Parks & Nature Centers Best Places to Go Hiking in Southeast Michigan Looking for the best recreational trails in southeast Michigan? Check out these scenic trails in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Updated for 2016. « Previous Next » Kristy Case • May 6, 2016 Add Comment Tweet Spending time outdoors is healthy for the body and the mind! Outdoor play increases bodily fitness, promotes environmental-based learning and provides adventure for the whole family. Want to get outside – and be extra active this season? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled some of the best recreational trails and parks in southeast Michigan where you and your family can embark on scenic excursions close to home. 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, $12/nonresidents; $4/military and seniors (ages 62-plus) More than 20 miles of trails are available here at the northeast tip of Oakland County. You’ll find 15 miles of hiking trails, including the 2.5-mile paved Buhl Lake Trail that’s great for hikes, bikes and rollerblades (note: does have some long-hill elevation changes, so be mindful for little legs). There’s also a 2.4-mile Connector Trail, where guests can travel safely from Addison Oaks Main Park to Addison Oaks East Park. The other trails include several 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: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Memorial Day-Labor Day; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily Labor Day-Memorial Day Admission: $10/daily vehicle entry permit; $35/annual, $21/senior citizen annual pass; 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. Holiday 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 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). 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 17.2 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: $10/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 lane 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 Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Oakland County residents, $12/nonresidents There are 150-plus species of birds to spot along the 12-plus miles of trails here, the Michigan DNR notes, with bluebirds and swallows a highlight from March to August. At 2.5 miles, the paved Hawk’s View Trail for hiking, biking and blading 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 other trails 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 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 (Environmental Discovery Center open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily) Admission: $10/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. Kensington Metropark Address: 4570 Huron River Parkway, Milford Phone: 810-227-8910 Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Admission: $10/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails Wildlife variety rules here, from songbirds and sandhill cranes to ducks, waterfowl and great blue herons that nest in spring – even chickadees that land on your hand to eat. Kensington’s 4,481 acres of wooded, hilly terrain surround Kent Lake, providing opportunities for both hiking and swimming. The park’s nature and farm centers also offer fun side treks (check ahead for hours). Walkers, bicyclists and inline skaters are welcome on the 8.5-mile paved trail that circles the lake. Hikers only (no pets) are allowed on more than seven miles of foot trails in the nature study area, which also has a paved, one-mile extension that connects to the Milford, Island Lake and West Oakland trails. Dogs (on-leash) are permitted on the paved trails. Lake Erie Metropark Address: 32481 W. Jefferson Ave., Brownstown Phone: 734-379-5020 Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Admission: $10/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails Follow the path of lake freighters moving up and down along the Detroit River on the 1.25-mile Cherry Island Marsh Trail and take in amazing views of the riverfront, Lake Erie, Sugar Island, Grosse Ile and Celeron Island. Or try the park’s 0.5-mile Big Turtle Shortcut trail and one-mile Trapper’s Run trail to explore dense hawthorn thicket and the manmade features of the park’s lowland landscape. No matter what trail you take, be sure to scan the sky for birds, as this popular bird-watching site is home to more than 300 species. Lake St. Clair Metropark Address: 31300 Metropolitan Parkway, Harrison Township Phone: 586-463-4581 Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily November-March, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m.-11 p.m. weekends April-October Admission: $10/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails At this popular outdoor destination, you can enjoy beautiful views of Lake St. Clair from the one-mile boardwalk trail or choose one of the park’s nature trails to hike through meadows, marshland and sprawling groves of cottonwood trees. The wetlands and lake shoreline also make a great bird-watching site, with more than 230 commonly-seen species. Take the park’s quarter-mile Main Trail to see warblers in spring and fall or nesting swans and geese in the spring and summer. Lyon Oaks County Park Address: 52221 Pontiac Trail, Wixom Phone: 248-858-0906 Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset daily, year-round Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Oakland County residents, $12/nonresidents; $4/military and seniors (ages 62-plus) The park’s 1,041 acres are comprised of 800 acres of wetlands, a 13-acre fenced dog park, a picnic shelter, a playground for the kids, banquet and meeting facilities if you’re thinking of hosting an event in a scenic destination, and an 18-hole golf course. About six miles of trails are available for cross-country skiing in the winter, biking in the summer and on-leash dog walking, so your furry friends can exercise too. 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: 586-493-5737 (Macomb County Planning & Economic Department) Hours: open one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset Admission: free Some 24 miles of abandoned railroad are now a premier east-to-west nature stroll in Macomb County – all paved! The trail links to 180 miles of trails through southeast Michigan. 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: 32911 Willow Road, New Boston Phone: 734-782-3956 Hours: 8 a.m.-dusk daily Admission: $10/daily vehicle entry permit, free to trail-users if you enter through park roads and hike/bike trails Beautiful trails, the picturesque Huron River, scenic woods and a nature center are just a few of the highlights of this 1,756-acre metropark, located near Flat Rock. Along the 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, plus an equestrian path and backwater trails for canoeists. Walkers, bicyclists and inline skaters are welcome on the paved trail; walkers only in the nature area. Orion Oaks County Park Address: 2301 W. Clarkston Road, Lake Orion Phone: 248-625-0877 Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset Admission: daily vehicle pass: $5/Oakland County residents, $12/nonresidents; $4/military and seniors (ages 62-plus) Ten miles worth of trails for hiking and mountain biking wind through 916 acres of serene naturescape. Parking lots are located on Clarkston, Baldwin and Joslyn roads. Fuzzy, four-legged members of the family can run at Orion Oaks Dog Park, located at the Joslyn Road entrance. At the same entrance, a wheelchair-accessible pier juts out into Lake Sixteen and permits fishing, and there’s a small boat launch for non-motorized boats only. A 120-foot boardwalk bridges the lake and links two trail systems. Park Lyndon (County) Address: North Territorial Road, one mile east of M-52 (between Embury Road and M-52), 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, this park contains more than 500 species of plants within a wide variety of habitats, from marshes, bogs and ponds to forest and prairie lands. The park, which is divided by North Territorial Road, offers plenty of knockout geological features on these two miles of marked natural trails, 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). Watch for cool finds like the pileated woodpecker and white lady slipper orchid. Note: 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 (no later than 9 p.m.) Admission: daily vehicle pass: $6/Washtenaw County residents, $10/nonresidents Here you’ll also find five miles of paved surface for walking, biking and rollerblading, three miles of hiking trail with two observation decks and rolling terrain, and a three-quarter-mile nature trail that winds through tall trees. An awesome pick for younger kids and those with special needs, Rolling Hills has a half-mile of nature trail that is fully handicap-accessible. In winter, the paved trail is cleared. 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: $10/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 fun and colorful playscape at Eastwood beach, located near the park’s entrance.