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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ionia Michigan / Ionia State Park Recreation Area, Fred Meyer Grand River Valley Trail, Steele Street Brewing

May 2017

All kinds of last minute trip changes for us this year! We had not planned to stay in Ionia State Park Recreation Area again so soon. Since we did, I am sharing some new travel info about the area. You can find more park details in my April 2017 blog post

Ionia State Park Recreation Area, campsites 77 - 82

We chose a site in the northeast loop near the equestrian campground this time, because the lakeview sites had all been reserved. The sites in this loop are also larger than most of the sites in the lakeview loop.

Site 81
Horse trail behind trees
We stayed on site 81, which was mostly sunny, mostly grassy, and slightly secluded. There are trees/bushes between site 81 and site 79. Site 82 is sunnier than site 81. Site 80 is directly across the road from site 81, although it does not look like it on the campground map. Click on the photo below to enlarge it and see more site details.

View of road in front of sites 77 - 82 
I imagine the horse trail behind the sites along the back trees is visible when the leaves are not on the trees. We did not have any problems with horse odor or flies, although one of my friends told me she does not like this campground because of all the deer flies from the horses. The temperature was in the upper 60s during our stay.

Map with markups

Recreation: Fred Meyer Grand River Valley Trail, state park trails

It is about one mile from the beach inside the state park to the Fred Meyer Trail access. We parked at the beach, and then realized there is a small parking area on the other side of the road where the mountain bike trail starts. We have road bikes, and were able to get to Fred Meyer Trail without too much difficulty. We took the mountain bike trail to the Historic Schoolhouse and then turned right on the road (W. Riverside Drive). There is a picnic shelter area and parking lot on the left about ¼ mile down the road.

Cemetery sign
After you enter the parking lot, ride straight back, and then turn left toward the cemetery (you will see the cemetery sign). After you pass the cemetery, the trail curves down toward the river, and connects with Fred Meyer Trail. We did not observe any signs for Fred Meyer Trail, and initially went the wrong way after we entered the parking lot. Thank goodness for Google maps on my phone!

Fred Meyer Grand River Valley Trail is crushed stone and easy to ride. It is about 6 miles one-way to Saranac, and about 4 miles one-way to Ionia.

Fred Meyer Grand River Valley Trail
We did not observe any businesses of interest in Saranac, although there is a nice river trail with benches where we stopped to enjoy our packed beverages and snacks. The Saranac trail connects to Fred Meyer Trail east of town, and it runs to the boat launch on the west side of town.

View from trail stop in Saranac, MI

Fred Meyer Trail turns to pavement west of Ionia until you get east of town. There is also a 3-mile paved trail in Ionia, which starts at the fairgrounds. This is the Ionia River Trail, and it runs along the Grand River.

Fred Meyer Trail in Ionia just east of town
(bridge over Prairie Creek, which flows into Grand River)

We stopped briefly in the state park picnic area on W. Riverside Drive before we rode back into the campground. There are a few miles of mountain bike trails from the picnic area, which runs along the river and the trail we took. Portions of the mountain bike trail were visible from our bikes on Fred Meyer Trail. In addition to parking, facilities in the parking area include a vault toilet and a covered picnic area.

Mountain bike trail map
Trail from campground is also shown

Steele Street Brewing

We shared a sandwich and some brews in Ionia at the brewery. The brewery is easy to get to from either trail in Ionia. The atmosphere was pleasant, and the food and beers were both good. Growler refill prices were pretty good, so we filled our growler ~ of course!

Sampler at Steele Street Brewing

Check my previous blog post for more information about Ionia State Park Recreation Area. Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share this post for others!