Welcome to the first installation of our weekly #TrailTuesday Series! Located just south of Walled Lake, this inaugural installation zeroes in on the finer details of Novi Lakeshore Park's multi-use trail and what makes the trail an all-season Detroit region staple.
INTRODUCING TRAIL TUESDAY
You've heard of "Taco Tuesday." Maybe even "Trivia Tuesday." Possibly even "Turnt Tuesday" for those willing to burn a productive Wednesday morning.
Well, friends, family, and fellow outdoor enthusiasts: today we're christening a brand new alliterative rendition of Tuesdays. The first iteration of a year-long series dedicated to taking a deep dive into the 52 most popular trails in the Detroit region, as ranked by AllTrails. A consistent output of content geared not only towards establishing Expedition Detroit as the comprehensive gateway to our area's best outdoor experiences, but with providing our community with trail maps, statistics, knowledge, ideas, and first-hand tips on enjoying Detroit's favorite trails.
On a high-level, each #TrailTuesday article will provide you with a brief snapshot of any and all information that we believe will enhance your appreciation of and experience on the trail. Those snapshots will include brief overview of the trail's surrounding destination, route statistics, and our typical flowery description of the trail. We will also throw in a few bonus activity insights for those with larger recreational appetites (we're dubbing these insights the "Weekend Bonus Tips").
Without further ado, we formally welcome you to #TrailTuesday. We're glad that you've joined us on this journey, and we invite you to hit this virtual trail with us each week as we explore the best of the best of the Detroit region's vast trail network!
MEET NOVI LAKESHORE PARK
The crown jewel of Novi's outdoor ecosystem, Lakeshore Park constitutes the City of Novi's largest park and principal gateway to recreational adventures for the greater Novi community. The origins of the park date back to 1922, when the Dodge Brothers Company donated 25.82 acres of land along the southern bank of Walled Lake to the State of Michigan for use as a public park. The newly-created state park was dubbed "Dodge Brothers Park Number 2," which the State operated until its transfer to Novi in 1947.
Fast forward to 2023, Lakeshore Park continues to foster year-round recreation opportunities like a swimming beach on Walled Lake in the summer months, well-maintained mountain biking and natural hiking trails, and a popular destination for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Lakeshore Park provides key habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, thereby establishing the park as the best wildlife viewing destination within the City of Novi.
HIT THE TRAIL
Total Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 104 feet
Trail Rating: Easy
Route Orientation: Loop
Parking Specifics: Free parking at north trailhead, accessible from S Lake Drive
Lakeshore Park's "Multi-Use" trail launches from the same trailhead as Lakeshore Park's famous mountain biking loops, although you will quickly notice the deviation point where bikers will verge right and you'll keep hiking straight. Fortunately, the "Multi-Trail" remains prominently wider than the MTB loops throughout its duration, so hikers, runners, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers should not have any doubt regarding whether they have verged onto a biking trail. The only potential hiccups on the trail might result from route navigation: the trail features plenty of signs, but the lack of numbered posts may create some confusion regarding route orientation. We advise frequently checking the map included above, but when in doubt, turn right (we'll note where that general advice does NOT apply shortly).
The trail starts with a very easy 0.4 mile incline towards its first intersection in front of a patch of pine trees. Keep right to venture slightly uphill towards a zone of the park that we're naming "The Hardwoods." Enjoy the long-reaching views through Lakeshore's mature forest - including the occasional mountain biker ripping down the "Expert Loop" - as you start your decline towards the Walled Lake Branch stream. Take your time along the well-maintained boardwalk as you cross the stream; beyond wildlife viewing opportunities, the messages engraved into the boardwalk are pretty entertaining to read. Once you complete the boardwalk, KEEP LEFT and follow the first trail that you encounter back over a less-maintained boardwalk. You will have now returned to the main trail through The Hardwoods, doubling back until you reach the 1.1 mile mark.
Reverting back to the general "Keep Right" rule, you will venture into one of the most beautiful areas of Lakeshore Park. After a brief descent towards low-lying marshes, you will very gradually climb over the next 0.7 miles through mature pine and oak forests, occasionally broken up by fields, trails, and eventually the park's famous MTB "Pump Track." Hopefully you will be treated to some riders taking on the Pump Track's obstacles, but note that your route continues TO THE LEFT OF THE BACKSIDE of the Pump Track area. This branch of the route is not marked at all, which we discovered by adding about a quarter of a mile to our hike...
The last mile of the hike - especially during these foliage-free months - is the "Panorama Segment" of the trail. Gazing through the treeline, you will be treated to long, panoramic vistas of Mud Pond, including fleeting glimpses of the behemoth Walled Lake in the distance. These views will oscillate as you hike parallel to marshes, thickets of pine trees, and other varying terrain, although the bright blue waters of Mud Pond will be a constant companion off to your right as you complete the final stretches of your hike back to the parking lot.
WEEKEND BONUS TIPS
I would earn the rightful scorn of Detroit's mountain biking community for not recommending the elephant in the article: the vast majority of visitors to Lakeshore Park do NOT visit to hike, run, snowshoe, or cross-country ski, but to bike the park's famous MTB trail network. The Motor City Mountain Biking Association maintains the 10.5 miles of singletrack trails, which range from beginner-friendly terrain to technical features like rock gardens, log piles, skinnies, and a pump track. We previously featured Lakeshore Park as one of the Detroit region's five best mountain biking trails, so we highly recommend that you couple your hike with a ride for the full experience.
Broadening the scope a bit, another beautiful aspect of Lakeshore Park is its enviable central location to the lion's share of outdoor experiences located in the northwest corridor of the Detroit region. Maybury State Park in Northville - another local mecca for hiking, running, and mountain biking ventures - is a mere 8.5 miles southwest of Lakeshore Park, or an 8.2 mile cycle via the ITC Corridor Trail. Proud Lake State Recreation Area's vast trail network, including ample paddling access to the Huron River, is just 9.1 miles northwest of the park. When you add in near-immediate access to the natural trails of Wixom Habitat and Lyon Oaks County Park, it shouldn't take much convincing to argue that Lakeshore Park provides an idyllic launching point for a full day's worth of outdoor adventures.
We implore you to put that theory to the test.
The #TrailTuesday Series idea started as a recommendation from readers looking for a deeper analysis into the individual trails that define Detroit's vast network. One of our main goals for this platform is to produce content that reflects the outdoor interests and desires of our community, so please continue to provide us with your suggestions via our contact form or here in the comments!