Best Parks In Metro Detroit For A Winter Nature Walk

January 2, 2016 8:00 AM

Some might find it crazy to take a winter nature walk, but as long as it’s not blizzarding out, it could be a fun way to get some fresh air during the winter. Check out this list for the best parks in the area.
Belle Isle State Park
6925 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48218
(313) 628-2081
belleisleconservancy.org

Belle Isle is one of the city of Detroit’s gems and can be visited in both the summer and winter. It became a state park in February 2014, and it was designed in 1879 by the same designer who designed Central Park in New York, Frederick Law Olmsted. It was purchased by Detroit for $200,000, a lengthy sum at the time, and it was named Belle Isle, or “Beautiful Island.” Be sure to also check out Belle Isle’s conservancy and also its aquarium, which was newly reopened in 2015.

Nichols Arboretum
1600 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 998-9540
www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/see/NicholsArboretum.asp

The Arboretum, or “Arb” as its commonly called, is one of the most beautiful parks in Ann Arbor and is definitely worth a visit. The landscape was crafted by O.C. Simonds in 1907 and has only been improved upon since then. There are three entrances to the Arb, including Geddes Ave., the highest point of the Arb, with a great view, Washington Heights, near the UM hospitals, and the River Entry, where the Huron River enters the park. There are also maps on-site in case you get lost. Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to see UM students “borrowing” cafeteria trays from their dorms to go sledding in the Arb, as it has many great hills; bring your own sled to experience these for yourself.

Shain Park
151 Martin St.
Birmingham, MI 48009
(248) 530-1700

www.bhamgov.org/government/departments/dps/shain_park.php

Shain Park is located in the heart of downtown Birmingham and would be a great destination for a walk; after you’re done, check out Birmingham’s many shops, or perhaps warm up with a hot cocoa or coffee. The park underwent extensive renovations in 2010, and it includes a children’s play area, if it’s not too snowy out to use.

Related: Best Parks in Detroit

Campus Martius Park
800 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-0101
www.campusmartiuspark.org

Campus Martius is definitely more of an urban destination than the other parks on this list, but it has one major perk: an ice rink. The park is located in the heart of Detroit, and there are many restaurants and businesses nearby. The ice skating rink is open until Sunday, March 6th, and its hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mondays and Tuesdays), 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Wednesdays and Thursdays), 11 a.m. to midnight (Fridays), 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Saturdays) and noon to 8 p.m. (Sundays). Skate rental is $3, and admission is $8 for adults and $7 for children (ages 12 and under) and seniors 50+.

River Walk At Yates Cider Mill
1990 E. Avon Rd.
Rochester, MI 48307
(248) 651-8300
www.yatescidermill.com/attractions/river-walk

Although the Yates Cider Mill is closed during the winter, you can still check out its River Walk, which gives great views of nature. Once you get to the end of the trail, you can choose to go east and follow the loop back around, or you can turn around and come back the way you started, on the path. Be advised that the Yates parking lot (directly next to the mill) isn’t maintained during the winter, and it is actually gated, since the mill is not open. But you can park across the street and then walk to the beginning of the river walk.

Related: Best Parks And Outdoor Spots In The Detroit Area

Liz Parker is a freelance writer and a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work can be found at Examiner.com and yesnofilms.com.