view of DTE Energy Foundation Trail

Exploring the DTE Energy Foundation Trail

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Guest post authored by Kathryn Bradbury, Waterloo State Recreation Area

As the weather gets warmer, residents across Michigan are putting away their winter sports wear and gearing up for this season’s outdoor activities. Last year, the DTE Energy Foundation Trail at Waterloo opened to the public and we’re excited to share what’s new this season for everyone to enjoy.

For starters – nearly five miles of the Big Kame Loop – that’s what!! We’ve been working hard to get Big Kame into shape for the June 10 public opening. Our team has been partnered with our volunteers, the Potawatomi Mountain Biking Association, and our trail designer, Alex Stewart, with Spectrum Trail Design to get our next Loop ready for some up-and-downhill fun this summer.

So what’s in a “Kame”? Kames are ice-age era mounds of debris that were left behind by the front edge of slowly moving glaciers. As the glacier crawled along, metamorphic rock and boulders from Canada were left behind, while sand and sediment accumulated to cover up leftover masses of ice. As the ice melted, it created kettle holes and glacial lakes.

Big Kame on DTE Energy Foundation TrailThis geologic phenomenon is what gives the Big Kame its exciting elevation changes and swooping bowls, making it a destination for thrill-seekers. By using locally sourced boulders to add to the experience, the Big Kame Loop has some challenging downhill sections. While the boulder piles look intimidating, they are as smooth to ride as butter.

As always, there is a “go-around path” for those not ready to take the full plunge, but adventurers should be warned as there is no such thing as a “glacial pace” on our newest loop. You will pick up some serious speed and even some air, if you so desire.

In addition to the nationally recognized Green Lake Loop, aka the “Best Beginner Mountain Bike Trail” in Michigan, the DTE Energy Trail will have a combined total of 10 miles for your outdoor enjoyment.

Once the entire project is finished, there will be something to challenge every level of cyclist and trail runner. The DTE Energy Foundation Trail will eventually connect to the Potawatomi mountain biking trail in the Pinckney State Recreation Area, giving Southeast Michigan one of the longest single track trails east of the Mississippi.

Come out and join in the fun!