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Paved and mostly flat, the Huron Valley Trail links several suburban communities, parks, and a large recreation area while providing connections to a growing network of trails.
Forming a lowercase y shape, the trail can be divided into three sections—northeast, west, and south—of fairly equal lengths. From the northeast to the south, the trail is flat and passes through wooded areas bordering residential neighborhoods and travels across creeks, past ponds, and along a surface street. The western branch features more hills and ends at the Island Lake State Recreation Area, where it meets the Island Lake Pathway at Kent Lake Beach Road. The trail contains bumpy and potholed pavement in some sections, and some road crossings are gravel.
The trail’s northeastern endpoint begins in Wixom at the edge of Lyon Oaks County Park. Flat, it passes fields of flowers and stands of trees and other foliage and periodically crosses wooden footbridges. Note for all trail users: Among several road crossings in the northeast branch, one requires extra vigilance. After crossing South Hill Road, you’ll head southwest and cross a curved section of Pontiac Trail—a high-speed road. There is a crosswalk but no traffic light. Traffic from the west (to your right) comes around a blind curve just before the crossing. Use extra caution here.
Near the midpoint of the trail in New Hudson, users can choose to continue south toward Dixboro Road or turn right onto a western segment of trail toward the 4,000-acre Island Lake State Recreation Area. Heading west, you’ll pass strip malls and a former industrial park; here the trail surface is rocky and uneven and requires extra care to navigate. The western branch terminates inside the state recreation area at Kent Lake Beach Road, where you can pick up the 4-mile Island Lake Pathway. The popular park also offers canoeing, volleyball courts, picnic shelters, swimming, and cabin rentals.
The southern branch of the y is similar to the northeast branch, featuring wooded areas interspersed with suburban neighborhoods. Entering the city of South Lyon, the Huron Valley Trail overlaps a portion of the South Lyon city trail system. Signage—limited throughout—can be confusing in this area. At 10 Mile Road, the trail parallels Reynoldsweet Street a short distance toward McHattie Park, which has parking, restrooms, and a drinking fountain near the trail’s terminus.
Just before the terminus at Dixboro Road north of Londonderry Drive, users can continue south along another city trail that passes over wetlands and along extended wooden footbridges, through suburban neighborhoods, and past a park containing athletic fields.
To reach the northeast trailhead at Lyon Oaks County Park in Wixom from I-96, take Exit 155 from the west, or Exit 155B from the east, toward New Hudson/Milford, and head north on Milford Road for 0.3 mile. Turn right onto Pontiac Trail, and go 2.7 miles. Turn right at Holtz Drive, go 0.4 mile, and turn at the dead end into the trail parking area.
To reach the western trailhead at the Island Lake State Recreation Area from I-96 heading east, take Exit 151 for Kensington Road, and head south for 0.5 mile. Turn left onto State Pkwy. and go 0.2 mile. State Pkwy. turns slightly right and becomes State Park Road, then Kent Lake Beach Road. Continue onto Kent Lake Beach Road for 1.3 miles to its dead end and a parking lot. Just northwest of the parking lot, look for the short connection to the Island Lake Pathway heading west or the Huron Valley Trail heading east.
To reach McHattie Park in South Lyon from I-96, take Exit 153 toward South Lyon/Kent Lake Road, head south on Kent Lake Road, and go 0.9 mile. Turn right onto Silver Lake Road, go 0.5 mile, and turn left onto Dixboro Road. After 1.9 miles, swing left to continue onto 11 Mile Road for 0.8 mile, and turn right onto N. Lafayette St. Go 1.2 miles, turn right onto W. McHattie St. Go 2 blocks, turn left onto S. Warren St., and look for parking on your left where the street dead-ends. Look for trail access adjacent to the south side of the parking lot.
I included this as part of a long ride from South Lyons City Trail, Huron Valley Trail, Island Lake Pathway, Kensington Metropark trail, and Milford Trail to Milford and back. It works okay as a connector trail. The asphalt is cracked and broken making the ride a bit bumpy if you're on high pressure road tires. Not scenic but at least gets you away from riding on roads. It needs signs. I'd only use it as local transportation - not a destination bike ride for pleasure unless you live locally and want to take the kids for a jaunt or a daily training run. Might be awkward for roller blades.
My wife and i rode this trail yesterday. We parked at McHattie park in South Lyon (a nice trailhead); and rode to Wixom. Overall a lovely trail but some sections could use brush cleared back and repave (uneven bump,bump,bump). We did not go on the grass/gravel combo just before Wixom but followed signage and stayed on paved multi-use section past Lyon Oaks park then on into Wixom. Most of the trail is in a nature setting and as such it makes it a great ride. Plenty of folks taking advantage of this nice trail. We would recommend this ride. We average 20-35 miles on our rides together and when i ride alone i go between 40-80 depending on the time i have. We have hybrid bikes, mine is a Trek 7100 and my wife's is a Schwinn, so we can traverse most surfaces readily.
Beautiful trail that needs a little TLC.
I parked at the high school and picked up the trail at 11 Mile Rd. I took the trail all the way into Wixom and back. For the most part, it is a nice trail. Living on the other end of town, I found it amusing to see 12 Mile Rd. as a two-lane dirt road. (On my end of 12 Mile Rd., it ends at Lake St. Clair.) The trail does have a few rough spots in it, but I have been on far worse.
A few things to note. First, while heading north on the trail, the diversion of the path past Old Plank Road is not marked--it took me a moment to realize I needed to follow the paved path to the right, not the dirt path which continued straight ahead. And while the path is flat for the most part, there is a hilly section alongside the Lyon Oaks County Park. Past that, the trail goes past an industrial/office park, and not many drivers are willing to yield to bicyclists, as I found. (Going later in the day, they are more concerned with getting home rather than following safe driving practices.)
Also confusing is that at the intersection of this trail, and the connector that goes to the Kensington Metropark (right by the viaduct under I-96), there is no signage. If I hadn't known where I was going beforehand, I would probably have passed this connector by.
The crossings, though, can be very dangerous. I did not find the Grand River crossing to be much of a problem, but one other crossing (I believe it was Pontiac Trail) had a limited sight distance around the curve with a lot of traffic exceeding the speed limit. A few of the other crossings also had too much brush blocking views of the traffic (and also blocking the motorists' views of the path). At one crossing, there is a rut between the trail and the gravel road which makes it dangerous if approaching it at any kind of angle.
Overall I give the trail 3.5 star, but rounded up to 4 stars. The dangerous crossings detract from the overall experience, and a bad crossing (like I had, at Pontiac Trail) can ruin the whole ride. Since most drivers in southeast Michigan are extremely bike-hostile, some sort of traffic devices are needed in these areas.
The vast majority of this trail has decent pavement, but there is a very short stretch sometimes called "Garbage Dump Climb" that brings an abrupt encounter with loose-gravel and uneven pavement. Take great care in that area, slow down and proceed with caution. Just knowing about it is 9/10ths the means to prevent a crash; therefore, I made a short video documenting the conditions of that part of the trail -- may you fare better than I did! :S
Be forewarned and be safe!
i walked this for the first time yesterday from New Hudson to Wixom. very nice and very flat. paved....
i have walked from South Lyon to New Hudson before, but seperate trips.
im a walker....( not the kind on the Walking Dead, ha ha)...i am training to walk a marathon next spring.
I found the variety of scenery kept me occupied during my walk and the forest and nature was beautiful. I dont listen with headphones to anything, but, im sure some background music or book listening would be nice too.
I walked 7 miles and vered off onto a two-track to break the pavement bordeom. not many people and those i saw were biking.
i have also walked the route at Kennsington and the path to Milford from Kennsington....so now, i just need to connect all of them! this walking route is worth the trip! cant wait to go again..... : )
The trail is paved and quite flat. But I am not using this trail when I pass through this area.
The main reason is that there is no drinking water fountain. The Island Lake/Kensington/Milford trail system, nearby this trail, has many restrooms and water fountains. The surface is not so smooth, too. The trail would be worth for Wixom residents to access these trails.
The most southern point of this trail starts in South Lyon at 8 Mi Rd & Pontiac Trail. The entire trail is paved to Wixom. As you head north, you will pass thru the village of South Lyon. Once you reach the railroad tracks at 10 Mi Rd. (there is a small unpaved parking lot next to the rr tracks here), the distance to downtown Wixom is a very flat 9 miles. When you reach the I-96 underpass near the Walmart and Lowes facilies(which is about 4.5 miles) you will notice an intersecting paved trail on your left that will take you to Island Lake Recreation Area. This trail will take you over the land fill park in Lyon Tnshp and gives you the option of entering Kensington Metro Park. On the north end of Kensington, you now have the option of circling Kent Lake or connecting to the Milford Trail which will take you to downtown Milford. At this point, you can return on the same trail or continue south out of Milford via roadways on either Old Plank Rd, South Hill Rd or Garden Rd. (see a local google map) which are some gravel and some paved. (Garden Rd. is marked with a "Dead End" sign for cars but you can get thru over a creek with a foot bridge to Wixom Rd. if you are riding a bicycle.) All of theses routes will bring you south to intersect with the Huron Valley Trail or Wixom Village(where you can pick up the Huron Valley Tr. at Old Wixom Rd. and Pontiac Tr. once again.) Beginning on the Huron Valley Tr. at 10 Mi Rd. the route I have described here is about 26 miles in distance. As I have mentioned earlier the trail is paved but if you opt to return on some of the roads you will encounter some gravel roads and some hills in the Milford area. This is a very scenic route and there are places to stop for refreshments and rest along the way in Kensington Park, Milford and Wixom. I'm a 67 year old retiree and ride a Giant Escape RX hybrid bike just so you see this is not a difficult ride. Try it as I think you will find it quite an enjoyable ride.
This is a nice trail, and it is a good flat ride for those who don't want to deal with a lot of hills or inclines.
Yesterday was my second time on the trail. This time I went deep into South Lyon before turning around and coming back to Wixom. Not so smooth, but still rideable on Longboard.
Rode the trail from Wixom to South Lyon on longboard with my daughter on her mountain bike. Great trail, level all the way (flat). Only issue is there are some cracks on the path that jars small wheels. Inline and longboarders beware. Other than that it was pleasant and not much traffic. Will ride again soon.
I went under I-96 yesterday (7/26). There were still signs of recent construction, but it was passable. Imagine if this trail and the West Bloomfield Trail could be extended until they connected! There would be trail from South Lyon to Pontiac.
This is a level easy ride with good pavement. Nice scenery. Be aware though, as of April 2012, this trail is closed at the I-96 crossing.
I rode this trail a number of times this summer and it is a very nice ride, Where the trail crosses 10 Mile Road just outside downtown South Lyon is a great place to park. Taking the trail to the split and then the west branch allows you to continue on the Island Lake Rec Area trails and link to the Kensington Metropark trail which then links to the Kensington Milford Trail.
The Huron Valley Rail Trail is perfect for a day trip. The surface is paved from South Lyon to the outskirts of Wixom. This section of the trail is essentially flat as a pancake. The view ranges from suburban to industrial to rural--just about the full gamut of scenery.
The spur loop to Kensington and Island Lake is also paved but unlike the main leg, it has challenging hills. Once inside the parks, there are loops around Kent Lake and the Huron River. FYI, helmets are mandatory in the Metropark but not in the State Park.
Bike/foot traffic wasn't bad, and was only slightly crowded in South Lyon. The loops in Kensington/Island lake tend to get crowded.
The whole ride is 10-35 miles, depending on the route.
September 12, 2010
Parked at Pontiac Trail & Oak Plank Road.
The trail was in good condition, flat & well kept. Scenery was a little of this and a little of that. Love the hodge podge.
The South Lyon trail is at the end, last 2 miles or so.
Off of South Lyon trail is a planked trail turning into asphalt leading you through some small hills and
Back tracking on the Huron trail, you can veer off to New Hudson and Kent Lake which has an 8 mile loop around the lake. Really nice, crowded but what can you expect on a beautiful fall Saturday in Michigan?
Folks were friendly & considerate.
This was a bit of a challenge for us as there were a few "good' hills but something I would like to tackle again.
All & all this equals about a 32.5 mile trip.
I absolutely love this trail. I live in South Lyon, off 11mi and Milford Rd, so I have a variety of choices, for starting points, and directions, depending on what type of ride im desiring. I enjoy the variety of views, from covered canopy to the open areas past businesses and residences. I can ride to Wixom, Island Lake or Kensington. For safety reasons, I am pleased that they put the flashing lights at the Grandriver crossing (in New Hudson). If I need to run to Walmart, for something small. Biking is a good alternative. And that crossing use be a problem sometimes. But, most drivers dont know that they are suppose to stop when the lights are flashing. From and avid bike rider, I say thank you and keep up the good work!!
I ride this trail several times a week. The overall trail is nice and an easy ride. I typically take the trail from Wixom to Kennsington to ride the hills. Such a great workout. The overall condition of the trail is great. The brush is typically cut back so you don't have to manuver around shrub growth. A great trail for all ages.
My wife & I ride this trail all the time. We start at our home in Milford Twp., ride sidewalks through Wixom then onto the trail and into South Lyon, about 25 miles round trip. Beautiful trail that is pretty well maintained. Nice & flat with only one hinky road crossing at Pontiac Trail, you really have to watch cars coming around the curve from west to east.I would have to disagree with the reviewer complaining about the brush being cut back. It certainly makes it a nicer ride not having top swerve or duck all the foliage hanging over the trail.
Recently this trail has been severely cut back with the shrubs and trees trimmed 5-10 feet back from the trail. What once had been very scenic and had a lot of shade for biking and walking now has lost some of its former beauty. I have called the city office of Charter Twp of Lyon @ 248-437-2240 and spoke with the supervisor who stated that he had the trail cleared since it was overgrown and he stated that he had not received any other complaints about its appearance. If you use this trail and are unhappy with its maintenance - please call their office and let them know that you are dissatisfied with how it has been managed. Also, there are several areas that do not have any trees or vegetation between the trail and the businesses or homes and the supervisor had stated that he has no plans of planting any new trees in order to beautify those areas. Please let them know that some of us want more trees and not just a section of pavement to walk on.
Great easy ride for all ages, paved and shade. We will ride from our house (Beck & Maple) on the Wixom side walk trail and hook up to the South Lyon Trail and then continue to South Lyon where we go to the South Lyon Hotel for a great meal. You can get to other restruants from the trail located by Milford Rd. and I96. Approx. 11 miles (one way) from our house to South Lyon.
Excellent trail (esp for beginners like we are). My 5 year old loves to ride along the trail.
"Although this is a very nice trail for the area, it is not a very good trail for in-line skating. A portion of the trail follows a sidewalk through South Lyon (downhill in one direction towards a very busy road), it crosses several busy paved roads, and QUITE A FEW DIRT ROADS (not good for rollerblades). It is a nice trail for bikers and has great connectors to Island Lake State Park and Kensington MetroPark (but the connectors are pretty hilly - again, not good for in-line skating)."
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