UPDATED MAY 26, 2020
Detroit isn’t always given the credit it deserves for its natural beauty. However, you can find sprawling country roads, tall trees, countless lakes, farms, and gorgeous hiking spots all within 45 minutes of the city. Start planning that next daycation!
About 45 minutes north of the city, you can find a sprawling county park accessible all year. Surrounding the large Stony Creek Lake, this park has both challenging and easier trails to get in a quality hike — each path is worth more than one go ’round and can offer something unique. This place truly has the ‘up north’ vibe without the four-hour drive and is one of our favorite places to explore on a crisp fall day. Fitt Tip: For some really beautiful views, check out the East Lake Trails.
Pack some extra trail mix because Bald Mountain is one of the most challenging terrains in this part of Michigan. There are two separate sections of this recreational area, but both north and south areas offer great hiking. Each trail is a different color loop, but our favorite is the 3.4-mile Graham Lakes Trail (aka the Orange Loop) for its lakeside traverses and interesting ascents. Venture here whenever and often.
Belle Isle, a skip from the city, is a Michigan state park that’s accessible all year round for gorgeous hikes, insane views of the growing city, and some unexpected wildlife. The park is the biggest island park in the nation with almost 1,000 acres. There are so many ways to escape to nature here, from tree-lined paths to beaches with amazing city views. Word on the street is that there are major renewal plans to make this park even better!
Not too far from Bald Mountain is a charming hiking trail called Paint Creek Trail. This 8.9-mile crushed stone rail-to-trail project near Lake Orion and Rochester Hills is perfect for a relaxing hike. It won’t be your most challenging trek, but it's one of the most peaceful and scenic. The best part is that you can take the trail to the historically charming downtown Lake Orion for some post-hike eats, coffee, or treats!
Just 45 minutes from downtown, the West Bloomfield Trail is one of the local favorites. Bikers, hikers, and marathon trainers alike come here to breathe in the fresh air. Like the Paint Creek Trail, the West Bloomfield Trail also used to be a railroad, so you can take in some history as you pass lakes, ponds, and marshes. Start to finish, the crushed stone trail is only seven miles long, making it an ideal choice for a weekend hike.
If you don’t have the time to venture out to a park, this little urban oasis is perfect for you. Starting down at the Detroit RiverWalk, the Dequindre Cut is an urban recreational path built on the old Grand Trunk Railway. You won’t need your hiking boots for this asphalt rail-trail; most people prefer biking, walking, and jogging here. There are no stop lights or crosswalks preventing you from enjoying the fresh air, greenery, and urban artwork of this cool Detroit staple.
If you are in for the long haul, take a hike on the Macomb Orchard Trail. 24 miles in length, this asphalt and concrete trail is a great option for biking, jogging, marathon training, and snowshoeing. There are lots of quaint towns and markets to stop at as well as some seriously beautiful views of the Clinton River to take in.
Proud Lake Recreation Area is truly a sight to behold. Bring your camera for this one because you’ll see lakes, vast wetlands, tall forest trees, and some wildlife (if you are lucky). Our favorite tromp is the six-mile River Trail for the access to the Huron River. You can bring your kayak or canoe for a leisurely summer river cruise (we won't judge if you pack a few beers or kombucha to turn your canoe into a cabrew). In the winter, bust out those cross-country skis for the ultimate workout in a winter wonderland.
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