Whether you’re into steep, challenging climbs or leisurely trail walks, hiking can be a great way to get active. Not only do you get to move your body, but time spent outdoors can also have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
According to the National Park Service, hiking can have positive effects on your physical, mental, and relational health. Hiking is a full body workout, allowing you to grow stronger and more balanced, and improve cardiovascular health all at once. Being outdoors has also been tied to positive mental health outcomes, including reduced stress, anxiety, and risk of depression. If you hike with a partner or in a group, hiking can also improve the strength and health of your relationships.
Ready to hit the trail? Check out these five Michigan routes perfect for outdoor autumn exploration.
1. Belle Isle Park – Detroit.
Located in the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada, this island park in Southeast Michigan provides ample opportunity for hiking. There are miles of trails across the island connecting many points of interest and providing beautiful city and nature views. Plan your route so you can see some of the island attractions like the aquarium, nature center and more. Check out the map and plan your visit!
2. Gallup Park – Ann Arbor.
A 69-acre park in Ann Arbor’s most popular recreational area, Gallup Park is filled with walking trails along the Huron River and Geddes Pond. Filled with spectacular fall color views and picnic and recreation areas, this is the perfect spot to spend an autumn day enjoying the outdoors. Pack a picnic and make a whole day out of your visit!
3. Riley Trails – Holland.
Riley Trails provides over 300 acres of wilderness to explore in Holland. The terrain includes a small lake, collections of pine and beech-maple trees, and trails perfect for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. The trails offer a more guided walk through the woods so you can explore the forest without worrying about getting lost. Leash up your favorite canine friend and bring them along as you explore this collection of nature trails.
4. Port Crescent State Park Trails – Port Austin.
The waterfront park in Michigan’s thumb features seven miles of trails, including a nature trail and loop route. This location includes spectacular views of Lake Huron, and the fall is a great time to visit as trails are less crowded and the fall colors provide even more admirable views. The trails also feature many options for customization so you can go the distance and difficulty you’re looking for. Many people recommend making an overnight trip out of the excursion so you can catch a glimpse of the famous night sky.
5. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Empire.
It’s tough to beat a hike along the Great Lakes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes area provides unbeatable views of Lake Michigan and a variety of trails to travel whilst admiring northern Michigan’s beauty. There are many different trails in the area, so check out a full list and plan your route before you hit the dunes.
Whether you explore a new trail or just explore some familiar routes in your neighborhood park, taking a hike is sure to have a positive impact on your body, mind and spirit. Find more Michigan trails to explore here.