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Potawatomi Trail

MODERATE 242 reviews
#1 of 13 trails in

Potawatomi Trail is a 17.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pinckney, Michigan that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 17.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,207 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bike touring

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Pinckney Recreation Area: (734) 426-4913

19 days ago

don't like the whole designated campsite scene although the spots are nice I did enjoy the hike

hiking
1 month ago

I had a great overnight trip with a couple of friends. Camp sites where maintained and it has a well which is convenient. Also you are able to take short that cuts if down to around 14 miles. Great trail!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked the "southern" part of the trail yesterday (Fri., 10/18/19). Weather was good--sunny and cool. For most of the hike I was alone. Ran into a couple of hikers throughout and some mountain bikers later in the afternoon. Began my hike by Silver Lake and followed signposts 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 4, 5, and 7. My pedometer showed I hiked a total of a little over 11 miles. The trail was challenging with lots of roots, rocks, and some good hills. If you're older like me (I'm 70) I suggest you definitely consider using trekking poles. They really help on those uphills. The trail is in great shape and the scenery was nice. Blind Lake campground was a beautiful place to stop for a rest before the final leg of the hike. Enjoyed it a lot. Looking forward to doing the "northern" loop.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Friday I got on the trail at 1:30 PM from the Silver Lake parking lot and hiked the loop clockwise. I followed the apps path and didn’t take any shortcuts. The app said I had walked 7.5 miles when I arrived at Blind Lake campground. It rained the entire walk. Just a sprinkle or a light rain but wet nonetheless. The walk was a consistent up and down with lots of rocks. No major elevation changes but a lot of small ups and downs. I caught a break and the moment I stepped onto my site it stopped raining. It wouldn’t start raining again until 8:30 PM. This allowed me to set up camp, get a fire started, eat a grilled steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions and tidy camp up before the rain started. I was on site #2 and someone had left behind a full 1/2 grill grate that fit perfectly over the fire pit. I hiked in my tiny backpack grill for nothing :). PLEAS NOTE: The water pump at the campground is out of service. There is a five gallon jug with a pump but that was out of water as well. Fortunately I had brought my water filter and I just used the lake water. The ranger at the station didn’t tell me this when I registered. She must have forgot. Make sure to bring a water filter. It rained a medium rain from 8:30 - 2 AM. I stayed in the tent, reading and sleeping. It was 38F when I got up at 7:30 AM. I followed the apps trail back to Silver Lake parking lot. The app said I had walked 11.3 miles. The trail is in fantastic shape. That 11 mile section is even more constant ups and downs. It was Saturday and I saw about 30 other people (8 bikers, 1 trail runner and approximately 20 hikers). Most were day hikers. There are a lot of access points during the 11 mile stretch where day hikers can access the trail. It was a beautiful day with some sun. It topped out at 45F when I arrived at my car. The section I did on Saturday has a handful of benches and the trail is fantastic. I’d do this trip again.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a perfectly decent, peaceful trail through the woods and some marshes without any big views. I hiked in to Blind Lake Campground on a Tuesday via the shortcut (7 miles) and out on Wednesday morning using the Silver Lake Trail shortcut, the shortest possible path (5.8 miles.) An earlier review said the trail out was 4.5 miles which is not correct according to my GPS. In total I saw 4 hikers and 8 bikers, so it was a very peaceful and quiet experience. There are a few places where the trail is not well marked or the arrows point in a direction that doesn't make sense (especially on the shortcut), so it was helpful to have a picture of the trail map to compare to my phone GPS. Blind Lake Campground is nice, with site #3 having the best view. Some coyotes howling in the middle of the night scared the crap out of me but overall no issues.

hiking
2 months ago

Great conditions. Lots of bikers due to an event but that is to be expected on this trail. Good route if you’re staying at Blind Lake and want a short exit.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice trail! Backpacked in 11 miles and camped at Blind Lake and hiked the remaining 7 miles the next day. A lot of incline on the way out. Enjoyed the scenery, boardwalks over marsh land, and bridges over the lakes. Would definitely do it again!

running
bugs
muddy
3 months ago

loved every minute ❤️

hiking
3 months ago

Nice Michigan trail. If hiking in mid summer, be sure to wear appropriate insect repellent . Terrain was pretty consistent and had good footing.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Good trail all together. Just did all 17.4 today 20190819 for my best friends birthday. The first 12 miles were good but that last few were killer. Not really hard just draining us from the heat and such. Great time though!

hiking
3 months ago

Busy Saturday morning. Lots of traffic. Didn’t even attempt dogs off-leash due to traffic. But it’s a great trail!

hiking
4 months ago

Long one... We did 12.6 miles 1-12 then 4-7 great shade and breeze on a walk warm summer day in July. Definitely the most courteous bikers ever, although a bunch of them. Pereft trail conditions with views and wildlife. Go bathe in this forest!

running
5 months ago

walking
6 months ago

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Not the most scenic trail but decent if you want to get in some miles in a rustic setting. Wooded, fairly flat hiking with no real payoff isn't really my thing, but I know a lot of people enjoy it. Lots of bikers and bugs.

backpacking
7 months ago

I backpacked the Potawatomi (Poto), camping overnight at the beautiful Blind Lake campground on a Wednesday/Thursday hike. The trail was in excellent shape, despite recent heavy rain and it being early spring. There was one large tree down across the trail about 1/2-mile after you cross Doyle Rd (in the biker direction of travel), up at the northernmost part of the trail; if you don't want to lift your bike over it, skip the part north of Doyle and use Doyle as a shortcut. I expect it will be gone in a few days anyway. The section running north past Gosling Lake was a pit - trash and litter strewn everywhere, including dozens of shotgun shells from someone shooting at the Gosling Lake boat launch. Elsewhere, spring ephemerals are in bloom all along the trail. I saw two MTB riders early Weds (I hit the trail at 9:30am), a few more later in the day, maybe three trail runners. Saw several more MTBs go by later while at Blind Lake. Blind Lake is wonderful (vault toilet, but with TP and hand sanitizer), the pump water is tasty. the views excellent. Four of the campsites were eventually occupied, everyone was quiet, all were backpackers. On Thursday morning hike out from Blind Lake back to Silver Lake, saw a couple more trail runners, maybe 5 MTBs. My pictures are geo-tagged on my 4/24/19 track. Higher-resolution versions and quite a few additional shots are at https://johnmetzler.smugmug.com/Parks/Pinckney-State-Recreation-Area/Potawatomi-full-loop-overnight/.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

7 months ago

I was not looking forward to sharing the trail with bikers, but it really wasnt bad. Everyone joyfully respects this great place to explore. 18ml not your thing? There are many loops within this one. Try one, try them all. Really enjoy this whole area. Go Blue!

hiking
8 months ago

Great day for the Hiland Lake loop 6.4 miles, be sure to watch out for mountain bikers. Best to hike in the opposite direction as the bikers helps to see them coming. Some good elevations, highly recommended.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail and perfect time to hike. Took a wrong turn and ended up off the trail so actually hiked 19miles.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike today! Trails are a bit slick but yack tracks help a ton. Hiked with our 19, 22, and 24 year old children as well as our 1 year old golden doodle. Everyone had a great time. Not much traffic today.

Sat Oct 27 2018

great trail. watch out for the bikers

running
Fri Oct 26 2018

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.

Sun Sep 16 2018

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.

Sun Sep 09 2018

Easy and beautiful hiking! Nice rolling hills.

Tue Sep 04 2018

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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