Escape to the Hiking Trails of Metro Detroit

May 17, 2017  |   Story by Heidi Tiano  |   Photos by Bill Bowen, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Even though it’s the Motor City, Detroit is still quite accommodating to those who prefer to travel on two feet (or two wheels). The city and its surrounding neighborhoods are home to miles of hiking trails that get you out for some fresh air and exercise — sometimes with a fantastic view.


Detroit Parks & Trails

Dequindre Cut Greenway

If you want to stay in the city, the Dequindre Cut links the East Riverfront and several neighborhoods. It runs mostly below street level along the route of the former Grand Trunk Railroad line, offering views of preserved graffiti art. A new, half-mile extension opened in April 2016 from Gratiot to Mack Avenue into the heart of Eastern Market.

Belle Isle Park

In the middle of the Detroit River, the 982-acre Belle Isle Park was created as an urban oasis in Detroit. After your hike, check out the Belle Isle Aquarium or Conservatory.
hiking trails in Michigan

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

The 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks cover nearly 25,000 acres and are home to more than 55 miles of paved hiking and biking trails, as well as golf courses and picnic areas. The natural environments in the park system provide 8 million annual visitors with an oasis from the city, and a place to cool down when the weather heats up, with swimming and boating areas. Many of the parks even have more rugged trails off the beaten path.

William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor

A green oasis in the heart of Detroit, William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is “the first urban state park and is a showcase of the natural resources collected throughout all of Michigan’s state parks.” The park features wetland, trails and riverwalk, perfect for a picnic in the city.

Detroit Riverfront

For a shorter stroll — maybe even one you can squeeze into your lunch hour — check out the Detroit Riverfront, which provides amazing views of the city skylines, the Canadian shoreline, the Ambassador Bridge and more.

Paint Creek Trail

Located in Oakland County, the 8.9-mile linear park features an eight-foot-wide crushed limestone trail for hikers, joggers, bikers, horses and cross-country skiers. The heart of trail winds along the Clinton River through downtown Rochester and traverses up to the Village of Orion.

Macomb Orchard Trail

Yates Cider Mill

Yates Cider Mill, half a mile from Macomb Orchard Trail. Photo by @Izzca

For a marathon of a hike, you’ll find 24 miles of path between Shelby Township and Richmond. And if you’re really in for a long haul, it connects you to a total of 180 miles of trails in southeast Michigan. One access point is less than a mile from Yates Cider Mill (pictured below).

Proud Lake Recreation Area

With 4,700 acres of rolling hills, you’ll find more than 20 miles of hiking trails — two of which run parallel to the Huron River. If you want to make a weekend of it, consider staying at one of its 130 campsites.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area

This picturesque park contains some of the steepest hills and most rugged terrains in southeast Michigan. Its 15 miles of marked hiking trails are ideal for a serious hiker.


See more things to do in Detroit.

Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
    600 Renaissance Center, Ste. 1720, Detroit, MI 48243313-566-8200 Highlight on map | More Details
  2. Belle Isle State Park
    2 Inselruhe Ave., Detroit, MI 48207313-821-9844 Highlight on map | More Details
  3. Belle Isle Aquarium
    Belle Isle State Park, 900 Inselruhe Ave., Detroit, MI 48207313-402-0466 Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Belle Isle Nature Center
    Belle Isle State Park, 176 Lakeside Drive, Detroit, MI 48207313-852-4056 Highlight on map | More Details
  5. Huron-Clinton Metroparks
    13000 High Ridge Drive, Brighton, MI 48114810-227-2757 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor
    1900 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207313-396-0217 Highlight on map | More Details