November 20, 2018
Running the Trails at Burchfield, and Riverbend
The Burchfield Park Trail stretches across three Ingham County Parks; Burchfield Park, Riverbend Natural Area, and McNamara Canoe Landing. With 16 miles of trails, there is something to offer everyone, no matter where you are in your training.
The trail system begins in the Burchfield Park and travels to McNamara Landing before looping back around. There are a few different areas runners can pick up the trail, but I typically like the Riverbend Natural Area. There is no fee, unlike Burchfield Park. The trail in the section is mostly all dirt. Some hills but nothing too challenging or steep. Depending on which trail you stick with, you will wind through the woods or out into the fields. I personally prefer the woods but if you do a portion of the loop, you’ll end up in both places anyway.
Keep in mind that this area is also used for mountain biking. While the mountain bikes do have their own trail system, there are some portions where all traffic has to share the trail. These areas are few but remember to keep an eye on the signs and make sure that you stay off the biking trails.
There are plenty of opportunities to experience wildlife here. Being so close to the river and in wooded flood plains, expect to see plenty of deer. I have also heard Barred Owls during my evening runs. In the spring time, the primary wildlife you will encounter is mosquitoes. Make sure to dress appropriately or you will get eaten alive.
Some of the trail intersections have maps that show you were you are on the trails and/or have signs pointing in the directions of the three parks.
A Hiking & Biking Trail guide is available for those planning to visit the park. This document includes a trail map.
Overall this is a great option for people who are looking for a bit more of a challenge than flat runs or want the added mileage. It is a beautiful run.