Multi-modal trails are “looking grand” in Portland…Michigan

Screenshot952014-05-11-14-36-46Kathy and I enjoyed the delightful Mother’s Day weather with temperatures in the low 80s by bicycling the Portland, Michigan non-motorized trail system. For a city of approximately 3,900 residents, Portland has an amazing 11 mile long trail system (see signed map below and mapmyride above). Along the entire network are benches, scenic overlooks, fishing docks, art work, historic markers, and even a fitness course within the Bogue Flats Park.

As a planner, I was particularly impressed by the design and maintenance of the trail system infrastructure, as well as the safety features including painted markings, signage, retractable barricades to prevent non-emergency vehicular use, and even a flashing signal at one busier street crossing.


Below are a series of photos from our ride.  What makes pedaling the non-motorized trails around Portland so “grand” is they traverse varied terrain and landscapes, including two rivers (the Grand and the Looking Glass), an old railroad grade, a tunnel under I-96, three historic bridges, parks, residential neighborhoods, and downtown Portland.

My only two suggestions would be for the city to add more bike parking racks in and around town and to strive to convince more downtown retail businesses to remain open on weekends. We enjoyed a tasty lunch at Duke’s Canoe Club/Cajun Grill’s outdoor dining pavilion overlooking the Looking Glass River and may have done some shopping if stores had been open. Despite what my photos might show, there were many cyclists, joggers, walkers, and others enjoying this lovely and scenic trail system and all of the downtown restaurants were quite busy.

Kudos to Michigan’s own Portland for living up to the non-motorized standards being set by its larger sibling in Oregon.



aside the Grand River in Bogue Flats



1881 railroad bridge


looking SE towards downtown along the Grand River


crossing the Looking Glass River



tunnel under I-96



the old (trail bridge) and the new (I-96) over the Grand River


rapids on the Grand

rapids on the Grand



very cool tree wind chime art

at the confluence

at the confluence of the Looking Glass and Grand Rivers



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4 Responses to Multi-modal trails are “looking grand” in Portland…Michigan

  1. Eric Ederer says:

    Thanks for writing about this not so well known mid-michigan recreation-nature resource. Someday, I would like to Nordic walk this trail system.


  2. Jordan Lake Trail (Carolyn Mayhew, President) says:

    Thank you for this delightful and very encouraging article on Portland’s priceless recreation opportunity. It is very encouraging to your sister Village of Lake Odessa, now undergoing the planning, fundraising, engineering, etc. in an attempt to establish a pedestrian, biking trail around Jordan Lake……wish us luck!!! 🙂


    • Rick Brown says:

      That is a wonderful plan for Lake Odessa and I hope to ride it soon. You might want to contact Michigam Trails and Greenways Alliance for assistance and guidance.


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