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Lakes Area Driving Tour

Orchard Lake CCMichigan has over 11,000 inland lakes and ponds, with 1,400 of them located in the northwest suburbs of Detroit. For many years, the shorelines of these lakes were populated with small cottages for those escaping the hustle and bustle of the City on weekends. Today, a number of these lakes are lined with luxurious homes for the area's elite who enjoy gorgeous views and year-round water sports activities. Our Lakes Area Driving Tour guides you around several of the area's most exclusive lakes. Detroit may be going through some tough times, but you wouldn't know it based on what you see here. One of the finest displays of waterfront living anywhere, complete with winding roads, beautiful golf courses, magnificent homes and estates, and glistening water views. We like to call this tour Detroit's equivalent of the Monterrey Peninsula 17-Mile Drive. OK, maybe not quite as famous, but we think you're going to be impressed. A fantastic mini-tour easily completed in an hour or two!

 

 

Old Orchard Trail [A-B]

The journey begins with a left turn off of Orchard Lake Road onto Pontiac Trail, named after the infamous Indian chief who led attacks on the British at Fort Detroit in the 1760s. Note on your right the south edge of Orchard Lake with unique homes nestled into the hillside, affording their owners secluded views. One mile down on the right is the turnoff onto Old Orchard Trail, a winding two-lane road with the lake on one side and lush foliage on the other. A quarter-mile down, take a look at the upscale homes to your left and see if you can catch a glimpse through their back yards. Several of these fortunate residents have beautiful views of Orchard Lake in the front and walk-outs to Upper Straits Lake in the back. Further down on the right is the private Orchard Lake Country Club, established in 1926 by lumber baron Willis Ward. The trail continues along the club's magnificent 18-hole golf course with picture-perfect panoramas on both sides.

 

Indian Trail [C-D]

Turning east on Commerce road takes you along the north shore of Orchard Lake. From here you get the best views of Apple Island in the center of the lake, burial ground of Chief Pontiac himself according to local legend. About a mile down or so, take another look to your left at more well-placed residences with views of Orchard Lake in the front and Cass Lake in the back. Keep your eyes open for the turnoff onto Indian Trail about 2.5 miles down on the right. Just after making the turn you will find the entrance to St. Mary's Preparatory, an institution founded in 1885 to train Polish-American boys for the priesthood. Today, St. Mary's is a prestigious Catholic all-boys school offering college preparatory education. The school has hosted high-profile visitors such as Pope John Paul II in 1969 (then known as Cardinal Karol Jozef Wojtyla) and Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in 2001. Have a quick look around the St. Mary's campus which includes a chapel, the largest high school library in the Midwest, and state-of-the-art facilities for its highly regarded athletics programs. Continuing south on Indian Trail takes you past spectacular homes with fantastic sunset views of Orchard Lake.

 

Pine Lake Road [E]

The short Indian Trail ends at Orchard Lake Road. Hanging a left brings you immediately into view of Pine Lake, Oakland County's most exclusive lake. A little over a half-mile down, keep an eye out for the turnoff onto Pine Lake Road to the right. Pine Lake Road is another narrow, two-lane road lined with upscale homes boasting wooded lots and lake access. After a short drive, the road curves and winds through Pine Lake Country Club property. This private club offers members first-class golf, tennis, and beach / marina privileges. As impressive as the homes are that you pass during your drive down Pine Lake Road, just past the country club take a look across the water at the "castles" lining the southeast corner of the lake.

 

Club Drive [F-H]

The last leg of the tour routes you through northwest corner of esteemed Bloomfield Hills, home to some of Detroit's wealthiest and most prominent residents. Make your way down Club Drive past the Forest Lake Country Club and its Albert Kahn designed clubhouse. At Lone Pine Road, stop for a picture of the awe-inspiring Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church before encircling Lower Long Lake and Island Lake. If we've picqued your interest in the history of this area of Metro Detroit, continue down the tour path to the intersection of Long Lake Road and Orchard Lake Road to check out the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Museum. Otherwise, head south on Middlebelt Road to catch glimpses of a few last eye-popping estates on your left hand side, some of them situated on beautiful Walnut Lake.

 

Tour Map

Number of Destinations: 4

Overall Tour Time: 1-2 hours

 

Lakes Area

 

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Bloomfield Hills, Cranbrook, and Franklin

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Riverfront

Resources & Links

City of Bloomfield Hills

City of Orchard Lake

Oakland County

West Bloomfield Township

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