One of Michigan's five "linear" state parks, Lakelands Trail State Park currently consists of approximately 20 miles of non-motorized, multi-use trail passing through a varied landscape of woodlands, wetlands, lakes, small country towns and quaint family farms.
The trail includes 8 miles of paved asphalt trail, with an unpaved equestrian path, from the village of Hamburg to M-36 in Pinckney. The remaining 12-mile section of trail, from Pinckney to Stockbridge, is surfaced with finely screened and compacted limestone. This unpaved section is a very popular equestrian route. Cyclists should be cautious when approaching horseback riders so as not to "spook" the horses.
Lakelands Trail State Park was built on the rail bed of the original Michigan Airline Railroad, built in 1883, which ran between Port Huron and Niles. It was known as the Grand Trunk Western Railroad when the rail corridor was abandoned and turned over to MDOT in 1975. The trail was opened for public use in 1994 and has seen several stages of improvements since then.
In 2013, the section through Putnam Township east of Pinckney was improved with an asphalt bike path and limestone equestrian lane. In 2015, a new trailhead was completed in the village of Hamburg. The trail also includes a tunnel under busy M-36 near the Pettysville Trailhead.
Another 13 miles of the original rail corridor, from Stockbridge to Parnell Road near Jackson, is currently under development and will eventually connect with the Falling Waters Trail. Lakelands Trail State Park is an important link in the "Great Lake-To-Lake Trail" that will someday provide a continuous non-motorized multi-use trail from South Haven to Port Huron.