Features: Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildlife
Family Friendly: This is a beautiful trail to do parts of with the family and witness much of what SE Michigan has to offer.
Kensington Metropark Trail is a wide paved pathway that completely encircles Kent Lake. At times, the path is right on the water's edge and offers beautiful views of the large lake and the many islands within it. At other points, the pathway meanders through meadows and forests offering chances to see deer (of which Kensington Metropark has too many) and other animals. Parts are hilly and parts are flat. This variety makes it an excellent trail for biking, long-distance running, or just a quick stroll along any section.
This is a loop trail with many parking areas/access points along its length, so there isn't a clear beginning or end. As such, this description uses Maple Beach as a start point (a spot with abundant parking) and is described going clockwise from there.
The region to the north of Maple Beach is the hilliest along the trail and is relatively steep by SE Michigan bike path standards. This section heads away from the lake through large meadows with some sports fields and a swampy region along Maple Beach Drive.
At the northern end, you can access the Farm Center before the trail crosses the Huron River along West Buno Road (separated by a guardrail). At the northeasternmost part of the trail, you can pick up the Milford Trail
. The northeast section of the trail mostly keeps its distance from Kent Lake, passing in and out of forest while traveling parallel to Huron River Parkway. This section has some enjoyable rolling hills. A long but gently graded section takes you past the Martindale Beach parking area with access to the disc golf course.
The southern section of the trail descends along the inland side of the East Boat Launch to the water's edge, but unfortunately also the edge of the I-96 exit ramp. This part can be a bit noisy due to the highway, but it offers great views of the lake. Part of it crosses the Huron River on its own bridge under I-96.
The west section of the trail is along the lake, relatively flat, and offers connections to the West Boat Ramp and Nature Center. You'll get some beautiful views of the lake here. Part of this section is between the golf course and the lake so the noise from I-96 will dissipate quickly.
After the Nature Center, the trail follows Maple Beach Drive through forests. This section has many small rolling hills. You'll soon pass the Boat Rental and return to Maple Beach.
White-tailed deer and geese are everywhere, along with herons, fish, turtles, raccoons, and so on. Be mindful of poison ivy, which thrives along the trail's edges.