On July 29, 2014, local officials, residents and children gathered at the Baldwin trailhead for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the much-anticipated opening of the Baldwin-to-Reed City section of the Pere Marquette State Trail. Now completed, the 56-mile east-west Pere Marquette State Trail cuts through Michigan's mid section on the former CSX Railroad line, traveling through quintessential small towns from Baldwin to Clare. Along this route, you will encounter a diversity of landscapes as the trail carries you past woodlands, wetlands and farmland, through tunnels, and across several bridges with picturesque lookouts over the Baldwin, Hersey and Muskegon rivers.
The 33-mile section of the Pere Marquette State Trail from Baldwin to Evart is a story of two very different trail experiences.
Your trail adventure begins at the trailhead in downtown Baldwin. The trailhead is close to several stores and restaurants, a famous ice cream shop, lodging and a new visitors center. This new 20-mile section of trail is surfaced with finely screened and compacted limestone, making it well suited for both cyclists and snowmobilers. From Baldwin, the trail takes you from the headwaters of the Pere Marquette River over the crest of a ridge near Chase and into the Hersey River valley. A new staging area at the US-131/US-10 interchange offers a convenient spot to get on or off the trail. The Reed City Depot at the intersection of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail is a great place to begin or conclude your journey and is close to several stores and restaurants in downtown Reed City.
The paved 13-mile section from Reed City to Evart, following along the Hersey and Muskegon rivers, is a popular 26-mile round trip with excellent staging areas at either end and the Village of Hersey near the midpoint. Halfway between Hersey and Evart, you'll find a scenic overlook offering stunning views of the Muskegon River. A beautifully restored train station greets you in Evart, where a spacious staging area connects you to Evart's Riverside Park and several downtown stores and eateries.