hiking

forest

views

birding

nature trips

walking

lake

dogs on leash

trail running

wild flowers

Pinckney Recreation Area is a paradise for backpackers, mountain bikers, anglers and other recreation enthusiasts. Pinckney is known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes. Twenty-six miles of multi-use trail with remote campsites afford a backcountry experience.

trail running
11 days ago

Great for a quick run

hiking
21 days ago

Very nice trail. Was dry even though it had just rained earlier in the day. Beautiful and scenic but yet still challenging to anyone looking for a good walk or run.

Muddy after rain.

on Crooked Lake Trail

hiking
2 months 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.

great trail. watch out for the bikers

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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
3 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.

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.

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.

Gorgeous trail. Shared it with lots of cyclists. The stone hearth and stone cellar from the 1800’d were a lovely surprise.

hiking
4 months ago

what a lovely trail!

4 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 .

hiking
4 months ago

Great trails and a ton of fun

I’m not sure what “scenic views” this description is talking about. The trail is well maintained but the vast majority of it is extreme green tunnel, we could barely see 3 feet off trail most of the hike.
There are many marshlands with boardwalks over them, and the trail is quite narrow with a deep depression running along the middle for much of it (which leads me to believe it may have been open to the mountain bikers in the past).
The best part of the trail is near the lakes where it does actually share the way with the bike friendly trails. Finally the forest opens up.
That being said, the trail is beautifully maintained, but if you’re looking to see anything but the 3 feet on either side of you, this isn’t the hike for you.

the trails are a good excersize. but if you camp, there are weird howeling noises at night along the trails for hours. probably dogs? i barely slept, thinking of Bigfoot.

Very nice hike but a lot of bikers....

Very nice trail, nothing too crazy but a great opportunity to get outside and hike around a bit. There is a fee to get in the park.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a nice medium length trail for hiking. Nice forest to travel through and the view of Pickerel Lake is very nice.

Oddly enough there are no good views of Crooked Lake on this trail without walking over to the campground.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice hike, some steep hills to walk up on occasion, but some very nice forest to walk through. I think the bridge by Pickerel Lake is the best view on this trail.

hiking
6 months ago

Nicely shaded and a couple of pretty views.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice hike mostly wooded good trail!

hiking
6 months ago

Completed the full 17+ mile loop a few weeks back. Well marked and the trail was very well-maintained. The campsites partway through were nice to stop at for a water resupply. Would rate the trail as challenging due to the numerous hills, but definitely doable. Some beautiful views along the way, though the mosquitoes made it so that our stops were very limited and short-lived. Would highly recommend, just bring some bug spray with you and be sure to dip your tired feet in the lake afterwards.

backpacking
7 months ago

A friend and I did a modified version of this trail and we found it to be great! Trails were marked well, everything was well maintained, and the campsites were clean and beautiful. I did get some bites from mosquitoes but a little 100% deet kept them at bay. Just don’t stay out past dark! Would definitely recommend!

hiking
7 months ago

Nice trail and well marked.

One of my favorite hikes in the Waterloo-Pinckney system. Blind lake is absolutely beautiful and the campsite you can reserve there provides stunning sunrises on the lake. Stunning in the fall. Just keep an eye out for mountain bikers as the hike travels along part of the Potawatomi Trail.

backpacking
7 months ago

Its not a difficult trail but it is a hard trail, that is VERY BUGGY, there is no relief from the mosquitos, the campsites for backpackers are a little tight but they are nice. Again they are not bug free, and it seems like bug spray is like ringing a dinner bell. The hand pump for water at the campsites is however a great bonus, its ice cold, and no it does not have a funky taste. It is definitely challenging, but a good beginner trail for the hobby if the biters slack off later in the season. The 3 stars are because of the bugs.

backpacking
7 months ago

Good trail for beginners, started at silver lake (marker 1) headed to blind lake camp ground using the shortcut. Camp grounds were nice and clean, but the vault toilet needed a little attention. The addition of having a water pump at site is always great. Finished the loop the next day heading to markers 12, 4, 3, 2, 1. I think the total loop was around 11 miles. All in all great little weekend trip. Mosquitos were the worst I have ever experienced. All staff we ran into were friendly and welcoming.

on Potawatomi Trail

backpacking
7 months ago

Great beginner backpacking route. Our family (kids age 8, 7, 3) completed the short cut version of this trail over Memorial weekend, this was our kid's first time backpacking. We parked at the Silver Lake trailhead and hiked in to Crooked Lake campground for night 1. Used the shortcut to hike to Blind Lake for night 2. Hiked out past the stone fireplace since we were all ready to escape the still, humid air in the thick woods! We crossed paths with many bikers- most were very courteous. The campgrounds were ok- the pit toilets were in serious need of emptying and cleaning as the ammonia was throat burning (I've used pit toilets in many places-these were the worst I've seen). I had to clean up a handful of glass shards from our Blind Lake site before setting up camp. Also, be sure you have reservations for camping- the rangers were active in checking permits at Blind Lake. We watched some unfortunate soul be asked to leave after a long talk with the staff. The trail itself was great! Well maintained and mostly well marked- marker 10 made us stop and think for a minute though! The trail is challenging- but my 3 year old made it (he hiked most of it on his two feet, he freeloaded rides from mom and dad on occasion). I gave this four stars because, gross camp toilets.

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