Detroit’s Metropark System

Any day in the metro Detroit area is a good day to go visit one of the nearby Huron-Clinton Metroparks (HCM). There are 13 parks in the HCM system of parks with almost 24,000 acres providing outdoor recreation and environmental education year round. There are nine interpretive centers offering an assortment of programs plus the “Mobile Learning Center,” a 48-ft trailer that transports exhibits and activities to different locations throughout southeast Michigan.

All of the Metroparks require a Vehicle Entry Permit, which can be purchased at any of the parks or the Huron-Clinton Metro Authority office located at 2240 W Buno Rd, Milford, MI 48380. The cost of the passes are: Annual-$20, Seniors-$12, and Daily-$4. To find out about special events , availability of facilities, or any other Metropark information call the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority Administrative Office at (800)477-2725 or (810)227-2757.

Metro Beach

At 31300 Metro Parkway in Mt. Clemens, Metro Beach is the only park situated along the shore of Lake St Clair. Metro Beach has 1,600 feet of boardwalk and a mile long beach, as well as an Olympic-size pool with water slides and a spray park to help ward off the summer heat. With 770 acres, this recreational facility has much to offer, from swimming to fishing and bird watching to golf there is plenty to do at Metro Beach Metropark.

Wolcott Mill

The highlight of this Metropark, located at 63841 Wolcott Rd in Ray, is the 250-acre working farm. Horses, dairy cows, sheep, chickens, and ducks provide a delightful learning experience for children. From discussing where our food comes from to an array of other agricultural topics the interpretive staff are on hand to help everyone discover something about farm life they didn’t know before. There is also an historic 1847 grist mill to explore; hiking trails; and a 6,352-yard, par-72, 18-hole golf course.

Stony Creek

The largest of the Metroparks, Stony Creek has 4,461 acres of outstanding recreational grounds. Designed around the picturesque 500-acre Stony Creek Lake, park amenities include a nature center complete with 6 miles of trails with 2 miles being interpretive study trails, 3 other systems of trails encompassing over 27 miles of natural beauty for hiking and mountain biking, a 5-acre mountain bike skills course, a fitness trail, beaches, a boat launch, a disc golf course, and an 18-hole regulation golf course. For exercising, picnicking, enjoying nature, or a score of other fun things, Stony Creek is the place to be.

Indian Springs

Situated on 2,215 acres by the headwaters of the Huron River, Indian Springs, at 5200 Indian Trail, White Lake, is dedicated to the preservation of the surrounding environment. The Environmental Discovery Center attests to that fact. The center has won 9 awards for landscape design, architecture, and engineering and it has earned every one. A 20,000 sq-ft building with classrooms, a biology lab, various exhibit areas including an underwater pond viewing room, and a large event room is the central focus of the EDC. Other features of the park include an 18-hole golf course, paved hiking and biking trails, a splash park and a tot lot play area.

Kensington

Nestled on 4,481 acres at 2240 W. Buno Rd in Milford is the Kensington Metropark, home to the Island Queen II, a 37-passenger pontoon boat that makes hourly tours on Kent Lake. For summer recreation there are beaches and picnic areas, boat rentals and a paved biking/hiking trail, a disc golf course and a regulation 18-hole golf course, a pool with water slides and a splash pad, and a farm learning center with a variety of animals and hay/sleigh rides. Kent Lake is teeming with a large assortment of fish from walleye and bass to pike and bluegill. There are numerous shore fishing sites and piers; several of the piers are handicap-accessible. A Michigan fishing license is required.

Huron Meadows

Brighton is home to Huron Meadows park at 8765 Hammel Rd. and one of the park systems best golf courses. There are 1,540 acres of natural beauty and peace and quiet. The several picnic areas provide play areas, horseshoe pits, and ball fields while the 5 miles of trails offer a chance to stroll through the park and enjoy the wildflowers and wildlife that inhabits the park. In the winter there are groomed cross-country ski trails and equipment rentals.

Hudson Mills

The Activity Center houses nature exhibits, equipment rentals, and food service at Hudson Mills, 8801 N. Territorial Rd in Dexter. Interpretive nature programs are held here all year and the Acorn Nature Trail is highlighted with interpretive signs. Parking areas near the Huron River make this park a popular destination for canoing and kayaking, as well as river fishing. Tennis, shuffleboard, basketball, and volleyball courts draw a host of visitors and equipment rental is available throughout the summer.

Dexter-Huron

Also in Dexter, at 6535 Huron River Dr., is the heavily wooded 122-acre Dexter-Huron park. Fantastic river fishing and fly fishing, shady picnic areas, a play area with swings and a slide, and ball field make this park a serene getaway location. This is a popular launch site for canoing down the Huron River to Delhi Metropark.

Delhi

Canoe rentals and day trips are Delhi’s specialty. The canoe livery organizes Huron River canoe trips with starting points at both Hudson Mills and Dexter-Huron parks and ending at the Delhi boat launch. Picnic areas, playgrounds, ball diamonds, and river fishing make for a restful day at Delhi Metropark.

Lower Huron

Just off I-94 at Haggerty Rd (exit 192) at 17845 Savage Rd in Belleville is the Lower Huron Metropark; a picturesque 1,258-acre spans of the Huron River’s scenic beauty. Mature woodlands offer a shady respite from everyday bustle and stress. An 18-hole, par -3 golf course, self-guided nature trails, paved hiking and biking trails make this a perfect spot for summer recreation. When all that resting or exercise gets the temperature up head on over to the Turtle Cove Aquatic Center. Two water slides, a water plays cape with an enormous dumping bucket, the endless lazy river, and a zero-depth entry pool that ends in a four-lane lap pool, all overlooked by a lush sunning hill make up the Aquatic Center. Turtle Cove has admission fees beyond the cost of park admission.

Willow

Lush lawns and rolling hills make the 6,378 yard, 18-hole regulation golf course and driving range at Willow Metropark a popular place for tournaments as well as family outings and friendly get-togethers. Located just off I-275 at South Huron Drive (exit 11) Willow Metropark also offers skateboarders a place to test their skills and learn new ones at their first-rate skate park. There are ramps, jumps, rails, quarter pipes and more. They separate the days and times skateboards, in-line skaters, and trick bikers can use this facility, so check with the park ahead of time. Three Metroparks; Willow, Lower Huron, and Oakwoods; are connected via a bike trail that winds through various terrain to form a 30 mile round trip. Bikes are available for rent at Willow. There are picnic areas, playgrounds, a 17-acre pond, and more awaiting at Willow Metropark.

Oakwoods

This park is located on Willow Rd in New Boston, just off I-275 and is a nature lovers paradise. The perfect place for a family outing for picnicking, bird watching, or turtle investigation. The Oakwoods nature center has live snakes, turtles including box turtles that may be held, other nature exhibits to explore. Nature center programs are available plus the 34-foot Voyager canoe that makes interpretive excursions on the Huron River. Call ahead for to check for registration requirements. There are trails that are flat terrain for easy walking and a section that is baby stroller and handicap accessible.

Lake Erie

This southern-most Metropark is located at 32481 W Jefferson in Rockwood. It is a 1,607-acre recreational paradise with 3 miles of Lake Erie shoreline including boat launches and a marina, a wave-action pool, museum, nature center, 18-hole regulation golf course, a play area that houses a child-sized town. Lake Erie Metropark is one of the nations top hawk-watching sites and in September they host an annual birding festival known as Hawkfest. Shore fishing is encouraged in the park and there are free-to-use fishing poles available at the museum and nature center. The almost 3 miles of hiking trails incorporate a section of boardwalk and several overlooks which provide exceptional viewing of the local wildlife in their natural habitats. The Marshlands Museum contains many exhibits from the traditions of waterfowl hunting to the marshland ecosystem and has a 1,300-gallon native fish species aquarium. The wave pool does require an extra fee.

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks system is set up so as to surround the metro Detroit area with a selection of parks with various amenities to allow residents to relax, exercise, or just get out and enjoy nature at their leisure. These parks are well maintained and the staff is very helpful and courteous. Any of the Metroparks gets a recommendation as a perfect place to go for a day of sun, fun, and good times. Hope to see you there.