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The West Bloomfield Trail sails along for nearly 7 miles through a municipality that claims to be one of the wettest in the nation—not from rainfall but from the sheer number of lakes (28), ponds (150), and wetlands (3,500 acres). You’ll stay high and dry on the crushed-limestone trail, however, as you pass the waterways that historically made this a weekend and summer getaway for Detroit and Pontiac.
The trail follows the 1880s route of the Michigan Air Line Railroad, which merged with the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in the 1920s. Beginning in 1899, the Orchard Lake Division of the Detroit Urban Railway paralleled those existing tracks between Orchard Lake and Pine Lake as it carried passengers on electric trolleys between Detroit and Pontiac.
The West Bloomfield Trail opened in 1993, and it has been a work in progress ever since. In the east, it links with the Clinton River Trail that rolls into Pontiac and beyond. In the west, it ends at Haggerty Road, but plans call for a connection to the M-5 Metro Trail. Benches, bike racks, scenic overlooks, and mileage markers (based on rail miles from Richmond) have been added to support users. Travelers curious about the surroundings will enjoy the MotorCities Wayside Exhibits posted along the trail.
Beginning at the Haggerty Road trailhead, you’ll soon discover the trail is steeped in nature, in spite of pockets of development. Don’t be alarmed if what appears to be a lawn ornament suddenly turns and bounds toward the forest; one pass on this trail provides sightings of deer, raccoons, and rabbits. Turtles, waterfowl, and assorted frogs populate the ponds and lakes, and the forests are filled with spruce, hickory, oak, and maple trees.
You’ll find the greatest concentration of wildlife at the 162-acre West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve at mile 2.6. A path winds through the urban wildlife sanctuary to connect overlooks, some with telescopes to aid in spotting the 100 bird species that have been documented here. Red foxes, coyotes, and minks make their homes here.
A narrow strip of land carries the trail between Orchard Lake and Pine Lake at about mile 5. Apples grew in abundance here in the 1800s, resulting in the first lake’s name. An island in its midst is called Apple Island, where legend has it that Chief Pontiac held council with neighboring tribes to plan an attack on Fort Detroit in the mid-18th century. Fast forward to the early 20th century, and you can imagine this shoreline was a popular stop for tourists who took the train up from Detroit.
Leaving the lakes behind, the trail brushes the southern border of Keego Harbor before entering Lake Sylvan. The West Bloomfield Trail ends at Sylvan Manor Park, but your travels can continue on the Clinton River Trail that rolls for 16 miles through Pontiac to the east side of Rochester, where it picks up the Macomb Orchard Trail
To reach the Haggerty Road trailhead from I-696, take Exit 10, and merge onto MI 10, heading northwest. Go 5.4 miles, and turn left onto W. 14 Mile Road. In 0.1 mile, round the traffic circle, and take the second right to continue west on 14 Mile Road. In 0.9 mile, bear right at a second traffic circle to head north on Farmington Road; in another 0.9 mile, bear right to round a third traffic circle, and take the second right to continue west on Maple Road. In 2.9 miles, turn right onto Haggerty Road. After 0.8 mile, look for parking on the right.
To reach the Sylvan Manor Park trailhead from I-75, take Exit 75 west onto Bus. I-75 toward Pontiac. In 1.5 miles, merge onto Square Lake Road. Go 3.4 miles, and turn right onto St. Joseph St.; then go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto Empire Drive. Go 0.3 mile, turn left onto Woodrow Wilson Blvd., and, in 0.1 mile, look for the entrance to Sylvan Manor Park on the right.
This is one of the original rail trails in Michigan and provides a valuable link in the growing network of trails across metro Detroit. Very scenic, frequently riding past or across many lakes and wildlife viewing is easy along the trail. The trail seamlessly connects to a larger network of trails on either end, allowing for days worth of riding if desired. The trail is always popular and well used.
The biggest complaint is the crushed gravel surface, which while perfectly easy to ride in dry weather can become a muddy mess in the spring and after heavy rain. Unfortunately, too many people attempt to ride the trail while the surface is soft, leaving behind permanent ruts that must be navigated throughout the year. Like all gravel trails, expect your drivetrain to need a good cleaning once your ride is done.
Really nice trail with good distance but unfortunately it is really dusty. When taking a drink out of my water bottle, I could taste the dust and feel the grit. Mountain bikers may be used to it but a return to cycling rider like me, I wasn’t too keen on it. Had to wash down my bike afterwards. Michigan Air Trail is 100% paved so I like that better. I did get a water bottle with a cover for future dusty rides though.
Hi everyone. I grew up in metro Detroit and have lived for the last 25 years in Canada. We have really nice trails but you have to get out of downtown to get nice long trails with nature. And this trail does not disappoint. Well marked and with lots of rest stops you can’t do better. There are lots of places to read about the nature too on display. I bet it’s really nice in fall and winter too!
Started in Wixom riding East on Airline Trail (all asphalt) and continued on to West Bloomfield Trail. Packed gravel wasn't draining water well from overnight rain in several areas and gravel near St Marys school was very washboard. Hopefully they will grade trail before heavy summer riding starts. All in all it was a lovely ride. Saw deer, swans, and turkey along the ride.
I bike for exercise between 20 and 30 miles ... and only recently discovered the joy of riding on trails (as opposed to in and around Detroit). I have tried about 5 trails so far (all within 30-40 mins of the D) ... and this is my favorite.
First, the distance is perfect. I start at Sylvan Manor Park -- they have a small parking lot and Porta-Potties too! along with a Jungle Gym and a small baseball field (if you're gonna be biking while your kids and peeps hang). And, it's a lot longer than TrailLink thinks -- It goes all the way to Wixom. So from the Park to the end and back, is about 25 miles.
There are NO, NONE, NADA, parts of the trail that are on sidewalks or streets. All of the crossings are safe, and the sightlines are good in terms of cars. BONUS - most cars will stop if they see you. Big Rigs even stopped for me!
The trail itself is a great combo of asphalt in some parts and dirt -- with a little loose gravel thrown in there to make it fun. The gravel never covered the whole path or made riding dangerous at all. It's also enclosed in a tunnel of foliage and fauna -- when you are in more populated areas, but also opens up to beautiful vistas here and there.
It can get rather crowded with joggers, walkers, strollers at times -- but everyone is very kind, cool, and composed (for the most part) if you call out when you're coming up behind them. Just be a little vigilant about (seniors) people moving in the wrong direction or turning fully around and staring at you confused. Even with all this, I had no issue cruising at my normal speed during morning weekday rides.
Also, to my memory there are few, if any, massive hills -- I like even trails that still provide a challenge. This is darn near ideal to feel a little breeze, work up a sweat, and get in a good workout without feeling like you're up in the Pyrenees, or going lightspeed downhill.
Very clean trail. It was not so busy. We stopped to have ice cream. Great way to spend Father's Day
The trail is nice, clean and beautiful. Further, it is not too crowded. We really enjoyed the hiking .
Trail In great shape! Busy but enough room for all!! Scenery is beautiful!!
Very nice and smooth ride all the way. Nice scenery as well - I would ride this again
Sometimes a little busy but overall nice trail. Gravel road had made my legs a little stronger as it provides slightly more resistance than a paved trail. Only negative (which is to be expected) is that on dryer days the gravel dust/limestone gets everywhere. So I need to wash my bike down after every ride. Very scenic ride.
This one is really nice. Not fit for road bikes, but good for all others. Within a short distance, one can see hills and woods, wetlands and open fields. There are a couple of areas with offshoots that are solely for mountain bikes. The end at Haggerty had no opportunity to go further west last time I rode it.
This is a nice trail with many scenic ponds and wet lands. A number of rest benches offer a chance to pause and reflect. Little critters scampering around and out the way. Made me smile.
The day I traversed the trail on my bike there were a few 'sprinkly showers' around. But not enough for me to abort. They were rather warm and enjoyable, and besides I had rain gear, but didn't need it.
The trail is in great shape and clearly loved by the locals, many of whom were out riding mid-day. Very pretty, lots of ponds and wetlands. I rode a bit east after the trail connected to the Clinton River trail. On the western end I road towards Wixom on the open sections of the newly paved trail from Haggerty to Wixom Road on the old Coe Railway bed. West of Wixom you can jog north on Maple then south onto another trail and then on to New Hudson
Rode this morning in the semi-cloudy drizzle and it was really great; the trail did not at all get too soft, and the rain helped to keep the dust down. Very well-maintained trail is a pleasure to ride. I went from Haggerty to the Telegraph Rd overpass and back again. Always a pleasure to ride this one.
I started at Orchard Lake Rd and went North East to Pontiac on a Sunday afternoon. The trail is well kept. Some road crossings, but not too many to spoil the ride. The trail was moderately busy. Where it joins the Clinton River trail there is crushed gravel. I would ride it again. I did not make it to the South West end.
Nice multi use trail, but a quite a few road crossing (11) of which some are quite busy roads. This trail is actually longer at this moment. It start at Haggerty in the west and continues all the way until South Telegraph Road, in the east. That is right after the bridge over Telegraph road, so the trail is about 1.5mi longer than stated at the moment.
For us average bikers it is a very nice trail. We saw a lot of wildlife, brush is cut back from the trail and gravel path had no ruts. Only bad thing I can say is the blind curve when crossing a very well travelled road.
This is a very lovely trail. It is not paved but it is very well maintained. There is a great variety of scenery and a great deal of history along this path. There is one very steep hill from the crosswinds mall up to the train/tram tunnel. I would suggest stopping to look at the turtles and ducks in the big pond to your left. It is very steep here so please do not let your children go anywhere near the edge of the path.
At the top of the hill is a stairway which leads to the history museum. It is a ways from the top of the stairs, just walk west until you see the lake.
Ithe museum is a great way to get to know the area. Ring your bike bells in the tunnel in memory of the turn on the century mass transit tram that used to come out here from Detroit.
Soon the historical markers will all be back up. They are beautifully done and each covered a bit of local history. They are having stronger bases put on, but you can find some of them along the trail.
Dont be scared if a deer crosses your path, it is very common here. Enjoy the view and leave your trash in the bins by the crossings.
I live right next to this path by St Mary's School and I walk or ride this path most days. I love it.
This trail is nice, VERY flat, and MUDDY most of the time, we called to see if they could put wood chips down (when a tree falls they do this in the area the tree fell) to soak up the water/mud. The reply we got was it has to be wheelchair accessible, no wheelchair is getting through that mud, you can barely walk when it's that wet/muddy. We counted 22 dog droppings yesterday, gross, have some class PICK UP your dogs feces. It's not safe for the environment or to humans!
Rode this trail on a chilly day, so there were very few others on the trail. It was a nice trail that my wife and I enjoyed. We did have trouble finding it, as you cannot turn onto Figa Street from Orchard Lake Road. You have to turn onto Woodrow Wilson to get to Figa; it was confusing in traffic. Aside from that, however, it was a nice ride with lots of great parking.
The day after two days of rain, there was enough water and mud on the trail to make it a bit treacherous.
It's a nice, flat trail, but I wouldn't do it again on a road bike (except, perhaps, during a drought).
Different than our usual rides - nice change of pace. Pretty flat, easy, scenic and relaxing compared to normal with lots of bogs, lakes and wildlife. Places to eat near Orchard Lake Rd crossing.
Different than our usual rides - nice change of pace. Pretty flat, easy, scenic and relaxing compared to normal with lots of bogs, lakes and wildlife. Places to eat near Orchard Lake Rd crossing.
I have bicycled this trail many times, most recently in May 2014, and also walked the trail. I find it to be a great trail. I bicycle from the Berkley area to the trail, by picking it up from West Bloomfield Lake Road to Mirror Lake Drive (these streets connect via bikes, not cars). It's a beautiful and well maintained trail. There are port-a-potties at Arrowhead, as well as some information. I have taken the trail west to Haggerty, where it becomes a dirt bike trail. I am thinking about taking the dirt bike trail about 12 miles to North Wixom Road, to pick up the Huron Valley Trail, which connects with Kensington MetroPark (I'll update the review after I try this-I have taken 14 Mile Road to Kensington, but the sidewalks / bike paths start and stop, and even on a weekend morning the drivers are a little scary on 14 Mile). Going east, the trail intersects with Orchard Lake Road 3 times. The first time, it's a "busy" Orchard Lake, with numerous places to stop and eat. Continuing East, the trail goes to a bridge over Telegraph Road, then into Dawsons Millpond Beaudette Park in Pontiac, then stops at Bagley street. To continue east, IGNORE the signs that say bike trail turn left, and turn RIGHT to South Blvd. Take South Blvd. East about 5 blocks to Opdyke Road, and turn LEFT (north). On the right, after a short distance, you can pick up the Auburn Hills link of the Clinton River Trail, which connects with the Paint Creek Trail in Rochester (also a wonderful trail), and the Macomb Orchard Trail, which goes to Romeo and Richmond (I have taken it close to Romeo - it is also a nice trail).
I have lived in the area 50+ years, but it's an entirely different view. People are friendly on and off the trail, but I would bring an extra bike tube (and know how to change a flat), water, simple first aid kit, a cell phone and some money.
Trail was pleasant and clean. Many garbage cans, benches, and parks through the trail. Parking was fine. Animal friendly, just bring a leash and pick up after. Happy to find this :)
I have not actually ridden the trail for a few yrs, and was basing my experience on that. However, I looked at the pics and recent reviews and see the bridge has now connected the gaps to the other three marvelous trails, so perhaps now the WBT will also soon--or maybe already---see improvements. It is really wonderful to see the greater metro Detroit area and subs taking the trail movement seriously, as this over crowded and congested area really has been in need of "greening up" for way too long!
I found the trailhead very difficult to find. It is hidden on a curve with no signage whatsoever on a very congested suburban road. There are not many parking spaces available. The trail itself is poorly maintained, with ruts and bumpy sections and overgrown brush nearly hitting you in the face or legs. Some of the scenery is nice, but this trail mostly travels through backyards of suburbia. Not worth the trouble...
P.S. I did hear that this trail was to eventually link up with the beautiful and improved maintained Paint Creek and Clinton River Trails. Perhaps when the link is completed, there will be better trail head options and better maintenance.
Very pretty trail with nice smooth gravel surfaces. The road crossings are all well mark and there are plenty of benches near the many lakes and ponds along the way. Good signs and information on the local wildlife too.
There is a very small parking lot at the trailhead on Haggerty. Driving by it looked like it could hold 2-3 cars and that was it.
The trail extension has now been completed and open to bikers/hikers/etc.
I haven't ridden the new section yet, but last year I rode from the (old) western start to the eastern end, ending up in Pontiac, MI (which is actually part of the Clinton River trail).
Jim K...Dearborn Hts., MI
Does anyone know what's going on as far as trail development west of Haggerty? The new WB section is currently under construction--from Arrowhead west to Halsted already has limestone fines down and there are huge piles of the stuff just west of Halsted so they're working their way west. The last I checked, they had the steel supports in for the boardwalk just northeast of Walnut Lk Rd but no boards. It had been rideable (though "interesting" at some points--loose, small, but steep whoopdies) but that keeps changing and you never know what construction equipment may be blocking the way, so it's probably best to ride down to Walnut and bypass this section for now. I've ridden the trail a number of times all the way to where it dead-ends west of Wixom Rd (one of the old dinner train cars is parked there). Although it's rideable, there are some sections with a lot of deep, loose pea gravel and sand (probably three times deeper than it was just west of Arrowhead), so some may need to walk their bike through (otherwise it's a great leg-burner, but 29ers would probably float through!). Although I like having the trail west of Haggerty essentially to myself, it would be nice if they were to clean it up a bit in certain spots in order to open it up to more trail users and I know this is the plan (including a bridge over M5). I was just wondering if anyone had any details/timetables...
Rode the West Bloomfield trail from the Nature Center, the Clinton River trail, and part of the Macomb/Orchard trail today - they link to each other giving 40+ miles of biking (one way). Regarding how I liked the 3 trails, West Bloomfield ranks in the middle. Generally packed gravel and pretty smooth for a gravel trail. I have a hybrid and had no problems with the surface. However, crossing Orchard Lake Road can be a bit difficult where there are no traffic lights. Overall a nice ride and I like that it links to the Clinton River trail.
... of the section going east from Haggerty to Arrowhead. If you enter from Haggerty, the trail is VERY SOFT and difficult to ride unless you are a hardcore mountain bike rider. It gets more difficult as you continue east from Walnut Lake Rd to Halstead Rd with very loose gravel, river rock and soft ruts. The section from Halstead to Arrowhead is better, but still has many sections of soft gravel. From Arrowhead east, it's a very nice ride on packed gravel continuing on to the Clinton River Trail.
I rode this on the day I decided to do my first 100-mile ride and this section of about 1 mile really dampened the mood and my effort levels for the rest of the day. On the return, it's much easier to take Halstead south to 14 Mile, then west to Haggerty and the new trail along M-5.
As they continue to rip out the old railroad tracks in that section, hopefully they will be able to pave it and eventually connect it directly to the M-5 and I-275 corridor.
checked this trail out today and enjoyed the ride. The stretch near hagerty and walnut lake rod is rough for bikes as its loose gravel however its a great ride
Great for the beggining riders. Some pretty views as you pass by a river and a few lakes. Just be careful crossing Orchard lake road cause the northbound traffic is comeing around a corner, and cant see you until there very close. There's also a nice park/playground at the north end parking lot thats great for the kids too. When you pass Orchard lake road the second time (from the north end) there are some great restaraunts to stop and eat lunch at.
"CAUTION to users of the Clinton River Trail in Oakland County! There are no signs or markings of any kind at the new trail crossings at Orchard Lake Road, 5 lanes, in Sylvan Lake, and the crossing at Iverness within the Village of Sylvan. I have contacted county, township, and Sylvan Lake officials to no avail about getting signage asap. The trail has been useable since last fall."
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