Scenes from Lowell: Trails of Lowell Edition

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With the city recreation plans up for public review, this seems like a good time for a closer look at one of the major recreational draws for the community: its trail systems.

Let’s start national, then go regional and end with our local trails.

First, let’s talk about the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Maybe you’ve seen A Walk in the Woods about the Appalachian Trail or Wild about the Pacific Crest Trail. Well, you don’t need to travel across the country to walk on a national trail. You could head out your front door and hop onto the North Country National Scenic Trail. Not only does the trail run through Lowell, but the association that helps maintain it has its headquarters right downtown at the corner of Main and Monroe.

Look for the tell-tale triangle signs to keep you on the trail. You can head toward the Boy Scout cabin to follow it out of town to the north, which tends to be the more scenic route. Heading south, you’ll be walking along Jackson, Grand River and Lowell View Streets. For a shorter jaunt, we are a bit partial to a small section near Fallasburg Historic Village (see above). Look for the entrance to the trail across from Montcalm Avenue, near the base ball field and just down from the schoolhouse. It’s a relatively short walk to an overlook of the Flat River.

Next up is our regional trail system which comes courtesy of Fred Meijer. The late retail magnate was instrumental is creating a system of trails that crisscross West Michigan. You’ve probably seen the vacated rail line near Cherry Creek Elementary School (shown above), near Vergennes Road or crossing Lincoln Lake farther north. These sections are all part of the Fred Meijer River Valley Rail Trail.

The group is currently trying to connect the Lowell section to a trail from Saranac, and a recent grant may make that happen sooner rather than later.

And that brings us to our local trail system: the Lowell Area Trailway. Maintained by the Lowell Area Recreation Authority (LARA), this trail runs along Foreman Street to Gee Drive and up Alden Nash to the high school. There is also a nifty little connector that takes people from West Main Street up to the trail.

Sibley Street might dead end behind Tractor Supply Company, but the pavement keeps going.

Where is this? Why, right in the heart of the city. It’s the view along the short connector from Sibley Street to Gee Drive.

The trail continues north from Gee Drive along Alden Nash. However, as you can see in this view looking south, LARA is getting ready to extend the trail toward Meijer and Main Street. That retaining wall is brand new. Up until a few months ago, there was a hill and trees there. You can’t walk there just yet, but pavement for the trail should be put down later this year. Eventually, you should be able to take the trail down to the new park being developed by Lowell Township.

If you head north past the high school, you’ll eventually run into the Wittenbach Wege Center. Known more formally as the Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience & Environmental Education Center, it is part of Lowell Area Schools and has its own system of trails. The Land Conservancy of West Michigan owns some adjoining property that ties into the center’s trail system.

Whew! So many walking options in Lowell. Now, where to first?


  1. Nice article! In addition extending to Saranac, the Fed Meijer River Valley Rail Trail is being exteneed to Belding with this grant. Also, there is a nice hiking trail around the nature pond at Cherry Creek Elementary as well as a trail thru the Cooper Woodland near Foreman and Alden Nash, connected to the LARA trail!

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