Spend All Day at Grand Ravines Park
Picture this: nestled beside the Grand River and a stone’s throw from Grand Valley State University in Ottawa County, you stumble upon a hidden gem – Grand Ravines Park.
This park, bound to become a household name in West Michigan, is spread across 202 acres of pristine natural beauty and offers a great of activities. In fact, we think it might just have some of the best hiking trails in West Michigan.
Hang with us as we explore the nooks and crannies of Grand Ravines Park in Ottawa County, including the new treehouse, two bridges, and beloved dog park!
North Entrance – Grand Ravines Park
Address: 9920 – 42nd Ave, Jenison, MI 49428
This entrance is a gateway to forested hikes with stunning natural views and more.
Start here for easy access to:
The New Treehouse
Our ears perked up as soon as we heard the new treehouse was complete. It’s just off of the parking lot next to the Grand Ravines Lodge, so you should have no trouble finding it.
Here’s why it’s cool and why you need to see it:
- Birds-Eye View: Perched right in the middle of the woods, this treehouse gives you an 40-foot high tree-top look at the surrounding forest.
- Accessible Design: The entrance is a smooth 100-foot-long boardwalk, so the treehouse is easy to reach and accessible for everyone.
- Cool Hangout or Photo Spot: You don’t need a reason to visit the treehouse, but if you want one, taking great fall photos is a good one.
The Covered Bridge
Getting There: Start at the lodge at the North entrance. Follow the paved path and let it lead you through some ridiculously good-looking views as you make your way down to the Grand River.
First Impressions: Once you’re at the river’s edge, you’ll lock eyes with the quaint, picture-perfect, covered bridge. That’s it. We know you’ll be pulling out your camera for pics in a heartbeat.
Hiking Grand Ravines Park – North
The trails at the 42nd Ave Entrance get hillier and can be more challenging if you’re looking for some elevation change.
While you’re hiking, keep those eyes peeled for bald eagles – they’re known to nest around here.
Plus, you might stumble upon some rare trees like paw paws and tulip trees.
Another bonus for the north side of the park – the Grand River views!
Several miles of trails are available with some sections wheelchair accessible.
The North side also has their Grand Ravines Lodge which overlooks the Grand River and can be rented for your next family gathering, event, or baby shower! How fun!
Fishing, Kayaking & Scenic Overlooks
Closer to the North Entrance, there is a spot for easy access kayaking and fishing.
Even if you’re not kayaking, step out onto the launch for a good look at the Grand River.
South Entrance – Dog Park, Suspension Bridge, Red Barn
3991 Fillmore Street, Jenison, MI 49428
If you’re diving into Grand Ravines Park from the south entrance, here’s what’s waiting for you:
Grand Ravines Dog Park
One of the standout features of Grand Ravines Park is the dog park (which is also located near the Fillmore entrance).
It has a large, fenced-in area for dogs to roam and play off-leash. A few other reasons to wag that tail:
Room to Roam: Spanning a whopping 21 acres, this isn’t your average dog park. Play chase without feeling cramped AND explore off-leash trails and more. This place is gigantic!
Varied Terrain: Forget just flat grass. This park offers a mix of terrains – perfect for all those sniffing adventures!
Human Comforts: Benches are strategically placed so you can chill and chat with fellow dog parents.
Thoughtful Touches: The human drinking fountain has a cute dog dish at the base.
And if doggo gets muddy, there’s a handy dog wash station for you to use.
Rules to Follow: It might be off-leash but it’s not a free-for-all. Rules are posted, as well as the Sheriff’s number in case things get out of hand.
Cross the Incredible Suspension Bridge
As if there could be anything better than a park full of playful pooches, there is also a spectacular suspension bridge. (Easy access from the Fillmore Entrance.)
This recently constructed, fully ADA accessible addition to this park is truly picturesque at 275 feet long and 70 feet high.
The overlook into the woods is perfection.
Getting There: If you’re entering from the south side, take the paved path on the EAST side of the park (right next to that picturesque barn). After a quarter-mile walk, this marvel will appear.
Starting at the north entrance?
Consult trail maps for the most scenic route – you’ll find a staircase down to the ravines, ridges, and all sorts of creeks to stomp in.
Big Red Barn & Windmill
The big red barn and willow tree at the Fillmore entrance is hard to miss. It really pops and would make a fab backdrop for fall photos.
Plus, parked next to it is an old-fashioned windmill for added photo flair.
The Making of Grand Ravines Park
Believe or not, 40 year ago not many people knew that there were deep gorges spread across the wooded land right next to Grand Valley State University.
It took a county-wide natural features survey, conducted in 1988, to bring attention to the Grand Ravines, which would soon be considered one of Ottawa County’s most significant natural locales.
The county acquired parcels of land over the next decades, stitching together what we know as the park today.
2015 was a big year for the park. That’s when when Grand Ravines opened the county’s first off-leash dog park and restored the historic red barn, in addition to developing new trails. The north trailhead opened in 2017, along with pathways connecting the park’s north and south sections. The wooden pedestrian suspension bridge also opened that same year.
The latest accomplishment: the opening of the Tree House overlook in 2023.
If You Go to Grand Ravines Park
South Entrance Address:
3991 Fillmore Street, Jenison, MI 49428
North Entrance Address:
9920 – 42nd Ave, Jenison, MI 49428
March 1 – October 15: 7 AM to 10 PM
October 16 – February 28: 7 AM to 8 PM
Handy Tips & Info:
- Restrooms: Clean, modern restrooms are available at both entrances. The Fillmore entrance even has a special dog wash station – perfect for your furry friends after a playful romp. Plus, there’s a nifty water bottle refill spigot for you thirsty hikers.
- Trail Maps: Wondering which path to take? No worries. Every fork in the trail has a map. It’s always good to plan, but if you’re the spontaneous type, these maps ensure you’re never really lost.
- Trails: Starting out or bringing the little ones? The Fillmore entrance has mostly flat and wide trails – great for newbies or if you’re pushing a stroller. For the more adventurous, veer off the paved paths. There’s a bunch of smaller, wooded trails waiting to be explored (though not stroller-friendly, heads up!).
Are dogs allowed at Grand Ravines Park?
Yes, and there is a dog park, too!
How long is the hiking trail at Grand Ravines Park?
Grand Ravines Park is 2.5 – 3 miles long.
What is the difficulty level of the hiking trail?
There are easy and moderated trails here. Some are paved, others require a scramble and have a steep elevation change.
How long should you spend at Grand Ravines Park?
All in all, plan to spend at least an hour or two exploring the park. Mix and match the trail loops and bring your dog along to make the perfect adventure for your family.
Is Grand Ravines Park accessible?
The paved portions at Grand Ravines Park are, but some trails that branch off are not stroller friendly.
Map of Grand Rapids Parks and Trails
Find your next outdoor adventure near you with this map of the best hiking trails, playgrounds, and parks in West Michigan.