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Potawatomi Trail



16.9 mile 27.2 kilometer loop
100% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,208' 368 m
Descent: -1,209' -369 m
High: 997' 304 m
Low: 880' 268 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)


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Trail shared by Dave Jansen

THE destination for southeastern Michigan mountain biking.

Dave Jansen

Electric Mountain Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

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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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background


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Apr 27, 2020
Phillippe Bruce
Challenging and a little tricky with the trail markings. 15.5mi
Apr 27, 2020
Billy Ross
15.5mi — 2h 12m
Oct 18, 2019
Brent Sandberg
Oct 5, 2019
Jody Atzmon
18.3mi — 3h 06m
Sep 24, 2019
Jason Folt
Aug 14, 2019
David Schwab
Aug 7, 2019
Jim Lee
Trail dry in nearly all places and generally good shape. 16.9mi — 2h 00m
Aug 3, 2019
Eric Boarman

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 107 votes


  4.5 from 107 votes
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in Michigan


1,334 Views Last Month
47,502 Since Dec 23, 2013



riding "the Poto," or the Potawatomi Trail
Nov 15, 2015 near Pinckney, MI
Bridge near Hi-Land Lake
Dec 23, 2013 near Pinckney, MI
Honzo loves Poto!
Dec 17, 2015 near Pinckney, MI
Ride the Poto.
Apr 30, 2016 near Pinckney, MI
Back Section - Potawatomi Trail.
Apr 30, 2016 near Pinckney, MI
Riding the Potawatomi Trail, and hitting "the Money Shot".
Nov 15, 2015 near Pinckney, MI

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