The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park was originally a railroad, and for a good share of the time it was known as the Grand Rapids and Indiana Line. This was a very popular mode of transportation for people going north into Michigan on vacations and holidays. The railroad was for a time known as the fishing line; as depicted in one of the railroad logos.
The trail passes through thirty-one municipalities and townships from the north side of Grand Rapids to the City of Cadillac.
The trail crosses or adjoins 22 rivers and streams, the most notable rivers are the Grand River, the Rogue River, the Muskegon River, and the Hersey River. There are many wetlands adjoining the trail with opportunities to observe the wild life in these special areas as well as the wooded and farmlands which the trail passes through or borders.
Much of the trail transits through deep woods; with farmlands occasionally interspersed from just north of Grand Rapids to Cadillac. Since most of the original railroad right-of-way was 100 feet wide and in some places over 200 feet wide; even when crossing through a farmland area there is considerable vegetation along the trail.
The trail’s southern terminus starts at North Park Street in Walker and Comstock Park (just south of the 5th/3rd baseball stadium) and the trail user has the option of following the trail along the Grand River to the east of the US 131 expressway or go to west of the US 131 expressway and go through the community of Comstock Park.
A bridge was constructed over West River Drive in Plainfield Township (just south of Belmont) partially funded by funds raised by The Friends of the White Pine trail.
A rest Area was built just north of Belmont by the “Friends” which consisted of 2 park benches at a great spot overlooking the Rogue River - unfortunately this was the site of the major washout on Memorial Day in 2010 and the benches have been removed until the site has been stabilized and they will be re-installed.
An outlook over the Rogue River (just north of Rockford) was built by the "Friends" with the material supplied by a grant from the Izaak Walton League.
Between Rockford and Cedar Springs in Algoma Township; the trail crosses over a unique stone trestle which can be viewed from an Algoma Township Park along Summit Street (just north of 13 Mile Road, pictured above).
The trail passes through Cedar Springs - the Red Flannel Capital of the World.
In Big Rapids the trail is close to the river-walk along the Muskegon River and then on the north end of town the trail passes through North Park a Big Rapids City Park which includes the land between the Muskegon River and the Trail.
Paris Park (just north of Big Rapids) has a now mostly retired Michigan Department of Natural Resources fish hatchery and a small Eiffel tower, along with a nice county park that offers an excellent campground.
The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park intersects with the Pere Marquette Trail in Reed City. Also in Reed City, the Hersey River crosses the trail under a covered bridge.
In Tustin; a unique museum with a lot of unusual exhibits is adjacent to the trail.
Cadillac is the northern terminus of the trail and has many activities year around!
The Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park (FMWPT) could be called the backbone of the West Michigan Trail system. If it is not the backbone it surely could be called a main artery!
As one of the longest trails in Michigan; it currently connects many communities along with its directly connected trails, indirectly connected trails and planned trails!
The “FMWPT” connects in the south directly to the City of Walker trail along North Park Street which then connects to the trail through the City of Grand Rapids Riverside Park trail which then connects (via a short sidewalk) to the City of Grand Rapids system that skirts the Grand River going south; which then interconnects to the Kent Trails that will take the user to the community of Byron Center.
In Reed City the “FMWPT” crosses the Pere Marquette trail which starts in the city of Baldwin and goes to the city of Midland!
Plans are in the works to connect the “FMWPT” to the Musketawa trail in late 2011 although this may take till 2012 to complete. This connection will then get the trail users to the communities along the shores of Lake Michigan!
At the north end of the “FMWPT” the trail connects to the Cadillac trails that take the trail user around Lake Cadillac.
There are also preliminary plans being discussed to connect the “FMWPT” to the Fred Meijer Heartland trail in Greenville which will give a long term connection to the city of Alma.
The long-term visions for the interconnections are fabulous and exciting!