One of the many benefits of living in the Metro Detroit area are the beautiful lakes, parks and scenery it offers. The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are surely no exception to that. The 13 gorgeous parks cover 24,000 acres in southeast Michigan, which means there is a lot of fun to be had.
By this time, some of you may be thinking “But Ryan, why would I want to go to a park in the winter?” Fair point, but for those of you who are unaware, the metroparks offer a plethora of winter activities. The hills and terrain make for great opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing (basically, hiking up snowy terrain with snowshoes and other winter equipment) in the parks. If you don’t mind the snow and have an adventurous side to you, then this may just be for you. It is now about at that time in the story where we highlight a few of the previously mentioned metroparks. Ready, go!
Brighton’s Huron Meadows Metropark provides separate trails for skiers and snowshoers/hikers, which keeps the trails for each respective sport in great shape. It is one of only a handful of parks in southeast Michigan to offer both a skate-style and classic groomed cross-country ski trail. There are 14.8 miles of trails to choose from, and conditions permitting, all trails are open throughout the winter.
Hudson Mills Metropark, in Dexter, is another option for hitting the slopes. Six miles worth of picture-perfect ski trails with frozen ponds, rustic bridges and glistening snow is enough to make you want to check this park out. Hudson Mills has varied terrains and can accommodate all skill levels.
If you are not particularly intrigued by either of the previous two mentioned parks, try Kensington Metropark in Milford. You can enjoy more than 12 miles of trails for varying levels of abilities. There are also sledding hills/toboggan runs and snowboarding hills (skiing is prohibited in those areas). In addition, you can also snowshoe throughout the park (except on the groomed ski hills) and ice skate on frozen Kent Lake, taking in the picturesque scenery.
Stony Creek Metropark provides numerous winter activities. This park offers 13 miles worth of marked and groomed traditional cross-country trails, with terrain ranging from level to hilly. Snowboarding is also available here, at the designated snowboarding hill near the Gladeview Picnic Area. An ice skating rink is located on Stony Creek Lake, and ice hockey is allowed in designated areas. One must bring his or her own skates, though, as there are no skate rentals.
Something unique Stony Creek offers is kiteboarding/snowkiting. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, think of a sport mixing windsurfing, surfing and wakeboarding; add cold weather, snow and winter gear, and you have this relatively new sport/activity. You can glide across the ice on your skis or snowboard.
Another area to note is Lake St. Clair Metropark, which offers cross-country skiing, ice hockey and ice skating. It is smaller in terms of skiing purposes, but still has more than two miles worth of marked cross-country ski trails. The terrain is relatively flat—perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers.
Several other metroparks offer winter activities, such as New Boston’s Willow Metropark, Lower Huron Metropark in Belleville, Lake Erie Metropark of Brownstown and Indian Springs Metropark, residing in White Lake.
As you can see, the metroparks aren’t just useful in the warmer months. If you fancy yourself a skier, are looking to try something new or enjoy playing in the snow, then check out one of the parks for some good times in the winter. Not only are a lot of these activities fun and challenging, but a lot of them are great cardiovascular workouts as well. Don’t let the weather prevent you from being active.