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Mountain Bike Rider's Trail Guide to the Lake Orion/Oakland Township Area

Orion and Oakland Township has miles of mountain bike trails for residents to enjoy while the autumn leaves change to breathtaking streaks of gold, orange, red and yellow.

With fall arriving and the temperature dropping every day, it becomes tempting to staying inside and cuddle up on the couch rather than venture out into the chilly autumn winds. But with the beautiful scenery Orion and Oakland Township surrounds us with, why not take advantage?


Orion and Oakland Township has miles of mountain bike trails for residents to enjoy while the autumn leaves change to breathtaking streaks of gold, orange, red and yellow. The average peak color for the Orion-Oakland Township region is from late September to mid-October.


So where should Orion and Oakland Township residents go to enjoy the brisk autumn air and the amazing trail scenery?

Bald Mountain Recreation Area

  • Location: Lake Orion
  • Length: Fifteen Miles
  • About: There are two nice trails. The upper which consist of the green, white, blue and orange trails, are probably best with hills, slopes, and several overlooks. Parking for the northern trails can be accessed from Lake George, Premore, Miller and Harmon roads. The northern trail is about eight miles long. The lower trail consists of the red, yellow, orange, blue, green and white trails can be accessed from Greenshield and Kern roads. The south unit is about seven miles long. Both routes get muddy and stay muddy until summer. They are mostly single track trails with great markings for location. There are a few considerable hills going both up and down throughout. Riders pass many ponds and a few streams while weaving through the rolling terrain. The usual rocks and ruts and ruts are present on all trails.
  • Writer’s Experience: This is great for a speedy workout. I usually bundle this with the Addison Oaks Trails. It is wide and can be muddy but the faster you go the more fun it can be!

Stony Creek Metro Park

  • Location: Rochester, MI
  • Length: Fourteen Miles
  • About: Mountain bikers can enjoy nearly fourteen miles of hilly, heavily wooded dirt trails that extend throughout the southwest side of the park. The gravel, rocks and ruts are heaven to mountain bikers. The tight curves and steep hills take you through deep woods and tall pine trees, and along clear streams and hidden ponds. Wildlife, including deer and wild turkeys can be seen along the trails. Helmets required on mountain bike trails.
  • Writer’s Experience: A little crowded with runners and hikers. Trails are well marked but go all over the place. The Michigan Mountain Bike Association helps keep this area groomed, so the trails are normally in excellent condition.

For an online trail map of Stony Creek please visit here

Addison Oaks

  • Location: Leonard, MI
  • Length: Seven Miles
  • About: A scenic 794-acre park with two lakes, spring fed ponds, and a wide variety of wooded terrain. This is a nice flowing trail where you can gain lots of speed and climb some great hills to get your heart going. It is also known for its bridges that cross many springs and lowland areas. Because of its climbs it may be one of the fastest trails in southeast Michigan. The trail is also home to races every year, one in the spring and in the fall. Also it has become part of a new Massive group ride (massivefallout.org) held every fall that covers all four of the trails in the Rochester area. (Addison Oaks, Bald MTN Rec, Stony Creek, and Bloomer)
  • Writer’s Experience: Addison is one of the best keep secrets in Southeast Michigan. This trail is really fun and has a bit of everything. It's fast; you can go downhill, uphill, and over bridges and rock gardens. It’s a length and the workout that defiantly makes it worth the trip. Whenever I go I don’t realize I’m exercising because I’m having such a great time. Plus, these trails drain really well after a hard rain and can be ridden right after with no damage to the trail.

Polly Ann Trail

  • Location: Oakland County
  • Length: Fourteen Miles
  • About:  This fourteen mile long trail connects the communities of Orion Township, Oxford Township, the Village of Oxford, Addison Township, and the Village of Leonard. The trail also utilizes the abandoned P.O. & N. railroad corridor, and cuts through some of the most beautiful untouched landscape in northern Oakland County. The Polly Ann Trail begins in Orion Township and continues northeast through Oxford, Addison, and Leonard to the Oakland-Lapeer county line at Bordman Road. Connections to other trails include the Paint Creek Trail, Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Macomb Orchard Trail, Clinton River Trail, County Parks, and numerous recreational and public places. The trail is open from dawn to dusk year round.
  • Writer’s Experience: There are lots public parking options along the trial, especially in Oxford and Orion Township.  I would consider this trail a casual ride but there are some rough spots. There is no coasting on this trail so it's a good thigh workout.

Paint Creek Trail

  • Location: Connecting the communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, and Orion Township.
  • Length: 9 miles
  • About: For the most part, the trail is a wooded path winding along a trout stream, passing ponds, grassy meadows, wetlands, even prairie habitat while wildlife such as muskrats, herons, snapping turtles, and an occasional deer can be sighted. Paint Creek Trail begins at the Clinton River Trail as the Rochester River Walk. Within 0.3 mile it becomes Paint Creek Trail in Rochester Municipal Park and in 8.6 miles ends at Atwater Street in Lake Orion. The eight-foot wide trail is convenient when encountered by a hiker, jogger, or another cyclist.
  • Writer’s Experience: Great path for bike riding. I usually go from Lake Orion to Rochester and back. Everyone I encountered on the trail was friendly.  I've also rode from Rochester to the Paint Creek Cider Mill (and stopped for a donut) then back. The scenery is beautiful and lots of wildlife can be seen. This is my go-to trail; I can't wait to ride it again!

 

Because it’s finally fall, I encourage Orion-Oakland Township Patch users to show off the images you have taken from these beautiful trails—and beyond—and add them to the gallery on this post. Feel free to add any  experiences, fall trail events and activities to the comments!

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