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Level: Intermediate
Length: 24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,133/1 ft
Total: 440 riders
 

Mountain Biking Potawatomi trail

⚠ Heads up: Trail access may be temporarily restricted due to COVID-19.
*****   Add a review
#303 of 316 mountain bike trails in Michigan
#52 in the world

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. The trail is rather technical with lots of roots and some large hills 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).

Before you go
  • Drinking water
  • No E-bikes permitted
  • Fat biking allowed in winter
  • No Fee required
  • No Lift service
  • No Night riding allowed
  • No Pump track
  • Restrooms
Getting there
15 miles NW of Ann Arbor. From US23, take North Territorial Road west about 10 miles to Dexter-Townhall Road. Turn north for 1.2 miles to Silver Hill Road. Bear left to the parking lot at Silver Lake Beach.
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Potawatomi trail Trail map

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Local Info

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JoelT2855 (Oct 14, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (Oct 13, 2019)
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Potawatomi trail videos

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Rider questions

Q: Is there jumps

Q: Can the 18 mile trail be hiked in a day?
A: Yes you can hike it in a day without much difficulty. I sometimes backpack it in 1-2 days and I have friends who jog it in a few hours.

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Reviews

  • BikerBoy125
    ****

    Fun trail but could be better. This trail is very fun but could use better maintenance.

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  • KRR
    ****

    Solid old school trail with some good climbs and downhills. LOL the review below, it's technical but not dangerous if you can handle your bike. That said not a beginner trail and if you lack technical skills then you may have to hike a bike. I would ride my hardtail here either, FS all the way. It's doable on a HT if you like jarring rides

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  • MarkJohnston
    *

    It was fun at first....
    I started out on this trail having a lot of fun going up and down the small hills towards the beginning, then the big hills came. They were steep and covered in sand rocks and roots then at the bottom there were sharp turns. eventually the inevitable happened, I lots control and flew into a tree then a rock. my bike took a lot of damage and my body did worse. this trail needs to be made more survivable.

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  • Chilly Varblow
    ****

    All around fun trail with some fun technical sections and some easy sections. Awesome descents and difficult climbs add together for a fun trail. It could be much better though, there are some very sandy sections that lots of people crash on and some hills with sharp turns without berms at the bottoms. Also there are lots of hikers who get in the way. this trail is fun but DTE energy trail is defiantly better.

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  • Aaron Robinson
    *****

    Recorded a full ride through of this great trail. You can pretty much sprint through the entire trail without being slowed down too much by sand, tight turns, or highly technical bits, which makes for a great workout. But there are plenty of climbs and fun downhill sections to keep the ride interesting and challenging.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zq3bx4NHII

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  • CaptainFalafel
    *****

    Just an old school XC trail. Some good climbs, and some really fun root drop downhills that can get sketchy if you really sprint into them and try to clear everything ;) i wish there were some legit jumps here though, there are plenty of opportunities when you're cranking downhill at 25mph. Some sections of the trail though are like 10ft wide in places, and it has had problems over the years with people cutting roots, moving rocks, etc. The trails need to be harder, not easier. Anyways, this is just an old school xc trail, nothing special, but a 5 for Lower Peninsula riding for sure.

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  • Zmorey
    *****

    was worth the hour drive.awesome trail, was fun and challenging. although i did find the maps confusing for the last bit of the loop.

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  • ryguy79
    ***

    Good old school midwest XC riding but nothing special and trail seemed pretty blown out in places last time I rode it.

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  • TriBear
    *****

    Great trail! Challenging climbs and exciting downhills. The trailhead sits next to a lake with a beach.

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  • keng1988
    *****

    This trail is fantastic! It's long and has plenty of technical areas along with some crazy climbs. Bring plenty of water and have your camera ready, there's plenty of beautiful areas to take pictures of. Keep a heads up for hikers as I almost took out a couple while flying through some of the down hill areas.

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  • Todd Lovas III
    *****

    To date, the best trail I've ever been on. The full, 24 mile loop of incredibly technical singletrack is not for the faint of heart! However, don't fear. The full 24 mile loop also comes with many, shorter trails you can ride if you're tight on time. I recommend camping and spending multiple days riding.

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  • jcrabtree
    *****

    Arguably the best trail in SE Michigan. Great flow, technical climbs, fast downhills, a few moderately big drops, long distance, and amazing scenery. I recommend riding here at any opportunity you get.

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  • Dlachman
    *****

    brutal trail with some sick sand climbs. Better have your A game on when you ride it.

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  • Joey B
    *****

    Hands down my favorite trail in SE Michigan. Great intermediate trail with a bit of everything, climbs, flow, scenery, and a lake to jump in at the end. Can't beat this trail when it comes to this part of the state.

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  • Charlie Pantera
    *****

    Potow in my opinion is the best trail in the Lower Peninsula, at least in the southern portion. It has a little bit of everything, the climbs are technical and challenging but the downhill sections are very rewarding. There are a few sketchy sections with rocks and roots so if you are a beginner, be careful. I would also recommend a full suspension bike if you have one, Yes people ride rigid bikes there, but it is certainly not as enjoyable. I usually register about 18.5 miles and around 1200 feet of elevation on my Strava Android app. Several bridges with great views!.

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  • Jeff Dockendorff
    ****

    Road the inside 5.5 mile loop 10/27 with a couple 10 year olds. Trail handles water very well as it rained hard the day before. Covered with wet leaves made it tricky, the boys couldn't make it up most hills but for adults they all were rideable. Fun ride, really pretty, nice flow, some roots to make it interesting.

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  • trac
    *****

    challenging trail... 20 t miles with roots tough uphills, fun charging downhills, bridges, flowing at times...a little bit of everything..

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  • l3pride
    ****

    Great length trail, well groomed (except should probably alternate directions), and you get pretty worked with some good sized climbs. Most climbs are moderate with one or two large climbs - the tricky part, however, is that this trail is root filled especially on the climbs and descents which of course make climbs harder and make it hard to carry the speed your would like downhill under control. Multi use trail so you will see hikers, runners, walker, hunters, etc... The trail is very well marked. Huge parking area. And you can go jump in the lake after you finish if you would like. Overall no real obstacles, the thing that makes it difficult and techy is the roots.

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