Poto: Olson Park/Ann Arbor Loop

For posting trail-specific conditions and problems

Postby CM » July 27th, 2004, 5:37 pm

How hard is this place to navigate for a first-timer? I'm thinking of heading out there sometime this week for a quick ride. How many miles is it?
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7/29/04

Postby scat silvurz » July 30th, 2004, 10:56 am

rode it for the first time - awesome trail, very fun w/ some good twisty singletrack and fun stuff to ride over. The trail was bone dry, even after the rain we got two days earlier.

I especially like the handmade "north shore style" bridge adjacent to the real conc/steel bridge in the back of the park by the pond.
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Postby bill_m » August 2nd, 2004, 3:07 pm

The trail system in the park is designed to be fun for anyone from a beginner to an advanced rider. There are plenty of technical things to keep it interesting with some options to avoid some of the harder stuff. Anything can be easily walked if you don't feel ready for it. There was a temporary section of trail along M-14 that was two way, but that is no longer the case. Take a look at the revised trail map and hopefully it will make sense. There is a little over 5 miles of trail if you do everything in the park. This will increase once we can complete the Perimeter Trail and create the trails that surround the soccer fields and retention ponds. This won't happen until next year.

Keep in mind, the park by itself is just a small taste of the MTB trails in Ann Arbor. It is a great place for someone to start. Many of the Ann Arbor trials are advanced and should only be attempted once you are comfortable riding what you will find in North East (Officially Olsen) Park. Check out the "Ride Announcements" Forum for group rides if you would like to be shown the rest of the trails. Enjoy!
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Postby a2citrix » August 15th, 2004, 12:36 am

So is the trail open, open yet? I haven't been out that way lately, but the last time it looked as if it was still "officially" closed...
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Postby bill_m » August 16th, 2004, 10:59 am

Bill_M wrote:I also wanted to remind everyone that the park is still officially CLOSED to the general public. It is un-officially open to mountain bikers because the trails are out of the way from where the contractors are working. No one is allowed to park in the paved lot, so it is up to you to either get there under your own power or find an alternate place to park. Please do not call the city and tell them that I have the park listed on the MMBA website as OPEN , so they are remiss and need to unlock the gates. The OPEN listing on this web site only refers to the status of the trail surface (i.e. muddy vs. dry), not the City of Ann Arbor's status to the general public.

Thank you and enjoy the park in its current "un-officially open to bikers only" state.


This is still the case. I wouldn't plan on being able to park in the paved lot until spring/summer 2005. The parking spots on Pontiac Trial are a good choice until then. We won't have trails around the soccer field area until then either. We hope to get started on the Technical challenges soon, especially after the IMBA/Birchfield crew shared there methods with us. Enjoy.

If anyone is so inclined, please give me your feedback on the signage. I have tried to anticipate where signs are needed but I know the park well. If you are someone who rode it for the first time or are a bit confused when you ride at the park, tell me where additional or different signs would be helpful. Thanks.
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Postby Coyo Te » August 17th, 2004, 3:53 am

I was out there today (technically yesterday). Trails looked/rode great though I took a few of the wooded trails to fast and kept clipping my sack between some narrow trees.

The signs on the actual trails were pretty self explanitory - If you could read them as you passed, you were going the right way, if not then your that *beep* everyone hates.

Saw lots of cars parked at the gates, don't know why these people don't just ride to the trails its only about four miles from main Ann Arbor and the uphill ride on Pontiac (S to N) or Dhu Varren (E to W) makes for a nice warm up plus if you then die at the trail you can be flown very quickly to the UofM Med Center (less than three miles by flight) also giving any kids nearby (or me) a good show of the Med Flight copter landing and taking off.

But yeah it seems not too many people realize the park is still closed cause the construction signs are outdated for Fall of 2003 completion. Plus the one at the West gate (chain) is pretty much knocked over like it was hit by a truck or soccer mom having a nervous breakdown. and everytime i've been there in the last few days there have been hordes of kids climbing on the cool jungle gym/rock walls I wish they had when I was a kid, those things are sweet.
Other than all that the only hazard I faced today (yesterday) was almost being attacked or more likely running over a dog on the paved trail by the new mtb trailhead. They need too remind dog owners that they should have them on leashes like most parks do (hey I don't like it but I don't feel like being on the next When Animals Attack Mountain Bikers (WAAMB).

Oh and if this trail doesn't give you enough little scares I unofficially recommend riding the nice down hill on Dhu Varren over the train tracks that merely have stop signs (No warnings at all) three feet from the rails. Its just a *beep* if you have to stop and lose all that great momentum at the very bottom of the hill. Although when you see cars stopping and crossing its a nice sign that no train is coming to cut you and your expensive bike in half plus it sucks every time to have to replace your helmet cause of an impact that may or maynot have invisibly destroyed your helmet.

Well, I'm off to bed for twelve hours before I wake up and do it all Again. If you see me I'm the one on the Red/Silver/Blue Trek with the Red helmet, Blue sack and the stupid grin. Goodnight (good morning)
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rode

Postby kaderick » August 17th, 2004, 10:22 am

I rode it yesterday as well. That was the first time I ever been on a trail in my life, alot more fun than just commuting back and forth. I rode all the different routes about 3 times in total. Had a great time, signs are pretty self explanatory. Is the bridge that crosses the stream(next to the big bridge) the only "hard" technical challenge out there? How many challenges were there in total about 5? Is there any big jumps/drops out there that I might have missed? Anyways, it was fun. Who is in charge of maintenance/building things out there? Do you need any volunteer help?
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Northeast Park

Postby booboobear » September 5th, 2004, 11:34 am

I also rode it for the 1st time this morning. This is a very nice course. Not too technical, but I was caught off guard more than once on some of the switchbacks (especially on the woods section), and had to regroup. Now that I've ridden the course, I can't use the "surprise" excuse anymore!

As to the signage, frankly I found it to be better than alot of the "established" trails I've ridden. This is even more true when you consider that there are alot of trail options (forks in the road!) and intersecting trails -- didn't get lost once (its really hard to get lost when the park is bordered by M-14, Pontiac Trail and Dhu Varren anyway!). My only comment is that some of the signs are pretty fragile looking (pieces of paper stapled to posts) and likely won't last long. But this is totally understandable given the "in progress" staus of the trail.

Now that I've found this trail, I'll likely use it alot -- its much more convenient for those "quickie" rides one has to try to squeeze in when time allows. My only fear about this trail is that once its completed and officially opened, it will be too crowded. But I guess that just the selfish me trying to keep a good thing secret.

Please post any work sessions, etc., that I might be able to help with. I'd be happy to help.
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Postby Coyo Te » September 5th, 2004, 6:35 pm

I'm thinking of riding the loop around 3ish(3-3:30pm) on tuesday(9-7-04). I'm starting at Barton park. Anyone wanna join me?
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Postby Coyo Te » September 19th, 2004, 11:47 pm

I was out there a couple days ago and noticed that the last bridge (blue diving board?) had been moved out of the way. Is this because the trench is dry? I didn't want to put it back if it had been moved for good reason although on my third ride of the woods I hit it wrong and did a somersalt with my bike :oops: .

Also I found a long water bottle over on the western trail (not the perimeter). PM me if you lost one.
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Postby dew » December 18th, 2004, 2:05 pm

Rode Thursday night. It was frozen, and mostly in good shape, better than all year. Only 2 problems:
(1) a few really bad, frozen tire ruts left over from the muddy conditions earlier in the week. (Please don't ride when it is muddy)
(2) a tree down in the woods section. Does anyone know if we are allowed by AA Parks to take chain saws in to remove these?
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Postby bill_m » December 19th, 2004, 12:45 pm

The un-official answer is yes. The official answer is that you are supposed to be "certified" by the parks dept to use any power equipment on public land (including weed whackers). They will certify you for free.

I will try and take a chainsaw to the park this week and clear it out. If you would like to give it a shot, go for it.

Ruts (aka pizza cutter marks) suck.
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Postby bill_m » April 2nd, 2005, 11:31 pm

4/2/05 - The trail surface is still slightly too wet to ride. I expect that I will upgrade the trial to "open" status this week. Please be careful as the bridge over the creek on the northern border of the park is out. The banks have become wider due to the spring melt, so we will have to re-build it to increase the span. You can walk across it without getting wet, but I wouldn't recommend hitting it at speed!! The trails are in better shape than I expected.
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Postby scat silvurz » April 4th, 2005, 1:06 pm

last fall, I found an adjacent semi-abandoned trail while climbing up "the connector" [on my way from the dam to the bluffs....]. I followed it the whole way and it actually dumps you back onto the connector trail, about 75 ft from where the trail meets the road/adj parking lot [bird hills park is right across the street]. Any interest in incorporating this as a viable trail alternative - it's got great terrain in the woods, and crosses a rocky riverbed - very fun.
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Postby HappyHelmet » April 4th, 2005, 1:14 pm

Scat, are you talking about the area near the Girl Scout camp?
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