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Loved our hike!

mountain biking
6 days ago

These trails are super fun. Mostly easy climbs, a little technical in sections of single-track switchbacks, and the sand in sections requires some peddling. Beginner or expert, these trails can entertain anybody, except hikers. They are indeed multi-use, but the bikers really out number all others.

Although the trail is beautiful, I'm giving it a low rating for a couple of reasons: 1. the trail blazers are virtually all missing so most of the time you have no idea where the heck you are; 2. the intersection markers/maps are defaced by gunshot and are difficult to impossible to read so again, good luck figuring out where you are; 3. although the trail starts out wide and easy to see, it peters out in places to the point of being difficult to impossible to see...for awhile I'm not sure I was even on the trail anymore. it's a pretty park and it's a darn shame the blazes and trail intersections aren't given a little love. I doubt I'll hike here again

11 days ago

This was a wonderful, well-groomed trail. Just for hikers. Take your big spray! We loved this quick hike!

we brought our bikes. a little hard for my 5 year old... but we did go 3.39 miles! not paved, i think that was what made it the hardest. but so pretty and quiet. gasp... bugs, there were bugs outside. we survived, did not donate to much blood to the suckers. will for sure be back!

Nice day for a hike. Trails were nice and dry after the heavy rain we had the other night.

21 days ago

I love this park. The fox trail is my favorite. Very quiet, a lot of inclines.

hiking
21 days ago

I’ve missed this trail on previous visits. It’s overshadowed by the paved hike/bike trail. But it’s a hidden gem! Perfect length for me but several shortcuts can make the trail longer or shorter. Quiet and well groomed. Very easy to navigate. There are informational signs and plenty of places to rest. There weren’t a lot of bugs. Wildflower meadows make butterflies abundant.

hiking
22 days ago

Nice hiking trail. Will come back again!

Pontiac lake mtb trail was great to run. I'll definitely be back.

A pretty easy out and back hike. Part of the trail is a shared equestrian trail so you have to watch where you step. There's a nice scenic overlook above Pontiac Lake. The park abuts Oakland County Intl Airport so you still hear a lot of air traffic here...just no getting away from it. other than that, a nice little hike that could be followed up by a swim of you're inclined.

Did the Penosha and Kahchin trails a couple days ago. Well marked, get paper maps at the gate. All trails start off the parking lot at Bishop Lake. Very few bugs on the day I went, using a basic low-Deet bugspray. Looks like the previously eroded areas others mentioned have been reinforced with rubber [recycled tires?] gradations to prevent future erosion. Saw a few people on the Penosha nearer to the far parking area, but otherwise it was quiet. Great hike in a wooded area. There is a paved half-loop around Bishop Lake that was very scenic. Swimming area at the lake if you plan to cool off afterwards.

Good hike! A lot of sites to see, also a nice lake in the area. Will visit again!

FYI, River Bends park connects to Clinton River Heritage Park on Van Dyke.
AFTER you pass Jimmy Johns Field, cross the street (Auburn Rd), stay on trail and go down under 59, then cross Clinton River, go down Davis Street two blocks then turn left on Nichols. From Nichols you’ll pickup trail in Clinton River Heritage Park located on Van Dyke just south of M59.
From Clinton River Heritage Park the trail continues on to Clinton River Park and then to Dodge Park. Stay on the trail along the Clinton River when in doubt, especially in Dodge Park.
There’s a gas station across the street from Dodge Park to eat or refreshments if needed however we always pack a lunch. Also plenty of clean bathrooms with running water at Dodge Park. Enjoy the ride. I believe the round trip between Dodge and River Bends Parks is less than 15 miles.
Our next excursion will be from Dodge Park (where we always start out) To Paint Creek Trail. Hopefully the trails all connect but will review once completed.

Also, all trails mentioned above are paved

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely loved this. So much wildlife. Awesome sunset, make it a point to see this on a partly cloudy summer night.

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful land but far too many bikes to make for an enjoyable walk with the dogs. have to be on high alert 100% of the time watching for them around tight corners.

Very well marked trail. Decent for all skill types.

I thought it was a nice trail - no major points of interest along the way, but it wasn’t bad. I hiked along the A and part of the B loop (took the cutoff back to A part way through the B section). It took me about about 2 1/2 hours and I think it was somewhere around 6 miles. Definitely bring bug spray, I couldn’t really stop because the bugs would just start to swarm around me if I stopped moving. This is a good trail if you want some distance to get in some exercise. I’m not a mountain biker, but it seems like it would be a pretty smooth trail to ride on.

Great trail! Here for a wedding great way to get some exercise in.

Beautiful park and some good hills on the path. Only 3 stars because of how narrow the path is with so many blind corners, many times we have to very quickly jump into the woods and brush to avoid collision with mountain bikers. We had our dog with us and a few times it was a little hard to get out of the way quickly. Tons of bugs too - lots of mosquitos this time of year we reapplied big spray often. Also, this is listed at 8 something miles, but the full loop is 11 miles.

A challenging hike for this part of Michigan.

Hilly, buggy, and serpentine. Sometimes it felt like the trail went down a quarter mile slope down only to 180 at the trough and go right back up again.

Not much aesthetic or biodiversity as the trail only slithered around a few square miles of forest.

After a 6 hour hike, we walked out with 6 or 7 lbs of summer chanterelles. Pretty cool. I’ll go back in the fall to avoid the bugs.

Beautiful dragonfly and butterfly action this morning! Although it rained all day yesterday, the trail wasn’t a mess- which was great!

on Woodland Trail

hiking
1 month ago

So many bugs that follow and surround you all throughout the trail that it ruins the experience. If you do head out, do NOT forget bug spray.

hiking
1 month ago

It was a great hike even on a warm summer afternoon. Very few mosquitos right now. The trail is not very wide and there are lots of mountain bikers, so hikers be alert. There is the occasional low hanging branch, but other than that, the trail is well maintained.

I did the A loop on foot last weekend and really loved it. It's made up in a small area so typically you would be circling in the same area with pretty much the same views throughout which was a little disappointing especially because i like my trails to have a view at the end. Loop A was 3.8miles plus a 0.1mile from the parking lot so typically you would be doing a good 4 miles.
I agree with the advice of taking precautions for bugs and mosquitoes but that's everywhere.
If you are looking for a good weekend workout within an hour of Detroit this is the place to go!

A few heads up:
(1) you need a park recreation passport or you’re gonna end up paying $9 bucks for a day pass. You can buy a passport there if you’re a Michigander (it’s more expensive than if you buy it from the state directly though)
(2) Bring bugspray and some good hiking boots or an old pair of sneakers. There’s a lot of small ponds which make the trails quite swampy in a lot of parts so prepare to get muddy. And prepare to be best friends with every insect the woods are homes for. At one point I got so desperate, I broke off a branch and swung it around my head just to keep them from circling me. Yes I tried running too, but they were EVERYWHERE.

(3) As to the difficulty of the trails, the actual terrain I didn’t find challenging. What makes Highland formidable is the labyrinthine nature of the place. BE SURE TO GET A MAP AT THE PARK ENTRANCE.

Park near the Haven Hill/ Ed (?) barn if you want to start hiking at the blue, green, and red trailhead. If you park near the entrance, you’ve gotta walk about a mile or so before you reach it.
If you do park near the entrance, once you reach the intersection where the barn is, you’ll walk past the barn and see a couple toilet “vaults” before you hit the true trailhead.

(3b) The number-markers can be confusing are not always chronological, so keep an eye on your map.


(4) Perhaps most importantly, if you plan on hiking one of the red, blue, or green trails—especially if you’re coming from the park entrance—be sure you’ve got AT LEAST 32 oz of water on you. It’s a LONG ass trail. And if you get lost, as I did, you’ll start feeling like Tom Hanks in Castaway after an hour or two.

(5) Lastly, I’d give yourself five hours if you’re an average Joe going for the green trail—maybe even the blue trail. If you’re a newbie, you’ll likely need the time to get lost, swear, and turn around multiple times.

Overall, it’s a decent spot. I give it three stars because of the navigation difficulty and, well, because it’s not really all that beautiful. The marshes and bugs really took away most. The “scenic lookouts” aren’t really lookouts or scenes, they kind of make a fart noise in your head once you reach the top.

BUT (no pun intended) if you’re looking for a place to be truly ALONE in nature for a couple hours, this is a good spot. I didn’t see anyone on the blue, red, or green trails while I was out.

Also, I’ll give Highland props for the bathrooms available along the trails. They have a decent amount to compensate for the lengthy hikes.

Hope this helps! Happy Hiking!

KB

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful!

Probably the best hike I have done within an hour of Detroit. Fairly hilly with good trails and direction.

I only hiked trails A and B with my dog and we finished in about 2 1/2 hours with multiple stops. The backside of B was really muddy so I wish I just want back the way I came but it is early in the summer. There was a ton of bugs and spider webs, so prepare accordingly. Also, there was a crap ton of horse poop (pun intended). Would have been nice to not see so much of that.

Overall it is a really good hike, not necessarily “hard” but probably more difficult than moderate.

hiking
2 months ago

Well maintained, absolutely gorgeous! We hike these trails every week all year long. Great workout.

birding
2 months ago

Fantastic trail for birding. Bring bird seed and the chickadees and titmice are likely to eat out of your hand.

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