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For most of its 20 miles, the Rouge River Gateway Greenway parallels Edward N. Hines Drive through several western suburbs of Detroit: Northville, Plymouth, Livonia, Westland, Garden City and Dearborn. It begins near the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan and continues northwest along the Middle Rouge River through several parks. Along the way, it offers a diverse mix of views, including the river, woodlands, prairie, small lakes and urban settings.
In Plymouth, the trail connects with the I-275 Metro Trail, a paved north-south trail stretching more than 30 miles.
Note that there may be some flooding on the trail after a heavy rain.
Parking can be found in Plymouth Riverside Park (intersection of Hines Drive and Riverside Drive in Plymouth), which is notable for its 1926 picnic shelter that's modeled after a train station. A parking lot is also available in Cass Benton Park (off Northville Road in Northville), a hilly park popular for sledding in the winter.
I rode this entire trail round trip starting at the very nice parking lot on Michigan ave. For most of the trail you can choose to ride on Hines Drive which about half the bikers were doing. I went north on the trail to northville where I stopped for a bowl of soup and returned on Hines Drive.
The surface is mostly quite good and generally flat. At the Northville end I finished on the road rather than the trail to 7 mile road simply because I wanted the variation of a significant climb.
The only confusing place is at the University. Stay on the trail there and don't be tempted to do the road. There's a place where there is a little roundabout circle and it's not obvious which trail to take. Coming from South turn left going downhill into the forest. Obviously coming from north to south turn right at the top of the rise.
Also watch out for the detour away from Hines Drive at the Northville end although either trail or road you end up nearby on 7 mile.
Finally note that after a rain (like my ride) there are a number of significant spots where the trail is under water. But it's easy to bike around through the grass.
I hit one bad pothole on a bridge near Merriman road. I never saw it since it was covered by leaves at it almost threw me off my bike.
As someone said it's a pretty URBAN trail with nice parks to the side all along the ride. The turnoff to the 275 trail is well marked. My 4 rating is because it's very nice but not outstanding and I got tired of traffic noise. Hines Drive is a well traveled road. I do recommend doing this trail. Stop at Nankin Mills interpretive center if you have time and do a loop around Northville. They have a little rebuilt block similar to Greenfield village though very small. It's worth the visit.
Pretty scenery, and very bike friendly street riding. Would do it again.
I made my first roll up this trail a week ago, starting at the lot behind Andiamo's (which is marked with trailhead signs), and making it nearly to the end.
The lower half of the trail from Dearborn is flatter, but be aware that there are steeper hills once you get out towards Livonia, Plymouth and Northville. I made it to halfway between Six and Seven Mile Roads, on top of one of the larger hills, and decided not to burn myself out on the last portion. If you like hills, the western half of the trail is an excellent workout.
A couple of parts of the trail cut through areas of gravel parking lots, so there is some loose gravel scattered on the trail. Since there are many county parks along Hines Drive, you also want to watch for inattentive drivers pulling in and out of the parking lots. There are few major roads to cross, which is one of the nice features of Hines Drive, even if you are in an automobile.
The trail did have some dicey spots to it, so I understand why many cyclists stuck to the roadway as opposed to the trail. Given that the shoulders are wide enough, the roadway is somewhat safe. Seeing that the changes in grading are more gradual, it is a wise move to take the roadway shoulder on your return trip.
One interesting part of this trail is the connector from the trailhead behind Andiamo's to the actual trail along Hines Drive. First you cut through a heavily wooded area; you'd think you were up north. You cross the Rouge River twice. You then come upon the expansive University of Michigan Dearborn campus, and also pass the entrance to the Henry Ford Estate.
The I-275 "Metro Trail" connects to this trail system in Plymouth. I had also considered taking a detour into Plymouth, but Wilcox Rd. had no shoulder to speak of, so I passed. Next trip, I will find a better route into downtown Plymouth.
There weren't many issues with the trails. As mentioned, there were a couple of spots with loose gravel. The vegetation along the sides could have used some care, as some of the branches and weeds were hanging over the path. If noise from traffic bothers you, it can indeed get tiring over the entire length of the trail. On my trip in mid September, approaching evening, there were a lot of gnats flying around; keep your glasses on and your mouth closed!
Overall I could rate this about 3.5 stars. It's a nice alternative, and I will ride it again, but is not one of my top "go-to" choices in the area.
Rode for the first time with a group of eight on 8/29/2015. Parked in lot next to Andiamo's on Michigan Avenue and rode the trail all the way through to Northville and back. What's interesting about Hines Park is that on Saturday mornings for about six hours police close the road to vehicular traffic which opens up just the trail to essentially a four-lane bike highway. There are something like 20 parks throughout the trail that you can stop at, plenty of restrooms with full plumbing, only a couple major roads to cross but are pretty clearly marked.
The things to look out for: if/when you're on the UofM-Dearborn campus, if coming from Michigan Ave, make sure you turn left, not right, at the fork if you want to continue on the trail; also there is a poorly marked area that takes you under a bridge that is probably less than two feet wide so either walk your bike or disconnect your cleats while riding under in case someone from the other end comes through at the same time and a quick stop is necessary.
Outside of those couple areas, this was a near-perfect trail.
I started at the UofM Dearborn campus and did the full trail, stopping off at Plymouth to grab a coffee. The trail is very well maintained, and an easy ride. My only complaint is that, since it follows a major road the whole path, the view was a little boring for my taste. Maybe in summer it will be a bit more idealic.
Rode this all-paved trail for the first time 11-1-14. I never knew that this interconnected park system existed. A great ride, you would think you were up north, not in Wayne County. Park at Andiamos in Dearborn and ride into Northville and then back. Lots of little hills, scenic river, lakes. Only a few roads to cross.
I did this trail starting at Andiamos parking lot and rode up the trail 10 miles. In all those miles, we only crossed 2 big streets, Hines dr. and Outer dr. They had the road closed from Outer Dr. to I'm not sure how far west (I rode in 5 miles and the road was still closed to car traffic).
Overall the ride was great and I will be riding again for sure.
I've had the pleasure of riding Hines drive starting @ warren-dale park Near H.Y.P.E Recreation Center going West to Ann Arbor Trail Rd. On Saturday Mornings part of Hines drive is closed to motor vehicle traffic, which allows bicyclers, roller bladders, long boarders, runners and walkers can take advantage of the trail and the street without cars impeding on them.
One of my favorite trails to ride (next to Huron Valley.) I like that it links up with the I-275 Metro. Bikin' in the D!
The people around here must be really lazy...this is an awesome ride. It's just sad more people don't use it.
Lived here my whole life, great family ride and up to the pros! Saturdays in the summer the car road is closed to motorized vehicles 9-3p. You can ride on the path or the street between Ann Arbor Trail and Outer Drive! It is smooth if you are on the street, path is great if river is low. It was built as a river overflow so it does flood and even close with high water!
The trail is all paved but the surface is not so smooth. I saw many bikers trapped with overflow and pools.
I rode my longboard from Ann Arbor Trail all the way towards Dearborn to Michigan Avenue yesterday. Pleasant ride. Not many people on the trail. Most people use the road since they are all cyclists. Due to recent rain there were lots of puddles I had to walk around. Will ride again once it dries out.
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