Oakland County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) provides opportunities for you to stay active and enjoy nature all year – so don’t let the cold weather keep you indoors this winter! From cross-country skiing to fat tire biking, and birdwatching to participating in a hands-on program at one of the nature centers, there is always a reason to get outside and enjoy the crisp air, beautiful scenery, and fresh snow.
For a list of winter recreation opportunities by park, click here.
Cross-Country Skiing, Hiking, and Snowshoeing
Get your winter workout in! Independence Oaks in Clarkston has groomed trails, cross-country skiing rental equipment and restroom facilities. Visitors can plan their routes with the Independence Oaks Winter Trail Map and should call the park at 248-625-0877 for up-to-date information about hours and rental equipment availability.
For hikers – or those with their own cross-country or snowshoe equipment – ungroomed trails can be enjoyed at Addison Oaks in Leonard, Highland Oaks in Highland, Lyon Oaks in Wixom, Orion Oaks in Orion and Rose Oaks in Holly.
Disc golf (also known as frisbee golf) is played like ball golf, only using a flying disc. One stroke is counted each time the disc is thrown and when a penalty is incurred. As with traditional golf, the winner is the golfer with the lowest score. Addison Oaks features an 18-hole disc golf course that is open through the winter.
Most dogs (and people!) benefit from regular exercise, even when it is cold out – so consider a visit to one of OCPR’s three dog parks this winter. Off-leash fun for your furry friend is available at Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Red Oaks dog parks all season long.
This winter, the Oakland County Farmers Market will have root veggies, artisan crafts, and other goodies. Availability varies daily, so it is always wise to call ahead (248-858-5495) if you are looking for something specific. The market is closed Dec. 27 through Jan. 6, re-opening for the winter season on Saturday, Jan. 7. It will remain open on Saturdays only through the end of April.
Fat Tire Biking
Enjoy winter on (over-sized, knobby) wheels at Addison Oaks. The park offers over five miles of groomed, multi-use trails, including a 6-foot-wide trail loop with scenic views and challenging hills perfect for the adventurous fat tire biker. Visitors can plan their route with the Addison Oaks Trail Map.
- Birdwatching – Red Oaks Nature Center‘s compact 37 acres with brush right off the trails makes spotting birds fun and easy, so layer up and look out for Dark-eyed Juncos, American Tree Sparrows, Red-breasted Nuthatches or a handful of other migrating species visiting Michigan for the winter!
- Homeschool Curriculum – drop-off programs adapted for (traditional homeschool, pod or virtual learning) students ages 6-9 and 10-13 that feature a wide range of topics, including maple sugaring, bird migrations, pinch pot pottery, aquatic insects, wolves and more (check out the 2023 Homeschool Curriculum Flyer for full details)
- Nature Education Programs – there are so many programs to enjoy at the nature centers: take a naturalist-guided walk through the woods, participate in an after-dark owl spotting hike, learn about survival must-haves or how to identify trees by bark alone (check out the Winter 2022 Education Programs Brochure for a full details)
- Scout Badge Days – the Nature Centers offer many opportunities for scouts to earn badges through interactive programs that run year-round (check out the Fall 2022-Spring 2023 Scout Badge Days Flyer for full details)
- Storybook Trail – children and adults alike can delight in a stroll along the Storybook Trail at Red Oaks Nature Center (until a new title goes up in February, the featured book will be “The Mitten” by Jan Brett)
- Virtual Take-and-Make Kits – fun, crafty kits provide are a great opportunity for hands-on nature learning (check out the Winter 2022 Education Programs Brochure for details, pick-up times and pricing on the winter kits)
Platform tennis is the only racquet sport played outdoors in cold weather. After snow is removed, the courts’ special floor heating units provide a dry playing surface. Individual or family membership is required to play at Waterford Oaks. Click here to find the platform tennis membership application.
Grab a sled and head to the hills for some free family fun. The Family Sledding Hill at Waterford Oaks is open daily from sunrise to sunset or as posted at the gate. Portable restroom facilities are on site.
Oakland County offers residents quality, affordable housing in welcoming neighborhoods with access to parks and recreation, public transportation, and healthy food as part of the Livable Neighborhoods goal in our five-year road map. Follow the Oakland County Executive Office on Facebook and Twitter for updates and visit our dashboard to see the progress being made to ensure Oakland County is All Ways, Moving Forward.