COVID-19 UPDATE: With pretty much all of metro Detroit’s nightlife, entertainment, and recreation options stuck in suspended animation, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of natural beauty within easy reach. With that in mind, for this year’s City Guide we’ve rounded up a number of great nearby places to bike, hike, fish — or just take in the view. Even outdoors, though, it’s important to take precautions. In addition to the usual (wash your hands often and don’t touch your face), the state Department of Natural Resources offers these guidelines: Go out only if you’re healthy. Avoid long-distance travel. Keep 6 feet apart from people not from your household. If the parking lot at your destination is full, leave and choose someplace else. Be safe out there!
Need a break from your oft-trod route through your own neighborhood? For a change of scenery, consider getting your steps in at one of these nearby walking and hiking spots.
Oakwoods Metropark Trails
Hike through 5 miles of self-guided nature trails while enjoying views of a butterfly garden, 3-acre pond, and the backwaters of the Huron River. Oakwoods Metropark, 32911 Willow Road, New Boston; 734-782-3956; metroparks.com
Once a disused railroad track, the 2-mile greenway offers a 20-foot-wide paved pathway for pedestrians to walk through the East Riverfront, Eastern Market, and several residential neighborhoods. Dequindre Cut, Detroit; detroitriverfront.org
While you can’t ride the carousel or enjoy treats from the RiverWalk Café for now, you can still go on a leisurely stroll while taking in views of the riverfront and admire the art sculptures of the RiverWalk Garden Rooms. Detroit RiverWalk, 1340 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-566-8200; detroitriverfront.org
West Bloomfield Trail
As part of the West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve, the 64-acre linear park and former railroad corridor spans nearly 7 miles through four cities. Walkers can brush up on state automotive history with the MotorCities Wayside Exhibits posted along the trail. West Bloomfield Trail, 4655 Arrowhead Road, West Bloomfield; wbparks.org
Paint Creek Trail
The 8.9-mile linear park is the first non-motorized rail-to-trail in the state, and it extends through five cities, townships, and villages. Pups can accompany their owners on the trail, and horses are even allowed in limited areas. Paint Creek Trail, Rochester; paintcreektrail.org
Red Oaks Nature Center
Situated inside the 37-acre Friendship Woods, the center’s 1-mile trail can be used for hiking, walking, and seasonal family nature programs. Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights; 248-585-0100; oakgov.com
Stony Creek Metropark Trails
Voted the second-best hiking trail in metro Detroit by WXYZ Detroit in 2018, the park boasts 27 miles of trails offering views of woodlands, wetlands, and tallgrass prairies. Stony Creek Metropark Trails, 4300 Main Park Road, Shelby Charter Twp.; 586-781-4242; metroparks.com
Holland Ponds Trail
The 3-mile trail overlooks Holland Ponds, a 200-acre park revitalized by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources after being lost to toxic waste. Holland Ponds is also well-known for its heron population, where blue and green herons frequent its waters. Holland Ponds, 50385 Ryan Road, Shelby Charter Twp.; 586-731-0300; shelbytwp.org