“A classic SE Michigan loop that makes for a beautiful hike.
— Dylan Graves
No camping along the trail except at the Blind Lake backpacker campground. Use caution during hunting season even though there are no closure dates or anything like that. The trail just closes whenever the park does (typically between dusk and dawn).
The Potawatomi Trail is a real classic in Southeast Michigan, one of the longest and oldest loops in the area. A lot of mountain bikers use it, but it is still pedestrian friendly. I'd suggest going counter-clockwise in order to avoid hiking in the same direction as the bikers.
Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Family Friendly: It's a long loop, but if you just want to take this in sections, the terrain is pretty easy for dogs, families, etc.
The trailhead is pretty hard to miss, just before the large parking lot at the Silver Lake swimming access. Once on the trail, you'll immediately ascend a small hill and cross a road. At the first junction, keep left (right takes you along the Silver Lake Trail).
All the other junctions are pretty hard to get confused. The trail is well-marked, with distance markers every quarter mile or so. Use the Hiking Project mobile app
if you're confused. You can also shave off a little more than two miles if you take the Potawatomi Shortcut Trail
north of Halfmoon Lake.
It is a very scenic trail with lots of views and variety. It is rolling through glacial hills and moraines, and there are some obvious eskers and erratics throughout the hike. There are lots of lakes and some streams as well. All water crossings have wooden bridges across them, so you shouldn't get wet, unless it is a particularly muddy time of year. It makes for a great winter hike, too!
Typical recovering Michigan deciduous forest, with maples, oaks and hickories dominating. Some pines as well.