- 5 Mile Looped Trail
- Moderately Difficult to Travel
- Dirt and Rocky Terrain
- Hiking, Biking & Cross-Country Skiing
- Leashed Pets Allowed
- Not ADA Accessible
Hiking Crooked Lake Trail Through Pinckney Recreation Area
As I continued my tour through lower Michigan, I wanted to take some time to explore the central region of the state. The Great Lakes get most of the attention, but its worth mentioning that Michigan is home to over 11,000 inland lakes as well. The Pinckney Recreation Area, contains at least 20 of them. The park also contains 6 trails across over the 11,000 acre property, that are available for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, or equestrian travel.
The Crooked Lake Trail is a 5 mile long loop that surrounds the perimeter of Crooked Lake. The trail is suitable for both hiking and biking. The terrain consists of compressed dirt and rocks. Dogs are allowed on the trail with a leash. And due to some steep inclines and uneven pathways, this trail is not ADA accessible.
The Hiking Trail Terrain
The terrain of Crooked Lake Trail consists predominately of compressed dirt and small rocks. Exposed roots from the nearby trees are common hazards along the pathway, so be sure to keep your eyes open and wear proper footwear. Otherwise, the paths appear to be well maintained with no overgrowth.
Over the course of the 5 mile path, you will encounter many steep hills. The most substantial hills are located within the first mile of the loop, if traveling counter clockwise from the trailhead. The hills suffer from erosion during the rains, so as a countermeasure, a black plastic latticework structure has been added into the steepest parts of the pathway. This maintains the pathway and is suitable for bike tires, but it can be rough to walk on.
Welcome to Hell
A unique feature of visiting this area is the small tourist town of Hell, MI. Located within the Pinckney Recreation Area, Hell was originally founded in 1838 by George Reeves. Reeves established a gristmill, distillery, and tavern in the area. Over the years, however, the surrounding fields were sold off and Pinckney Recreation Area was expanded, encompassing the town.
The town of Hell, given its name, gradually evolved into the tourist trap it is today. The town consists of the Hell Saloon, the Hell Hole Bar, the Hell Creamatory (an ice cream parlor and gift shop), a wedding chapel, and a putt putt golf course.
Like all Michigan State Parks, there is a fee to enter the park unless you have an Annual Recreation Passport. The prices are as follows:
- Resident Vehicle Annual Pass - $17
- Resident Motorcycle Annual Pass - $11
- Non-Resident Annual Pass - $34
- Non-Resident Daily Pass - $9
Hours of Operation
Sunday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Monday: 8:00AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM