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Level: Advanced
Length: 16 mi (25.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +909/ -929 ft
Total: 215 riders

Mountain Biking Highland Recreation

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#10 of 317 mountain bike trails in Michigan
#302 in the world

Description: This is the trail everyone wants kept secret. 16.2 total available miles of winding, climbing, narrow singletrack built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Ride the A (3.8 miles) & B loop for 9.7 miles as the basic continuous trail, or add on the C loop (2.7 miles, offshoot of B loop) and / or D loop (3.8 miles, offshoot of A loop) for a total of 16.2 miles. Unlike Poto or Pontiac Lake, you rarely get cooking on this trail. Your time is spent navigating rocks and roots on this narrow singletrack lovers heaven. Plenty of off-camber trail to keep you on your toes, too. Beginners should ride this trail with other experienced riders, it is a challenging ride. The basic A/B loop define the character of this trail, while C loop adds more rock passages. D loop is the most technical with lots of tight, off camber up and down turns, advanced riders only should attempt this loop. If you plan on riding all loops allow at least 2+ hours.

First added by LR3ROVER on Apr 25, 2007. Last updated Oct 18, 2022. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: no
  • Lift service: no
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: no
  • Restrooms: no
  • Fat bike grooming: no
  • E-bikes allowed: no
  • Fee required: no
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
M59 west 10 miles beyond where you turn north for Pontiac Lake. Turn left at Duck Lake Road and travel 1 mile to dirt road (Livingston Road). Turn right and head west until you see the parking area to the right. Trailhead is well marked across the road.
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Highland Recreation Trail map

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CPreston (on Sep 17, 2022)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Oct 13, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near White Lake, Michigan

Advanced | 11 mi
Beginner | 10 mi
| 1 mi
Intermediate | 6 mi

Rider questions

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  • Chilly Varblow

    This trail was a lot of fun to ride with great technical sections. It is definitely one of the hardest trails I have ridden. Plenty of rocky/rooty descents with tight switchbacks. My biggest problem was the lack of speed. The trail can be excruciatingly slow due to how tight it gets at times. It is a good challenge though.

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  • mbt767

    This used to be my favorite trail in lower Michigan. Why keep messing with a good thing? The trail has always been slow with very little opportunity to get up to speed, and it is even slower now. Why add a turn in the middle of one of two straight away's? It's a silly change. Every other year another straight section is carved up. Now the trail has no flow and is a grind.

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  • spoonless

    Pretty technical for the area, which is a plus. Its rarely muddy, but drainage is not great on this trail. Its been getting more and more washed out over the years. Seems like a lot rain water runs down the trail in some sections. Lots of sketchy sandy corners this season. Its technical, but not the fun kind of technical.

    I'd also recommend bringing plenty of tools and a spare tube or two. Some the obstacles show up unexpectedly, hidden by the terrain or around a blind corner. There is only one entry/exit for entire the trail system, meaning its a real pain if you experience a mechanical failure anywhere other than the A loop.

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  • Aaron Robinson

    Rode this trail for the first time today, taking the outer perimeter which included portions of A, B and C. It was a fun, technical ride. In terms of enjoyment I'd rank it as similar to Potawatomi, but the speed is slower and more technical.

    There were no significant obstacles in my opinion until about half way through the perimeter, a little ways into C. There were a couple short sections where I wasn't able to find a line fast enough to blast through without stopping. But probably a second or third ride through would be doable with zero stoppage for the entire ride. I didn't ride D, which is apparently more technical. Next time!

    So, as others have said, you'll have a blast as an intermediate to advanced rider, and beginners will survive with some breaks and maybe some short walks here and there during the hairier bits. I was not exhausted by the end because there weren't huge opportunities to blast through the trail, at least not without some familiarity.

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  • fuzzysb

    Rating is 5 for this area, 3 compared to other area. Conditions yesterday were ideal w just a couple muddy areas. The only gripe is it could flow a bit better. It's difficult to maintain momentum which makes certain sections a chore on a single speed

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  • CaptainFalafel

    Now this is the best trail in the lower peninsula. Techy, backwoods singletrack that will have you crying by the time you hop on D loop. Nicely technical downhill sections that require a high level of bike control to ride fast, and seemingly never ending climbs. This is what MTB is all about. I wish there were more tight singletrack like this in SE Michigan. Whoever built this did a fantastic fucking job.

    Edit: this trail has my favorite downhill sections in SE Michigan and maybe all of the Lower Peninsula(maybe except Marilla to Redbridge in the Manistee National Forest). Seriously, so much more fun than the machine cut downhills found at Big Kame. Put your abilities to the test here and let her rip!

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  • ryguy79

    My fave in southern Michigan. Nicely technical. I wish there were trails like this up in northern Michigan where I live.

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  • JayB119

    Not for beginners and some intermediate riders would not find it fun either. This trail all comes down to what kind of trails you like.

    Super Technical: Both up hill and down hill are super technical: rocks, roots, off camber, etc.
    Speed Freak: I wouldn't recommend this.

    If you like testing yourself physically and mentally this is all for you. Either way, I would recommend ridding with someone that is familiar with the trail. They would be able to show the correct initial line.

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  • GrinchGreenMonster

    This trail is not for the faint of heart. Just when you think your done climbing, you climb some more. Lots of tech, rocks,roots, etc. Definitely one of the more technical trails in Michigan.

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  • Steve H

    Really fun trail. Lots of turns with rocks and roots.

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  • Adhdj

    Awesome trail! You will climb a lot but it's always worth it. Lots of rocks roots and switchbacks to keep you on your toes. Not a beginner trail.

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  • Joey B

    Great trail if you're looking for a technical ride in SE Michigan. I think this is toughest trail in this part of the state, more technical than Poto, Pontiac, Novi, Stony Creek, Brighton, etc. I ride those other courses regularly without much trouble, but this place wears me out. The course description prides itself on "Not having any straight singletrack for more than 20-30 feet", as most of the trail is twisting, dropping, with roots/rocks, all at the same time. If you're intermediate/expert, you'll have a great time. If you're just starting out, I'd certainly warm up elsewhere.

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  • Mitchell Duncan

    Maybe the best trail in SE Michigan, this trail combines short climb blasts, tricky winding descents, and more obstacles than a Chicago deep dish for an exhilarating ride. Demands a high level of line choosing, lots of clever shifting, and skillful cornering to ride this trail well. A technician's dream, for me this is THE trail to ride south of Saginaw.

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  • davdordun

    Wow. What a fun track!, but you better bring your legs and lungs. Some tricky steep climbs that test your legs and handling skills. You get some good return for all the hard work in the form of some really fun and fast downhill runs. I will be back.

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  • needa29er

    I did this for my first time 90 degree weather. This place is a sweat box. The climbs are guarded by switches and tight and narrow new growth which will make you fall. I usually average ariund 9-11 mph on most trails. Here 6mph. I advise you go with someone if your not in great shape. This place will challenge you.

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  • Zinkkk

    These trails are awesome, maybe my favorite in the Midwest. The Flow is AWESOME, the navigation is easy, and the hills give you a good work out. As an advanced ridder I'd definitely recommend it.

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  • Jliberatore

    Best trails I have found near Metro Detroit so far! I rode A loop then A & D the next day.

    A loop was pretty well maintained and a good mix of up and down. Well marked and easy to navigate.

    Originally being a downhiller from NY, I enjoyed D loop. It has lots of rocks and roots. Some good descents as well. The trails keep you on your toes with lots of tight turns and trees. Seemed like there were more leaves on the trail than the other loops. Can't wait to try B & C!

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  • Shawn Bowen

    First time here and me and my sons had a great ride. Can't wait to come back.

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  • Scubaah

    First time on this trail and attacked only A trail to start off. Great ride and perfect for my intermediate level of ability and conditioning. So far my favorite trail is SE Michigan!!. Unlike Pontiac Lake, you have many options of intensity and distance of your ride from 40 min to I'm sure over 2 hours. Will be back again and again...and again :-)

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  • Hugh_McHuh?

    Rode this trail for first time, after not riding for 2-years... it just tore me up from where my fitness is to where it needs to be. Went with guys who do it regularly, and they really didn't have a problem.

    So... if you are a solid, technical rider and you like to either climb rock and root, or roll down the same, then this is a solid course. If you are out of shape or haven't gone for a while, may I suggest you run Island Lake or Novi Tree Farm first, then run this once you're tuned up.

    There's some sand to fatigue or wreck you as well, but really not that much. No flat sections to rest, so you rest doing technical downhill stuff, while may or may not be a rest depending on your skill.

    Other... there are places on climbs and descents where trees and rocks really can kill your momentum, which can take some of the fun out of it, but if you are quick and agile enough, I think it can be a fun challenge as well.

    I probably would give a 3.5, but no half ratings. I only rode A-loop, but I guess B is very similar, and D is even more technical.

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