Potawatomi trail

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24
miles

Intermediate

Singletrack
↑ 3,700 ft
↓ 3,900 ft
928
elevation (ft)
11
avg mph
173
ridden
88
wishlist
1:57
avg time

Loop
AVERAGE RATING
4.63 out of 5
About This Trail
added by Guest on December 31, 2002
actions now above photo
 
Here, 20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, you'll find three trails: the 17-mile Potawatomi Trail, the 5.1-mile Crooked Lake Trail and the 1.9-mile Silver Lake Trail. The routes are shared with hikers. If you double the length of Pontiac Lake and replace the rocks with roots, you have Poto. Trails from 1.9 to 17.5 miles round trip. Biking season: All year (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Other activities include bicycling, boating, camping (reservation), canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, swimming, water skiing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling. Dining in Chelsea, Dexter, Pinckney. Bike shops in Chelsea (Chelsea Bike & Sports-313/475-9371), Pinckney (Village Cyclery-313/878-0117) Bike rentals: Pinckney (Village Cyclery).
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Pontiac Lake
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Recent Trail Check-ins
31 check-ins
 
1 week ago
on Nov 9, 2014
on Oct 21, 2014
on Oct 13, 2014
on Aug 17, 2014
 
Brook Hanes on October 14, 2014
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Review: I rode this trail for the first time yesterday and thought it was amazing! It was more than worth the 1.75 hour drive. Yes, there were alot of roots, but most were very rideable. There are a few pretty tough uphills, but the downhills make them rewarding. I had a downloaded map that I printed out ahead of time but the trail was so well marked I could have done without it.

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MTBposer on September 18, 2014
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Review: Poto is my go-to whenever I have enough time to make the drive out there (not to mention ride 17 miles). It probably has the most challenging climbs in the area including the never-ender that others have mentioned. I think there are only two sandy areas that I recall, but they're nothing to get frazzled over - just plow through and get back to enjoying the other 16.9 miles. Obviously downhills are as dangerous as you make 'em. If that's your thing, Poto will oblige and hurt you. Otherwise, nothing too treacherous as long as you take it slow. Overall great trail that should be on everyone's list to ride. Even beginners - don't fear the length. Pack a lunch and take a little rest mid way through. You'll be fine.

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Cutbert on August 27, 2014
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Review: Highly recommend! Fast, flowy and well maintained. Only two downed trees after a night of rain & storms, trail was well drained and still rideable. I'll definitely come back on my next business trip. $9.00 for a day pass, so come with some mula in your pocket, take debit or credit cards too (with ID). I ride PA, WV & KY so I wouldn't call this technical, but the sand bars can catch you off guard, so beware. No serious climbs, a few short steep juants, nothing to wind you. Give this a try!

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Ryan Tester on July 25, 2014
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Review: First time riding today, did the full Potawatomi Trail. Don't mind some of the crazy climbs, challenges are good, although the sand pits are just flat out discouraging. Who the hell wants to pedal through sand?
Great descents, just watch out for root madness - some of the downhills are treacherous with the amount of obstacles in the way. Others flow much better.
Access to the park costs a few bucks, worth the day pass if you are going to spend the day; if you live anywhere nearby it is worth it to buy the season pass - $9 for a day pass or $31 for a season pass.
Will definitely be back.

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Colton Lock on July 14, 2014
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Review: Pretty fun singletrack trail. Hardpacked and fast.

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tnt_bike on July 2, 2014
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Review: Did Pontiac Lake yesterday and then a couple of times around this trail. Another fun ride similar to Pontiac Lake. I think I enjoyed riding Pontiac Lake more but the long trail length here is a bonus. Decent trail markings with maps at most intersections.

Similar Trail: Pontiac Lake

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Steven Courville on January 26, 2014
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Review: Simply the best trail SE Michigan has to offer. As the others have said, there are some steep climbs with plenty of roots and challenging, technical descents. Be sure to bring a spare tube, a pump, and plenty of water.

This trail keeps you on your toes and can put you on the ground in a hurry, especially late in the ride if you're a little out of shape. This is the trail I keep coming back to.

Similar Trail: Torn Shirt

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Eric Foltz on January 1, 2014
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Review: One of my favorites in the Great Lakes Region. Good for distance training as you can just keep doing loops until you get tired. Mildly technical with your typical roots, rocks and short climbs.

Similar Trail: Rock Lake (WI), Kettle-Moraine (WI)

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tidwe255 on November 10, 2013
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Review: We rode the crooked lake trail which was great! This trail was fast flowing with a good amount of roots/rocks to add some technical difficulties. 3/4 through the trail there is a decent climb that will bet your quads burning followed by short downhill section .

Similar Trail: Brighton Rec Area

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kleppe on October 12, 2013
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Review: What a great trail. Well worth the trip. Started just above crooked lake campground and rode trail to end and picked it back up at start. Excellently maintained, good short climbs and drops. Best trail I've been on in a while. Watch out for hikers...there's a lot, but they should be coming at you. Crooked lake camp ground offers good access. Beware of site 7 in the fall. Ladybug swarms. I had about 500 in my camper when I got back from the ride.

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Zoo1424 on August 18, 2013
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Review: As the description reads, " If you double the length of Pontiac Lake and replace the rocks with roots, you have Poto. Trails". That pretty much sums it up. An absolute blast to ride.

Similar Trail: Pontiac Lake

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Scott Oakes on July 19, 2013
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Review: This trail is an absolute must ride if you are anywhere near the area. Its very well marked, easy to find and full of fast downhills, steep climbs, rocks, roots, drops...you name it, its out there. If you dont feel like riding the full 17, there are lots of options.

Similar Trail: Pontiac Lake

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DavidPeckjr on August 4, 2012
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Review: I love this trail! A good mix of fast flowing single track. brain rattling rooty descents. Tough climbs. Board bridges.

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msujedi on June 4, 2012
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Review: Great overall trail. This trail was my first mtb experience ever. I was told, "You will wipe out, and you will have fun." Both were true. After my first ride 21yrs ago, I decided that wearing a helmet is a good idea. The trail starts with a couple challenging climbs. Due to loose dirt and erosion, plastic grids have been installed on some of the climbs for improved traction and less trail wear. Many of the climbs are steep and technical (roots and such). The trail runs pretty fast, but watch out for drops & turns just when you are getting comfortable at high speeds! It's crazy fun. If the bridges are at all damp, take them SLOW! I've flown off the side trying to take a damp turning bridge too fast. My only real complaint is the huge sand pit & climb just before the 'shortcut'. Despite this moment of annoyance, the Poto is one of Michigan's best trails.

Similar Trail: Pontiac Lake on steroids

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alubinski9 on February 17, 2012
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Review: very fun, its a long ride so bring a drink

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Sethocaster on December 31, 2011
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Review: Potawatomi is excellent. Poto has some gnarly climbs, with the exception of a few they are nearly all short and steep, and the exposed tree roots will have you wanting to toss your bike off a cliff as they constantly snuff out your nearly successful attempt to finish a climb. And the downhills... Poto has some very fast, and often times very scary downhills. The sections with the consecutive 2 foot or so drops makes me smile from ear to ear every time. If you're in the area you MUST DO the Murray Lake and Torn Shirt trails in Brighton. It's only about half an hour away and personally I thought Murray/TS had a lot better flow than Poto, although Poto is probably more challenging.

Similar Trail: Murray Lake and or Torn Shirt in Brighton (they're only 15 miles combined. DO IT.)

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jozehn on November 13, 2011
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Review: Rode this trail for the second time yesterday; first time was in May 2011. One of the best and toughest trails I've ridden. There's a lot of up and down. Some of the climbs are fairly long and get steeper with bigger roots near the top so we ended up walking the last part of several climbs. The downhills make the climbs worth the effort; fast and winding with a lot of large root drops. In spring we took the shortcut at marker #11, the shortcut shortens the loop by 4 miles or so. This time we rode the whole loop; I recommend this since there was a lot of great terrain in that northern section.Overall great trail.

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irishpitbull on August 8, 2011
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Review: Rode this for the 1st time this weekend. It was pretty awesome. Some of the drops are pretty sweet and the climbs are lung burners. I think the serious hills on the map should be moved back a bit, the serious ones are bit further back. The trail is very wide and gives a lot of room either side. There deep sand traps out there, some right as you are bombing down steep hills. Great ride. Gave it 4 because of the sand.

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stillfat on July 17, 2011
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Review: Really fast singletrack with lots of short ups, downs and roots to keep things exciting. Very little sand for a Michigan trail - fine Midwestern riding. Don't be scared, make the trip to Hell.

* Review edited 7/17/2011

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acfair on May 26, 2011
0 out of 1 readers found this useful
 
Review: This trail was the most exciting trail I have been on. I am new to the sport and the climbs were a bit tough for me and I had to get off the bike on a few of them. The down hill and the roots with the drop offs after them were so much fun that if I hadn't been so tired after the loop I would have rode it again. Awesome trail

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milosh_v on January 4, 2011
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Review: Awesome Trail. The best in lower Michigan PERIOD! Great views and challenging climbs. A few places only ridable by more experienced riders but don't let that stop you from experiencing this jem.

Similar Trail: Brighton Rec and Island Lake

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Dyno_Don on July 27, 2010
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Review: Cross Country Skied this in the 70's when it was ranked top 10 in N.America for XC, Mountain biked a few times in the 80's, just started MBING again last month, I do this once a week now, the Crooked Lake Trail is the shorter one, but still very tough (I think there is a shorter one, the Silver Lk trail, but most of it is hiker only), there are many short cuts on all the trails, about 30 miles in all and none easy, lots of lakes to cool off in, well water is available at Blind Lk, Crooked Lk, but better to take your own, nice after a rain, trail drains well and the sand is easier to ride when damp, these trails have everything, climbs, downhill, roots, rocks, sand, gravel, flats, you name it's there, some day I'll make it all the way up the last set of hills at Crooked Lk,,LOL

Similar Trail: Brighton

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MINIC on November 8, 2009
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Review: Perhaps southern Michigan's signature trail. Some tough climbs especially near the end there is one good long one. lots of quick downhills too. The trail is well marked and is not without many roots and rocks.

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singletrakkiller on September 6, 2009
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Review: just got done riding it for the first time and IT WAS FUN some huge up hills and a lot of fast down hills

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RoadWarrior on July 12, 2009
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Review: 18 miles of mostly wide to narrow single-track, with numerous options to create a shorter ride. Parts of the trail are almost 50 yrs old so has developed some interesting root drop sections. Would not consider this an expert trail, but numerous, and sudden series of 2 foot root drops into deep sand will keep you awake. Overall a very fun trail, heavily used by bikers, hikers, and trail runners.(bikes ride clockwise, hikers counter-clockwise). Very Scenic

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kpbk09 on April 7, 2009
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Review: Frequenters of the "poto" consider it to be a expert trail. In all actuality it depends how you ride it. This is the first trail i ever rode and it continues to be an old standard that will never let me down. The trail in full is an 18 mile loop but there is a shortcut that cuts almost 2 miles out. The climbs are good, the descents are better. Very well maintained trail threw the beautiful country side of southeastern Michigan.

* Review edited 4/7/2009

Similar Trail: Torn Shirt

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skeeve on June 27, 2008
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Review: I live in Pinckney, so the Poto is the obvious choice for me, even though I am a beginner who just picked up his first decent MTB :) The trail is certainly a lot of fun. For the beginner, there are 3 or 4 steep climbs you'll end up pushing the bike ;) The work powering up the climbs is immediately rewarded by fun downhill sections.

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DjSmooth on April 13, 2008
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Review: The Poto trail is one of the best in southern Michigan, no doubt. It has great terrain, decent scenery, and is easily navigable. There are lots of roots, but that makes you better at picking good lines.

Similar Trail: Poto reminds me of the North Country Trail around Baldwin, MI.

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skiboarder119 on October 10, 2007
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Review: Gave it 5 stars because its decently difficult, and there are many miles of trail. A very good trail for practicing your avoidance of obstacles (mainly large roots) up and down hills. Surprisingly there are a few decent climbs as well.

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Jeremiah_Hoeflich on August 16, 2007
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Review: Very fun trail. Can be very challenging at times but that is probably because it was the first trail i rode... 4 hours and 20 miles later (got lost) i had an idea of what singletrack was about... Even though i got lost it is very well marked and a great ride!

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tstmarie on July 10, 2007
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Review: Great trail with great scenery. Well maintained and has satisfactory trail markings (though they could be better). It is definitely one of the better trails I have been on. The only downside is it costs about $6 to enter the park.

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Armin on October 23, 2006
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Review: My brother Marcel who won the Swiss Bike Masters 2 times and was third in the Vail Worlds loved this trail. It is definitly one of my favorites in Michigan.

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davebab on July 6, 2006
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Review: This trail is a good ride, but its a longer one. A lot of short, steep climbs. The trail could stand to be a little better marked, too.

Similar Trail: None come to mind, although I haven't been to them all in Michigan yet.

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Guest on January 28, 2004
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Review: This is some of the best singletrack in the country! Ditto to what the other guys have said, plus lots of roots. Also, for a great all day Saturday trip: start from Ann Arbor, bring some snacks and a frisbee, and head north on your bike. Once you get there ride the small loop a couple of times, chill and toss the 'bee, then ride the medium loop before riding home. You will have close to 50 miles on the odometer, but the day will be well worth the tired Sunday.

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Guest on December 31, 1969
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Review: I used to ride this trail quite often 1999 - 2001. It is a favorite and offers a diversity of terrain. It starts off in the first 100 yards with a ride up a semi-steep hill with erosion control netting and step-like logs across it. Sand hills/pits, steep ascents/descents, twisty forest single track, off camber turns (turning sharply to the left while the hill slides away to your right), rocks, log jumps, fire roads... A lot of fun for a 1-2 hour ride!



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Potawatomi trail MTB Trail 4.63 out of 5 based on 35 ratings. 35 user reviews.
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Trail Features
 
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Trail Conditions
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