Potawatomi trail

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SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
*****
4.65 out of 5
View Topo Map

Intermediate
24
miles

Singletrack
↑ 3,700 ft
↓ 3,900 ft
928
elevation (ft)

Loop
Trail Description
About this trail
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).
added by Guest December 31, 2002
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
 
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Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Pontiac Lake
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (39 total check-ins)
  Alec Linton   on Jun 6, 2015
  oakess   on May 27, 2015
  Alec Linton   on May 24, 2015
  lando303   on May 22, 2015
  Mateo Juez   on May 16, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (29)
Trail Photos & Videos (29)
 
Reviews (43)
 


July 6, 2015
 
Review: This is a 5 star trail. 17 mile loop with some really good flow. I would rate this as between intermediate and black diamond due to some technical climbing, but more importantly, all the downhill drops that need to be managed. Nothing was truly sketchy enough to make it a black diamond, so even some riders with less experience could handle this trail, though they may need to walk a few parts (both up and down).

Hills here were nothing like what I have in Western PA, but what they lacked in length, they made up in steepness as well as technicality with some large roots to get over.

Overall this was a good challenge and I hope to ride here again as I am back in the area. This will be a destination for me.

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June 23, 2015
 
Review: Rode the entire Poto today for the first time. Great ride. As a XC ride I would give it 5 stars. It has good length and very nice flow. There is nothing very big here or very techy, but it is still a very fun ride. The faster you ride it, the better the flow. It is pretty much a constant little rollercoaster. All in all, a nice ride.
Also, I was very impressed with the condition of the trail. The area got some big rain the day before, and that was after many big rains for some time now. But the trail was just fine.
Also it is worth noting for first time riders that the trail is very well marked. Make sure you get a trail map at the pay station as you enter the recreation area. The map is helpful. The "trick" to navigating the trail is to ride from numbered intersection to numbered intersection. Both are well-marked on the ground and on the map. Not all intersections are marked, but if you take note of the numbered intersections as you go, you should be fine. Plus, you cross a few paved roads and dirt roads which are also shown on the map. So all in all it is very easy to navigate this trail. There is only one or two places where it is not immediately clear where to go. But it just takes a moment and you will find a marker and find yourself on course.

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June 19, 2015
 
Review: I finally got to ride the Poto today. I didn't get to ride as much as I would have like, but I had a blast on the portions that I did ride. I think many of the descriptions in the reviews are quite accurate.
I thought the trail was a blast with good flow and rollercoaster effect. Most of the curves were not so tight as to reduce your speed much. This made the trail a lot of fun.
Though the trail is older, I thought it seemed to be wearing well. I loved how you could ride up on the small sides of the trail on many curves. It felt like it was built with small berms in many places. I also loved all the roots, rocks and little drops. Of what I have seen, the trail has aged gracefully and has a lot of character. Can't wait to do the entire trail. If the weather holds out, I might do the entire trail early next week.

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May 21, 2015
 
Review: roots, banks, bugs, rocks, campsites, hills, bloody hills!

a fun trail (I skipped the outermost loop, short on time) that will make you work for it. there's a bit of longer uphill and downhill sections. lots of erosion, it is an old trail. I wish I'd brought a bug mask the mosquitoes were so thick. I wouldn't call it an advanced trail, but you gotta work your ass off to ride it.

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April 13, 2015
 
Review: This is one of my favorite trails in the Midwest. I grew up just outside of the park and have ridden it many times, to the point where I know almost every turn on the 19 mile loop. I think it's a great trail: flowing in spots, a little technical in spots, some rocks and roots, but all in all just a fast ride through some nice Michigan forest.

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April 6, 2015
 
Review: Washed out but making a comeback! This trail has seen better times but the 3rd quarter of the trail has seen some awesome renovation, where you can see the old trail when down or even up the fall line?!?!

Similar Trail: Highlands

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December 28, 2014
 
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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December 28, 2014
 
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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October 14, 2014
 
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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September 18, 2014
 
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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Potawatomi trail MTB Trail 4.65 out of 5 based on 43 ratings. 43 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
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