As the summer comes to a close, it seems that nothing else can keep us at ease other than grasping at the last bits of the outdoors while the temperature is still enjoyable. As the colors of the leaves begin to turn and the air gets a little bit more crisp, it doesn’t need to stop our yearn for adventure. Lucky for us, Michigan is a goldmine of natural beauty, and just a bit north of our beloved city lies many trails that remind us what makes this place truly Pure Michigan.
Take a look at our list of hiking trails in the Metro Detroit area and hang on to the outdoors while you still can!
1. Hudson Mills Metro Park – Acorn Nature Trail, Dexter, MI
Totaling 2 miles long, the Acorn Nature Trail takes you through woods, a tamarack swamp and along the scenic view of the Huron River. Sure to be a hot spot this fall, this trail overflows with the beauty of the multi-colored maples, oaks and hardwoods.
The trail itself is great for self-guided walks and self reflection – pets, bicycles and running on the trail are prohibited. Be sure to look for the sign that reads “Nature Trail” and then slightly to the left, “Acorn Trail”. With a mix of gravel and dirt, the only man-made elements to this trail are the occasional bench scattered throughout. This is a great location to scout for some wildlife as you travel through mostly woodlands, with the exception of a few cross paths with the paved Hike-Bike Trail and metro park’s service drive.
2. Holland Ponds Park – Great Blue Herron Rookery, Shelby Township, MI
Hollands Ponds Park is a part of River Bends Park in Shelby Township, and also home to many Great Blue Herrons. This little hidden gem of a trail is an excellent place to check out the intense Blue Herron nests and experience the wildlife and nature at its finest.
Just north of 22 mile on Ryan Road, you can see the Rookery sign outside of the quaint grassy trail that leads around the swamplands. Expect turtles, snakes, frogs and a multitude of gorgeous vegetation to accompany you on your adventure. And don’t be afraid of getting a little muddy!
3. Addison Oaks State Park – Addison Oaks Mountain Bike Trail, Leonard, MI
Located in northeast Oakland County, the Addison Oaks Mountain Bike Trail offers a variety of flat-land and altitude with a few good climbs to give you that extra little adventure. The trail has a multitude of bridges that cross the springs and lowland areas, and still serves great for both bikers and hikers.
You can find the trail located next to Bald Mountain Recreation Area and isn’t hard to miss as it’s frequently maintained by many members. This is a 12.3 mile trail, so be prepared to come with a map and a plan, or the drive to spend your whole day out there. Interested in seeing more? You can even take a virtual tour online.
4. Wolcott Mill Metropark – Mother Earth Trail, Ray, MI
The Mother Earth Trail at Wolcott Mill Metropark offers not only a beautiful, scenic path along the river banks, but also a little piece of history to guide you along your way. Accompanied by an interpretive flyer, hikers can both read and fully visualize the previous use of the land by Native Americans.
The neatly mowed trail will take you around the mill and to the old dam, which is as scenic as ever. You will find many twists and turns with the Clinton River along the way, and trees that date over 100 years back.
5. Saint Clair County Trail System – Bridge to Bay Trail
For those looking for a paved trail and a more guided hike, the St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Commission has developed a 54-mile paved path from Lakeport State park to New Baltimore. The trail passes many municipal parks, museums, gazebos and lighthouses.
Walkers, joggers, strollers, bikers, and hikers of all ages are welcome, so be aware that you might not take this journey alone! Various sections of the trail include boardwalks, river walks, rail trails, safety paths and bike paths as well.
6. Stony Creek Metropark – West Branch Mountain Bike Trails, Rochester, MI
Located off of the West Branch Picnic Area in Stony Creek are possibly many of metro Detroit’s finest hiking and biking trails. With a wide variety of skinny, winding paths and open, grassy fields, hikers can enjoy all aspects of nature. Along the trails are also little hidden gems of castle-esque structures, leaving a little mystery behind what the park once was.
Along these trails you will also find Macomb County’s highest altitude point, and on a day with clear skies, it’s been said that you might even be able to get a glimpse of downtown Detroit. Be sure to stop in the park center and grab yourself a map, otherwise these trails are excellently marked with numbers to help you along your way!
7. Paint Creek Trail – Oakland County, MI
The Paint Creek Trail is an 8.9 mile located in northeast Oakland County, and is the first rail-to-trail path in the state of Michigan. The trail, converted from the former Penn Central Railroad has been open to the public since 1983 and is quite popular as it receives over 100,000 visitors annually.
The trail is open to hikers, jobbers, bikers and even horses and cross-country skiers. It traverses through Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township and the Village of Orion. If you want to continue your journey, you can even connect to the I-275 Metro Trail that goes on for another 33 miles.