Home to some of Michigan's most stunning scenery, the Paul Henry Thomapple 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 Thomapple River Valley with its mix of farmland, quaint country towns, lush wetlands, woodlands and long shady tunnels of trees.
This past summer, another mile of beautifully landscaped paved trail was added along the Thomapple River from downtown Middleville to Crane Road.
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 Thomapple 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, 4.6 miles through Middleville to Irving, the 2A-mile Hastings Riverwalk, and 1.5 miles from Vermontville to Maple Valley High School near Nashville. The new Vermontville-to-N ashville section travels through shady woodlands and wetlands and crosses a bridge over the Thomapple River. Another new paved section of trail may be extended this summer, south of Caledonia to 108th Street.
You'll find several good staging areas in Kentwood. 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 behind the village offices. Trail access is available at Maple Valley High School east of Nashville.