Offering several stretches of stunning scenery, the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail is a work in progress that inches closer to completion with each passing year. As you venture along the trail, you'll travel through the heart of the Thornapple River Valley with its mix of farmland, quaint country towns, lush wetlands, woodlands and several shady tunnels of trees.
The trail's origins date back to 1990 when the Michigan Central Railroad sold major portions of its right-of-way to the State of Michigan, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Thornapple Trail Association. The 42-mile multi-purpose trail is being built in phases and will eventually connect Grand Rapids with Hastings, Vermontville and Eaton Rapids, and then link to other trails east and west from there.
Currently, paved sections of the trail include 10.8 miles from Kentwood, to Caledonia, 3.6 miles between Middleville and Irving, the 2.4-mile Hastings Riverwalk, and 1.5 miles of newly paved trail from Vermontville to Maple Valley High School near Nashville. Make sure to check out this newest section of trail which travels through lush woodlands and wetlands and a bridge over the Thornapple River. The paved trail will also be extended this summer, south of Caledonia to 108th Street and north of Middleville to Crane Road.
You'll find several good staging areas in Kentwood. To get on the trail in Caledonia, park on Main Street near the corner of Mill Avenue where the paved trail heads north. The staging area in downtown Middleville is near the bridge behind the village offices. Trail access is now available at Maple Valley High School east of Nashville.