Presque Isle Waterfall Loop, Manabezho Falls, Porcupine Mountains
Manabezho Falls is located in the gorgeous Porcupine Mountain National Park, one of the top destinations in the state of Michigan. It’s the largest waterfall that falls 25 feet and situated on the last mile of the Presque Isle River. If you take the 2.3-mile loop is seeing not just Manabezho Falls, but two other waterfalls as well: Nawadaha Falls and Manido Falls. The loop includes boardwalks, forested areas, and a suspension bridge. Take your time and take it all in… there’s no need to rush through such beauty.
Skyline Trail, Petoskey
If you’re looking for a challenge and a great view, then look no further than Skyline Trail. Located a few short miles southeast from bustling downtown Petoskey and a part of the North Country Trail system, Skyline rewards you with a panorama of Little Grand Traverse Bay from a lookout platform. This view is particularly stunning when there’s low leaf cover, such as early spring, later in the fall, and in the winter via snowshoe. It’s a steep hill with switchbacks, however, it’s less than a mile one-way to make the trek. Mountain bikers will also enjoy Skyline. For details regarding Skyline Trail, visit MichiganTrailMaps.com.
Lost Lake and Island Loop Trail, Ludington
Ludington State Park is a gem of a waterfront town on the shores of Lake Michigan. This particular hike is located within the state’s most popular state park and is 2.1 miles long, looped. The trails are well marked, there are boardwalks, and there are benches aplenty at which to rest or eat lunch. During your walk you’ll see Hamlin Lake, Lost Lake, and, of course, an island. Much of the route is shaded, and it’s a great choice for families because of its easy to moderate terrain. You can choose to extend your hike by progressing to one of the adjoining trails, including Lighthouse Trail off of Lost Lake Trail, which leads to Big Sable Point Lighthouse.
Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail, Lexington to Vanderbilt
To experience this trail, you’ll need to get in the water. The Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail runs 103 miles along the “thumb” or Blue Water Area of Michigan in the sparkling water of Lake Huron. You can begin from any of the 44 launches and landings. The official start of the trail is White Rock Park, just north of Forestville. Put in at White Rock and paddle four miles north to Wagener County to get a taste of taking a water trail, feeling the breeze, and taking in the shoreline scenery. From there, how far you go is up to you. Expect to see rockier shoreline in the southern portion of the water trail while sandy shores can be found along the northern portion. A map is available at http://thumbtrails.com/maps.html.
Bird Hills Nature Area, Ann Arbor
Historic Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are well worth exploring, but if you’re looking for a break from the narrow streets, city traffic, and crowded parking, drive to Bird Hills Nature Area. This is the largest park in the city, covering more than 160 acres of hilly woods. There are five trailheads that will get you on the unpaved trail, which loops 4.8 miles. The nature area includes the Huron River and diverse plant life. The hilliness of the area makes for a solid – yet relaxing – outdoor workout.
Haven Hill Natural Area, White Lake
Another oasis from the urban jungle, Haven Hill Natural Area was land originally bought up by Edsel Ford in the 1920s. One of only 12 parks in Michigan registered as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service, Haven Hill has a trail system with routes that run 0.7 miles to 15 miles and are easy to challenging. A popular choice is Blue Trail, a 4.8-mile loop that takes you into the wild. Another popular option is Historic Haven Hill, which is 1.4 miles round trip. Mountain bikers will find some of the most challenging trail systems in southern Michigan, especially Loop D.
Prairie Pathway, Rouge Park, Detroit
One of the best things about Michigan is that natural beauty and scenery are never far away from urban areas. It’s easy to reconnect with nature. This mostly level trail is wide and mostly on ground level. It also leads to a butterfly garden. The trail is 1.7 miles long and meanders through prairie land, meadow, and butterfly habitat. The trailhead is at the corner of Outer Drive and Tireman Avenue in Rouge Park.