Island Lake Recreation Area offers an "up north" experience without leaving southeast Michigan. Beaches, cabins, trails, fishing areas and hunting grounds are a few of the year-round attractions. The park also has an organization camp. A canoe livery provides leisurely trips down miles of the scenic Huron River, where canoe campsites are accessible only by river.
In terms of mountain biking, the trails at Island Lake Recreation Area are clearly marked. A large map is posted at the start of the trail. The seven mile loop is generally level and good for most beginners. The five mile loop is rated as intermediate, involves steeper slopes and includes a scenic stretch along the Huron River.
The trails are one-way, closed-loop, singletrack that can be ridden all in one shot or divided between two loops. Terrain is mostly flat through gentle rolling grasslands with some medium length gradual climbs. While weekends are very crowded (50+ cars parked) the trails are almost completely empty during the week (3-5 cars) except for evenings in the fall. More experienced riders will find these trails a great place to spin all out. Some can finish all 13 miles in less than 45 minutes. The yellow trail is more technical, but not overly challenging. The Blue trail is mostly flat with a couple of hills that can catch you off guard. There are some nice downhills and uphills. These trails are a great place to introduce a beginner to the sport of Mountain Biking. Experts will find it mildly entertaining. Good intermediate level trail.
These trails are maintained in part by volunteers of the Michigan Mountain Biking Association (MMBA).
Parking and Trail Access
How to get there from Detroit: Take I-96 west to Kensington Road (exit 151). Exit South onto Kensington Road. Pass the light at Grand River and the park entrance is 1/4 mile on left. Turn right after the entrance booth and proceed to "Trailhead Parking Lot" on right. Follow the road to the parking area.
Good for families
"This is a nice trail, especially for families with young children. It has some uphill and downhill stretches, but they are not taxing. There is a connection through to the trails at Kensington Metro Park."