Iron Belle Trail

Iron Bell TrailWe have been working with the Michigan DNR and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance to develop the Iron Belle Trail from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood, Michigan on the Wisconsin border.

A couple weeks after riding on the Dequindre Cut, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced plans for a cross-state biking and walking route originally called the Showcase Trail.

After further work, the DNR decided to designate two routes:

  • Red Route: 774 miles. This has more developed trail/road surfaces suitable for bike touring. Portions in the Upper Peninsula are on paved road shoulders.
  • Blue Route: 1,259 miles. This includes more rustic, off-road paths that take advantage of the North Country National Scenic Trail, especially north of Kalamazoo. Some portions of the Lower Peninsula trails and most of the Upper Peninsula trails are closed to bicycles.

We assisted with both routes as they come of Belle Isle. Within Detroit, both routes will cater to those on foot or bicycles.

Generally speaking, the Red route comes off the island, goes west then north on the proposed RiverWalk and Beltline Greenway. It then turns east on Kercheval to St. Jean, which is also the Conner Creek Greenway. It follows the Greenway across Eight Mile Road and into Warren. The Blue route follows the RiverWalk towards the Ambassador Bridge, goes through MexicanTown and takes W. Vernor west before crossing the Rouge River on the Fort Street Bridge. The DNR has an interactive  map on-line.

When will it be done?

Governor Rick Snyder bikes the Dequindre CutThere’s no clear answer on that. Both trails are about 60% completed today. The percentage is much higher in Detroit. The missing segments include:

  • The RiverWalk connection to the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle
  • The Beltline Greenway
  • The Conner Creek Greenway on Van Dyke (Construction in 2015)
  • RiverWalk near Chene Park (Construction in 2014 and 2015)
  • RiverWalk between Joe Louis Arena and 1801 W. Jefferson.
  • On-road biking improvements to Woodmere, Fort Street and Schaefer

The trail would likely get re-routed ont0 an abandoned Michigan Central rail corridor between the RiverWalk and Bagley in the future.

More information

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