Huron River Drive (HRD) runs downstream near the Huron River, starting at the west at Strawberry Lake Road near Portage Lake and continuing all the way through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and eastward to Lake Erie. The road has been patched together from various city streets, country roads and old trails. There are, however a number of gaps along the way.
HRD between Ann Arbor and Dexter is a great ride for recreational cyclists—it's a straight shot to Dexter (and the Dexter Cider Mill) or the Delhi Metropark and Hudson Mills Metropark. There's no bike lane, but you can safely get on the road by crossing the train tracks at Bandemer Park.
Construction on Huron River Drive near Ann Arbor has finished, with the quality of the road bed much improved.
- Strawberry Lake Road
- North Territorial Road (and Hudson Mills Metropark)
- Zeeb Road
- Mast Road and Joy Road
- East Delhi Road
- Wagner Road
- Maple Road
- Business 23 (aka Main Street) and M-14
At this point West Huron River Drive disappears. Follow Main Street to Huron Street and then east on Geddes Avenue, which roughly parallels the river on its south side. Geddes ends just before Huron Parkway at the point where it used to cross north over the river.
The road continues between there and the interchange with Huron Parkway as "Huron River Drive" and provides access to the Racquet Club of Ann Arbor. It then heads anonymously through the interchange and south a short distance on the same roadbed as the Parkway, cutting through Huron Hills Golf Course. The next section—now called East Huron River Drive (EHRD)—again heads east along the south side of the golf course which adjoins the river, but must be accessed by turning east off of HRD at the light.
Geddes Avenue once crossed the river on what is now the wooden bridge in Gallup Park and continued east along the north side of the river to Concordia University and beyond; the road north of the river is now called Geddes Road. Because access to the old bridge is now blocked, however, to get to Geddes Road you now have to cross the river on Huron Parkway (the opposite direction from the stretch leading to East Huron River Drive.
Just before US-23 is a little north-trending road called East Huron River Service Road which merges with another little road, dead-ended and barely 500 feet long, carrying the name of our noble "Huron River Drive". Note that the same road on the south side of EHRD is called "Hogback Road". This helps make it clear that these little oddly named streetlets are remnants of the pre-freeway landscape, that is, that they are the alignments of Hogback and HRD before they were slashed and rearranged by the imposition of the multi-lane raised berm US-23 from 1965.
After about one-half mile, just south and east of the Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant, EHRD merges with Dixboro Road and heads south south-east around the north and east sides of Washtenaw Community College and the west side of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
The area on the south bank of the Huron just beyond the merger is the former site of the town of Geddes founded by the family of the same name in the early 19th century.
Perhaps a mile on, EHRD intersects North Huron River Drive (NHRD) at a right angle, and from there NHRD picks up the gauntlet of being "Huron River Drive"; heading eastward the road is commonly considered to be in Ypsilanti, even though technically it is not yet within the municipal limits of either the city of Ypsilanti or Ypsilanti Township.
Turning north of North Hewitt Road off of NHRD leads to the south entrance to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Turning right leads to the western part of the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU), including Rynearson Stadium, the EMU Convocation Center and the controversial President's House.
At north-south trending Westview Street, a right turn leads to EMU athletic fields and facilities. The street curves and eventually becomes east-west Ainsley Street, the major road connecting the eastern and western parts of EMU's campus.
To the north Superior Road—which crosses the Huron River and which is one of the major feeder roads to Ypsilanti—intersects NHRD. To the south the Huron River Service Road makes another appearance, parallelling NHRD for approximately 1500 feet and providing access to the residential neighborhood that separates the east and west EMU campuses.
NHRD continues east, passing Cornell Road (which cuts south to Washtenaw Avenue through one of Ypsilanti's nicest neighborhoods) and on to Oakwood Street which forms the main north-south access road for EMU. Continuing on, NHRD runs alongside the railroad tracks, gently curving southward along with the river. When it finally encounters the Ypsilanti city grid at Forest Avenue, it changes names once again, this time to Huron Street (HS).
Heading due south on what is now the west side of the Huron River, HS crosses Cross Street (Ypsilanti's secondary commercial street) through a leafy neighborhood of well-preserved 19th century homes until it reaches Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti's primary commercial street and part of the historic Old US-12 and Sauk Trail. About a mile further south through a neihborhood of mixed retail and both new and historic housing, HS arches over I-94.
South of I-94 the Huron River is impounded in Ford Lake through a dam at Bridge Road. HS continues south from I-94 for just over a mile until it intersects the next section of HRD. Known once again as Huron River Drive, this road strikes out east along the south shore of Ford Lake until it merges into Textile Road (which keeps its name for less than 1/2 mile until it reappears as West Huron River Drive again. The north-south running Huron Street itself, at that point of intersecting HRD, splits into Whittaker Road (south south-east) and Stony Creek Road (due south).
Continue east, you will end up in Wayne County's Van Buren Township. Eventually, you will end up in Romulus. Details on the road the rest of the way to Lake Erie from there are covered on the Downriver Wiki.
As our many-branched, many-named Huron River Drive follows the serpentine Huron River to Lake Erie, and thus, ultimately to the sea, it has many more adventures. Most of them, however, are beyond the boundaries of Washtenaw County—and thus, beyond our story.
Hail, oh Huron River! Hail, oh Huron River Drive!