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Ionia Recreation Area

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General Information

Ionia Recreation Area features meadows, hardwoods and a beautiful deep lake.
Copyright: - Michigan State Parks & Forests
Ionia Recreation Area features meadows, hardwoods and a beautiful deep lake.
Description - Ionia Recreation Area is a nature lover's delight. The Mid Michigan state park features 4,500-acres of rolling hills, open meadows, hardwood forests, pine plantations, a deep lake nestled in the hills, and four miles of the Grand River. In addition, dammed waterfowl floodings and other wetlands enhance the park's ecology creating a surge in the native wildlife and plant life populations.

Attractions - Attractions for the Ionia Recreation Area visitor are many. The park hosts a 100-site modern campground, a 49-site horse campground, and a large group campground. The group and equestrian campgrounds are primitive sites featuring vault toilets and hand pump wells. The family campground is a modern facility offering electric hookup, bathhouse, and sanitation station. The family campground is open April 1 to December 1; modern toilets from May 1 to October 15 only.

The park provides three picnic areas and 1,600-foot beach on Sessions Lake for sunbathing and swimming. Beechwood Picnic Area is located near Sessions Lake. Boat Launch Picnic Area has a ball field, volleyball court, hiking trails, and a covered shelter. This shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis or may be reserved for $45 per day. A family-size grill is provided. Point Picnic Area is located on the east side of Sessions Lake offering an ADA fishing pier and hiking trails. The Riverside Picnic Area is situated between Riverside Drive and the Grand River. This picnic area has four miles of river frontage with a mountain bike trail, rustic boat launching facilities for canoes and rowboats, playground equipment, and a covered shelter. This shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis or may be reserved for $45 per day.

Shore fishing and boat fishing are available on Sessions Lake and the Grand River. Stream fishing is available on Sessions Creek and Tibbits Creek. Sessions Lake is a 140-acre man-made lake. It is 60 feet at its deepest point and has bluegill, walleye, small and largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie. No-wake speed restriction applies. A boat launching facility is located on the west side of the lake.

Ionia State Park is open to hunting for all species between September 15 and March 31. State regulations apply. Hunters are welcome for early goose season on September 1.

Ionia Recreation Area offers miles of multi-use trails. Hikers are offered 3.5 miles of trail exploring woods, streams, lakeshore, meadows, and river bottom areas. Nine miles of designated mountain bike trails are available traveling through wetland, meadows, and a woodland path along the Grand River. Equestrians travel over 15 miles of designated path. Cross-country skiers are welcome to the entire park. There are three designated ski trail loops; a 1-mile beginner, a 2.5-mile intermediate and a 6-mile expert. The park is open to snowmobiling when there is four inches or more of snow. Snowmobiles are prohibited on cross-country ski trails and must have a current registration.

Recreation - Outdoor recreations including swimming, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, horse camping, hiking, boating, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing.

Ionia- Modern - (800) 447-2757, 100 site(s), $17/$16
Ionia Equestrian-Rustic - (800) 447-2757, 49 site(s), $17
Ionia- Group Use Area - (616) 527-3750, site(s), Contact the park

Ionia-Chief Cob-Moo-Sa Trail - 9 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking
Ionia-Equestrian Trails - 15 (Miles), Bridle
Ionia-Hiking - 3.5 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Ionia-Cross-Country Ski Trails - 10.5 (Miles), Cross Country Ski

Climate - Mid Michigan has warm to hot summers with temperatures climbing above 70 degrees F (above 21 degrees C). Winter temperatures average between 14 and 22 degrees F (-10 to -6 degrees C). Moisture deposited in this region averages between 28 and 36 inches but can be dramatically altered by the "lake effect."

Location - The park rests three miles southwest of Ionia on the southern banks of the Grand River. To reach the entrance, take Interstate 96 to exit 64.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Amanda Stickler (Flint, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We were at Ionia Recreation for the 4th of July Holiday so the park was booked solid. I went into the trip expecting it to be rowdy being it was the 4th and people would be partying but it was so quiet and peaceful, and we had an absolute wonderful time. The campground itself was very nice with big lots and lots of privacy. They only had the one bathroom however which was centrally located but it is a long walk from a lot of the sites. That being said they kept the bathrooms very clean, cleaning them 4 times a day. So you also have to figure that's 4 hours that the bathroom is closed. The lake was too far to walk especially with little kids. So you have to drive, it is a nice big beach but the lake itself has a lot of seaweed. There was a lot of algea also. The trails are very nice and we went on a guided walk with one of the activity guides who was very nice. Overall we had a great time. It is nice because Ionia is only about 4 miles away so if you forgot something you don't have far to go for shopping. Keep in mind it is a no wake lake though.

Filed By: eric theiste (wyoming, mi)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: great park, like it a lot. during gun hunting season, however, it fills up really quickly and there is a lot of noise and not the most polite individuals present.

Filed By: Dan Bierman (Hancock, Mi)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This is probably one of the nicest "undiscovered" State Parks in the State. Our stay was very nice, the park is nice and quiet and Breezy. Alot of the camping sites offer a privacy seldom found at other parks. When we know we will be taking the long stretch from Grand Rapids to Lansing we like to stop here for the night to "regroup". The biermans

More Information

Contact Information:
Ionia Recreation Area, 2880 David Hwy. , Ionia, MI, 48846, Phone: 616-527-3750, TTY: 517-335-4623

Additional Information:
Michigan State Parks and Forests - Everything that makes Michigan special is embodied in the 96 State Parks. Boasting sterling recreation, Michigan State Parks and Forests invite you to enjoy one of their 14,000 campsites, 170 winter-sport areas and infinite rivers, streams, and lakes.
Mid Michigan - Mid Michigan is a compilation of open fields, dense hardwood forests and rolling hills accents by hundreds of winding streams and large water basins, the perfect destination for trailblazers and water sport enthusiasts.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.


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