Tucked into the hills of Ada is a gem of the Kent County Parks. Seidman Park was the first trail I ever ran in Grand Rapids, and continues to be a favorite of mine. It’s also a great trail for new trail runners to “practice” on because there are no mountain bikes to worry about (foot traffic only and closed dusk to dawn!), the trails are wide, the roots and rocks are easily visible, and the majority of the hills are located in the yellow loop so you can avoid them, or mentally prepare for them. The only bad part of Seidman Park . . . the Kent County Conservation League sits just east of the park and their target practice will absolutely ruin any Zen tranquility you are trying to find.
Seidman Park has two parking lots, Conservation Road on its south end, and Honey Creek Road on its north end. The trail is made up of three linked loops, red, blue, and yellow. Both trailheads have nice, detailed maps, and there are color-coded posts at most of the intersections. The perimeter route of the trail provides a 4.25 mile loop, but you can run out there forever using numerous connectors. And don’t worry, there is no preferred traffic direction as the trail is very wide through the entire park.
As I mentioned earlier, the yellow loop is the hilliest. The blue and red loops have hills too (maybe the biggest!), but the yellow has the most. I have spent more than one run staying solely in the yellow loop just running hill after hill. The Conservation Parking lot gives you direct access to the yellow loop and is a popular loop for walkers as it crosses Honey Creek. There are also several places to walk along the creek and sit to rest.
The blue loop isn’t directly accessible from outside the park; you can only reach it via the yellow or red loop. As a runner this is fine, but as a cross country skier this is a pain because the blue loop is my favorite to ski. There are several meadows or cross and lots of rolling hills that are easy to navigate. The longest hill in the park is on the connector between the yellow and blue loops. At the base of this hill is a long boardwalk that leads you through the marshiest part of the park, and the best spot to see deer.
The red loop is the first you will hit if you park in the Honey Creek Rd lot. It is the shortest loop, home to two good hills, and has a connector trail to the Goodwillie Environmental School. You know you’ve reached the Goodwillie School when you see the teepee! Keep your eyes open anywhere on the red loop though as it is prime turkey territory.
One last warning to anyone who chooses to disobey the closed at dusk rule: if you are running on the night of a full hunter’s moon, watch out of the Ada Witch! She has been known to roam Seidman Park and walk along Honey Creek Road.
8155 Conservation Road Ada, MI 49301