Exploration Guides

We're all explorers. You just need the right guide.

Welcome, Explorers!

Welcome to Exploration Guides!

The first day of spring, March 20, 2011, was the day of our Grand Opening. We now have thirteen free Android apps covering 14 parks in southeast Michigan, which have been downloaded  thousands of times and our first two Destination apps, Destination: Lighthouse – North America and Destination: Waterfall – North America.

Our first book, Dayhiking, is now available worldwide from Amazon, and soon from Barnes & Noble, as well.  You can get Dayhiking at http://www.amazon.com/Dayhiking-Exploration-Guides-Hiking-ebook/dp/B00CQOP7K6

We have a lot more data, and more books and apps are coming.  Feel free to look around, download the free apps, make suggestions for new features, and, most importantly, go outside and explore!

Read our blog for info on new apps, trip reports, and more.

Check out our free apps.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Proud Lake State Recreation Area

Proud Lake State Recreation Area is home to the most upstream navigable part of the Huron River, as well as hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails.

January 28, 2012 Posted by | | , , | Leave a Comment

Island Lake State Park

Island Lake State Park, located just south of I96 and Kensington Metropark, is about half-way between Milford, MI, and Brighton, MI.  Cut through the center with the Huron River, there are several beaches and miles of trails.

January 28, 2012 Posted by | | , , | Leave a Comment

Seven Lakes State Park Trails

Seven Lakes State Park is home to around 17km of trail, with most of the trails circling the two main lakes, Big Seven Lake and Dickinson Lake.  Hikers are allowed on (and off) all trails, and mountain bikes are also allowed on all the main trails.  Dogs (on leash) are allowed everywhere, but no horses are allowed on the trails.

DANGER: There is a healthy massasauga rattlesnake population in the park.  Normally, they’ll do everything possible to get away from you, but it’s best to keep an eye on dogs and children, to avoid problems, and if you do leave the main trail, keep a close eye on the ground to avoid unwanted encounters.

Note: Trails at the south end of Dickinson Lake are prone to flooding.  Also, the fen areas, like all fen areas, are generally especially wet, with deep muck and quicksand.

Trails:

  1. Big Seven Lake Loop Trail (5.5km).  The Big Seven Loop Trail circumnavigates Big Seven Lake.  The trail is mostly flat, like most of the trails in this park, and generally clear and well-established.  One piece of trail, at the south end of Big Seven Lake, may be flooded out in the spring or after heavy rains.
  2. The Fen Trails (2km round trip).  Parking at the Dickinson Lake boat launch, you can follow the lake around to a pair of fens, one in a lowland and another on the shores of a small lake.  Due to budget cuts, The Fen Trails are no longer maintained by the park, so there is some overgrowth.  Be sure to watch your step, as the fens include deep muck and quicksand, although both can be safely avoided, if you pay attention.  Also, be sure to avoid stepping on any of the rare, carnivorous, pitcher plants.  The lakeside fen is just off a long, narrow peninsula (or isthmus, if the water’s low enough) nicknamed Crazy Beaver Peninsula.  Check out the trees along the trail, which show signs of heavy beaver activity.  While some have been felled, others, in some cases some very, very large ones, have been chewed in a couple inches all the way around before the beaver moved on.
  3. Green Trail Loop (3km).  At three km, the green trail crosses between Big Seven and Dickinson lakes, then heads to the hilly area in the north part of the park.  One of the rare, dry trails in the park, flooding is uncommon on this trail.  In amongst the wooded hills in the northern part of the park, many small spring ponds are home to frogs and other wildlife before they dry later in the year.
  4. Red Trail (7km round trip). This trail travels from Big Seven Beach around the north end of Big Seven Lake over to the Dickinson Lake boat launch parking lot.  Unless you suspect flooding, you can probably have a better hike by continuing around Big Seven Lake using the Big Seven Lake Loop Trail (#1 above).
  5. Nature Trail (1km).  All trails in this park are nature trails, but this one gets the name mostly due to being adjacent to the Sand Lake campground.  It’s actually a small loop in the larger trail network.
  6. Dickinson Lake Loop Trail (4km).  The Dickinson Lake Loop Trail is one of the nicer, more varied trails in the park.  Unfortunately, it’s no longer maintained by the park, so there is some overgrowth.  The trail circumnavigates Dickinson Lake, passing through one of the larger fens, and through some of the hilly areas surrounding this lake.  Note: Once trail maintenance stopped, residents living adjacent to the park began clearing and mowing into the park, so some parts of the trail at the far southeast of the lake appear to end in people’s back yards.  Do not be deterred from hiking these trails by this. The entrance to get back to the trail can be a little tricky to find, but using the app, you will walk right to it.  Also, in at least one case, one adjacent property owner even placed private property signs inside the park to deter hikers.  The trail passes through only public, state-owned land, and the Exploration Guides app is an accurate, surveyed map of this trail.  If you do encounter any problems with adjacent landowners, please immediately contact a park ranger and/or local police.  At the time of this writing, we are not aware of any incidents, so again, do not let some mowed grass deter you from going on this great hike.

Return to the main Seven Lakes State Park page.

This page is just a small part of the Seven Lakes State Park app.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | | , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Seven Lakes State Park Camping

Camping in Seven Lakes State Park is limited to the Sand Lake campground, located on the shore of Sand Lake.  With only 70 sites, and a private beach, the modern campground fills up fast on summer weekends, so it’s best to make reservations early.  Check the official park site for more information.

Return to the main Seven Lakes State Park page.

This page is just a small part of the Seven Lakes State Park mobile app.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | | , , , | Leave a Comment

Seven Lakes State Park

Seven Lakes State Park is located north of Pontiac Michigan, just east of the Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary.  Home to around 17km of trails encircling two, main lakes (and many smaller ones), Seven Lakes State Park is also home to a number of uncommon fens, a large massasauga rattlesnake population, and the closest thing we get to a waterfall in southeast Michigan.  The two main lakes, Big Seven and Dickenson, both have boat launches, and are undeveloped, aside from the launches, and the beach on man-made Big Seven Lake.  A developed campground is available at Sand Lake.

Visit the official Seven Lakes State Park page.

This page is just a small part of the Seven Lakes State Park mobile app.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment