There are some excellent options for running north of Ann Arbor. Our top recommendations:
Hudson Mills Metropark: A pleasant escape from the city, the Hudson Mills Metro Park is about 1.2 hr. northwest by car. It’s a worthwhile visit for its miles of paved multi-use trails around the forests of the Huron River. On the east bank of the river, there is a 3.3 mile loop around the disc golf course. East Bank Loop MAP. On the west bank, the aptly named “West Bank Trail,” reaches south for about 3.7 miles as part of the Border to Border Trail. West Bank Trail MAP. By cutting through the city of Dexter, runners can extend the route through Mill Creek Park and/or the Dexter-Huron Metropark.
Pinckney Recreation Area: Another superb option to the northwest of the city, Pinckney Recreation Area is a trail running gem. Over forty miles of trails weave through forests and around numerous lakes. While there’s something for everyone here, the favorite running trail is the Potawatomi Trail, a 17.4 mile loop through the majority of the park beginning and ending from the Silver Lake Recreation Area. There is a shortcut to decrease the route by about 3 miles near Glenbrook Road, but runners can also map 4, 5, and 8 mile loops utilizing the Crooked Lake and Silver Lake trails, as shown in the Pinckney Recreation Area Trail MAP.
Southwest of Pinckney, in Waterloo State Park, there are several more trail options. The DTE Energy Foundation Trail is a smooth, non-technical, 10.6 mile loop on a dirt path. It can also be broken up into two ~5 mile loops for shorter runs. The Green Loop tours the banks and wetlands of the Green Lake, while the “Big Kame” Loop is a hillier and more technical challenge. On both trails, keep your head up for mountain bikes. DTE Energy Foundation Trail MAP (with marked loops).
Mike Levine Lakelands Trail: This 22-mile multi-use trail stretches from Stockbridge to Hamburg, passing through the towns of Gregory and Pinckney along the way. The closest point of access from Ann Arbor is the Mike Levine Lakelands Trail State Park trailhead in Pinckney, a roughly 30-minute drive away. The trail is paved for about 9 miles between Hall Road in Hamburg and M-36 in Pinckney. The rest of the path is primarily crushed limestone. Runners will pass by scenic wetlands, open farmland, and colorful woods on an out and back of any length. This spectacular long path is the best bet for marathon training and other distance runs! Lakelands Trail MAP.
Island Lake Recreation Area: More great running trails await in the Island Lake Recreation Area, a state park located in Brighton, ~20 miles north of Ann Arbor. The best running option in the park is the Island Lake Pathway, a 4-mile paved stretch, which leads to the Huron Valley Trail, the Milford Trail, and the Kensington Metropolitan Hike Bike Trail. For a loop option, there is a ~9 mile circuit around Kent Lake. MAP of Island Lake Paths.