The Fred Meijer Heartland Trail is located in lovely, rural Montcalm and Gratiot Counties, in the heart of central Michigan. The trail winds its way north through farmland and wooded State Game areas, taking the traveler through the picturesque towns of Greenville, Sidney, Stanton, McBride, and Edmore. At Edmore, the trail turns east and leads through Cedar Lake and Vestaburg, entering Gratiot County where the trail goes through Riverdale, Elwell and ends in downtown Alma. Along its length, it crosses several creeks and one river. Of particular interest, south of Stanton, is the 120-year-old historic bridge that spans Fish Creek.
The Heartland Trail (as it was known in the late 80’s) began as an idea in the cities of Stanton and Edmore.
The CSX railroad was up for sale and both communities realized that a biking/hiking trail would be a wonderful addition to the county’s recreational opportunities. With Fred Meijer’s help, the CSX railroad was purchased, and became known as the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail. Paving was begun with grants from ISTEA, DALMAC, and many generous private donations. In 2005 the 4.5 miles of former CSX railroad was purchased in Gratiot County. This section linked the city of Alma to the existing FMHT and was funded by local donations, the Meijer Foundation, DALMAC and West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition.
The trail offers bikers, walkers, roller blade enthusiasts and joggers a safe, smooth, motorized vehicle free area where they can exercise and enjoy nature. The trail is currently handicapped accessible in Edmore, McBride, Stanton, Alma and in 2008, Elwell and Riverdale.
Your support for the Trail is essential. All work on Trail maintenance is done by volunteers, with funds supplied by private donations and Trail memberships. We encourage everyone to enjoy this wonderful resource and contribute whatever you can in time and donations.