Just 15 miles west of Ann Arbor in Chelsea, Michigan is the new DTE Energy Foundation Trail located within the Waterloo State Recreation Area, which is the largest park in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This multi-year project consists of five loops - the first, Green Lake Loop, opened in 2016, followed by the Big Kame Loop, scheduled for opening in June 2017. The remaining three loops are scheduled for 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. Once complete, the non-motorized, singletrack trail system will exceed 20 miles and will eventually connect to the Potawatomi mountain biking trail in the Pinckney State Recreation Area, giving Southeast Michigan one of the longest single track trails east of the Mississippi!
While created specifically for mountain biking, the DTE Energy Foundation Trail also provides a great setting for hiking, trail running, and cross-country skiing. Pet owners are welcome to bring dogs on the trail, keeping in mind the Michigan DNR leashing policy.
To access the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, use the trailhead located on M-52, approximately 7 miles north of Interstate 94 Exit 159, Chelsea, Michigan/M-52. The entrance is on the left. If using GPS, enter this address: 17819 N M-52, Chelsea, MI 48118 (note: this is not a mailing address). See a map of the trail here.
Green Lake Loop: 5.2 miles
The first trail to complete construction opened in the summer of 2016 and is already receiving a lot of praise from avid mountain bikers. The popular mountain bike community website Singletracks named the first loop, Green Lake, the best trail for beginning mountain bikers in the State of Michigan. Located adjacently to its namesake, Green Lake, the first DTE Energy Foundation Trail loop provides great flows and scenic vistas.
Big Kame Loop: 4.5 miles (Opening June 2017)
The Big Kame Loop will offer higher elevation and more technical challenges, making the trail more suitable for intermediate bikers. Named after the natural formation from glacial meltwater, kames are irregular hills or hummocks.
Winn Loop: Opening 2018
Considered the marquee segment, this loop in named for the Winnewana Impoundment, a 500-acre lake located within Waterloo State Recreation Area. The highlight of this segment, and perhaps the whole DTE Energy Foundation Trail, will be the trail’s passage through the Winnewana Escarpment — a steep ridgeline with drops of several hundred feet down to the Winnewana Impoundment.
Sugarloaf Loop: Opening 2019
The fourth loop will also be the trail’s shortest, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be an easy ride. You’ll want to look sharp as you navigate the numerous rollers and switches.
Cassidy Loop: Opening 2020
The final loop will be the most technically challenging, incorporating a decades-old mining pit to create some very advanced trail features that only a full-suspension bike could love.
For more information and to see the most recents news, visit the DTE Energy Foundation Trail website.