Potawatomi trail

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24
miles

Intermediate

Singletrack
↑ 3,700 ft
↓ 3,900 ft
928
elevation (ft)
11
avg mph
178
ridden
92
wishlist
1:57
avg time

Loop
AVERAGE RATING
*****
4.65 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
 
on Dec 7, 2014
on Nov 9, 2014
on Oct 21, 2014
on Oct 13, 2014
on Aug 17, 2014
 
Rghjr7806 on December 28, 2014
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
 
Review: This trail is an absolute blast. It is very old, meaning it is relatively wide, deep, and eroded. Many of the hills have been reinforced, and much of the trail has gnarly roots that make up most of the technical features. On many of the down hills, the roots have created tall stairs which are a blast to hop down. The scenery is nice and there are many lakes to jump in if you get hot. The sandy nature of the trails creates a few slow spots, but the sand is the reason the area dries out so quickly after it rains. This is a highly coveted feature to those of us who are stuck with Ohio's clay. The Poto is definitely hilly in comparison to most trails in the Great Lakes area. This along with the fantastic flow give the trail an amazing, rollercoaster-type effect. Some have commented that the climbs are challenging, and I'm sure they are for the area. Still, I find it easier to ride the Poto twice than ride Mohican in Ohio once. All things being equal, I find this to be the most enjoyable trail I've ridden outside of the rocky mountains.

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steevo on December 28, 2014
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Rode this trail for the first time yesterday after a morning rain. The trail was muddy at places but not as much as I thought it would be, the trail has good drainage. There are quite a few hills on this trail and it's the toughest trail I've ridden so far, but it's equally as fun as it is hard. I'm on a single speed so I couldn't drive up quite a few hills, there were some big ones. There are some really long and fast descents after most of the ascents. Watch out for rooty dropouts on some of the descents. There are also some nice rock gardens towards the beginning and end portions of the trail. I had a good endo while riding over a rock garden during the beginning of the trail. There are different trails within the same trail system, the silver lake trail, the crooked lake trail and the Potawatami trail. The stations/markers are nicely configured, they tell you where you are, where the next intesection is and show a map to further illustrate it. I wanted to just stay on the Potawatami trail and during the beginning of the trail there were newer markers marking the Potawatami trail but further down the trail these seem to get further and further apart. I wish there were more of these. I got confused around Gosling lake where the trail turns into a two track for vehicles to get to a boat launch. Just follow the two track until you cross Patterson lake road where the trail continues. You have to cross a few roads to continue the Potawatami trail. I think 7 in all which were a combination of paved two way roads and unpaved two tracks. I also got a little confused at station 9 where I believe Crooked lake trail combines with Potawatami trail for the end leg of the trail. I noticed the signs no longer said Poto but only Crooked at this point but it worked out and took me back to the beach or station 1 which is where the parking lots are for the beach, not too far from where I parked at the trail head for the Potowatami trail which is at station 7. Overall a very nice challenging quite long trail, my odometer said around 19 miles in all.

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Brook Hanes on October 14, 2014
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: very fun, its a long ride so bring a drink

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Sethocaster on December 31, 2011
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 1 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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 4.65 out of 5 based on 37 ratings. 37 user reviews.
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Trail Features
 
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
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