Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mountain Biking in A2

Many of my mountain biking adventures start at Sunset Nature Area, at Sunset Rd. & Vespers Rd.

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

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:

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?


  1. mountains in ann arbor? who knew?!?

  2. I used to live a block from Bluffs and would hit it up a few times a week, definitely a tricky one.

  3. Yes but I refuse to tell.
    Its my own special little place. The last thing I need is a bunch of hipsters on their fixed gears pedaling though my magic forrest.

  4. Thanks so much for this! Just moved to town and was searching around for trails, so the timing couldn't be better. I'll have to try a loop like yours on RunKeeper, as I would prefer to bike right from downtown, instead of packing up my bike and driving. Just did Olson Park the other day, but I'd like to see more. I saw pieces of the "City Loop" just south of there, but I was disappointed with the lack of signs.

  5. If you ever need someone to ride with, hit me up ;)

  6. They have redone the 3/4 of gypsy and it is waaaaay better. It looks like they are still working on the bottom portion of gypsy. electric bikes nz

  7. Nice trail, a dream of every mountain biker!