The West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance (WMMBA) is a group of individuals who help to maintain and develop mountain bike trails in the local area. In West Michigan alone, the WMMBA has designed, developed, and maintained over 100 miles of off-road trails. The number of available single-tracks and trails grows each year. You don’t have to be a serious biker to enjoy our local single-tracks either. Each mountain bike trail is designed to minimally impact the local environment and to provide a really fun recreational activity for trail users at any level!

Mountain Biking Tips

Three things to be aware of before you hit the trails:

1. Trail conditions

Some of our mountain bike trails can get soggy after a rain and during the winter freeze-thaw cycle. It is important to preserve the condition of singletrack trails by avoiding them if they’re too wet. Apps like Trailforks and Facebook pages like the WMMBA and West Michigan Trail Conditions let you check the condition of trails before heading out to ride. 

2. Trail maintenance

The WMMBA is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that relies on fundraising and its members to help keep trails in good shape. Membership meetings, trail days (when volunteers pitch in on maintenance) and fundraisers like the yearly Yankee Springs Time Trial are ways you can invest in the local trail system.

3. Trail etiquette

On multi-use trails, mountain bikers must yield to hikers, runners and equestrians. High-speed encounters with cyclists can be startling for hikers and runners, so slow down and announce your presence when others are around. Stay off muddy trails and if you encounter occasional puddles or muddy spots, ride through them rather around so you don’t widen the trail. Riders must stay on marked trails to maintain the integrity of the trail system.

Two mountain bikers biking through a trail in West Michigan

Grand Rapids has a multitude of bike trails for you to choose from, all within 45 minutes of downtown.

Photo by Aaron Peterson for Experience GR

Trail Recommendations

With 15 mountain bike trails within 45 minutes of downtown Grand Rapids, there are options for every ability level and interest. Here are a few suggestions:

Family Friendly: Cannon Township Trail

The Cannon Township Trail in Rockford is located just off a paved bike trail, making the dirt easy to access and fun for the entire family. The single-track here is just over a mile in length, making it ideal for someone who wants to check out a mountain bike trail without being overwhelmed by too much climbing or too long of a distance. This trail is an added bonus loop on the way to or from two others: Luton Park and Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Great for Beginners: Luton Park

Luton Park is another great option for those who are newcomers to the sport of mountain biking. Luton’s blue loop is wide and flat, affording a perfect opportunity for beginners to get used to their bikes and being on a dirt trail. More experienced and confident riders can begin to add in the other loops, with the yellow loop having the biggest climb. All loops and their difficulty level are marked at the trailheads, and each loop at Luton has a trail map indicating the correct direction to roll.

Mountain biking trails in Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Find 11 miles of diverse and entertaining trails at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Photo by Aaron Peterson for Experience GR

Something for Everyone: Cannonsburg Ski Area

Cannonsburg Ski Area has some of the most variety in its trails with segments of fast-rolling and flowy single-tracks as well as a pump track and an ever-growing skills area. Ben LaDuke, former head trail coordinator for the WMMBA, describes Cannonsburg Ski Area as “hard climbs, fast descents, flowy, technical, jump lines, pump track, and it all adds up to a very entertaining and diverse trail system.” There are 11 miles of trails here, all free to use during the summer. (There is a fee for winter fat biking.)

A Fun Challenge: Cannonsburg State Game Area

Once you’ve conquered the Cannonsburg Ski Area, you can take the connector trail to the Cannonsburg State Game Area for even more mountain biking fun. The State Game Area has four segments of trail with terrain completely different from each other. Each segment is separated by a small stretch of gravel road, perfect for snacking and staying hydrated. A few tricky climbs and some fast descents make it questionable for first timers but experienced riders will have a blast. The entire trail is about seven miles in length, but if you have less time to ride or you want to cut it short, you can navigate your way back to the parking lot on the roads.

Merrell Trail Sawtooth

Merrell Trail's Sawtooth section is the most advanced section, and should be used only by those experienced enough.

Photo by Rob Meendering, West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance (WMMBA)

Experienced Bikers Only: The Merrell Trail

The Merrell Trail in Rockford is another local favorite for its fast descents, table-top jumps, roots, rocks, and elevated bridges and structures. Although it’s open to all trail users, this trail was built and designed specifically for intermediate and experienced mountain bikers. Sawtooth, the most advanced section of the trail, is quite challenging and not for the faint of heart.

Unlike some of the other trails in the area, Merrell Trail users can expect the direction of the trails to change depending on the day. All trails are marked well and you’ll be able to determine which direction to ride and what segment of trail you’re on once you’ve started. If you’re in the mood for a longer ride, you can cruise north from Grand Rapids up the White Pine Trail to access both Merrell or Luton from 10 Mile in Rockford.

After the Rain: Yankee Springs

Yankee Springs is a fun trail that drains and dries really well; it’s ready to ride very soon after the rain stops or the snow melts. With lots of rocks, roots, sand and some climbs, it’s considered moderately challenging. The trail includes a 2-mile warm-up loop and the longer main loop (almost 10 miles) can be reduced by taking well-labeled shortcuts. Like Merrell, this single-track trail changes direction every day. Yankee Springs also has a swimming area, seasonal camp sites, and some great hiking trails, so it’s easy for everyone to find something to do if mountain biking isn’t their thing.

For the Long Haul: The Dragon Trail

More than 34 miles of what will be a 40+-mile trail are now available for mountain biking at The Dragon Trail, 45 minutes north of downtown Grand Rapids. There are three components to the trail: 1) a smooth, low sinuosity and minimal rolling contour trail that appeals to all mountain bike ability levels; 2) a somewhat rough, moderate sinuosity and moderate rolling contour trail; and 3) a highly sinuous and high rolling contour trail sculpted for optimizing the experience of mountain biking. 

Boardwalks, bridges, rock armor, spectacular scenic overlooks and a path across Hardy Dam, the world’s third largest earthen dam, add to the fun. The Dragon Trail runs through one state park, two county parks and two township parks, four of which offer camping sites and other amenities.


Many of our mountain bike trails are also groomed for fat bikes to enjoy in the snow, including Cannonsburg Ski Area, the Merrell Trail, Yankee Springs, the Dragon Trail and Indian Trails, a city-owned golf course. Check the weather forecast, grab your bike (and your helmet), and have a great time!