Island Lake Recreation Area

Brighton, Michigan 48116

Island Lake Recreation Area

Island Lake Recreation Area Professional Review and Guide

"With its proximity to the Detroit metro area, Island Lake Recreation Area is a convenient getaway from urban sprawl. The park offers two loop trails totaling 12 miles along the flanks of the scenic Huron River. The 7 miles of river flanked by the park have been designated part of the National Scenic River program, under the Natural Rivers Act.

The natural beauty of the riverline habitat makes this trail system one of the most popular in the region. The terrain provides no special challenge to casual hikers, but the beauty of the area gives plenty of reasons to stop and enjoy the scenery. Camping is available within the park boundaries for those who wish to extend their visit. The two loops in the park, although lengthy, are not at all difficult, so first-time or family hikers who have the time can easily complete either or both of them."

More Island Lake Recreation Area Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Blue and Yellow Loops at this popular trail system complement each other just like their namesake colors. Although each trail is enjoyable on its own, together they make a long singletrack cruiser with enough hills for a solid workout but not so many that water bottle arms get tendonitis.

The prettiest section comes after a bridge crossing and meanders next to the river, with big trees sheltering the trail. The route is easy to follow; however, due to its popularity sections can become rutted. Tread: 14 miles of singletrack, 0.3 mile of paved road."

"The longest of the hiking trails at Island Lake State Recreation Area, the Blue Loop traverses deeper into the park but covers much of the same terrain as the shorter Yellow Loop. The landscape is a blend of rugged woodlands, wetlands, and creeks. The Blue Loop also passes through day-use areas near Island Lake and Spring Mill Creek."

"Island Lake is a state park directly across I-96 from Kensington Metropark to the north. They’re connected by a below-the-highway bike path, but while Kensington is a beautiful park, it doesn’t have a mountain bike trail.

Island Lake does, and it’s one of the most popular in the region. It’s actually composed of two loops, the Blue and the Yellow (which is probably a play on the maize and blue colors of the U of M Wolverines just down the road in Ann Arbor. If not, let’s just say it is)."

"Short of hauling a canoe to the park (or renting one from the livery), there’s no better way to explore the Huron River at Island Lake State Recreation Area than to hike the 6-mile Yellow Loop.

As it passes through mixed hardwood forest, the trail crosses the river twice and offers both scenic overlooks and places to stop and dangle your feet."

Island Lake Recreation Area Reviews

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8/23/2018
This park has a fairly new separate hiking trail from the mountain bike loops called the Hickory ridge trail. It's a loop just over 5 miles. A nice trail that travels through woods, small meadows, next to the river, along kent lake beach, circles a smaller lake, and has only one road crossing. I would have rated 5 star except the park doesn't seem to have a mowing routine over the grassy meadows. For long stretches the overgrown grass gets waist high. It tangles up on your ankles and has thorns that poke right through pants and socks, ouch! Occasionally that stretch is nice when it has been groomed and mowed, just have to get lucky in your timing I guess. Also one downside is while walking along the river you do hear the nearby gun shooting range. One good thing I'm glad there is a spur trail further uphill from the river is very easy now. It used to go way too tight to the water where it is very muddy treacherous almost sliding right off a shallow bank into water in many spots. There are no large or steep hills but has some rocks roots and sandy spots, so I would say this is an easy to moderate trail.
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4/9/2011
Today was my first time mountain biking and I did the blue trail at Island Lake. It's 9.3 miles long and was a great challenge. I would say its a great beginner or even easy intermediate. There is enough up and downs to make it fun and challenging, but not to make the trail daunting to a beginner. Other riders at the park said the yellow trail (at approx 6 miles) is more challenging than the blue with greater inclines than the blue. Loved this place.
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6/12/2010
This trail is pretty basic. There aren't many tough climbs or descents, but you can get some good speed going through the turns. There is a nice pond in the middle of the blue loops to take a swim if the weather is nice.
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10/21/2009
I had an excellent time here on the Blue trail. Marked every quarter mile or more. Excellent scenery in this fall. Be full of energy and pack some snacks ,It was close to 2 hours for me first time. Some hills were a little challanging but a lot of fun. There was one place that had a 45* drop -off so be careful. Have fun.
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8/10/2008
Just finished this hike and overall it was enjoyable. There are two trails - yellow (6 miles) and blue (9.2 miles). I took the blue and found it fairly easy for a beginner. Nice mix of terrain throughout, deep-woods feel in some places, and open meadows in others. I did not know it was a trail shared with bikers though, and it was sort of annoying to move to the right every few minutes. Also, crossing paved roads during a hike always reminds me of how close I am to civilization. Ideally I'd never see any sign of urban life for the duration of the trip - though I understand that's hard to come across in SE MI. :) Enjoy the trail...
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4/19/2008
I really enjoyed this trail. You experience a little bit of everything...lakes, woods, marshes, meadows. There are a lot of bikers but they helped me find my way. The trail map was not very good in relation to the trail. It didn't show roads well enough and the railroad which would have been a good marker.
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6/15/2007
Well maintained trails, great scenery. Very enjoyable time. BUT, be careful of crazy cyclists - they come speeding around corners etc. without warning!!
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6/10/2007
The trail was fair, slightly buggy in some areas. the biggest problem was the trail is also a bike trail, i wish i could have known this before i went! it was almost impossible to keep a rhythym or a pace because every 1/8 of a mile i had to step aside for the bikes. very poor planning on the park's behalf. it's more bike friendly then hike friendly for sure! some areas of the trail are nice, secluded with good terrain but the terrain varied from loose gravel, tight gravel, loose/tight rock, nice packed earth to sand! and some of the sand and gravel was incline which made it especially difficult at times. also alot of the trail had terrible bike ruts that made it almost impossible to hike without snapping an ankle! while i'm an amateur i'm not a begginer and found this trail a challenge at times. the only way i would do this again would be if it were hikers only day and they filled in the ruts!
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4/10/2004
The trails are very well marked Althought the 6 mile trail is a little over The new bridge that crosses the Huron river near Kensignton rd. is a welcome addition. the changing landscape is beautiful.
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Island Lake Recreation Area Photos

Trail Information

Brighton
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
12
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
Late spring through fall
Season
Island Lake Recreation Area, 810-229-7067
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Oct 2018