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The Wixom, South Lyon, Island Lake, Kensington Connector

Sun, Nov  25, 2001 - By Mike Muha

There is now a paved path that connects the Kensington Metropark bike path with the Island Lake State Park bike path, and those paths to the Wixom / South Lyon rails-to-trails path. I did a portion of the connector trail tonight, from Kent Lake Road to Pontiac Trail (a mile east of Milford Road). There is still work to be done around the trail - grass planted, bad portions of pavement replaced, sand and stone removed - but for the most part, it can be rollerskied. There are a couple of exceptions...

Starting at Kensington Metropark. The connector starts from Kensington Metropark near the short wooden bridge next to I-94. The path cuts under the highway, then climbs into Island Lake State Park to a 3-way intersection. Turn right to head into Island Lake; turn right to head toward Wixom or South Lyon. This section of trail is in great shape.

Nice pavement! Looking east from Kent Lake Road. I-96 is on the left; Grand River is on the right.Along Grand River. We turn left. The trail heads down a gentle slope to the intersection of Grand River and Kent Lake Road. You first cross Grand River, then cross Kent Lake Road. The path then follows Grand River up to  Lyon Township Community Park. For the most part, the path is wide and clear through this area. Just before Lyon Township Community Park are a couple entrances into subdivisions. The drop off as you cross these entrance can bring your rollerskis or inline skates to a halt.

Into Lyon Township Community Park. Currently, the climb into the Park is covered in gravel that has washed onto the path. The left side of the path is caving in from a washout, but there's still plenty of room to get around. A hundred yards past the top, the path intersects the Park's path. Two choices: go right and have an enjoyable ski on the Park Roads; go straight and be prepared to crash on the narrow, dirty, rocky path that takes a sharp swing to the right at the bottom of a downhill (see picture below). Recommendation: Go right.

The wrong choice: downhill to a sharp right in Lyon Township Community ParkTake the road to a stop sign, then turn left. Heads up! There are a couple bad holes across the road. At the Y, go down to the right parking lot. At the end of the parking lot, take off your skis, walk down the hill to the road at the bottom (unless you're Jeff Ray - he step turns down on his V2 Aeros). This is the same spot to which you would have eventually arrived had you taken the "narrow, dirty, rocky path that takes a sharp swing to the right at the bottom of a downhill" option.

Put on your skis, turn right and head to the chain link fence on the left. Go through the fence and onto the narrow path. After a couple hundred feet, the path widens back up, and there's a downhill to Milford Road. Walk down if you're unsure of your stopping ability: Milford Road can be pretty busy.

Along I-96. Once you're across Milford Road, the path is again wonderful. Wide, just enough texture to get good pole grip. In half a mile, the path comes to an intersection.

Turn left to head to WixomTo Wixom. Turn left under the highway to head toward Wixom - watch for gravel on the new trail. The trail actual ends a couple miles (and two road crossing) later at Old Plank Road. Supposedly, the path will be paved the last two miles into Wixom in 2002.

To South Lyon. Alternatively, turn right and head to South Lyon. The trail crosses Grand River, Milford Road, and many dirt roads before going through downtown South Lyon. The trail is not paved across the dirt roads.

Gravel then a street crossing on the downhill, north out of Lyon Park.Coming back. Just reverse your path. Warning! Heading north out of Lyon Township Community Park takes you down a hill that is currently covered in gravel (see picture at right). At the bottom of the hill is an entrance into a subdivision. There's not much room to stop.