Stretching 26 miles through central Michigan, the Lakelands Trail State Park rail-trail has two personalities: rural and suburban. Twenty miles of soft limestone surface from Stockbridge to Pinckney offer a pastoral backdrop, and 6 miles of smooth asphalt carry you through rapidly growing Hamburg Township. The trail is an easy drive from the major population centers of Detroit, Lansing, Jackson and Ann Arbor, which contributes to its popularity.
Heading east from the Stockbridge trailhead amid working farms, wide open fields and woods, you will understand why equestrians feel right at home on this trail. A diverse collection of wildflowers and butterflies flourish here, too. The small town of Gregory, followed by the equally quaint Pinckney, add charm to this quiet agricultural area and are good stopping points to enjoy lunch or ice cream or to stock up on supplies.
Mountain bikers and walkers have a seamless transition to the trail's paved 6-mile section, where they join skinny tires and strollers to continue through the swiftly developing suburb of Hamburg Township. The woods grow thicker and frequently arch into a canopy, as the trail meanders to Zukey Lake, a popular destination for swimming, boating and fishing. Trail traffic increases when you head east, but the corridor remains a peaceful getaway.
Just before reaching Pettysville Road at mile 15.5, there is a tunnel under State Route 36, transporting you safely under the road. At that point there is a large trailhead. A little farther along, the trail skirts along behind shops, restaurants and snack stops in Hamburg Township. There are plans to expand the Lakelands Trail another 16 miles to Jackson, where it would link into Jackson's urban pathway system and provide a journey from sweeping rural vistas to urban conveniences.
Parking and Trail Access
To access the Stockbridge trailhead, take State Route M-106/M-52 south through Stockbridge, crossing Main Street in downtown Stockbridge. After crossing Main Street, the trail is approximately 0.5 mile ahread on the left.
To access the eastern trailhead, take Interstate 23 to Exit 54. Head west on State Route M-36/Nine Mile Road. Turn left to head south on Merrill Road. The trailhead at Manly W Bennett Memorial Park is on the left.