Are you looking to enjoy the great outdoors before winter rolls in? A nature trail is the perfect option to get some fresh air and experience everything fall has to offer.
And those who are living in or around Macomb County are in luck because the county offers eight family-friendly trails, including the mammoth Macomb Orchard Trail, which spans 24 miles through Shelby Township and Romeo.
Curious about what the Macomb County trail system can offer you and your family? We spoke with Amanda Minaudo, the programming director of community planning with the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, to get the inside scoop on hiking the trails.
Family fun at a distance
Apart from exercise, Macomb County’s trail offer plenty of opportunities for family togetherness — away from strangers and the germs they might carry.
“Most all of Macomb County’s trails are considered ‘family-friendly,'” Minuado says. “Most (feature) separated shared-use paths that provide shelter from high-volume traffic and provide a safe environment for bicyclists of all ages and athletic abilities.”
Many also intercept parks and picnic areas where families can kick back and relax when little feet get tired.
“The Macomb Orchard Trail and Freedom Trail are two of the larger cross-county systems that connect users to various parks and amenities,” Minuado explains. “Additionally, the Clinton River trail, which connects Sterling Heights, Utica and Shelby Township allows users to access numerous parks where people can picnic, play or just relax!”
And, for those who visit in the fall months, they offer breathtaking views, too.
“The mild temperatures and beautiful fall color change provides trail users with a gorgeous atmosphere,” she adds.
Prepping for your hike
Macomb County’s trails are typically open from dawn to dusk daily. Admission to the trails is free with the exception of those located inside Lake St. Clair Metropark and Stony Creek Metropark (admission to those trails is $10/vehicle).
When visiting, Minuado recommends that families pack water and snacks. They should also wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera to snap some photos.
You should also do some research and make sure that you pick a trail that offers what you and your family are looking to get out of your day.
The three big trials to choose from are:
- Macomb Orchard Trail, which starts at 24 Mile Road and travels 24 miles along an abandoned railroad to Richmond.
- Freedom Trail, which runs parallel along 16 Mile Road and leads directly to Lake St. Clair Metropark.
- Iron Bell Trail, which spans 2,000 miles across southeast Michigan from Belle Isle to the U.P. Routes are available in Warren, Center Line and Sterling Heights.
You can download a map of all of the trails in Macomb County here.