Yes – you can camp within Detroit city limits. Here’s how…

By: Lauren Corbat | August 22, 2022

Hidden on the west side of Detroit is Rouge Park, the only place for camping within city limits. The park itself sprawls 1,184 acres, filled with lots of nature and forest to explore. Nestled in the central area of the park is a 17-acre camping section called Scouts Hollow. Operated in partnership with Detroit Outdoors and the local Sierra Club chapter, it primarily serves youth organizations from the city and surrounding area…


The goal of the program is to connect Detroit’s youth with the natural world and encourage them to spend more time outdoors. Evidence has shown that “…contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, subjective well-being, positive affect, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress (Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 7, 2019). Detroit Outdoors and the Sierra Club strive to increase access to outdoor activities in order to improve the wellness of Detroit’s youth. 

One of the most significant barriers to outdoor access is the expense of gear and training. Luckily, Detroit Outdoors has that covered! Before the trip, youth leaders take a Camping Leadership Immersion Course and have access to a gear library. All the gear needed for this adventure is provided to the groups and can be borrowed for trips outside the city as well. Do you have an organization that could benefit from using Scouts Hollow? Here are the steps to get your adventure started: 

  • Complete the Training- Each leader will need to complete the overnight training camp at Scouts Hollow. The cost for leaders is $35 and it includes all gear and meals. The course goes over basic camping skills and an orientation to all the resources available at Rouge Park.
  • Reserve Your Trip- The site can accommodate up to 30 campers for $75 plus $25 for each additional overnight. A gear library (for no extra cost) is available for campers who do not have their own equipment.
  • Plan Your Trip- Rouge Park has many activities for your group. The park itself has areas to play baseball, basketball, and soccer. There are also hiking trails for exploring and a swimming pool. Check with the park for the availability of these activities during your stay. 

In addition to camping at Scouts Hollow, Detroit Outdoors sponsors many other activities for youth in the city. This summer there is a backpacking trip to Isle Royal, a kayaking trip, and wilderness first aid training. In the winter, there is a learn to ski and snowboard program, and a trip to Michigan Ice Fest ice climbing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,.  

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Are you interested in learning more or volunteering with Detroit Outdoors? You can check out their website to learn about volunteer opportunities or where to send gear donations. You can also keep up with the latest activities through their Instagram @detroitoutdoors. There are many ways to get involved and don’t forget to get outside today!