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Best Places to Go Hiking in Southeast Michigan

Need a change of pace? These local trails offer hiking, biking and beautiful scenery in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Updated for 2014-15.

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For many families, spending a day in the great outdoors can be not only a great learning experience, but a great bonding experience as well. That's why we've compiled some of the best hiking trails in southeast Michigan where you and your family can enjoy beautiful outdoor scenery, learn about nature and wildlife, and spend some quality time together 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; during off-season park is open 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset
  • Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Oakland County residents, $10/nonresidents; $4/military and seniors (ages 62-plus)

Six different trails offering over 15 miles of hiking and biking are available 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 more.

Crosswinds Marsh Park (County)

  • Address: 27600 Haggerty Road, New Boston
  • 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 240 species of birds and 40 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?

Dexter-Huron Metropark

  • Address: 6535 Huron River Drive, Dexter
  • Phone: 734-426-8211
  • Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Memorial Day-Labor Day; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily Labor Day-Memorial Day
  • Admission: $7/daily vehicle entry permit; free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails

There are many beautiful sights and sounds to enjoy at this 122-acre, heavily wooded site. Take the family fishing in the gently flowing waters of the Huron River, take a ride along the park's picturesque hiking and biking trails, and enjoy the park's vibrant flower blossoms throughout spring and summer, including purple cresses, trout lilies and many more.

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 10-mile 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.

Hudson Mills Metropark

  • Address: 8801 N. Territorial Road, Dexter
  • Phone: 734-426-8211
  • Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily April-October, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. daily November-March
  • Admission: $7/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails

Enjoy a day of outdoor fun at this 1,549-acre park filled with dense woodland, serene wetlands and unique wildlife. Trek the paved, 5.3 mile hike-bike trail within the park, or try the two-mile Acorn Nature Trail to enjoy some peace and quiet with your family. The flowing rapids of the Huron River also make this park a popular canoe and kayak destination; and with a children's play area, basketball courts, soccer fields, cross-country ski trails and tennis and shuffleboard courts, there's something for everyone in the family to enjoy year-round.

Independence Oaks Park (County)

  • Address: 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
  • Phone: 248-625-0877
  • Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset 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, hands-on 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).

Indian Springs Metropark

  • Address: 5200 Indian Trail, White Lake
  • Phone: 248-625-6640
  • Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily April 2-Oct. 31, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 1-April 1
  • Admission: $7/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails

Wander six miles of nature trails through wooded swamplands, rolling meadows and wetlands while enjoying the wide array of wildlife taking sanctuary within the park's borders. Every season provides a different experience, from spring's chorus of frogs and summer's symphony of crickets to fall's burst of auburn colors and winter's animal-tracked blanket of snow. Stop by the park's Environmental Discovery Center, too, to learn more about the area's native ecosystems, or take the tykes on the 0.3-mile Pondside Trail and enjoy a picnic by the pond.

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