Escape The Winter Blues At These Parks

February 21, 2024
hikers on a trail in maybury state park

Photo courtesy of Maybury State Park

This winter, like every other winter, has had its fair share of below-freezing temperatures, snowfall, and slippery driving conditions. While that might not be pleasant all of the time and we may be tempted to stay indoors, there are some things you can do before spring comes to enjoy the outdoors. From the peaceful solitude of forest trails to the serene vistas of open parks, our area boasts a variety of destinations perfect for those looking to escape the winter blues and get some fresh air. Let’s explore some of the best local parks and trails where you can enjoy the season’s splendor…

MAYBURY STATE PARK

49601 Eight Mile Road, Northville

Northville’s Maybury State Park is a great spot to explore and get some fresh air this winter. “Maybury State Park is a great escape to nature from everyday busy life. It really is an oasis surrounded by suburbia,” shares Mike Cutsinger, Lead Ranger. “Maybury State Park contains almost 1,000 acres of gently rolling terrain, open meadow, mature forest, a variety of wildlife, and abundant wildflowers. You can be on a trail and feel like you are up north. Come out and hike, bike, and explore the jewel that is Maybury State Park.” This park serves as a reminder that one doesn’t need to travel far to find natural beauty and tranquility. With 8 miles of trails, you can certainly do some exploring while hiking, or try out the cross-country skiing trails with breathtaking views. 

Whether you're going out on a fishing trip, discovering new hiking spots, or heading out for a weekend of camping, the Trailblazer is an ideal companion for your active lifestyle.

snowy winter trail inside maybury state park
Photo courtesy of Maybury State Park

BELLE ISLE PARK

99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit

Located on the Detroit River, Belle Isle Park is a year-round haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. This island park offers stunning views of the surrounding waters, along with a diverse range of habitats and wildlife. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll along the riverfront or exploring the rich history of the island’s aquarium, conservatory, and museum, Belle Isle provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With almost 1,000 acres to see, this island park is a great place to be if you’re closer to the Detroit area. 

PAINT CREEK TRAIL

Northeast Oakland County

The Paint Creek Trail, Michigan’s first non-motorized Rail-to-Trail, spans 8.9 miles and offers a scenic route through several townships, ending at the Village of Lake Orion. “The trail is open to hikers, bikers, joggers, and in some areas, horseback riding,” explains Administrative Assistant Nicole Sands. “There are many points of interest along the trail for users, including Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, the Moutrie Pollinator Garden, the Paint Creek, and the Goodison Cider Mill. The trail is a great place for recreation, spending time with family, and enjoying the outdoors!”

stream along a snowy paint creek trail
Photo courtesy of Paint Creek Trail

RED OAKS NATURE CENTER TRAILS

30300 Hales Street, Madison Heights

For those who prefer a wooded walk, the trails at Red Oaks Nature Center offer a serene setting for winter exploration. The quiet of the forest, interrupted only by the crunch of snow underfoot, provides a perfect backdrop for reflection and relaxation. This 1.3-mile paved trail invites visitors to observe the subtle beauties of nature’s winter palette, from the frost-laden branches to the tracks of wildlife in the snow. Depending on the weather, visitors can choose to hike, bike, or leisurely walk through this section of the 37-acre Friendship Woods. Additionally, the Nature Center offers a wealth of family programs throughout the year with live native animals and other educational displays. 

KENSINGTON METROPARK

4570 Huron River Parkway, Milford

Kensington Metropark is a destination where winter’s beauty is on full display. With its rolling hills, frozen lakes, and scenic trails, the park transforms into a winter wonderland that beckons adventurers of all ages. Whether it’s cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, or simply enjoying the tranquil scenery, Kensington offers endless ways to embrace the season. With almost 4,500 acres of terrain, there is certainly much to see and explore, with lots of natural wildlife and waterfowl. Try out ice skating, sledding, or snowboarding if you visit Kensington Metropark on a snow day.

photo courtesy of shelby dublin photography - winter snow day activities

For more snow day spots, check out our list here. 

FOX SCIENCE PRESERVE

2228 Peters Road, Ann Arbor

The Fox Science Preserve offers a unique educational experience amidst its rugged landscape. This park is an ideal spot for those interested in geology and natural sciences, as well as anyone seeking a quiet place to reflect and learn. As a former gravel pit, Fox Science has ancient table-sized glacial boulders scattered throughout. The trail is half a mile in length, and certainly a great spot for scavenger hunting for different natural elements. Fox Science is just one great spot within the Washtenaw County Parks system. Park Superintendent Rhonda Bouma shares, “Washtenaw County Parks is dedicated to providing outstanding, year-round recreational opportunities. With over 10,000 acres of land, including over 40 nature preserves and parks, there’s sure to be something to fit every recreational interest.” This commitment ensures that residents and visitors alike have access to well-maintained, diverse parks and trails, perfect for seasonal exploring and enjoyment.

stream along trails from washtenaw county parks
Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Parks

This article has been updated to include new information. The original article was published on February 14, 2020.

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