General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area Rss Feed  
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2014-03-20 10:24 AM

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Subject: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
Hi all! What are your favorite places to train?

There is a new site called Ramblen which is essentially a database that provides you with the awesome places to keep up with your workouts when you travel to an unfamiliar place. I am looking to compile a list of places to recommend in the Detroit and Ann Arbor area, so when people visit here, they can be greatly pleased with the greatness that is Michigan! :D

I would LOVE your input! My ideas are below. I would also be interested in hearing WHY you like a certain location, even if it is listed below!

Island Lake -- swim at Trout Lake and Spring Mill Pond, bike around the park, run into Kensington
Kensington -- running. (I don't think it's all that ideal for biking?)
Pinckney State Park -- trails for running.
Hines Drive -- biking
Stony Creek -- running? (I have not been here, but I've heard the name pop up many times.)
Belle Isle -- running, biking. (More so biking? I have only run around Belle Isle but it seems like a good place to bike?)

Huron River Drive -- biking (I've only ridden this a few times, and iirc there are a few rough patches? Would you recommend this as a place to ride?)
The Arb? running?
Gallup Park? running?

Running Fit -- for finding group runs? Other avenues you recommend for finding group runs/rides/swims?

Where would you recommend someone swim if they're coming in from out of town? Any pools that are easy to access?

Also, do you have any favorite quick and healthy restaurants?

Many thanks for your input! ANY input, no matter how small, even if just one piece, is appreciated!! It will help me be more thorough in explaining the locations, and will in turn help others decide what places might be best for them! If it matters, I'm doing this on a voluntary basis; I would love for visitors to Michigan have a memorable outdoor experience, instead of be annoyed that they couldn't find a good place to train!! :D

Hopefully this thread can serve as ideas for others around here as well!

This is the site that it's for:

2014-03-21 9:13 PM
in reply to: michgirlsk

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Detroit, Michigan
Subject: RE: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
I've not heard of that site but I'll have to check it out.

My usual spots:

Hines Drive, running: From the trailhead (Michigan Ave.) to Ann Arbor Trail is exactly 10 miles, or keep going to Plymouth, or take one of the 275 offshoots -- lots of options to mix it up. Bathrooms, water fountains, parks, lots of people. The path can get flooded in the spring especially, though.

Hines Drive, biking: Closed to traffic on Saturdays in the summer. A few hills (for SE Michigan) and the road is usually in OK shape. Bathrooms, water fountains, parks, etc. The closed section (Outer Drive to Ann Arbor Trail) is about 7.5 miles, so plan on 15-mile loops.

Island Lake, swimming: Trout Lake is just under 1 mile (I usually get about 1350 m on my Garmin) across and back, calm, shallow, warm and closed to boat traffic. Show up alone on a Saturday morning and there will be plenty of random people to swim with. A few people swim in Kent Lake, but Trout is the more popular by far. Park technically opens at 8 a.m. (and I have waited for the gates to open before).

Island Lake, biking: Not closed to traffic but bike-friendly. One loop of the entire park is about 12.5 miles. A few bathrooms and water fountains available, as well as vending machines and picnic tables. You'll have to watch for pedestrian traffic in a few spots. A few decent hills (again, for SE Michigan).

Island Lake, running: There is a path at the back of the park that joins with Kensington Metro Park -- not sure how long that goes. There are also often runners on the park road.

Wayne State University, running: The block around the athletic fields is almost exactly one mile around -- great for quarter- or half-mile repeats. Only a few driveways, but there will be student pedestrian traffic. Patrolled by Wayne State Police Department. The rest of campus is well-lit but has more heavy pedestrian traffic.

Belle Isle (Detroit), biking and running: Not sure how the park becoming a state park will affect things yet. Bike path goes 5.5 miles around the island -- runners will often run opposite traffic in the path. Very flat. Often a few degrees cooler because of the river, but some spots have little tree cover from the sun. Detroit Police has a substation on the island. Bathrooms and water fountains, and the occasional ice cream truck.

Riverwalk (Detroit), running: It doesn't quite connect to Belle Isle, but there are a few miles from the Ren Cen downtown (Rivard Plaza) east toward the island. Lots of pedestrian traffic near the Ren Cen, but less on Atwater and the actual Riverwalk. Cut up Mt. Elliott St. and head east on Jefferson for about 1/4 to connect to Belle Isle -- watch for traffic! Also available is the Dequindre Cut, a 1-mile spur off Atwater toward Gratiot, a gorgeous new path with separate bike and run lanes.
2014-03-22 1:55 AM
in reply to: 0

Subject: RE: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
A little farther North for you all is the ortinenville rec area. When you google it shows up of Fox Lake road. As you drive towards it there is a horde trail park on the North side. This is where yo want to go to run. The trails run back into the woods and it goes to Pinnicale Point in the middle. This is the highest point for several countys up this way.
The trails are rough, wet, dry, sandy, muddy overgrown sometimes and always going up and down. There are a few sections that are flat for a few hundred meters. The road itself going to the West is a good 5 mile loop from the horse park. It's basiclly a single track that is only passable by foot, horse or a good 4x4.

For a point of reference the trail head is a few miles to the North from Big FIsh. Those that have done the Big Fish Tri know about the big hill that has the church at the bottom. The road at the top of the hill is Fox Lake road, the horse trail head is about a half mile to the West.

Great running, even the backroads in the area are great. I have ran Pickney and believe these trails are harder. Plus there deer flies are huge so you have encouragement not to stop. Map at this link


Edited by Puppetmaster 2014-03-22 1:58 AM
2014-03-22 2:46 PM
in reply to: #4968435


Subject: RE: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
I enjoy biking a loop on the park roads at Kensington. Loop is about 10 mi, some short, steep hills, but watch for a couple areas of patchy concrete. Take the connector thru to Island Lake and you have a nice 20+mi workout.
If you're a trail runner or biker, Island Lake has two mtn bike/running/hiking trails. Blue loop about 9mi, Yellow loop just under 6mi
Check out Hometown Bicycles website for group rides, they do a bunch of them in the Brighton/Island Lake area
Stoney Creek is a great place to run, always a bunch of people out running the 6mi loop. Stoney Creek and Hines Drive also have a 'Fitness Trail' with stations along the way with pull-ups, push-ups, balance beam, etc.
Northern suburbs: take advantage of the 'Rails to Trails' that the area has to offer. Many people will park their car at the ice arena on the corner of 24mi & Dequindre and access the Clinton River Trail (16mi dirt) or Macomb Orchard Trail (22mi paved). Both trails have markers every 1/2mi. Also, access Paint Creek Trail (9mi dirt) via Clinton River Trail.
If you happen to be in Detroit, Mudgies Deli on Porter Street uses fresh, local ingredients and has a good menu. One of my favorite places
2014-03-28 9:57 AM
in reply to: erikh7500

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Subject: RE: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
Stony Creek for riding as well. I did almost ALL my training there last year. Parking at the boat launch, riding the road and adding in the Nature Center loop gives you just over 9 miles of rolling terrain. LOTS and LOTS of tri folks train on the bike and run there.

Another great Metro Park is Pontiac Lake in Waterford/White Lake area for MTB or trail running. Pretty challenging, so not for beginners. Also in White Lake is Indian Springs Metro Park. Nice 8 mile run loop with quite a bit of shade and only one real hill. I bike the path only on recovery days, but can get in good short vo2 type efforts on the park road, which is rolling and about 5 miles per loop.

2014-05-20 9:31 AM
in reply to: erikh7500

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Subject: RE: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
oops I never replied to this! I thought I did! Thank you so much everyone for your thoughts!!

2018-07-06 11:15 PM
in reply to: erikh7500


Subject: RE: Best places to swim, bike, and run in Detroit/Ann Arbor area
BUMP Am seriously considering a move to the area. Any updates to this list?
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