See Spring in Bloom on an Oakland County Trail

Oakland County and its surrounding areas offer miles and miles of trails for your fitness and enjoyment! Now that the snow is gone for good (fingers crossed), it’s a splendid time to get outside and take in the much-needed sights and sounds of spring. Whether you want to take a quiet stroll, jog through a park, bike with friends, or saddle up on a horse, there’s a trail for you.

View a partial list below to find a trail in your area. If you love maps, visit our Trails Page for an interactive trail viewer map. The map will allow you to sort by parks and trails, take note of a trail’s surface area, and view a trail’s elevation by clicking on it.

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Hiking The Highlands

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

If your life feels like it’s becoming too fast-paced and distracted, perhaps it’s time to relax and refresh with an early spring nature embracing hike. The 5,900 acres of Highland State Recreation Area (HSRA), nestled away on the south side of M-59 in Highland and White Lake Township, might just be what the doctor ordered, and no prescription is needed. Find a hilly trail – that won’t be hard to do there – then walk slowly, stop often, be attentive to the sounds and your trail surroundings, and then the ways and wonders of nature will come alive. Such was the case last Sunday morning when I tagged along with the Crossroads Group of Sierra Club as they set out for a two-hour meander over and around the glacial features that dominate the park’s alluring landscape.

The Sierra adventurers and I met at the parking area adjacent to the old Edsel Ford Barn, a magnificent 15,000 square foot structure that was built in the early 1930s, but was severely damaged in a 2008 windstorm. Restoration work continues, thanks in part to the dedication and work of the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA). A brief note on the history of the area is in order, for many hikers and visitors that come to Highland are unaware of the human history of the land, especially in the Haven Hills Natural Area section of the HSRA. Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford, began purchased hilly property with lakes in northwest Oakland County in 1923 and later built an estate on the land in the section of HSRA known today as Haven Hill. Local history buffs are proud of the fact that in 1976 Haven Hill was registered as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. Before the morning was over I realized the combination of natural and human history makes Haven Hill and the rest of the HSRA one of the most exciting, yet for many, lesser known destinations on the Wilder Side of Oakland County. Continue reading

Let Nature Be Your Teacher: On the Wilder Side of Heritage Park

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

I am an unabashed partisan of nature’s way, even when it is limited to small protected pockets of land surrounded by suburbia. One of those pockets is 211-acre Heritage Park, a multi-use park under management of the City of Farmington Hills Department of Special Services. For those that want to explore easy-to-navigate trails that meander through woods, over hills and through meadows, Heritage Park is just the place. Their park brochure states “Never Stop Exploring” and “Every Day Is an Adventure.” I smiled to myself at those slogans but my biggest smile, before I started my exploration, was the slogan on their trail map, “Let Nature Be Your Teacher.” Continue reading

NATURE•SCIENCE•EDUCATION – And a Cabin in the Woods

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The morning was perfect for a winter exploration. Fresh snow fell much of the night and continued well into dawn. My trailhead greeting party consisted of cascades of accumulated snow sliding off the boughs of white pine trees, and what sounded like the excited warning chatter of an eastern fox squirrel. I stopped to assess the situation.

Squirrels don’t just sit on tree branches talking to themselves. I decided the squirrel’s concern was the motionless Cooper’s Hawk that I noted seconds earlier perched on a nearby tree. I trudged forward, the hawk flew off, and the squirrel scampered down about ten feet, leapt over to another branch and continued to watch me closely. Perhaps the chatter was a welcoming greeting for me after all. I chattered back and we shared pleasantries for a few moments.

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Stony Creek’s Habitat Trail: A Winter Wonderland

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

We only had three hours to hike and Stony Creek Metropark offers 27 miles of tempting trails. That made for the most pleasant dilemma on a bright, blue sky day on the wilder side of Oakland County. With those thoughts in mind, a fellow nature enthusiast and I headed to the 2.5-mile-long Habitat Trail in the northwest corner of the park, for a slow-paced journey into nature’s way in winter.

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