Mountain biking is one of my favorite ways to spend summer weekends and evenings. I got started about a year ago, when during a casual ride through the north side of town I came face-to-face with a narrow dirt trail. I came back with a friend the next weekend, and I was hooked! It's a really fun way for me to get outdoors and get some exercise after a long day (or week) of work.
I know of a few trails around Ann Arbor:
Olson Park has a network of MTB trails. They're mostly easy trails, suitable for beginners but fun for anyone. You can get to Olson Park from downtown via a pretty long ride through Sunset Brooks Nature Area, Kuebler Langford Nature Area, Barton Nature Area, and Leslie Park. One of my typical loops through these parks looks like this, and really any one or two of these parks makes a nice ride by itself. They're mostly okay for beginners, but the trail leading from Whitmore Lake Rd. through Leslie Park is a little more challenging.
More experienced local MTB'ers will recognize that route as part of the "Loop of Pain". The exact route of the Loop varies depending upon whom you ask, but this is a map of a pretty typical ride. (I've never ridden the leg out to the Island Park area before; it's on my list for this weekend!) You can also find some comments and advice about the Loop at on MTBr.com.
Bluffs Nature Area has a good trail system. It's more challenging than any of the other trails here. It consists mostly of pretty steep hills - last time I was there I had a gnarly fall and tumbled down one - but it's a fun challenge if you're looking for something harder than the Barton/Leslie/Olson loop.
A few state parks near A2 have MTB trails. I haven't checked any of them out yet, but I hear good things:
- the Potawatomi Trail, accessible via Silver Lake State Park (which is, incidentally, an excellent place for an afternoon at the beach)
- Island Lake Rec Area, in Brighton
- Brighton Rec Area
- the Maybury Mountain Biking Trail, in Maybury State Park in Northville
Finally, the Michigan Alpine Competition Council organizes informal MTB rides roughly every weekend in the summer. It would definitely be fun to tag along on one of their rides - I've been meaning to for a while. Their site also has a quick guide to many of the local parks and trails.
Do any of you loyal readers know of other mountain bike trails or worth checking out?