Best Places to Bike: Southeast Michigan

As Michigan sees warmer weather, Jeff and I have dusted off our bikes and hit the road.  I’ve also had friends ask me for any recommendations on places to bike in Southeast Michigan.  

I complied this list and I’d love any input on other great locations in the comments section! 

Southeast Michigan is a great place for cyclists.  There’s several beautiful metroparks for the avid road cyclists who want a break from heavy road traffic. We’ve got miles of limestone rail-converted trails dedicated to mountain bikes and runners.  There are also State Parks that offer tree lined bike paths for casual weekend riders.  A great guide to Michigan’s trails is Michigan Trails.

Metroparks (I’ve only listed the ones I’ve tried, click here for a complete list):

Stony Creek, Rochester

  • 6.2 miles
  • nice hiking/snowshoe path
  • kayaking/SUP in the centralized lake
  • close to Paint Treek Trail, and local cider mills!  It’s hard to pass up cider and cinnamon donuts after a Fall bike ride…

Kensington, South Lyon

  • 9.5 miles
  • nearby golf course
  • beach, water park, petting zoo
  • 8 mile running track, open to cross country skiing in the Winter
  • Nature Center, nature path (excellent for Winter snowshoeing), great bird watching

Lake St. Clair, Clinton Twp

  • watch fishing boats, speed boats and yachts pass by this Metropark on the lake
  • lake-view bike path along the perimeter of the park
  • perfect for rollerblading and picnics 

Please note that there is an annual fee of $35. That allows entrance into any of the metroparks. 

State Parks:

Island Lake, Novi/South Lyon

  • easier mountain biking trails, various terrain 
  • paved bike/running path that connects with Kensington Metropark (you can park at Island Lake to avoid the entrance fee)

Maybury, Northville

  • excellent technical mountain biking paths
  • easy, paved bike paths
  • scenic fishing pond
  • interesting historic site markers about the Park’s history as a Sanitorium

Belle Isle, Detroit

  • Perhaps my favorite park (I was even married at the Anna Scripts Conservatory!).  There is an 8 mile long parkway around the perimeter of the Island.  The path overlooks the Conservatory, the Aquarium (the oldest in America’s history), a Nature Center/petting zoo, the Detroit Yacht Club, Canada, and the skyline of Detroit.  
  • great place for picnics
  • home to the Grand Pris
  • relatively small crowds of people  

Brighton, Brighton

  • great hiking trails
  • technical mountain bike path
  • camping
  • the place I first (and last) ran on a frozen lake!

Bald Mountain, Plymouth

  • technical mountain bike paths
  • hiking paths

Pinkney Recreation Area, Pinckney

  • several trail distances
  • trail running paths
  • technical mountain biking 

Gallup Park, Ann Arbor

    Popular Rail Trails:

    Clinton River Trail, Oakland County, 16 miles

    Paint Creek Trail, Oakland County, 8.9 miles

    • runs from Lake Orion to the Clinton River in Rochester
    • Michigan’s first Rail Trail

    Huron River Greenway Trail and Border-to-Border, Washtenaw County, 19.7 miles

    Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit, 1.8 miles

    • traffic-free path connects the Detroit RiverWalk with Eastern Market

    Detroit RiverWalk, Detroit, 3.5 miles

    • Pedestrian friendly path along the Detroit River
    • Bike repair shops and tours featured along the path

    Also, look into your local area public bike rides.  The City of Oak Park has a group ride on Tuesdays.  They meet at the Oak Park Public Library.  It’s a great way to meet neighbors and fellow cyclists! 

    Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to add any suggestions for places that I’ve missed in the comments section! Thanks! 


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