BLAC List: Best Bike Trails in Southeast Michigan
Put the pedal to the metal at these primo places in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties for scenic cycling
Whether you opt to bicycle as a greener way to get around town, or you're just looking for new spots to exercise with the family, check out these scenic routes in southeast Michigan.
From Detroit to Ann Arbor and beyond, we've compiled a list of local bike trails – with the help of Todd Scott, the Detroit greenways coordinator for Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance, as well as Barry Culham, the alliance's Michigander coordinator.
The lanes throughout Southwest Detroit connect to the existing Patton Park. When the project is complete, there'll be 24 total bike lanes! The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route may use this route through Detroit.
Located in Northville Township, this is a favorite local place mountain bike – not to mention walk and run, Scott told us. There are eight miles of hiking, including a history trail.
Near the waters of Walled Lake, you can enjoy 10 miles of trails for hiking, running and even skiing in Novi. Admission for residents is free. The park is open year-round.
Open since the '70s, this cool trail underwent major construction and reopened just last year. The trail, over 40 miles long, reaches those in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
Once an actual railroad route, Polly Ann is now being preserved. The 14.2-mile trail offers a motorized-vehicle-free atmosphere. Public parking is available along it. Animals must have supervision and be leashed.
This initiative will ultimately link 24 miles of trail to the Downriver area. The trail will start in Flat Rock's Huroc Park and extend through Oakwoods Metropark.
This extensive network provides connections to over 25 miles of other trails, including Kensington Metropark in Milford, the James F. Atchison Memorial Park in Lyon Township and Lyon Oaks County Park in Wixom.
A fresh stretch from Dexter's Warrior Park to West Ridge just opened in March 2012. Plans to expand it further north are in the works. Design work is continuing for a 1.4-mile trail going east from Central Street to the Huron River. Eventually, this trail will be 35 miles and extend along the river.
One less Porta-Potty for trail visitors: At the Leach Road trailhead, there's now a permanent restroom! The Telegraph Bridge is open, too, and features an artificial speed barrier; a split-path "diversion" near the base of the ramp helps slow drivers down.
Completed in late 2011, this trail spreads from Dequindre Road in Shelby Township all the way up to Richmond. The trail is completely paved. Bike racks are installed in memoriam of an early supporter of the trail.
Explore this 4.25-mile long trail created along the path of old railroad tracks. The West Bloomfield Extension will add 2.7 miles to the existing pathway. The entire surface will have a surface of fine-crushed limestone material.
Whether you want to rent, buy or take a bike tour, Wheelhouse Detroit is located conveniently on the RiverWalk. The Dequindre Cut is a scenic urban 1.35-mile greenway ride, which is looking to extend to north from Gratiot Avenue to Mack Avenue. For more fun, refresh at the RiverWalk Cafe, Detroit RiverFront Playpark, Cullen Family Carousel and Boll Family Water Feature (check ahead for hours).
Originally a hangout in the '70s and designed as a control plane for flooding, this bike path is now a famous for hosting picnics and softball/baseball games. A four-to-six foot wide shoulder also gives riders a safe buffer. Plus vehicle traffic stops for a six-mile stretch (from Ann Arbor Trail to Outer Drive) 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturdays, running May 5-Sept. 29, 2012.
While the route of Kal-Haven was created in 1870, it's seen quite a few changes since then. The 33.5-mile trail now features a limestone/slag surface. A new picnic area is available in the Bloomingdale area of the trail that extends from Kalamazoo to South Haven.
On a combination of dirt and paved paths, visitors can enjoy the not only smooth leisure riding, but also mountain biking on tough terrain dirt paths. A portion of the trail, which runs from Haggerty Road to the I-275 bike path, will be closed in 2012 as reconstruction on the freeway's bridges takes places over it.
With eight parking lots along its 8.9-mile span, this 29-year old trail lures over 100,000 visitors each year. There are tree bike stops near the trail. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash. This trail was the first converted train rails to trails in Michigan.
This 8.3-mile paved trail includes the highest point in Macomb County. Each loop is color-coded to display its level of difficulty. In March, this park also opened a par-72 golf course sporting 18 holes. Stony Creek is one of 13 other area Huron-Clinton Metroparks.