establishing it as
the backbone of Michigan’s rail trail network. Currently, facilities
in Cadillac, Big Rapids, and Belmont serve as the major trailheads
for the White Pine Trail. The Belmont trailhead is at Rogue River
Park and includes amenities such as modern restrooms and picnic
facilities. Future plans for the White Pine Trail State Park include
paving the entire trail to Cadillac and constructing 17 major
staging areas. Currently, the Michigan DNR only provides emergency
maintenance services and looks to municipalities to conduct general
maintenance and operating activities for the trail. Several
communities along the trail are planning and building additional
amenities to enhance the trail experience.
The White Pine Trail bridge over West River
- The trail passes through thirty-one cities, village and
- It crosses 22 rivers and streams along its course.
- Metro Grand Rapids is the southern starting point.
The bridge over
West River Road just south of Belmont was built to serve the trail
users and was partially funded by money raised by the “Friends of
the White Pine Trail”.
- The trail is open along its entire length
for all non-motorized recreational uses. The pave portions of the
trail are excellent for those people using wheel chairs or other
walking assistance devices.
- Future plans include connecting the
“White Pine” to the Kent Trail System and the Musketawa Trail.
trail skirts the Fifth Third Park baseball stadium just north of
- The Belmont / Rockford area provides beautiful
vistas of the Rogue River.
- North of Rockford along the Rogue River
is an overlook built by the “Friends of the White Pine Trail” with
materials supplied by the Izaak Walton League.
- Farmlands and deep
woods follow the trail from Rockford to Cadillac.
- Snowmobile use
is restricted to the area north of the Russell Road Staging Area to
Cadillac, conditions permitting.
- Horses are currently not allowed
on the trail until there are designated bridle paths (future plans
include such paths adjacent to the trail).
- Several historic
railroad bridges / trestles along the trail’s length have been
renovated for stream / river crossings
- The Big Rapids area
provides beautiful vistas, this time of the Muskegon River.
of Big Rapids, in the community of Paris, the trail passes through a
park and fish hatchery.
- North of Paris the trial passes through
Reed City where the Pere Marquette Trail intersects the White Pine.
The Hersey River crosses the trail under a covered bridge in Reed
- Between Reed City and Cadillac the town of Tustin has a
unique museum adjacent to the trail.
- Cadillac is currently the
northern terminus of the trail, a city with many activities
throughout the year.
“FRIENDS OF THE WHITE PINE TRAIL”
The “Friends” is a volunteer group that was formed in 1997 (Web
are a non-profit organization with a southern and northern chapter.
The southern chapter meets on the second Wednesday of each month at
various locations in the vicinity of the trail. The northern chapter
meets periodically at selected locations near the trail.
for the meeting schedule)
OUR MISSION To enhance and fully develop the White Pine Trail.
OUR VISION The White Pine Trail State Park will provide a safe,
accessible, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly recreation
OUR GOAL To see the White Pine Trail State Park have a paved
surface from Comstock Park to Cadillac.
We need you as a member: We need you to help us support trail development. We are
volunteers; none of us are natural resource professionals, yet we
have been very successful in influencing a magnificent recreational
resource. Your input, ideas, thoughts, and dreams are needed to continue
this tremendous volunteer effort. We work with state and local officials to fully develop the trail
and enable trail users an excellent trail experience. The more
members we have in the “Friends” group, the greater our impact.
Together we can:
• Assist / support trail improvements. • Lobby for a paved and
fully developed trail. • Provide our organization maximum leverage.
For more information or to become a “Friend”, please visit our
Additional resources: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy