Located south of Detroit on the Detroit River, Grosse Ile is an island with historic locations, quiet neighborhoods, and a small business district. You can reach Grosse Ile via bridges on Bridge Road and Grosse Ile Parkway.
Grosse Ile Trails
Grosse Ile has a paved trail system
that is used for biking, walking, jogging, and roller-blading. Starting north of Bridge Road, a wide paved trail follows Meridian Road south approximately five miles to Groh Road. At Groh Road, you can either ride east to East River Road or go west to South Pointe Road. At South Pointe Road, the trail will go south about a half mile before ending at Boucher Road.
Grosse Ile has a few short nature trails
that wind through wooded areas, where you may see deer or birds. The trails are mostly covered with wood chips.
- The 80 Acre Woods Trail is accessible near Meridian Road, across the street from Meridian Elementary.
- The Playscape Trail at Adventure Island is paved from the parking lot and becomes wood-chip covered.
- The Grosse Ile Wildlife Sanctuary has a nature trail that starts off Horsemill Road and ends at
To do a loop of the island, cyclists can use the paved trail system and then ride along the shoulders or edges of roads on Grosse Ile. The recommended bike route would be to go counterclockwise, starting from the trail along Meridian Road and then riding east on Horsemill Road. You ride along the edge of Horsemill Road, which will curve south and turn into East River Road. A large portion of East River Road has a wide paved shoulder (2-3 feet wide) on the west side of the road, which will make it easier to stop if you decide to take in the view of the Detroit River or read a historical marker. East River Road is a National Historic District, and you'll pass several old homes, St. James Episcopal Church, and the Grosse Ile Historical Museum along the way. You can ride about five miles south from Horsemill Road to the paved trail along Groh Road. The east side of East River Road has a much narrower shoulder (or no shoulder) compared to the west side of the road. The total mileage of the bike route and paved trails along Meridian Road and Groh Road is a little over 12 miles.
Grosse Ile Parkway has a paved shoulder bike route, that is 2-3 feet wide. You can use it to ride 2.5 miles between the west side and the east side of the island.
Grosse Ile Parks
Adventure Island Park
is located south of the business district, off Playscape Way. There is a small parking area that has a paved path to a cool playscape that is popular with kids. A nearby picnic area has three picnic tables.
Airport Community Park
is on the south side of the island, west of Meridian Road off Intrepid Street. The large park has several soccer fields, with two parking areas nearby. On the west side of park, there is a steep hill that is perfect for sledding in the winter.
is a relaxing park off third street. The park has areas for horses to roam and stables, as well as a dog park, playscape, and picnic shelter. Near the parking area, there are beautiful flower gardens that are maintained by the Grosse Ile Garden Club.
Located near the business district, The Commons
is a square park with a small covered bandstand. The park hosts free concerts on Sundays during the summer. You can bring a lawn chair to the park and enjoy some live music.
is a small park near the airport on Groh Road. The park has a grassy area with picnic tables.
On the west side of the island, the Water's Edge
recreation area includes the municipal golf course, the municipal marina and municipal pool. Near the parking area for the golf course, there is a basketball court, sand volleyball court, picnic shelter, and the municipal pool. The clubhouse for the golf course is on the northwest side of the parking lot.
Grosse Ile has several areas that are designated as green spaces or woods, to protect the natural beauty and wildlife habitats on the island. Grosse Ile Wildlife Sanctuary
and 80 Acre Woods
offer nature trails.
Lighthouse and Channel Lights
Grosse Ile North Channel Lighthouse was built in 1906 and stands 40 feet tall. It is located
on the northeast side of Grosse Ile at the edge of the Detroit River.
The octogonal-shaped light was deactivated in 1963 and is now maintained by the
Grosse Ile Historical Society. The lighthouse can be visited by appointment only, by calling
Two channel lights on the Canadian side of the Detroit River can be seen from shore near
Grosse Ile Middle School on East River Road.
Water's Edge Municipal Marina
is located off West River Road, south of Grosse Ile Parkway. The marina has docks for 56 boats, with transient slips available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Services include water, pump-out, 30 amp electrical service, boat hoist, bottom washing, and winter storage. Picnic areas, bathrooms and showers are located at the marina. For more information, call 734-407-2400.
Across from Grosse Ile in Trenton, next to the Grosse Ile Parkway bridge, Elizabeth Park Marina
has a large launch area for boats to access the Detroit River. The marina features 52 transient slips and is open from April through September. For more details, call 734-675-8051.
Boat clubs in the area include:
- Grosse Ile Yacht Club is located on North Hickory Island, which is accessible from East River Road. The club hosts several sailing events during the year.
- Ford Yacht Club is on the southwest corner of Grosse Ile. It features a marina with 287 boat wells and offers winter storage. The club participates in several sailing events.
- Elba-Mar Boat Club is on the southeast corner of Grosse Ile.
Museums & Historic Locations
Located in the former Michgan-Central Grosse Isle Depot, Grosse Ile Historical Society's museum has photos, information and more related to the island's past. It is adjacent to the Customs House, a historic structure that was moved from Macomb Street in 1979. The museum is open on select days, typically for a few hours on Thursday and Sunday.
From 1927 to 1969, Grosse Ile was home to a U.S. Naval Air Station. Hangar 1 was restored several years ago, and a museum and memorial garden let visitors remember the old air base. The museum is located at the Grosse Ile Township Hall, at 9601 Groh Road. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is maintained by the Grosse Ile Historical Society.
The area along East River Road was designated as a national historic district in 1974. Architect Gordon W. Lloyd designed St. James Episcopal and several houses along East River Road during the mid-1800s. The district also includes the old Michigan Central Railroad Depot, which was built in 1904. The beautiful, well-maintained neighborhood overlooks the Detroit River.
Around Grosse Ile, you'll find several Michigan Historical Markers, green markers in locations that are considered significant by the Michigan Historical Commission. Markers include:
- The spot where William Macomb's mansion stood. The mansion had been completed in 1784.
- St. James Episcopal Chapel on East River Road, which was built in 1867.
- The location of the U.S. Army outpost that protected residents from Indian raids from 1815-17.
- Near Colonel Thorton Fleming Brodhead's small stone office, which was built around 1855. Brodhead served in the Mexican War and led the First Michigan Cavalry in the Civil War. He was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
- The location of a horse-driven gristmill, off Horsemill Road, that operated on the island from 1787-1840.
More About Grosse Ile
In early June, Grosse Ile hosts Islandfest
, which includes a carnival, a car show, food, entertainment, fireworks, and much more.
Grosse Ile Tennis Center
is located in an old military aircraft building near the airport. The facility has six tennis courts and a fitness center. Memberships are available.
Luton Riding Academy
on Third Street offers horse riding instruction, from beginner to advanced students. The facility offers horse boarding.
For lodging, Grosse Ile Pilot House
offers cozy rooms for overnight stays, near the airport. The building was once the officers quarters for the U.S. Naval Air Station.