Island Lake Pathway


12 Reviews

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Island Lake Pathway Facts

States: Michigan
Counties: Livingston
Length: 4.3 miles
Trail end points: Huron Valley Trail and Kensington Metropark Trail at Kent Lake Beach Rd. and Island Lake Recreation Area at Sutherland Rd. and Kent Lake Beach Rd.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032409

Island Lake Pathway Description

The Island Lake Pathway runs east–west through the densely-wooded landscape of the Island Lake Recreation Area southeast of Brighton. Although relatively short, the paved trail may prove a challenge to some, as it courses through hilly terrain.

The Island Lake Recreation Area offers a shooting range, boating, swimming and cabins for rent. It is also adjacent to Kensington Metropark, allowing park visitors to take advantage of the many amenities there as well. In the north, the Island Lake Pathway continues into the popular park as the Kensington Metropark Trail, which encircles scenic Kent Lake. Alternatively, trail users can take the longer Huron Valley Trail east to Wixom or southeast to South Lyon.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Island Lake Pathway is available in the Island Lake Recreation Area at several lots along Kent Lake Beach Road.

Island Lake Pathway Reviews

Pretty ride through State Park

Very scenic ride and part of the larger Great Lake to Lake trail across Michigan. Many hills that provide a solid workout. Go slow and be cautious of pedestrians and kids near the beaches and picnic areas.

The paved surface has many bumps and could be improved, but not an issue navigating on my hybrid bike tires. I've ridden much worse.

About two-thirds through the park, the dedicated bike trail ends, but easily connects to the park road. There is not much traffic at this end of the park, but use caution when navigating around the hills and curves.

Nice scenery, terrible pavement for bikes

This is a very nice trail for walkers and scenery, 4 miles one-way, and includes nice beach access with a large grassy area and wide beach, plenty of parking.

The trail connects to Kensington Metropark's paved trail (9 mile circle) so one can have an extended ride - however - Island Lake's trail is much like Michigan roads: bumpy, hole-y, poor condition. Recently a small section was repaved through the pine trees (beautiful portion of ride, nice smells!) but the rest of the trail just beats up the bike (IMO).

Lots of road bikers just ride the main road instead which is much, much smoother than the trail and most of the cars are respectful of bikers. (put lights on your bike!)

There is a dirt path off the paved trail that goes down to Trout Lake (not the main lake at the beach) which is rather sandy but a nice challenge to ride around the lake. This lake is where a lot of beachgoers walk to for more privacy in little beaches scattered around the lake. Plus, the water is very clear.

There are plans for the trail to be extended through the entire park to meet up with the Lakeland Trail, which current ends at US23/M36 but will be extended along US 23 (under the bridge at Silver Lake) to meet up with the paved trail on the east side of US23 that goes to the Green Oak Mall behind JCPenny where many bikers park and ride into Island Lake.

When the connection is made, the entire Lakeland Trail (western end at Munith) will then connect to all the trail that go all the way to Port Huron.

Very Pretty

Many of the reviews so far mention how bumpy this trail is. While it is true that bikers will ride over a steady stream of cracks, it is still better than a dirt road. Wear your bike shorts and don’t take any champagne flutes with you, and you’ll be fine! This trail winds through pretty forest and scenic meadows, through a short tunnel, past a beach, and ends at a picnic shelter on the Huron River. Several segments along the way are pine-scented. Who doesn’t love that? This trail is a nice way to add a few miles to the Kensington Loop, but it doesn’t go anywhere on its own. Use caution speeding around corners on busy days.


The scenery from Kensington to Island Lake is stunning. However, there were so many large cracks across the pavement which created a very bumpy ride. On average, about every 10 feet there’s a bump. Tip: if you have the MI State Park pass, park at Island Lake to bike over to Kensington.


Quick and Easy, but Terrible Condition

My wife and I went to Kensington today and we both have hybrid bikes. We were terrified that since the entire stretch of the Island Lake trail was extremely bumpy for a bike path, we’d destroy a few tires. Won’t be going there anytime soon, except for walks.

island lake trail

rode around park and exited park toward new hudson and looped back to ride total 14 miles. little hilly and good work out but pathway along the way in park was bumpy at times, but all in all easy to navigate.

Not great on a road bike or hybrid

I rode this trail this past weekend excited about extending my 20-mile rides at Kensington. This trail is desolate and wooded, especially past the beach. The views are nice but the trail is in really poor condition. You will run over an endless string of bumps where the pavement is breaking up. Some of gaps are quite large and dirt has filled them in. If you're a road biker or hybrid youll find this quite annoying as it limits your ability to really gain speed and get a smooth ride.

A good (not great) trail

Coming from Kensington, this trail felt like a step downward. The asphalt is older and more rough, and there are some spots along the trail that seem almost overgrown. The facilities are also worn and tired looking, and midday there were some rather seedy patrons lingering around a couple of the picnic areas.

There are some hills, but nothing is as steep as what you'd find across the way in Kensington. What also irritated me about this trail is that it was not well marked; one map I located was etched and painted on wood, and another rider and myself took some time studying it to figure out its faded markings. The path ended unceremoniously at a parking lot. There is a park road you can travel beyond this parking lot out to Island Lake if you are up for it.

While I do understand budget concerns, this trail does not extend the length of the park, and could be a better ride if they'd improve the existing trail, and added more to reach other areas of the park. Making this a loop would be even nicer. Thankfully, the main park road is easily traveled, and I rode that back to the Kensington trail instead. While it misses the heavily wooded scenery, it is just a better, smoother ride.

This trail connects to the Huron Valley Trail, in a three-way intersection with the path leading to/from the Kensington trail, about 400 ft. southwest after you pass under I-96.

The poorer conditions of the park do not make me want to go out of my way to pay a visit here as the primary destination. If you are at Kensington, by all means hop onto the trail if you want to rack up a few miles, or head east on the Huron Valley Trail.

ja22minn....The yellow trail!!

After walking the blue trail...I thought I'd try walking the yellow trail. it's shorter...only 7 miles. I thought it would be quicker and terrain like the blue. oh my was I wrong!! in a good way!! that trail will kick your patooties!! it has up and down hills, small ski hill size, and curves and edges looking down over swamps and narrower curves than the blue. I had 5 male bikers pass me (odd I thought at 2pm on a weekday : ) )but...A couple were huffing and puffing. I'm not a bike rider but I would think that this would be a challenging trail. it was to walk it. !! some places were nice and flat but most were small slopes to leaning forward to climb up and bracing yourself to climb down....I felt muscles the next 2 days at work I didn't know I had!! ha was great! It is well kept with markers letting you know how far you are. It ends up back where you started. As does the blue trail too. There are a couple benches to sit on if you need it and a couple picnic benches. no water source...but that could be because I walked it in December and facilities were will pass by a couple..... Two days later I walked the entire paved trail...from trailhead to Kent lake road and back....10 miles. It was beautiful!!!and that's in December! I can hardly wait until may! its good ground...Easy walking...benches...huge oak trees and gorgeous white pines...and one could picnic or rest at the public facility at the lake. bathrooms weren't open, but, then, it was December during the weekday! it was a great fast walk for me with several bikers along the way. I felt very safe on ALL paths in island lake. but remember it is a state hunting area. be informed during the seasons. happy trails!!


I live just 6 miles from this park and NEEDS knew the awesomeness of it until recently! ! its the end of November. ...first part of December. The weather permitted me walking every trail that is in island lake state park. I walked the blue trail at 10 miles...mire for mountain biking but I hiked it and felt mildly challenged. you pass meadows, fields, lakes, swamps, white pine forests, residential (which was kinda odd in a surprising way!! ) and you are up and down medium size hills. I only encountered 2 bikers that day. I think in the warmer months the bikers may overpower any attempts to walk this. The path is dirt and well marked except at a couple places where you are not sure where to turn. I walked this at the end of rifle deer season and dressed properly and felt safe. it is an area open to hunting during a certain time of the year. even though YOU may not hunt, there are those that do. be aware. I loved this trail...and's just surprising to see something so remote so close to home.

Nice trail systems

This trail belongs to Kensington/Milford trail system. I like it, because I can get water and several restroom points. Beside the trail, there is mountain bike trail in the Island State Rec Area, and also the trail in the dune area. There are also several swimming beaches and this trail is perfect for triathletes.

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."

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