Metroparks still available for outdoor fun, activities

Summer is slowly slipping away, but the Huron Clinton Metroparks want to remind you that any time of year is a good time to visit one of Southeastern Michigan’s four parks.

The four area Metroparks – Lake Erie, Oakwoods, Lower Huron and Willow – are open year round and they each offer their own unique brand of outdoor adventure.

Fall is an especially beautiful time in the parks. Be sure to check them out.

Lake Erie Metropark

The 1,607-acre Lake Erie Metropark features three miles of captivating Lake Erie shoreline and sweeping vistas that you can only get with a Great Lake and great river. 

Follow the path of lake freighters moving up and down along the Detroit River against exceptional views of Sugar Island, Grosse Ile, and Celeron Island. 

Scan the sky of this popular bird-watching site, with more than 300 species recorded, and you just might spot a migrating broad-wing hawk or bald eagle flying above. This designated “Important Bird Area” is one of the premier hawk-watching sites in North America.

Plan on adding some recreational activity to your day with an 18-hole regulation golf course, the Marshlands Museum and Nature Center, boat launches and a marina. Hike through miles of nature trails or kayak along coastal wetlands. 

In the winter, walk along a cleared 1.6-mile paved trail, cross-country ski along 4-miles of flat, groomed trails, or ice fish for perch. Smaller guests are never forgotten with a brand new children’s play area with slides, mini-rock wall, and swings.

Oakwoods Metropark

Come to Oakwoods Metropark to enjoy the scenic woods and picturesque Huron River.

The Nature Center and surrounding trails are centerpieces of this 1,756-acre Metropark.

Take a hike through mature woodlands, along scenic overlooks of the backwaters of the Huron River, and to a 3-acre pond, all located within the Nature Study Area. 

At the Nature Center you can get up close to turtles swimming in a 700-gallon aquatic tank or look at a live snake. This Metropark also features an equestrian trail and a paved, hike-bike trail connecting to Willow and Lower Huron Metroparks for a 15-mile trail (30-mile round trip). 

While at the park, stop at the Cedar Knoll Picnic Area to hike the nearby butterfly viewing trail, designated as a monarch waystation by Monarch Watch. Bring your canoe or kayak to ply the river behind the Nature Center. Fish along the shore, at the Cedar Knoll Picnic area, or put in your rowboat at the fishing access

Lower Huron Metropark

Lower Huron Metropark’s 1,258 acres of mature woodlands, grassy meadows, and the scenic Huron River. Run or inline skate along a paved, hike-bike trail. Shoreline fish or canoe along the river, as you observe swans or geese floating on the water. 

Lower Huron Metropark also offers scenic picnic areas, basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. Come for a few hours or stay for the day.

Willow Metropark

Escape your routine and the doldrums of everyday life with a rejuvenating visit to Willow Metropark. This sanctuary is minutes away with 1,531 beautiful acres of mature woodlands, and the picturesque Huron River. Play a round of golf on an 18-hole golf course. Fish along the Huron River. 

Cross-country ski, ice fish or sled in the winter. 

Other features include a 4.5-mile hike-bike trail, a 24-hole disc golf course, and a children’s play area. 

Just one visit will make Willow Metropark your all-season getaway.

In addition to the four arera parks, the system includes nine other parks. They are Kennsington in Milford, Delhi in Ann Arbor, Dexter-Huron in Dexter, Hudson Mills in Dexter, Huron Meadows in Brighton, Indian Springs in White Lake, Lake St, Clair in Harrison Township, Stoney Creek in Shelby Township and Wolcott MIll in Ray, 

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks is a regional park system created in 1940 by the citizens of Southeast Michigan, providing excellent recreational and educational opportunities while serving as stewards of its natural resources.

Entry fee to each of the parks is $10, but for easiest access to the parks an annual pass is available for $40. It is $29 for seniors 62 and over. There is also a boat pass to use the park’s launch ramps ($35/$24) and a combo vehicle pass ($74/$53). Park entry is free with a state-issued Disabled Veteran license plate. Walkers, bicyclists, and inline skaters can enjoy free access to all Metroparks by entering through the park roads and hike/bike trails.

Many of the parks put additional Covid-19 precautions in place. Check park and facility closures before planning your visit. Lake Erie (734-379-5020), Oakwoods (734-782-3956), Lower Huron (734-697-9181), Willow (734-697-9181).

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