Paint Creek Trail

Connecting the communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township and the Village of Lake Orion in Oakland County, Michigan.




Welcome to the Paint Creek Trail!

Owned and managed by the Paint Creek Trailways Commission (PCTC), the Paint Creek Trail is an 8.9 mile linear park, located in northeast Oakland County. It was the first Rail-to-Trail in the State of Michigan, as it was converted to a trail from the former Penn Central Railroad. Open to the public since 1983, the Paint Creek Trail receives over 100,000 visitors annually. The non-motorized Trail is 8 feet wide, and traverses through Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township and the Village of Lake Orion.


Trail South of Dutton


The Paint Creek Trail has an all-weather surface of crushed limestone. Many users prefer the crushed limestone because it helps the trail maintain its natural feel and setting. Limestone was chosen because it is an environmentally friendly surface for the trail's close proximity to the Paint Creek, and it is low maintenance. The Paint Creek Trail is ideal for year-round activity. If you like to hike, jog, bike, ride a horse, cross-country ski, fish or just watch nature, the Paint Creek Trail is for you!

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Latest Trail News...

New! Rochester Mills Beer Co Fundraiser - February 15, 2012

On Wednesday, February 15, 2012 the Rochester Mills will donate 20% of sales to the Friends of the Paint Creek Trail! You must bring a copy of the Friends of the Paint Creek Trail Fundraiser flyer for us to get the donation. A great way to support a local business and a local charity! See you at the Mills!

New! The City of Rochester is looking for residents to serve on the Paint Creek Trailways Commission. If you are a Rochester city resident, and are interested in applying, please visit:

City of Rochester Applications for the Paint Creek Trailways Commission
If you are interested in finding out more about the position, visit our Commission page. Commissioners receive a per diem of $35 per meeting, and meetings are once a month.

NEW! 2nd Annual Paint Creek Crawl Cycling Event

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 12, 2012 for the 2nd Annual Paint Creek Crawl Cycling event! Starting again at the Paint Creek Cider Mill, partipants will do a cycling-style scavenger hunt into Lake Orion and Rochester, to collect stamps for a fantastic prize drawing! Pre-registration until April 21for $25, $35 thereafter. More information to follow soon!

6th Annual Paint Creek Trail Virtual Bridge Walk and Run - Monday, September 5, 2011

The 6th annual Virtual Bridge Walk and Run, was held at the Rochester Municipal Park Kiwanis Pavilion and the Paint Creek Trail. This wasa free family event, but this year, we asked for suggested donations of $5 a family to help raise $75,000 toward replacing bridge 31.7 (near Dinosaur Hill, north of Ludlow). We are happy to report that thanks to everyone's participation and generosity, we raised $1,050 toward the bridge replacement! We also had a record number of attendees - 300, up 30% from 2010. Thank you for your participation and support, and we'll see you next year!

Friends of the Paint Creek Trail

Friends of the Paint Creek Trail is now accepting online donations via PayPal. Visit our Friends page for more information. Your donation is greatly appreciated, and is tax-deductible. Our new Friends of the Paint Creek Trail group was officially launched on July 22, 2010. The Friends group mission is to assist with the environmental stewardship of the Trail, as well as organize events, assist with merchandise sales, and help develop project ideas to enhance the trail and the user experience. As a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, our Friends group will be eligible for grant funding, and all donations are tax deductible. There is no cost to join! If you would like to become a Friend of the Paint Creek Trail, or would like information such as meeting agendas and minutes, please visit our Friends page!

Dog Waste Bags

Dog Waste Bags along the Trail! Because of a generous donation from a long-time trail user, dog waste dispenser bags are being installed at several points along the Trail. They will be at the Tienken Road, Gallagher Road, and Clarkston/Kern Trailheads. Please take the time to clean up after your pet, and dispose the bags properly, so all visitors can enjoy the Trail.


Rochester Historical Art Project

On June 6, 2009, we unveiled our Rochester Historical Art Project, in downtown Rochester. Located on and adjacent to the Downtown Rochester River Walk, the Art Project is a series of 6 glass panel displays that depict pictures and text regarding local historic sites. Some of the sites include: Chapman Pond, Western Knitting Mills, Rochester Train Depot, and more!

This project was a collaboration among the Paint Creek Trailways Commission, Rochester-Avon Historical Society, Rochester Historical Commission, Rochester Hills Musuem at Van Hoosen Farm, the Preede Foundation, and the Rochester Downtown Development Authority.

2009-2013 Recreation Master Plan

The Paint Creek Trailways Commission is approved the 2009-2013 Recreation Master Plan on January 20, 2009. Our Master Plan sets our goals and objectives over the next five years. If you would like to review the 2009-2013 Master Plan, it is available as one document, or broken down into sections for your convenience:

2009-2013 Paint Creek Trail Recreation Master Plan (11.58MB)
Chapter One: Introduction & Adoption (4.01MB)
Chapter Two: Administrative Structure (1.02 MB)
Chapter Three: Community Description (1.88 MB)
Chapter Four: Recreation Inventory (1.10 MB)
Chapter Five: Accomplishments (200 KB)
Chapter Six: Planning & Public Input (797 KB)
Chapter Seven: Goals & Objectives (1.68 MB)
Appendices (1.77 MB)

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Oakland County Trails Master Plan

The Oakland Trails Advisory Council, in cooperation with Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Oakland County Planning & Economic Development, recently approved a five-year Master Plan for Trails in Oakland County. The Master Plan was "developed to provide a framework for creating a connected system of Greenways & Trails throughout Oakland County". The Master Plan is available for download:

Oakland County Trails Master Plan (30.61 MB)
for smaller downloads:
Oakland County Trails Master Plan - Executive Summary (918 KB)
Oakland County Trails Master Plan - Introduction (1.44 MB)
Oakland County Trails Master Plan - Existing Conditions (20.73 MB)
Oakland County Trails Master Plan - Vision (6.82 MB)
Oakland County Trails Master Plan - Design Considerations (1.10 MB)
Oakland County Trails Master Plan - Action Plan (180 KB)

Encroachment Lawsuit

For Information Regarding quiet title action, Paint Creek Trailways Commission v. 1001 Services Inc., et al, visit our Encroachments page.

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Did you know?

The Paint Creek Trail - Michigan's Millennium Legacy Trail

Millennium Legacy Trail

In 1999, the Paint Creek Trail received a special honor. The Southeast Michigan Greenways Trail, a conceptual network of inter-connected trails and greenways throughout the 7-county area of Southeast Michigan, was proclaimed Michigan's Millennium Legacy Trail by the White House on October 21, 1999. The Paint Creek Trail carried the honor of being the physical representative of the trail system since it serves as an excellent physical and operational example for other trails. As part of the designation, the Trailways Commission was given a $10,000 grant for a Millennium Legacy Trail Art Project. The grant, along with other matching funds, paid for our Prairie Restoration Art Project - a gazebo-like structure located on the Trail north of Gallagher, that commemorates our Prairie Restoration Project south of Silver Bell Road.


The Paint Creek Trail - a National Recreation Trail

On June 1, 2006, the Paint Creek Trail received the honor of being named a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The National Recreation Trails program recognizes exemplary trails of local and regional significance that provide for numerous outdoor recreation activities in a variety of urban, rural, and remote areas. Over 900 Trails in every state have received this designation. The NRT Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with American Trails. As a National Recreation Trail, the Paint Creek Trail will benefit from the prestige and increased visibility of being part of the 10,000 mile National Trail System. The Trailways Commission received a letter and certificate signed by the Secretary of the Interior, as well as logo signs to be placed along the Trail. Additionally, the Trailways Commission receives access to technical assistance and unique funding opportunities. As part of this designation, the Paint Creek Trail is included in the on-line National Registry of Trails, and is given it's own NRT webpage. The webpage includes descriptive information, pictures, and facts about the Paint Creek Trail. You can access it here: Paint Creek Trail - a National Recreation Trail.

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The Paint Creek Trail offers 8 parking locations for your convenience:

Rochester: In the City of Rochester, visitors may park at the Rochester Municipal Park, located off Pine Street north of University, and west of Main Street (Rochester Road). For mapping purposes, utilize the City of Rochester Municipal Office address of 400 Sixth Street, Rochester, 48307. To download a detailed map showing how to access the Paint Creek Trail from Rochester Municipal Park, utilize our Trail Access Map.

Rochester Hills: In the City of Rochester Hills, a 12 space paved parking lot is available. The parking lot is located on the north side of Tienken Road, just west of the Paint Creek Trail between Livernois and Rochester Roads. For mapping purposes, use the intersection of Kings Cove Dr. and Tienken Road in Rochester Hills, 48306. The lot is located 100 feet west of the intersection.

Oakland Township: In Oakland Township, four parking lots are available.

Orion Township: Parking is available at the intersection of the Paint Creek Trail and Clarkston & Kern Roads. There are two parking areas at this intersection. The parking area south of Clarkston and west of Kern is suitable for horse trailer staging. A restroom is also located at this site.

Village of Lake Orion: The Trailways Commission owns a 12 space paved parking lot located behind the Atwater Commons Plaza. The Plaza is located at the corner of M-24 and Atwater. The parking area is located behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken, near Converse Ct and is marked with signage. For a map of this parking location, download our parking lot map detail.

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