I’m on a health kick lately, trying to drop some weight, eat healthy and relax my mind and soul. So it’s been a great pleasure to get some exercise while enjoying Michigan’s amazing fall weather. The past two weekends, I’ve visited one of my favorite local metroparks to hike the trails and enjoy the changing colors on the trees. I love hiking along a nice trail in the woods. I can breathe in fresh air, listen for the playfulness or hard work of the animals, and let my mind release tension and stress that my day-to-day life brings all too often.
You’ve previously read that I love taking my nieces and nephew to Stony Creek Metropark. We particularly love the nature center and surrounding trails. However, since I’m usually with the little ones, I haven’t been able to really explore the trails. I was happy to do so the past two weekends as I hiked with my older sister and my husband.
The trails surrounding the nature center are well-groomed and quiet. There are no pets or mountain bikes allowed on these trails, which are reasons I enjoy exploring these trails. I have often hiked the trails that are shared with the mountain bikers and that can be a bit chaos if it’s a busy day. Most bikers are polite and let you know they’re coming, but others are not so I’ve encountered some precarious situations.
Stony Creek Metropark covers more than 4,400 acres (and two counties!), however, plenty of signage easily directs you to the nature center. Entrance into Stony Creek Metropark requires a vehicle pass (this is different from the Michigan state park pass). You can park in the lot at the nature center. Bathrooms and a drinking fountain are located inside the nature center so plan accordingly with the nature center’s hours. There are several trail options ranging from .5 mile to 2.5 miles. Stony Creek provides some maps on their website so you should check them out before heading out. We decided to hike a few loops of the Reflection, Habitat and Landscape Trails.
The Habitat Trail is two miles and is marked at the beginning, but not as well once you’re into it. There are a few forks on the trail without signs so we took a guess on which direction to go. The good news is that I don’t believe you can get lost on these trails, just add more miles! The first guess took us in a circle back to almost the beginning of the trail so we started fresh. The second guess kept us on the main trail. The Landscape Trail is one mile and gives a nice leg workout with varying hills that explore an ancient glacial area. The Reflection Trail is only .5 mile but goes along the river and has several information markers that share a lot about the land you’re walking on.
The Habitat Trail and Landscape Trail are among the trails with markers along the route sharing history and points of interest. I enjoy pausing to read these to learn about the land around me. A lot of the land we hiked along is a former glacier and the shifting and melting of the glacier developed the landscape. We also encountered a glorious white oak tree that is more than 200 years old.
There are benches throughout the trails, offering quiet places to rest, watch the river flow or birds play, and feel the soft breeze. Every time I’ve been on these trails, I encountered only a few people (so use caution should you ever decide to hike alone). While there are some open spots along the trails, for the most part you are under the tree canopy. I find this to be so peaceful and relaxing.
There are many activities to check out at Stony Creek Metropark so get outdoors and have some fun!