“Bald Mountain North Loop entering from Lake George Rd.”
— Tim Caputo
Bald Mountain State Recreation Area is a 4,637-acre state park located near Lake Orion, Michigan off M-24. It consists of some of the most rugged terrain in southeastern Michigan.
Need to Know
The parking area on Lake George Road is quite limited, but rarely more than half-occupied. There are no restrooms or water fountains, so be prepared to rough it. Also note that the trails are shared with hikers, who are quite respectful to bikers and expect the same treatment in return.
The bike trails here are fairly well maintained by volunteer members of CRAMBA, with a good combination of fast sections and decent climbs followed by some fast downhill sections. There aren't too many twisty turns making this a fast and fun series of trails to ride. The entire ride flows through the woods and around more than 12 small lakes and ponds, very shaded and wooded.
The first third of this loop, up to the Predmore Rd cross-over, is pretty straightforward. There isn't too much up and down and not very many turns so you can go all-out as fast as you can. There is a split in the trail right before Predmore Rd, marker #15, so you want to be sure to turn left toward marker #2 on to the Green Connector
. Be careful crossing this road, and several others along these loops, as they do get occasional automobile traffic.
Once you cross Predmore Rd and then Harmon Rd about a quarter mile later, things start to get tough with flowy twists and challenging rooty and rocky uphill climbs.
After crossing Harmon Rd you can follow the marker signs in numerical order from #2 to #12 back to the Lake George Rd parking lot. Be careful after marker #4 because part of this trail is on a shared gravel road with cars, and you need to look for the bike trail to split from the road onto the singletrack trail on the right, about a quarter mile after you start riding on the road.
If you miss this re-entrance to the trail, then you'll end up in a residential neighborhood! Another tricky part is about a quarter mile past marker #5. There is another split where you either take a slight left or a sharp right turn. Make sure you take a sharp right turn.
These trails do not drain very well and can get quite swampy in the low areas, especially near the lakes and ponds. They usually need a day or two to dry out enough to ride.
This ride is also part of the new Massive group ride (massivefallout.org) held every by fall by CRAMBA that covers all four of the trails in the Rochester area. (Addison Oaks, Bald Mountain Rec, Stony Creek, and Bloomer).
History & Background
Bald Mountain Recreation Area contains two separate mountain bike trails segments in the North and South Units, separated by a few miles of dirt roads. Wider, fast, flowing, and easily accessible, these classic XC MTB trails are a local favorite.