Looking for that perfect hike in Michigan for young children? Whether you’re new to hiking with your baby or toddler, or you’re looking for a new trail to explore, the Hike it Baby community is a valuable resource for finding family hiking trails around the country. In this article, our community shares three beautiful hikes in Michigan to explore with babies and young children.
Hemlock Crossing County Park (West Olive, MI)
If you’re looking for an explorative but kid-friendly hike, Hemlock Crossing County Park is the place to go. You’ll find trails that meander through different wildlife habitats, offering you and your little ones a learning and adventurous hike. The trails at Hemlock Crossing County Park is about six miles. However, if you’re hiking with children, especially ones in a stroller, you may want to stick to the paved trail. It’s roughly one mile roundtrip. It starts at the park entrance and navigates through the southern part of the park. You can follow the paved trail through the wetlands and nature center, where they offer fun kids’ activities.
- During winter, the park offers programs and events you can sign up for. Winter time may be hard for you and your little ones to get out and hike. The Keep It Active Winter Walk motivates you to stay active during the cold season. Remember to bring your snowshoes!
- If you’re hiking with older children (5 years and up), make your hike a fun, learning experience for them. The Winter Tree Walk offers the opportunity to hike the trail and discover the deciduous trees throughout the park. Registration is required for these events, so sign up on their website.
When you’re done hiking, there’s a Nature Education Center with a Wildlife Den full of kids’ activities and a picture window that looks out over a bunch of different bird feeders. It’s a great nature experience! –Avril Wiers
Photo courtesy of Miottawa.org.
The Arb Walking Trail at Nichols Arboretum (Ann Arbor, MI)
Nichols Arboretum offers wide, stroller-friendly trails with scenic views of the glacial topography of the area. It features a variety of walking trails of varying technical difficulty levels. Easy trails are flat, wide and ideal for walkers and runners alike. Medium trails may be more narrow and include some inclines. The easy trail is located along the Huron River, which makes it a fun place for your kids to stop and throw rocks in or watch kayakers paddle by in the summer. But your kids can do more than hike. There are fallen trees for them to balance on and fun hills to climb and run down. Rest from your hike and bring a picnic to bask in the sun in the dale!
- Trails are gravel, compacted soil, wood chipped or grass.
- Stay on the trails to avoid poisonous plants on the grounds.
- Monitor young kids around the river and steep slopes.
Photo by Annie Fortunato.
Pond Trail at Maybury State Park (Northville, MI)
Imagine yourself hiking along rolling hills and lush wooded areas. Pond Trail is about one mile roundtrip and provides a relaxing hiking adventure for you and your little ones. The trail provides a semi-loop through the oldest forest and around a small scenic pond. Parts of the trail follows alongside an equestrian trail, so your kids will be in for a surprise when riders happen to gallop by. Additionally, the park offers six miles of paved and dirt trails for hikers of all ages. Not only that, but in the spring the area is filled with trilliums, making it a beautiful sight while hiking.
- A recreation passport is required for admittance.
- The best trailhead to begin at is near the Walnut Picnic Shelter at the west end of the park. You can find parking, picnic tables, drinking water and restrooms here.
- Hiker-only trails are always marked with green intersection markers or posts. Trail maps are also posted at each intersection.
Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
MORE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Michigan offers an abundance of trails for families with young children. For more family hike ideas, see:
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with the local branch)
- Michigan State Parks
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers – New Book by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
- 3 Hikes in Wisconsin to Explore with Young Children
- 3 Beautiful Hikes in Ohio for Young Children
- 3 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Iowa to Explore with Young Children
What are your favorite hikes in Michigan for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!
Trail reviews contributed by Avril, Amanda Gittleson and Annie Fortunato.