Exploration Guides

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Kensington Metropark

Kensington Metropark, one of the largest in the Huron Clinton Metropark System, is located just off I-96 in Milford Michigan, between Brighton and Novi.  Built around Kent Lake, a man-made lake on the Huron River, Kensington is very popular, but spread out enough to rarely appear crowded.

Like all metroparks, of course there’s plenty of open, grassy area, but Kensington also has a lot else to do.

This page is just a small part of the Kensington Metropark mobile app.

Visit the official Kensington Metropark page.

Return to the main Huron Clinton Metropark page.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stony Creek Metropark Trails

Stony Creek Metropark is huge.  So huge, there’s room for 70 km of trails, spread throughout the park, with trails suitable to nearly any activity.

There are rattlesnakes in the park, but they usually stay well away from explorers.  Anywhere in the north end of the park, around the nature center or Inwood trails, leaving the trails greatly increases your risk of a rattlesnake encounter, so staying on the trails is strongly suggested.

Paved Trail:

There is one paved loop trail in Stony Creek Metropark.  Circling Stony Creek Lake, the 10.5 km of trail includes the main loop, with spurs to both Eastwood Beach and Baypoint Beach, as well as another connecting spur trail south, out of the park entrance, to the Shelby Township hike-bike trail network.  Access to the trail is available anywhere around the main road encircling Stony Creek Lake.

Nature Center Area Trails:

The Nature Center, located at the north end of the main park, is the center of the nature trail network.  Except for the Inwood Trails and Osprey Trail, all nature trails are best accessed from the Nature Center parking lot.  The trails adjacent to the nature center are well-marked and well-maintained.

  • Reflection Trail: At just under 1 km, this is one of the shorter trails, but still worth hiking.  Beginning at the nature center, descend to Stony Creek, then travel a short distance along the creek before returning to the nature center.  No pets are allowed on this trail.
  • Landscape Trail: This 2.5 km trail is the middle-length loop of the main nature trail area, located west of the nature center.  With a combination of creekside trails, woods, and wetlands, this trail offers a good mix of the local ecosystems.  No pets are allowed on this trail.
  • Habitat Trail: The longest of the main nature area trails, at 4.3 km, this trail traverses woodlands and wetlands, with plenty of variety, even including a walk past a meadow with a “high” rattlesnake population.  No pets are allowed on this trail.
  • East Lake Trail: Located across the parking lot from the nature center, the East Lake trail is a 5.7 km trail, with several opportunities to shorten the trail on established shortcut trails.  This trail travels along the east side of the small lake formed by the north dam.  At the far end of the trail, you go onto a short, sandy point where snapping turtles lay hundreds of eggs every year.  A shirt spur off this trail takes you to the osprey hacking tower.  No pets are allowed on this trail.
  • Osprey Trail: Across the lake from the East Lake Trail is the 2.1 km Osprey Trail.  Less maintained, and less traveled, than the other nature center area trails, this trail gives you the opportunity to take a quiet stroll through the easy, relatively level woodlands, possibly without seeing anyone else on the trails, even on a busy day.  There is a small parking lot at the entrance to the Osprey Trail, or you can walk out on the spur from the East Lake Trail, past the hacking tower, to the road, cross over Stony Creek, then go back into the woods on the Osprey Trail.

Inwood Trails:

The Inwood Trails are located on a reclaimed gravel pit, north of the main park area.  You can access the Inwood Trails via a small lot off Inwood Road, or by walking down a service drive out the north end of the nature center parking lot.

The trails are not well maintained, but this shouldn’t discourage you from exploring here.  While not groomed, may be some of the nicest cross country skiing in the park.  When there’s no snow on the ground, the gravel pit history of this area means the ground his hard packed gravel, with clusters of trees, with the remaining area filled with quick-growing groundcover.  Unfortunately, this is the absolutely perfect habitat for ticks (4 were picked up while surveying the trails for our app), so be sure to use plenty of insect repellant, frequently check for ticks, and dress appropriately.

  • Inwood South Loop: This 5 km trail loops around the small, artificial lake at the south end of the Inwood area, and explores many of the non-wooded ecosystems in this area.
  • Inwood North Loop: At 4km, this trail visits the more wooded parts of the Inwood area in the northern area.  A short hike on the northern spur takes you to the shores of Inwood Lake.
  • Inwood Big Loop: At 5.8 km, the Big Loop trail completely encircles the Inwood area, including the areas visited with both the north and south loop trails.

Trolley Trails:

The Trolley Trails are located in the southeast part of the park, near the entrance.  The least-used trails in the main park, the Trolley Trails allow both hikers and mountain bikes.  With well-maintained trails traversing hilly, wooded terrain, this is a good trail network when you’re looking for a nice, shaded hike without a lot of people.  The mountain bike skills course is accessed from the same parking lot as the Trolley Trails.

  • Trolley Trails East Loop: This 2.5 km loop covers the hilliest part of the Trolley Trail area, looping around several deep ravines.
  • Trolley Trails West Loop: At 2.2 km, this loop covers the western, flatter part of the Trolley Trail area.
  • Trolley Trails Big Loop: The 3.2km loop trail fully encircles the Trolley Trail area.

Fitness Trail:

The 3km Fitness Trail loop starts and ends at Eastwood Beach.  Traversing the loop, you encounter stations along the way with instructions for 31 activities, including stretches, to give you a good workout in a short distance.  Approximately half the trail follows the paved trail, before it loops back through the woods to head back to the beach.

Mountain Bike Trails:

The main mountain bike trail network is mostly on the ruins of the Sheldon Estate.  Although not much is left of this estate, there’s plenty to see, if you look for it, including the fenced ruins of the tennis court, a stairway, old roads, and a lot of fencing, which once enclosed the estate.

Mountain biking is allowed on both the main mountain bike trails and on the Trolley Trails.  Hiking and cross country skiing is also allowed, so bikers are advised to keep an eye out for hikers, who always have the right of way on trails.

The easy trails in this area are all two-lane trails.  The hard, and some of the medium trails, are one-lane, so are one-way for bikes (still two-way for hikers).  The intersections are all clearly marked with maps, and one-way trails are marked with no-bike signs, if you’re headed the wrong direction.

During the winter, cross country ski rentals are available at the golf course clubhouse, with access to this trail network.

  • Mountain Bike Trails – North Loop – Easy: This 5.3 km easy loop trail encircles the northern 2/3 of the trail network.
  • Mountain Bike Trails – South Loop – Easy: At 3.6 km, this loop begins at the north end of the golf course parking lot and encircles the southern third of the area.
  • Mountain Bike Trails – Big Loop – Easy: This 7 km loop trail combines the north and south loop trails.
  • Mountain Bike Trails – Hard – A 10 km trail, this route goes through the extreme hills in the middle of the trail network.  Switchbacks along ravines, steep climbs, and narrow tracks are the norm for this challenging trail.

This page is just a small part of the Stony Creek Metropark mobile app.

Return to the main Stony Creek Metropark page.

July 19, 2011 Posted by | | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stony Creek Metropark Golf Course

Stony Creek Metropark’s golf course, located in the southwest corner of the park, covers 6921 acres of rolling, wooded hills.  With a par-72 course, and a small driving range, the course offers various prices for different days, times, and ages.  Call (586) 781-9166 for current pricing, or to schedule a tee time.

The clubhouse offers a full grill, and also serves as the ski rental area in the winter, and a trailhead for hikers and mountain bikers in the main mountain biking trail area (just up the road from the golf course parking lot).

This page is just a small part of the Stony Creek Metropark mobile app.

Return to the main Stony Creek Metropark page.

July 19, 2011 Posted by | | , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Stony Creek Metropark

Located in Shelby Township, north of Utica, Michigan, is Stony Creek Metropark.  A part of the Huron Clinton Metropark chain, Stony Creek is HUGE at 4461 acres.  Located around two, man-made lakes on the Clinton River, with plenty of canoe and kayak opportunities, Stony Creek is home to two beaches, 70 km of trails (including hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, in-line skating, and fitness trails), a par-72 golf course, a 24-hole disc golf course, a mountain bike skills course, boat and bike rental, and a nature center.  The park always has a lot of people, but it’s so big, so spread out, it rarely looks crowded, so there’s plenty of room for you to explore.

Return to the main Huron Clinton Metropark page.

Visit the official Stony Creek Metropark page.

This page is just a small part of the Stony Creek Metropark mobile app.

July 19, 2011 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.


  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

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