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North Bay Park

Trail Details

N 42° 13' 38.64"
W 083° 36' 51.48"
1.6 miles
Trail Type
Foot path
Ford Lake, wetlands
Nearest City or Town
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At North Bay Park, a small Ypsilanti Township park, you can “walk” across the water, stopping anywhere along the way to enjoy the view, look for wildlife or to fish. That's because almost half of it's trail system winds across the north end of Ford Lake as boardwalks, bridges and small islands. That makes the park an interesting place to hike, a great outing for young children and a haven for shore anglers.
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This 139-acre park is located on the west end of Ford Lake and features a boardwalk and trail system that meanders through woods, wetlands and along the shores of Ford Lake. Ford Lake is a 975-acre impoundment of the Huron River just southeast of Ann Arbor and at the north end is North Bay, featuring small islets and wetlands making it an ideal spot to look for wildlife or to fish.

The park is squeezed in between I-94 and Ford Lake, yet contains almost 2 miles of trail. Half of the loop winds across the north end of the reservoir, making it a great place to hike with children and a haven for shore anglers.

The lagoon the boardwalks skirts attract several species of herons, egrets, ducks, and cormorants. The nearby wetland is filled with a huge variety of sparrows, red-wing blackbirds, and warblers.

Amenities & Services
Difficulty - Easy
Dog Friendly
Foot Path
Trail Guide

The trail begins near the shelter as a paved path that makes a rapid descent toward the lake, a descent so steep there are warning signs to cyclists and in-line skaters contemplating this stretch.

Within 0.25 mile you enter a marsh and continue east on a boardwalk that leads you out onto Ford Lake. For a park so small, this is an impressive boardwalk. It edges the shoreline for almost 0.5 mile, allowing boatless anglers to either cast among the lily pads along the shoreline or toss their bait into the deeper water on the other side. Most budding anglers catch bluegills, black crappies, and occasionally a largemouth bass.

At Mile 0.6 the wooden path ends at a two-tier observation tower from which you can take in a sweeping view of this 3-mile-long lake. Beyond the tower you begin island-hopping north and west across the middle of North Bay via four man-made islands connected by bridges. Each island has picnic tables and large shady trees where you can plop down, cast out your lines, and enjoy a cool breeze off the lake.

At Mile 1.1 from the trailhead you step off the fourth island and return to the mainland. At the junction, head left (west) and stay on the hiking path through the woods, not the paved trail. Within 0.25 mile you return to the boardwalk and follow the paved path back up the hill to the west entrance, reached at Mile 1.6.


North Bay Park features an observation tower, a playground, two shelters and restrooms. Picnic areas are scattered throughout the park.

Hours & Fees

North Bay Park is open dawn to dusk year-round. Park admission is $3 daily $3 and $10 for an annual pass for resident $10 and $20 for non-residents $20. There are no entry fees for senior citizens.


To reach North Bay, leave I-94 at exit 183. Head south on Huron Street, and you’ll quickly reach the west entrance of the park.


Contact the Ypsilanti Township Recreation and Parks Department at (734) 544-3800 or go online at ytown.org/park-system#north-bay-park.

Geo-referenced maps from MichiganTrailMaps.com range from $1.99 to $2.99 each.

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