Bring the whole family to these bike trails across southeast Michigan for some exercise and fresh air! Metro Parent asked two pros with the Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance – Nancy Krupiarz, executive director, and coordinator Todd Scott – for a guide to popular family-friendly trails in the area. Chances are there’s one in your own backyard.
Border to Border Trail
Major segments of this eventual-35-mile trail have already been completed across the borders of Washtenaw County from Livingston County to Wayne County. An already-completed segment from Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor allows bikers to pass by Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College and St. Joseph’s Hospital without having to dodge traffic in the roads. Trail expansion is a work in progress!
Clinton River Trail
Endless recreational possibilities exist on this 16-mile path stretching though Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills and Rochester. For more fun, follow this trail to its connections with the West Bloomfield Trail and the Macomb Orchard Trail.
Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut Greenway
Open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., these paths offer a nature-filled getaway in the midst of Detroit. The three-mile RiverWalk along the Detroit River passes through the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, while the Dequindre Cut Greenway provides access to Eastern Market and local neighborhoods. Rental bikes are available at Wheelhouse Detroit in Rivard Plaza on the riverfront.
Winding 15 miles from Dearborn to Northville, the Hines Drive Trail includes plenty of spots to stop for a picnic. Starting in May and going through September, Hines Trail from Outer Drive to Ann Arbor Trail is closed to cars from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for Saturday in the Park on Hines Drive, making the six-mile path a haven for cyclists.
Kal-Haven Bike Trail
Listed in multiple top-bike trail lists from cyclists around the county, the wooded, serene Kal-Haven trail runs 33.5 miles and connects Kalamazoo and South Haven. A must if your family travels to the state’s west side.
Lower Rouge Recreation Trail
This Canton trail connects Canton Center Road to the I-275 Metro Trail. The path has five miles of single-track trail perfect for mountain biking, and free parking is available at the trailhead parking lot at Morton Taylor Road.
Paint Creek Trail
This northeast Oakland County trail was opened in 1983 and receives more than 100,000 visitors annually. The path is 8.9 miles long and runs near local shops and the Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Rochester. Converted from the former Penn Central Railroad, this trail was the first Rails-to-Trails effort in Michigan.
Stony Creek Trails
Follow along the 8.3-mile paved trail, which circles the Stony Creek Lake, part of the popular Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township. There are also 14 miles of mountain biking available. Expect to pay fees to enter the park. Other area Huron-Clinton Metroparks are a great way to enjoy a day of biking, too (there are 13 total in southeast Michigan).