Tucked away in Waterloo State Park near Chelsea, Michigan, the DTE Energy Foundation Trail is nothing short of a mountain biker's paradise. Built with a focus on sustainable design and state-of-the-art engineering, this 22-mile network is a destination for anyone looking to experience "next-level flow" on two wheels. The trail is open to mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, and cross-country skiers, boasting an innovative approach to single-track design.
How to Get There
Reach the DTE trail via I-94, taking exit 159 Chelsea and heading north on 52 (Main St.) for roughly six miles. The entrance and parking are on the left, just after a small pond. A heads-up for weekend warriors: the main parking lot is usually full, but an additional lot is available off Waterloo Road and Cassidy Road.
- Surface: Mechanically-cut "flow trail," with highly structured grades and out slopes
- Route Type: Network of five distinct loops over varying terrains
- Difficulty Level: Intermediate, but beginner-friendly options available
- Signage: Clearly marked, alternating direction based on the day of the week
The Loops Explained
Green Lake Loop
- At 5.25 miles, this beginner-friendly route serves as a perfect warm-up.
- Offers a flowy ride, with many small hills and a few small jumps that are rollable.
- A couple of man-made features, such as log steps and rock rolls, provide a dash of excitement.
Big Kame Loop
- 4.75 miles of more technical trails, featuring two large rock gardens.
- It includes several small and one large hill, with jumps that can be rolled over.
- 8-mile trail with large berms and hills.
- Offers jumps that resemble those in a downhill park, and rock jumps with varying lengths.
- 4-mile advanced route with large hills, massive berms, and rock features.
- Includes a large dropoff and is rated as a black diamond loop.
What Riders Are Saying
- "Super fast flow trails, tacky dirt, some of the best in the Midwest."
- "Excellent trail; rode the Green and Big Kame loops and can't wait to try Wynn and Sugar."
- "Felt like riding a roller coaster the whole way."
- The trails alternate directions depending on the day: clockwise on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; counterclockwise on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
- Most of the challenging features have bypasses for those who need them.
- There's a shortcut to the Blue loop via a fire road through a farm field.
Endorsed by an overwhelmingly positive user base, the DTE Energy Foundation Trail is a meticulously designed, sustainable flow trail. Whether you're looking for a casual, scenic ride or a pulse-quickening, technical challenge, DTE Energy Foundation Trail offers a gamut of options. So, strap on your helmet, hop on your bike, and get ready for some of the most fun you can have on two wheels in Michigan's great outdoors.