Whether you’re in the mood for a quiet, scenic nature ride or you’re looking for an off-road route between Grand Rapids and its suburbs, you’ll want to check out Millennium Park and the Kent Trails.

Millennium Park is one of the nation’s largest urban parks, with portions of its 1,400 acres in Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker and Wyoming. Kent Trails is a 15-mile paved trail that travels through Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker, Wyoming and Byron Township. Together, they provide a number of biking routes in close proximity to downtown GR.

The bikeways are wide, paved and well maintained, so they’re great for families and beginning bikers as well as more experienced cyclists.

Safety First

Before you start your cycling excursion, you should know the rules of the road. Bike safety guidelines apply whether you’re going to be traversing park trails or city streets.

Check out the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition and Driving Change for tips and techniques for safe biking.

Millennium Park

At the heart of the park lies a beach and lake, perfect for cooling off after a long bike ride!

Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR

About the Park

Located just two miles southwest of downtown Grand Rapids, Millennium Park includes nearly 20 miles of trails in a wooded, rolling terrain along six miles of the Grand River. At the center of the park is a six-acre beach on a man-made lake – perfect for a cool dip on a hot day, especially after a long bike ride.

The trails at Millennium extend to both sides of Maynard Avenue. You can park in lots on either side of the street and cross via an overhead bridge to access the entire trail network. The east side includes a trail alongside the Grand River and has a gently hilly portion along Butterworth Street to the north. Trails on the west side are predominately flat and circle several man-made lakes before traveling through meadows and woods.

About the Trail System

Kent Trails is a non-motorized paved trail that follows abandoned railroad lines, surface streets and easements to form a linear parkway stretching from John Ball Park and Millennium Park south to Byron Center.

Kent Trails also connects to other trail systems, including the Fred Meijer M-6 Trail, providing access to even more local communities.

Millennium Park

Kent Trails through Millennium Park is a great route for a scenic nature ride.

Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR

Access to Millennium Park from Grand Rapids’ West Side

The Millennium Park Trailhead at the corner of Butterworth Street and O’Brien Road offers the closest access to downtown Grand Rapids. A short driveway leads to a parking lot with restrooms and a covered picnic enclosure.

From the parking lot, you can ride your bike west to the park or east to the Butterworth Trail, a 3.5 mile loop over the old Grand Rapids landfill. This trail is adjacent to residential neighborhoods and is often used to walk dogs, get some family exercise and travel to Millennium Park.

The Millennium Park Trailhead is just a few hundred yards from John Ball Zoo, home to more than 2,000 animals and variety of kid-friendly attractions. A park outside the zoo offers multiple playgrounds and picnic areas.

If you need replenishment after your ride, there are a number of restaurants and bars around the corner from the zoo, including Rise Authentic Baking Co. & Squibb Coffee, Putt Putt’s Bar, Joey’s Tavern, McDonald’s and Subway. Get a meal to go and enjoy it in the park!

Access to Millennium Park from the South

The Kent Trails Ivanrest Trailhead – at the intersection of Ivanrest Avenue and Busch Drive – offers easy to Millennium Park from the south. Park in the small lot next to the entrance to the city of Wyoming Clean Water Plant and follow the trail north as it crosses safely under I-196 to access Indian Mounds Drive.

Indian Mounds Drive was named for nearby indigenous burial mounds – “the most important and best-preserved Hopewell mounds in the western Great Lakes region,” according to the National Park Service. Protected by the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the mounds are not available for public viewing.

A shady riverside ride along Indian Mounds Drive eventually crosses a scenic truss bridge over the Grand River, bringing you into Millennium Park.

Were you to take the trail south from the Ivanrest Trailhead, you can ride all the way to Byron Center, about 13 miles from downtown Grand Rapids. This portion of the trail travels through woods and cornfields, over charming footbridges and along residential neighborhoods, but be aware that one section requires some road riding.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park offers plenty of bike paths for safe bike riding.

Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR

Access to Millennium Park from the North

You can access Millennium Park from the north by parking at Walker's City Central Park, which is also home to the Walker Ice & Fitness Center and the Walker Branch of the Kent District Library.

You can follow the Fred Meijer Standale Trail from City Central Park on a six-mile route to Millennium. You’ll have to cross six streets on your way but crossings are well-marked. You’ll travel through residential neighborhoods, under busy Lake Michigan Drive, along an orchard-lined street and down a somewhat steep hill – easy going down, a bit of a challenge on the way back up – before you reach your destination.

On the way back to City Central Park, consider a refueling stop at one of the restaurants lining the two-mile final stretch: The Walker Roadhouse, Double Dip Depot Ice Cream and Lost Art Brewhouse. Restrooms are available in City Central Park.