West Michigan is blessed with hundreds of miles of excellent trails. You'll find finely manicured asphalt trails, off-the-beaten-path gravel trails and other options.

Here's one of the best trails that doesn't get the attention it deserves.

The growth of the trail system in West Michigan is a trend that is set to continue. Trails are being created, extended or improved each year. It's nearly impossible to find the time to explore them all so we'll help narrow it down a bit when it comes time to choose where to go for a walk, run or ride.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Trail is 12 miles long and it brings you a big variety. You'll start at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, end at Lake Michigan and see a little bit of everything in between.

With lots of parking and a clearly marked trail, the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve is the best place to start your journey on the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail.

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

The trail doesn't continue through the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve for long, but it's packed with views and options to veer off-path if you wish.

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

As you get to Muskegon Lake the view changes quickly.

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

Prepare for a little detour.

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

And one last look at Muskegon Lake before the next leg of the trail.

Matt Milhouse, TSM

You'll find boardwalks and asphalt trails next as you cross through Heritage Landing and more unique views. There are also many educational signs to read and places to take a break and sit along the way.

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

Be prepared to hit the road if you are on a bike. You'll share the road with vehicle traffic for a while as you continue towards Lake Michigan. Along the way all who are on the trail will pass marinas, restaurants, residential areas and more. It's not the highlight of the trail, but it does give options if you'd like to stop.

Just before you get to the beach be prepared to climb up a big hill then go right back down the hill where you'll find this view.

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

If it's quiet you seek stick to the first half (the east part) of the trail, but Lake Michigan always makes it worth the full trip on the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail.