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Potawatomi Trail

Intermediate
 4.5 (42) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A classic SE Michigan loop that makes for a beautiful run.


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Map Key

17.5

Miles

28.1

KM

99%

Runnable

995' 303 m

High

883' 269 m

Low

787' 240 m

Up

783' 239 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

No camping along the trail except at the Blind Lake backpacker campground. Use caution during hunting season even though there are no closure dates or anything like that. The trail just closes whenever the park does (typically between dusk and dawn).

Overview

The Potawatomi Trail is a real classic in Southeast Michigan, one of the longest and oldest loops in the area. A lot of mountain bikers use it, but it is still pedestrian friendly. I'd suggest going counter-clockwise in order to avoid running in the same direction as the bikers.

Runner Notes

This is a great trail run. The rocks and roots are definitely there, but you can avoid these pretty easily.

Description

The trailhead is pretty hard to miss, just before the large parking lot at the Silver Lake swimming access. Once on the trail, you'll immediately ascend a small hill and cross a road. At the first junction, keep left (right takes you along the Silver Lake Trail).

All the other junctions are pretty hard to get confused. The trail is well-marked, with distance markers every quarter mile or so. Use the Trail Run Project mobile app if you're confused. You can also shave off a little less than five miles if you take the Potawatomi Shortcut Trail north of Halfmoon Lake.

It is a very scenic trail with lots of views and variety. It is rolling through glacial hills and moraines, and there are some obvious eskers and erratics throughout the run. There are lots of lakes and some streams as well. All water crossings have wooden bridges across them, so you shouldn't get wet, unless it is a particularly muddy time of year. It makes for a great winter run, too!

Flora & Fauna

Typical recovering Michigan deciduous forest, with maples, oaks and hickories dominating. Some pines as well.

Contacts

Shared By:

Dylan Graves with improvements by Greg Filip

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 42 votes

#172

Overall
  4.5 from 42 votes
5 Star
62%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Michigan

#172

Overall
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21,127 Since May 16, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

A working water pump!
Apr 9, 2017 near Chelsea, MI
Trail through Pinckney State Park
Apr 23, 2019 near Pinckney, MI
One of the wooden path sections.
Apr 9, 2017 near Pinckney, MI
Singletrack through the woods on the Potawatomi Trail.
Apr 9, 2017 near Pinckney, MI
A bridge aids your passage over the water about 8 miles in.
Jun 25, 2017 near Pinckney, MI

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Check-Ins

Jul 27, 2019
Matt Hudson
Dec 2, 2018
Zoie Zimmerman
Fun, beautiful loop. Easy to navigate. 8mi
Sep 7, 2018
Sean Fitzpatrick
20mi — 3h 45m
May 18, 2018
Luke Baltrusch
Apr 28, 2018
Karl Nagengast
Ran counter clockwise and cut off the last 3 miles. 14.2mi
Mar 23, 2018
Robert Hill
17.1mi
Feb 4, 2018
Brian D
About 2" of fresh snow today
Jul 3, 2017
Manikandan Palanisamy