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Potawatomi Trail

 4.5 (91)
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Map Key

16.9 Miles 27.2 Kilometers



1,208' 368 m


-1,209' -369 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (7°)

997' 304 m


880' 268 m


Shared By Dave Jansen



Getting forecast...

THE destination for southeastern Michigan mountain biking.

Dave Jansen

Dogs Leashed

Features -none-

Trail is "one-way," follow signs. Some adjacent trails are closed to bikes.


A good mix of fast and flowy trail to steep, technical climbs, to brain-rattling descents. There are a number of options to make this shorter including the The Shortcut which will eliminate about 3.0 miles.

Need to Know

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).


20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, youll 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 range in distance from 1.9 to 17.5 miles round trip.

The trailhead is at the end of the first parking lot, next to the outhouse. Potawatomi is singletrack from beginning to end. The longest continuous loop is around 17.4 miles long, and includes several steep climbs.

The trail is often rooty, sometimes sandy, and changes constantly from down to uphill. Often your momentum will carry you up part of the next climb.

For first timers, it may be necessary to stop and look at a map, or use the MTB Project mobile app, but the DNR does a good job of marking the trail. A printable map of the trail can be found here.


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Your Check-Ins


Mar 17, 2019
Tony Fietz
Dec 8, 2018
Mike Burns
Trail is in great shape 18.2mi
Oct 24, 2018
Luis Gonzalez
Sep 9, 2018
Christian Clark
Aug 11, 2018
Jeremy Sorrell
Sand is dry and brutal!!! Great ride 18.3mi
Aug 9, 2018
Joel Mathewson
Aug 7, 2018
Justin Kretzmann
Aug 5, 2018
Steve Haupt
lots of work and very enjoyable. had to utilize the shortcut after I hit a wall earlier than expected. 14.2mi

Stewarded By

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 91 votes


  4.5 from 91 votes
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in Michigan


466 Views Last Month
37,922 Since Dec 23, 2013
Intermediate Intermediate

Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
Finally did first full lap of Potawatomi Trail on Monday. I will need practice to have some momentum to get up the many climbs .. better... all in a swift 2 hours 40 minutes. Aug 4, 2015
Eric Nelson
Redford, Michigan
Eric Nelson   Redford, Michigan
Did the shortened loop by taking the cutoff at post 11. My Garmin said total was 13.9 miles and just under 1500' elevation. I think the total is closer to 18 miles, not 16.9, for the whole loop and 2000' of elevation. Most of the trail was very hard packed and bone dry. No water at all. Took just over 1:30 to do the 13.9 miles. Jun 13, 2016
Pretty solid trail with lots of nice sights. There is a fair bit of uphill and downhill. I'd recommend conditioning yourself for all the uphill a bit before tackling this trail. Not many tight turns compared to other nearby trails. The downhill sections can get a little hairy at higher speeds so double check your brakes before considering this trail! Aug 27, 2017

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