Explore Michigan Lower - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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The trail is OK but when you get to the end of it you have to turn around and walk back on the exact same trail it dies not exactly loop to the same place. You are also walking fairly close to people‘s backyards and lose the feeling of being out in the woods.

Great trail in an urban setting. Some elevation changes. Nice wetlands and a small lake. Many alternative routes winding through a biological preserve.

Great trail! Definetly challenging. Hilly, Muddy, Rocky and lots of tree roots. Keeps you on your toes. We loved every mile.

on Crooked Lake Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail. It was even dry considering all the rain we have had lately. All of the bikers I encountered were going their posted direction, so there wasn’t any surprises. Definitely going back.

hiking
1 month ago

Went during late fall and the trees are absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The rugged trial (9) is more just a lot of hills, so it’s definitely not a terribly hard hike, but it’s very peaceful and relaxing. There’s quite a bit to explore there as well.

great trail. watch out for the bikers

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, as always; woods have the full, golden fall glow. Probably have another week of great color, two weeks might be pushing it. Didn't do the full Chain of Lakes, more of a Crooked Chain - did a side bit on the Poto west of Crooked Lake looking, unsuccessfully, for some mushrooms I saw last year, and another side bit on the Poto south of Pickerel Lake to get the great views across it. Pictures are geo tagged on my track, more and higher resolution at https://johnmetzler.smugmug.com/Parks/Pinckney-State-Recreation-Area/PSRA-Chain-o-Lakes-trail-portions-on-Crooked-Silver-and-Poto/

trail running
1 month ago

I have ran the trail a couple times and really enjoy it, the most difficult trail you will find in southeastern Michigan. Mountain bikes travel in the opposite direction, so you have to keep your eye out for them. I try to get out there early, but still come across a dozen bikers on the weekend.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved hiking here! Super pretty views, different level of difficulty with different trails, unlike anything in mid Michigan!

nice walk through the woods and by the river would go again

2 months ago

Awesome short hike, very family friendly.

One of my favorite places to hike, woods, lake, marshes. Lots of birds and wildlife

hiking
2 months ago

it was a beautiful easy hike with alot of flowers and birds. I took my 90 year grandma to do it and she loved it. would definitely recommend.

I did this trail recently on a weekday afternoon with my dog. It was very quiet (we didn't see anyone else on the trail) and it was well-marked and pretty. Would definitely do this one again!

A beautiful hike and well-maintained paths. Lots of different areas through which to hike: pine trees, boardwalks, marshes, hardwoods, etc. Loved it. People and families of all ages were on the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is a gem! Highly recommend recording the hike so you can see where you are on the map. The paths for this particular hike aren't marked well because it intersects with a number of other trails. Also recommend following John Metzler's great review, which talks you through the confusing parts. I was very grateful for his guidance! I will definitely be back! Also, I saw maybe a dozen or so bikers throughout the 8 miles. Every one of them was courteous and considerate. Yes, you need to keep your eyes out for them, but at least on this early fall day, we shared the trail with no issues.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great overnight solo trip. Trails were well marked. Hiked from Portage lake to Pine backcountry campground, about 12 miles on my phone, took 4 hours. unfortunately even though I paid for and reserved a site, they were all full when I arrived. Apparently some people just show up without paying. There was plenty of room to pitch a tent, but it also would have been nice to have my own flat site....
Overall, a great hike. Easily accessible to roads if needed. But you still feel like you’re in the wilderness.

great place to hike. it is one of my favorite places to go to take nature photos. it has a board walk over a marsh that ends up on spicer lk itself. a wetland trail that winds along side the marsh and ends up at the other lk. there are several other trails that go through woods and fieldsgreat place to bird. and has a lot o8 f wildlife and wild flowers

The Hickory Hills part of this hike is a 4-star hike. *However*, the actual Hickory Hills part of the trail is only 1.1 miles long. To get to it from the Discovery Center, you need to hike about 1.7 miles *each way*. So most of this hike is actually an out-and-back, not a loop. Adding the Lake View loop doesn't relieve the boredom - that loop is the ugliest trail near the Discovery Center. I'd recommend you drive to the Waterloo SRA Headquarters parking lot, where the actual Hickory Hills trail head is located, rather than hiking out and back from the Discovery Center parking lot. The out-and-back part, as part of the Waterloo-Pinckney, is a fine trail, just not fine enough to do twice in one morning. The trails were well maintained.

Very challenging. Hilly. You’re sharing the trail with horses so watch where you step. Quite poorly marked and we got lost. But pretty and mostly quiet.

Great trail in SE Michigan. We did part of this trail this past weekend as a two day, one night hike. The bugs were not noticeable during the day. We did need to cover up while hanging out at camp though. Barely anyone on the trail although it was a beautiful weekend. Pines campground doesn't allow fires so we chose to spend our one night at Green Lake. We were pleased with our choice. Definitely want to check out this trail again soon.

This is a great trail. I brought my 9 year old son who’s a 21st century digital boy. Definitely didn’t do the complete 17 miles but with the shortcuts and a few other tricks we made it out and had a great time. Both crooked lake and blind lake campsites are nice. And I loved the water pumps. We still used a sawyer water filter because ya never know. Mosquitos weren’t too bad but that’s probably because haven’t had rain in a week or so. We did have to move aside for about 15 mountain bikers along the way but we could always see them coming. I highly recommend this beautiful trail.

Great hike! I had no idea Hillsdale County had trails like this! I was pleasantly surprised!

Nice trail , well marked. The first 2 miles is thick in the woods not much to see . The last half opens up and gets prettier especially around Pickerel Lake. Nice mix of inclines towards the end .

Easy and beautiful hiking! Nice rolling hills.

Great trail. Considering what we have in southeast Michigan, this trail is a gem. On the Waterloo side, you have rugged trails that are hiking only, filled with good vegetation. That turns into horse trails, so look out for dung. Camped at the pines, which was just fantastic, and then booked it from the pines to blind lake the second day. This was my eighth night I’ve spent at blind lake. It’s a great campsite, with the exception of glampers getting dropped off with acoustic guitars this time. After blind lake, you have a pretty busy mountain biking trail and a short hike out.

Over all, I highly recommend this hike for late spring and all of fall. The insects would be pretty bad in the late summer, and the heat and mugginess make it a little unbearable.

hiking
3 months ago

First hike! Over estimated my ability to get through the dunes with boots on, but I got through it! The lake looked really pretty!

3 months ago

Thank you note to the park rangers who they went of their way to come in and help evacuate one of my friend hiker when she felt sick . I lead hike every weekend almost on this trail. It is one of the most amazing trail in the area .

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