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Lake to Lake Trail

Old 01-24-20, 07:58 PM
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shona
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Lake to Lake Trail

I was reading about the Lake to Lake trail that spans over 200 miles in Southern Michigan. Does anybody know anything about it? I specifically want to know if it is paved or gravel. Thanks
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Old 01-24-20, 08:16 PM
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Old 01-29-20, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by shona View Post
I was reading about the Lake to Lake trail that spans over 200 miles in Southern Michigan. Does anybody know anything about it? I specifically want to know if it is paved or gravel. Thanks
I laugh when people (often politicians) say we have a bike trail that goes east/west or North/South (Ohio to Wisconsin). Yeah, its a trail if you dont mind sharing country roads with non bike friendly traffic.

Last I looked, this specific trail was a combination of old rail beds and country roads. The old rail beds can be nothing but a vague straight right of way through farmlands. The west side of this trail is the Cal/Haven trail, which is our oldest rail to trail and fairly nice. Well, its flat as a pancake and goes through a lot of corn fields not much shade in the summer on a hot day. But there are no hills and no cars.
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Old 01-29-20, 01:33 PM
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Lake to lake Trail

Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I laugh when people (often politicians) say we have a bike trail that goes east/west or North/South (Ohio to Wisconsin). Yeah, its a trail if you dont mind sharing country roads with non bike friendly traffic.

Last I looked, this specific trail was a combination of old rail beds and country roads. The old rail beds can be nothing but a vague straight right of way through farmlands. The west side of this trail is the Cal/Haven trail, which is our oldest rail to trail and fairly nice. Well, its flat as a pancake and goes through a lot of corn fields not much shade in the summer on a hot day. But there are no hills and no cars.
Living in Texas we are used to sharing country roads with unfriendly yahoos. Is the entire trail paved?
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Old 01-30-20, 10:59 AM
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Oh then, you are familiar with pickup trucks and the types that drive them (I'm from Houston originally).

Your best bet may be to go to google maps and follow along on the satellite view for the whole trail. I've done that before I ride trails in the state.

The parts that are actually maintained rail-trail are crushed limestone. I typically ride 32mm+ or larger. The trails on the west side and the east side of the state are great (especially the Kal-Haven trail between Kalamazoo and Grand Haven).

The parts that are razor straight on the map tend to be country roads.

There are large parts that look to be un-maintained rail-trails. These can be rough but ridable (sometimes wet) in the spring/fall. I tend to use 40mm+ tires here (more if carrying a load). In the summer they can be overgrown. (in the winter they become snowmobile trails - does a good job for packing them down for fatbikes). The trails do seem to get better and better every year. Some of it is maintenance, some of it is likely the popularity of gravel bikes (at least if other people are riding there is somewhat of a path (single-track) through the grassy sections).

If you are thinking of committing to this - your best bet is to look at the strava heat map. There are some highly ridden sections, and those are going to be your best trails. Some sections are going to be pretty faint on the map, and those tend to be "gaps" where you have to ride on country roads to link to another section of the bike trail.

In other words, its a bit of everything. Well maintained rail trail, paved rail trail, crushed limestone rail trail, unmaintained rail trail, minimally used rail trail, country roads.

Personally for this type of ride, I would do the route used by C2C (Coast to Coast ride in the summer) a little farther north in the state (half way up). Its going to be prettier, mostly dirt roads, some gorgeous state forest, some single track, and a bit hilly (west side of the state). You can do the 212 miles in one day with a couple hundred of your new friends if you want. ;-)
But if you want flat (and corn fields), the lake to lake trail is the way to go.
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Old 01-30-20, 11:19 AM
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OK, I was born, raised, worked my entire professional life, and buried my parents in south central Michigan.
I've ridden most of the Western and Central segments of this trail and some of the Eastern segments, many before anyone called them a segment.

1. The Great Lake-to-Lake Trail is comprised of many segments and surfaces. The website does a great job of describing each trail segment: distance, surface, rules, history, etc. Read it, learn it. live it.
If you want the boots-on-the-ground view, call a bike shop in the area of the trail that concerns you.

2. Yes, you might encounter some unfriendly yahoos on the shared roads, especially when riding on twisting country roads with no paved shoulders and degrading surfaces and even more so if you're riding side-by-side oblivious to any car traffic.
However, these roads were likely chosen to minimize that possibility. I've ridden many of them and they are generally quite peaceful during normal work hours. Just remember, hardworking people want to get to work on time in the morning, and a lot of them want to rush home around 3pm. Just ride responsibly (and that doesn't mean riding side-by-side all the time just because it's legal) and use a good tail light.

3. The western-most segment is Kal-Haven (between Kalamazoo and South Haven), not Cal/Haven (ostensibly a safe place from unfriendly yahoos for guys named Calvin).
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Old 01-30-20, 11:56 AM
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FYI - here is the Gravel route cross state commented on above:
https://www.strava.com/routes/22770685

(you can see it on the strava state heat map too).
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Old 01-30-20, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by shona View Post
Is the entire trail paved?
No. Much of it is crushed limestone. Much of the trails near Detroit are paved though. .

I just noticed the interactive map for the great lake to lake trail is a bit outdated. Near the Lee Rd roundabouts in Brighton, instead of going up Old US 23, just head across the street where the paved trail along Feldcrest ends at the ride share parking lot. There, the trail picks up and goes dirt for about 1/2 into Island Lake State Park. The other correction is the bridge across M5 is finished.
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Old 01-30-20, 02:30 PM
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lake to lake Trail

Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
No. Much of it is crushed limestone. Much of the trails near Detroit are paved though. .

I just noticed the interactive map for the great lake to lake trail is a bit outdated. Near the Lee Rd roundabouts in Brighton, instead of going up Old US 23, just head across the street where the paved trail along Feldcrest ends at the ride share parking lot. There, the trail picks up and goes dirt for about 1/2 into Island Lake State Park. The other correction is the bridge across M5 is finished.
Thank you. That's exactly what I wanted to know.
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Old 01-31-20, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
FYI - here is the Gravel route cross state commented on above:
https://www.strava.com/routes/22770685

(you can see it on the strava state heat map too).
Thanks. I've never used the Strava heat map. Is there some way to overlay the route and the heat map, or do you just put up the route and the heat map in side-by-side windows and eyeball things?
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Old 01-31-20, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
Thanks. I've never used the Strava heat map. Is there some way to overlay the route and the heat map, or do you just put up the route and the heat map in side-by-side windows and eyeball things?
kinda, not really. Good question...

What I usually do is go and edit a route in Strava (or copy it so I can own/edit).

When editing a route I can see the satellite or map view and the heat map. I can then adjust the route as needed, or see where the least traveled sections are.

Often going to Google Street view will give you a good idea of what the trail looks like where it crosses road that has been mapped.
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Old 02-04-20, 08:34 AM
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I've been involved in some of the trails toward the eastern end of this route and can say that they are being developed and improved all the time, with some of the "missing" segments scheduled to be filled in within a few years. At this time, except for the current bypass route around Pontiac, the trail is continuous from about South Lyon to Richmond, and much of that is paved. Starting at Wixom, the newly-developed Air Line Trail is paved to where it meets up with the crushed limestone West Bloomfield Trail. That in turn leads to the Clinton River Trail that has some mixed surfaces before joining up with the paved Macomb Orchard Trail at the Macomb County line that goes another 24 miles to Richmond (and is my favorite for nice, uncrowded hammering-down in a rural setting).

The official end of the trail is in Port Huron, but there are no available rail-trail routes from Richmond to Port Huron, so that has to be all on county and local roads, but I'm not familiar with how they routed it.
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Old 02-04-20, 10:57 AM
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Lake to lake Trail

Thank you
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Old 02-10-20, 11:42 AM
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Well, I can't say much for the central or eastern central sections, but the western section begins (or ends, depending on your point of view) in South Haven at the Kal-Haven Trailhead..
South Haven Trailhead to 10th St Trailhead in Kalamazoo, Co, (crushed stone) where it's picked up by the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail through town and east to Galesburg, (paved) where it currently terminates at 35th St..
the connector from there, to and through Ft Custer Recreation Area and then the Industrial Park will connect with the Battle Creek Linear Park (paved) begins construction this summer.. currently, you'd have to ride along M96 as the bridge over the river on Ft Custer Drive was demolished in the 1940's and not rebuilt. Ft Custer Dr was then abandoned east of the river to Climax Dr which leads you into the Rec Area off M96

There was a group from the Cycling Over 50 Facebook page that used this route last year when they rode from Oregon to Maine..

I asked here if anyone had done the Inaugural Shore To Shore ride last September, I don't think anyone responded.

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Old 02-28-20, 02:41 AM
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There's a gravel "race" across central MI from Huron to Lk Michigan. It's called 'Coast to Coast'. I somewhat followed their route last summer across the Mitten. Rerouted slightly for convenience and camping. Tried to stick to gravel routes. Bikecamped all the way. Took the SS Badger into WI, and rode back home to Chicago. Seemed easy to find gravel in MI. Plus, we caught this killer Rails-To-Trails limestone path into the Manistee Forest, which got us very close to Ludington!
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Old 02-28-20, 09:45 AM
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There's a gravel "race" across central MI from Huron to Lk Michigan. It's called 'Coast to Coast'. I somewhat followed their route last summer across the Mitten. Rerouted slightly for convenience and camping. Tried to stick to gravel routes. Bikecamped all the way. Took the SS Badger into WI, and rode back home to Chicago. Seemed easy to find gravel in MI. Plus, we caught this killer Rails-To-Trails limestone path into the Manistee Forest, which got us very close to Ludington!
Yeah, I put a link to the route above.
Lots of good rails to trails in Michigan too.
Sounds like a cool trip, with the ferry across the lake.
The gravel map for michigan lights up most of the state in yellow with all the gravel around here.

Sounds like a nice trip from chicago!
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Old 02-28-20, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Yeah, I put a link to the route above.
Lots of good rails to trails in Michigan too.
Sounds like a cool trip, with the ferry across the lake.
The gravel map for michigan lights up most of the state in yellow with all the gravel around here.

Sounds like a nice trip from chicago!
Thank you but we are road only. We don't ride on gravel.
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Old 02-29-20, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by shona View Post
Thank you but we are road only. We don't ride on gravel.
Here is the paved version.
Check out this route on Strava: https://strava.app.link/MEWaoGMtt4 ODRAM
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Old 02-29-20, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by shona View Post
Thank you but we are road only. We don't ride on gravel.
Here is the paved version.
https://www.strava.com/routes/685195
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Old 02-29-20, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Here is the paved version.
Check out this route on Strava: https://strava.app.link/MEWaoGMtt4 ODRAM
Thank you Chas58!
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