Guest Blogger Melissa Morrison talks about finding nature close to suburban Detroit and what makes certain trails her favorite.

When we moved back to Michigan five years ago, hiking trails and outdoor time played a big role in where we would live. Like others, we had to be centrally located to our jobs, which ruled out much of the lush National Forest that Michigan has to offer, but thankfully, suburban Detroit has hundreds of trail systems.
Two kids on one of their favorite trails in mid all, high wheat and trees in the background
We have two favorite trails that we frequent near our home in Shelby Township, Michigan.

1. Anna Wilcox and Harold Warnes Nature Sanctuary

This trail is located just three miles from our house making it our “go-to” trail. The trail winds through 45 acres of floodplain forest in one of Michigan’s most endangered habitats. This sanctuary takes you through a forest filled with trees and wildflowers. Finally, there is a clear stream that runs through the forest and is a magnet for wildlife like the clubtail dragonfly, wild turkey and the great horned owl.

lush green forest with dead leaves on the ground

Why we love this trail:

  • A short 5-minute drive to the trailhead makes this trail easily accessible at any point throughout the day. Need a Sunday morning energize? How about an after dinner wind-down? No problem, this trail makes both easy.
  • The trail is only one mile. If the kids aren’t feeling a long hike, no problem, we can pick up the pace and be done relatively quickly. But if we want, we can spend a few hours taking our time exploring every nook and cranny.
  • Wildflowers galore. Spring and autumn are our favorite times to visit this trail. There are lots of great spring flowers to find and beautiful color changes to experience in the fall

2. Stoney Creek Metropark

This 4,461 scenic park has over 40 miles of paved and unpaved paths and includes a 500-acre lake that’s great for swimming and fishing. We frequent quite a few different trails (and activities) here, but this is usually our longer hike, so we pick different trails within the mountain bike section of the park.
green forest with lots of trees and a dirt path

Why we love this trail:

  • We are deep in the woods here and have a better feeling of being on a longer trip.
  • The trails are marked well and my kids love navigating the trails. It’s been a good way to get them used to navigating a trail system (we also print the trail map so they can get used to reading a map).
  • The kids love that they can go to the playground or nature center when we are finished.
  • This is approximately a 15-minute drive from our house.
  • These are just two of the many trail systems we have in our area. Even though we aren’t able to escape to a national forest, these trails allow us get outside as a family and do what we love. What are some of your favorite trails?

Melissa lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. You can read more about their travels and outdoor activities at


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