The 11-mile Saginaw Valley Rail Trail is one of Michigan's newest and nicest trails. 12 foot wide, paved, smooth, flat and fast. Whether you enjoy running, bike riding, rollerblading, horseback riding, or just a leisurely stroll, you'll love this trail.
The new linear park was the dream of local resident, Jim Garrett, who rode horses on the abandoned rail line in the 1980s and rallied public support for its development. Through a broad coalition of private, public and non-profit funding, the property was purchased and construction began in 1999. Completed in 2009, the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail was designed, developed and currently owned and maintained by the Saginaw County Parks & Recreation Commission.
The trail offers three well developed access sites. The Van Wormer Road Trailhead is especially nice. We began our journey at Lumberjack Park in St. Charles, where we crossed a beautifully restored rail bridge over the Bad River. In all, the trail crosses 7 restored rail bridges over various creeks and rivers, passing by farms and a series of lush wetlands, including the Shiawassee River State Game Area and Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.
Along the way, interpretive signs, scenic viewing platforms and several shelters and rest areas add a nice touch to your trail riding experience. Most of the trail is protected with a natural canopy of trees, a welcome relief on hot summer days.
Equestrian use was thoughtfully integrated into the trail's design. A dedicated equestrian path meanders parallel to the paved trail from Entrepreneur Drive to Stroebel Road. The Van Wormer Road Trailhead offers the best access for equestrian use.