Detroit February 16, 2021
by Sophie Boudreau These 6 Hiking Trails Around Detroit Lead To Some Incredible Pieces Of History
Do you find yourself longing for a dose of historical exploration from time to time? Luckily for those of us who consider ourselves history buffs, Metro Detroit is home to all sorts of unique destinations that expertly combine natural beauty with slices of the past. If you’re looking for the chance to stretch your legs while appreciating some of the loveliest remnants of history in and around the Motor City, check out these six unforgettable hiking spots.
1. Historic Haven Hill Trail (5200 Highland Rd., White Lake)
Situated within Highland Recreation Area, which can be reached from Detroit in just under one hour, the Historic Haven Hill Trail extends for approximately 1.4 miles round-trip and leads to what remains of the once-bustling Haven Hill Estate, built by Edsel and Eleanor Ford in the mid-1920s. Guests will have the chance to appreciate natural splendor while checking out the remnants of a carriage house, lodge, tennis court area, and more.
2. Paint Creek Trail (Oakland County)
As Michigan’s very first non-motorized rail trail, Paint Creek Trail itself is a piece of living history. Of course, its history stretches back much further. The Detroit & Bay City Railroad Company (eventually known as the Michigan Central Railroad) began its travels along this now-walkable route in 1871, which operated as an active train system until the 1970s. Today, outdoor enthusiasts will find just under nine miles to peruse.
3. Bridge to Bay Trail (St. Clair County)
There’s so much to see and appreciate along this sprawling trail, which extends for 37.5 miles through an array of communities in St. Clair County. Whether you’re biking, jogging, or simply walking a portion of the pathway, you’ll find plenty of historical touches to appreciate throughout. We’re particularly keen on the trail’s access to the St. Clair River, a slice of natural history that features the iconic Blue Water Bridge, plenty of freighters, and a longstanding tradition of maritime transport and travel.
4. River Raisin National Battlefield Loop Trail (333 N Dixie Hwy., Monroe)
If you’re intrigued by military history, you’ll surely want to embark on a walk at River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe. This one-of-a-kind park was the site of a costly battle during the War of 1812 and now pays homage to the nearly 400 American troops who lost their lives there. When you visit, take time to stroll along the Battlefield Loop Trail, which features historical markers along its half-mile path.
5. Dequindre Cut (Dequindre Cut Greenway, Detroit)
If you’re searching for a history-rich excursion right here in the city limits of Detroit, it’s impossible to go wrong with a jaunt along the Dequindre Cut. Following the path of a former line established by the Grand Trunk Railroad and its subsidiaries, which were active as far back as the 1830s, the Dequindre Cut allows adventurous Detroiters the chance to stretch their legs while exploring a defunct rail line and heading straight into the history-rich Eastern Market district. What’s not to love?
6. Blue Heron Lagoon Trail (Belle Isle, Detroit)
It’s easy to understand why Belle Isle remains such a beloved spot here in the Motor City. Whether you’re visiting to explore the long-standing aquarium or to check out the breathtaking plants within the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, there’s always something to see on this charming island park. One must-visit attraction is the Blue Heron Lagoon Trail, a 2.2-mile loop trail that features awesome views of the William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse. In addition to plenty of flora and fauna, this 1930s structure adds an extra dash of whimsy and history to the breathtaking pathway.
Have you checked out any of these history-oriented hiking trails in and around Detroit during previous outings? What were some of your favorites? If you’d like to share your memories with us, leave a Facebook comment or recommend another fantastic Metro Detroit hiking spot by filling out our nomination form
If you’re fascinated by local history, you’ll want to read about this
abandoned book depository in Detroit.
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Address: Detroit, MI, USA