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Pinckney State Recreation Area Trails

One of the major attractions of Pinckney State Recreation Area is its extensive trail network.  Although there are parking areas scattered around the entire park, the main trailhead area is located at Silver Lake.

Like many of the parks in this part of the state, Pinckney State Recreation Area is built on land that, previously, was used for other things.  Along the trails, you’ll find ruins of a couple former houses, including one with an intact root cellar, plenty of pieces of fences, and maybe, if you look off to the side of the trail, even the remains of a small dam.

Near the center of the park, you may notice that suddenly, without apparent reason, all the big trees were knocked over and now the area is covered in fallen trees and brush.  In the 70’s, a tornado blew through the park, creating this devastation.  Other than clearing the trails through the area, the woods have been left as they were.  Be sure to take a look around as you walk through, as this may be the only chance you get to see nature recovering from a tornado without interference.

  • Losee Lake Trail:  5.3 km (3.3 miles) of hiking trail (foot-traffic only) on one of the more level parts of the park.  Not up for the full distance, there’s a couple cross-over trails in the loop, so you can go only as far as you want.
  • Silver Lake Trail:3 km (1.9 miles) of hiking trail leaving from the end of the Silver Lake beach, and returning to the same point.  The first part of the trail is foot-traffic only with the remainder shared with mountain bikes.  The second easiest trail in the park, you begin and end walking along the shore of Silver Lake, and   walk to Pickeral Lake before returning via the ruins to your starting point.
  • Crooked Lake Trail: 8.2 km (5.1 miles) of hiking trail covering much of the southern part of the park.  You can easily extend this trail by adding extra loops in the north or south end.  Most of the trail is shared with mountain bikes.
  • Potawatomi Trail: 28 km (17.5 miles) of shared hiking and mountain biking trails.  This trail is generally considered to be one of the best (and toughest) mountain bike trails in the area.  Not up to quite that long of a trip?  That’s ok.  Check out the map and you can go anywhere from just a few kilometers up to the full distance.  Most people do skip the northern loop, cutting across the trail called “shortcut”.
  • Waterloo-Pinckney Trail:  56 km (35 miles) of hiking trail with one end at Silver Lake and the other end in Waterloo State Recreation Area. The first few kilometers, until the trail leaves the Potawatomi Trail, allows bikes, but only foot traffic is allowed on the rest of the trail.  The Waterloo-Pinckney Trail is the only true backpacking trail in southern Michigan.  Terrain varies from relatively flat to steep hills, but the trail is generally well-marked and well-maintained.
  • Equestrian Trails: 12.8 km (8 miles) of trail network in a mix of level and very hilly terrain.This is the only part of the park where horses are allowed.  Hikers are also allowed in this area, but no mountain bikes or motorized vehicles.  It’s also a popular area for cross-country skiing in the winter, with few horses out on the trails at that time of year.  Horse rental is available.

Return to the main park page.

This page is just a part of the Pinckney State Recreation Area app.

1 Comment »

  1. […] I went out on the Potowatami Trail in Pinckney State Recreation Area.  I skipped the south loop of the trail, but my total distance […]

    avatar Pingback by » Are there any real hikes here? Exploration Guides | June 3, 2012 |


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