Family Bike Trails in Southeast Michigan

These paths provide a natural cure for boredom and perfect opportunity to get your family on the fast track to a healthier lifestyle. Get the details on these southeast Michigan bike trails for 2015-16.

Top Bike Trails in Southeast Michigan

The bike craze has taken off across America like a rocket – and southeast Michigan is no exception! Now more than ever, it is less of a trend and more of a habit to incorporate this “green” way of transportation into everyday life, whether it’s to work (if you’re lucky!) or just some family fun around the neighborhood.

Get your family pedaling at some of these bike trails in Michigan’s southeast region – including metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. To compile this list, Metro Parent chatted with experts at Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance to find some popular routes and off-the-beaten-path options. We also included Huron-Clinton Metroparks and a few other popular family areas in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties (and you can find a few more ideas over at the TrailLink Rails-to-Trails Conservancy).

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So grab your handlebars and hold on tight for a summer of scenic fun and exploration!

Border To Border Trail

This route spans 35 miles in Washtenaw County along the edge of the Huron River. Currently, 10-plus miles of paved shared-use paths exist, with much more to come! Along the way, you’ll find recreation and river access, including Gallup Park in Ann Arbor and the Ford Lake Overlook in Ypsilanti Township.

Clinton River Spillway Bike Path

This short trail runs for two miles, passing primarily through a wooded area parallel to the spillway between Velger Boat Harbor on Lake St. Clair and Shady Side Park in Mt. Clemens. To the east, the trail follows the north bank. To the west, the south bank before crossing at Shady Side Park. The bike path links to the Metro Parkway Trail, which leads to Metro Beach.

Clinton River Trail

The West Bloomfield Trail and Macomb Orchard Trail are connected by the Clinton River Trail. These 16 miles of partly-paved and limestone path run east to west through central Oakland County, along a former rail line (it spans Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills and Rochester). It will eventually be a part of the larger Great Lake-to-Lake Trail, to span South Haven to Port Huron.

Corktown Bike Lanes

More than 16 miles of new bike lanes link Corktown and Southwest Detroit (Mexicantown) in the city of the Detroit. This route is part of 400-plus miles of lanes in the city. The Southwest Detroit lanes connect to Patton Park. This network also ties in with the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route Detroit Alternate, which goes through Detroit, around Lake St. Clair and elsewhere, with many historic sites along the way (for more serious bikers).

Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut Greenway

The Detroit RiverFront is the pristine place for a family ride. Rent or buy a bike – and sign up for a tour – at Wheelhouse Detroit, located conveniently on the RiverWalk. The Dequindre Cut is a 1.35-mile shortcut fit for walking, jogging and biking. It runs parallel to St. Aubin Street and boasts a 20-foot-wide pathway with lanes for bikes and pedestrians. Hop on the Cut at Lafayette Street, Gratiot Avenue and Woodbridge Street. For more fun, refresh at the RiverWalk Cafe, Detroit RiverFront Playpark, Cullen Family Carousel and Mt. Elliott area splash feature. Construction of Phase II of the Dequindre Cut, which will extend the pathway north from Gratiot Avenue to Mack Avenue, is currently underway and should be completed in 2015.

Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative

These trail segments connect places like Lake Erie Metropark, cities like Detroit and Dearborn, and other areas in Wayne, Oakland and Monroe counties. This idea is to link local communities with environmentally and budget-friendly lanes and bikeways. It ultimately connects almost 250 miles of trail, including over 26 downriver cities and townships.

Hines Park Trail

Hines Park has a paved trail that winds more than 20 miles from Northville to Dearborn Heights. Popular among walkers, joggers and cyclists, the route begins near the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan and continues northwest, parallel with the Middle Rouge River through several parks. Hines Park Trail intersects with I-275 Metro Trail. Keep in mind that due to the low-lying land that comprises the park and its proximity to the Rouge River, Hines Drive and parts of the trail routinely flood during heavy rains.

Hudson Mills Metropark

Take in the scenery of wetlands and wildlife as you bike the two-mile Acorn Nature Trail. Feeling more adventurous? Try the paved, 10-foot wide, 5.3-mile hike/bike trail, offering a great view of the Huron River and natural woodlands. Located in Dexter 12 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

Huron Valley Rail Trail

This vast network connects you to 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. It is completely paved with different areas offering beginner and more challenging paths.

I-275 Metro Trail

Open since the 1970s, this trail covers 26 miles and has received considerable TLC over the years. There are a variety of entry points; the path is paved and indeed skirts the expressway (it’s set aside by a concrete wall and buffer). Eye on Michigan notes that most improvements are north of I-94; use caution on this stretch too, though, because it also crosses high-traffic main roads. I-275 Metro Trail intersects with Hines Park Trail and uses part of the trail to cross the I-275/I-96 interchange.

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Indian Springs Metropark

While biking eight miles of paved trail, you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful Huron River and its surrounding natural wooded wetlands and grassy meadows. There’s even a “challenging hill” for those who want to test their endurance a bit! Located nine miles northwest of Pontiac in White Lake, this spot is known for a diverse range of wildlife, too, from coyote to red fox. Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

Kensington Metropark

This popular Milford park is home to an array of wildlife and hilly terrain. Take a trip along its eight-and-a-half-mile path that features gentle hills, “a few challenging inclines” and plenty of great views of the wooded land surrounding Kent Lake. It’s open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

Lake St. Clair Metropark

Not far from Mount Clemens, take a chill ride on a three-mile paved hike-bike route with views of beautiful Lake St. Clair (be sure to stop at the gazebo to check out Huron Point). At the entrance, the path even links to a trail tracing Metro Parkway (the main road leading into the park), so if you live nearby, there’s a chance you can bike home! Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

Lakeshore Park

Before or after biking this 10-mile trail in Novi, hit the beach and park, too, to play with the family. Parking is available, and intermediate to challenging bike paths are available. Visit the trailhead at 601 S. Lake Drive for any questions. Parking for beach is $5/nonresidents. Park hours are 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; beach is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. in summer (from day school lets out till Labor Day).

Lower Huron Metropark

A four-mile paved bike/hike trail offers scenic views of the Huron River and some of the 1,258 acres of natural woodlands at this Belleville park. Got older kids with some real steam to burn off? Continue the route through Willow and Oakwoods Metroparks for a total 30-mile round trip! Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

Lower Rouge Recreation Trail

Canton residents, this one’s for you! On a combination of dirt and paved routes, visitors enjoy smooth leisure riding – or, if you prefer, mountain biking on tougher terrain. This trail runs from Canton Center Road to Haggerty Road and connects Heritage Park and the I-275 Metro Trail.

M-5 Metro Trail

This paved connector trail runs for six miles from 13 Mile Road to the northern start of the I-275 trail along Meadowbrook Road in Novi. The trail winds through Long Park, a nature preserve near Berry Lake where you can find picnic tables and additional nature trails to explore. Note that the stretch of trail between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads is frequently covered in pea gravel, which can prove difficult for road bikes.

Macomb Orchard Trail

Take in plenty of urban and wooded beauty on this path that connects Romeo and Armada on paved, generally flat terrain. It crosses the Clinton River and offers a 180-mile stretch of trails.

Maybury State Park

Set in Northville Township, this park offers both leisurely biking (there’s a four-mile paved trail) and mountain biking (there’s a special spot for this called the Yellow Trail; closed December to April; call for specific dates). You can also fish, horseback ride, hike and lots more here. Michigan Recreation Passport required, which is $11/year.

Metro Parkway Trail

Also known as the Freedom Trail, this “comfortably-wide,” paved pathway runs through urban Macomb County, specifically between Harrison Township’s Lake St. Clair Metropark and Schoenherr Road. You can continue north along Schoenherr to Utica Road into Sterling Heights, where the trail links to Clinton River Park Trail. To the east, Metro Parkway Trail connects to Clinton River Spillway Bike Path near Interstate 94. Riders consider this 11-mile-long trail primarily an exercise pathway, not a scenic route.

Milford Trail

Featuring a cool “waterfall” view (created by a dam), this five-mile trail is rated moderate for those with experience and biking skills. Family ready for a little mounting-biking challenge? Try to make it from its beginning on Commerce Road all the way to the end at the Kensington Metropark entrance.

Oakwoods Metropark

Bikers love this New Boston three-mile trail for its easy ride, thanks to a flat terrain and grassy meadows. The interpretive trails are also appealing with scenic views of the Huron River. This 1,756-acre park near Flat Rock continues on, connecting with 12 more miles of paved hike/bike trails in Willow and Lower Huron metroparks (it all adds up to 30 miles of biking round trip!). Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

Paint Creek Trail

This is a prime spot for those in northeast Oakland County. With eight parking locations (the Tienken Road Parking lot is closed due to construction as of June 2015) along its 8.9-mile span, this trail connecting Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township and the Village of Lake Orion draws more than 100,000 visitors each year. Features three bike stops. Check website for latest trail conditions.

Polly Ann Trail

Polly Ann connects three townships – Orion, Oxford and Addison – and a pair of villages (Oxford and Leonard). It all creates a 14.2-mile route through Oakland County. Touches on a variety of recreational and public places. It’s open dawn to dusk all year. Hint: The Blanka Trailhead in Leonard is the best place to park because it has restrooms.

Shiawassee River Heritage Trail

Crossing an array of ponds, roads and boat launches, this trail has stops for bikers, too. With scenic views of historic buildings and forestry, it also features seven river miles of adventure stretching across cities like Holly and Fenton. Future developments will result in extended trips through other areas of Genesee County, the popular cities of Owosso, Saginaw Bay and many others.

Stony Creek Metropark

With a tad more than six miles of paved trail and 14 miles of hilly, heavily wooded dirt terrain prime for mountain bikers, this popular Shelby Township-area park offers something for every biker. Helmets are a must, and you can even rent bikes here ($10/deposit, $5/men or women’s single-speed bike per hour – Memorial Day-Labor Day only). Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

West Bloomfield Trail

This 54-acre park runs through the West Bloomfield area for nearly seven miles, including Orchard Lake and Keego Harbor. With trailheads extending from Sylvan Manor Park to Haggerty Road, enjoy a scenic route with benches, bike racks, mileage markers and areas to stop for a picnic lunch. Open 8 a.m.-dusk.

Willow Metropark

A winding 4.5-mile paved bike path is just the workout for many locals. Located in New Boston near I-275 and I-94, this flat course makes for easing passing through woodlands, Washago pond and views of the Huron River. Bike rentals are available for single-speed and tandem bikes, ranging $5-$6 an hour with a $10 deposit. Requires a $7/vehicle day pass or $30/annual (allows access to all other 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks, too).

This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated by Kristy Case.

Autumn is awesome. Discover 40 can't-miss events in the FREE Fall Family Activities in Michigan guide. Download it for FREE right now! BONUS: Get a FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine for more tips and fun.

  • I have been looking for different trails to ride within an hour or two from toledo.This is great info with a map showing location and routes ,without that it is not so good.Also need to know if trails have been traveled by horses which makes them unusable for anything else.


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