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Best Places to Go Hiking in Southeast Michigan

Spend some time in the great outdoors and take a hike at one of these local trails in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties!

Tired of sitting at home? Gather your family, pack a picnic lunch and head out to one of these fun nature parks. Check out the park nearest to you – or venture to a new park to immerse yourself in nature. We've found some of the best hiking trails in southeast Michigan that'll let you and the kids see everything from birds to trees while getting a little exercise in the process.

Addison Oaks Park (County)

  • Address: 1480 W. Romeo Road, Leonard (32 Mile Road; nine miles north of Rochester)
  • Phone: 248-693-2432
  • Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. year-round, closed Christmas Day
  • Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Oakland County residents, $10/nonresidents; $4/military and seniors (ages 62-plus)

Feet and people-powered wheels find their way on six different trails (11 total miles) here at the northeast tip of Oakland County. The main Buhl Lake Loop drag is paved for hikes, bikes and rollerblades (note: does have some long-hill elevation changes, so be mindful for little legs). The other five packed-dirt trails include 6.8 miles for mountain bikes only and a couple equestrian paths. Depending on the season, you'll also find swimming, camping, pedal boat rentals, disc golf and loads more.

Crosswinds Marsh Park (County)

  • Address: 27600 Haggerty Road, Sumpter Township
  • Phone: 734-654-1223
  • Hours: dawn-dusk daily
  • Admission: free

Did you know one of the largest manmade marshes in the country is located right in Wayne County? Fortunately, it's easy to tromp right over the ponds and streams – thanks to 1.4 miles of boardwalk. Eight total short trails also take you around these unique 1,050 acres, where you'll see a blend of wetlands, wildflower meadows and upland forests that attract over 200 species of birds and 30 species of mammals, plus reptiles, amphibians and fish. You can also travel five miles of equestrian trail that circle the park. While you're here, why not fish and canoe, too?

Independence Oaks Park (County)

  • Address: 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
  • Phone: 248-625-0877
  • Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset; open year-round (closed Christmas Day)
  • Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Oakland County residents, $10/nonresidents

There are 150-plus species of birds to spot along the 12 miles of trails here, the Michigan DNR notes, with bluebirds and swallows a highlight from March to August. At 2.5 miles, the paved Hawks' View Trail takes you through forest and field, where you may see one of the raptors soar overhead – and delivers you to the Wint Nature Center, always offering fun nature lessons, activities and programs. Though most miles aren't paved, park staff notes, they're well-traveled, making many routes bike- and stroller-friendly (one goes all the way around Crooked Lake, and some offer nice big hills for a bit of family exercise). In winter, groomed trails are open for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing (ski rentals are available!).

Holliday Forest & Wildlife Preserve (County)

  • Address: 33175 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland; also entry points at Central City Parkway between Nankin Boulevard and Warren Avenue (Westland) and the south side of Koppernick Road west of Hix Road (Canton)
  • Phone: 734-261-1990
  • Hours: dawn-dusk daily
  • Admission: free

Adventurous family? Strap on your hiking boots to explore the unique nature along this rugged little trail network in a 500-plus acre preserve. Three areas are open, each with couple-mile loops. The east end's Ellsworth entrance, near Nankin Mills Recreation Center in Westland, is choice for a fall or winter hike (it's the site of the Tonquish Creek floodplain, so it's a bit soggy in summer – though if you brave it, you can find wild blueberries here!). The Cowan section, also in Westland, has lovely spring wildflowers. And the Koppernick area in Canton sprouts beech trees, ferns and tulip trees. No strollers or bikes allowed here – though there's paved space for that on the 17 paved miles of the Hines Drive trail.

Kensington Metropark

  • Address: 2240 W. Buno Road, Milford
  • Phone: 810-227-8910
  • Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
  • Admission: $5/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails

Wildlife variety rules these 16 miles, from songbirds and sand-hill cranes to ducks, waterfowl and great blue herons that nest in spring – even chickadees that land on your hand to eat! Habitats like forest, wetlands and fields are all here, letting kids see plant life from cattails to towering oaks and beech trees. Its nature and farm centers offer fun side treks (check ahead for hours). Walkers, bicyclists and inline skaters are welcome on the eight-mile paved trail that circles Kent Lake. Hikers only (no pets) on more than seven miles of foot trails in the nature study area. A newly paved, one-mile extension connects this trail to Milford, Island Lake and West Oakland trails.

Macomb Orchard Trail

  • Address: Starts just south of 24 Mile Road on Dequindre Road (west side) in Shelby Township; goes through Washington Township, Romeo, Armada and ends in Richmond Township (Division and Main streets) (get trail directions on TrailLink.com)
  • Phone: 586-463-8671 (Macomb County Department of Roads)
  • Hours: dawn-dusk daily
  • Admission: free

Some 23.5 miles of abandoned railroad are now a premier east-to-west nature stroll in Macomb County – all paved! To trek the full route, enter at the Shelby or Richmond entrances (there's parking near both). Families love the Washington Township entry: Grab a snack with the kids at the park and pavilion at the trailhead (on West Road about a quarter mile west of Van Dyke Avenue); then head a couple miles in either direction. In Armada, a 40-foot bridge over the Clinton River gives an amazing view, including dairy cows at pasture. And from 24 to 29 Mile roads, find a few benches for resting.

Oakwoods Metropark

  • Address: 17845 Savage Road, Belleville
  • Phone: 734-782-3956
  • Hours: 8 a.m.-dusk daily
  • Admission: $5/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails

For a fairytale setting, you can't beat this 400-acre nature area within the park: Kids will feel they're truly walking through a "big forest" with tall, towering trees. Along six total trails, spot an ancient sandbar, garden and three-acre pond. There's also a paved 15-mile hike-bike path nearby connecting Oakwoods, Willow and Lower Huron Metroparks (also both in Belleville), plus an equestrian path and backwater trails for canoeists. Top it off with a stop at the nature center (call for hours). Walkers, bicyclists and inline skaters are welcome on the paved trail; walkers only in the nature area.

Park Lyndon (County)

  • Address: North Territorial Road, one mile east of M-52 (between Embury Road and M52), Lyndon Township
  • Phone: 734-971-6337
  • Hours: dawn-dusk daily
  • Admission: free

This hilly natural gem is truly one for the hikers – no bikes allowed! Tucked up in the northwest pocket of Washtenaw County, the park's actually split into two by North Territorial Road. The hiking trails in Lyndon North skirt extensive wetlands and a children's play area, while Lyndon South offers a scenic pond. You'll find plenty of knockout geological features on these two miles, like a 100-foot elevation change (left behind where a big glacier melted); the Waterloo Pinckney Trail also passes through here (it connects to another 50 miles!). Habitat ranges from fen, marsh and bog to pond, forest and prairie. Watch for cool finds like the pileated woodpecker and white lady slipper orchid. Note: For ages 9-plus; terrain too steep for young kids.

Rolling Hills Park (County)

  • Address: 7660 Stony Creek Road, Ypsilanti Township
  • Phone: 734-484-9676
  • Hours: 8 a.m.-dusk year round; 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Memorial Day-Labor Day
  • Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Washtenaw County residents, $9/nonresidents

An awesome pick for younger and special needs kids, the Hills' has a trail network is totally handicap accessible, from path design to fishing pond docks and restrooms. The Woodland Trail, just a quarter-mile long, is also a great pick for children, with wildlife signs. A nice 1.5-mile loop is even dog-friendly (with leashes). For the more adventurous, try out the three miles of mountain bike trails. And, depending on the season, check out disc golf, winter rentals (tubes, toboggans and skis) and the awesome water park.

Stony Creek Metropark

  • Address: 4300 Main Park Road, Shelby Township
  • Phone: 586-781-4242
  • Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. April-October, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. November-March
  • Admission: $5/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails

The fun here revolves around Stony Creek Lake – literally! The eight-mile paved hike-bike trail circles the water for a scenic stroll. Or "rough it" on the six miles of natural paths that wind through lush woods, fields, woodland edges and small wetlands (between the two, you'll likely see a flock of turkeys). In winter, you can stroll, cross-country ski or snowshoe across marked trails. This big 4,461-acre park, spanning both Macomb and Oakland counties, also has loads of outdoor sports like disc golf, plus a nature center. After your hike, take the kids to the new, colorful playscape at Eastwood beach, located near the park's entrance.

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