National Trails Day is Saturday, June 5th and the perfect excuse to get out the house and take in Mother Nature, here are the best trails to explore in metro Detroit. 


We spend a lot of time outside and exploring new trails is one our favorite activities but if we had to pick our favorites this is our top 10 list. From traditional trails to fun alternatives, here are our favorite places you can explore.


Matthai Botanical Gardens (Ann Arbor) 

The nature trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens are fun to explore. There are four routes, each highlighting different features of the 90+ acres north of the main building with plenty of bridges, water features and a barn to keep kids entertained. The grounds are free to explore.


Heritage Park (Farmington) 

Heritage Park is a  211-acre park with 4.5 miles of trails to explore. The Nature Discovery Trail is fun for kids to engage with (and close to the playground). When you’re up for a longer walk the Valley Trail takes you along wetlands and towards the Rouge River.


Howell Nature Center (Howell) 

The trails at Howell Nature Center are on hilly terrain and more fun than a standard walk (bring the baby backpack and not the stroller). While you’re there visit the animals and the Wild Wonders Playground. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for kids 4 and under.


Crosswinds Marsh Nature Preserve (New Boston) 

Crosswinds Marsh Nature Preserve is the most picturesque park in metro Detroit. The Wayne County park is open for FREE to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Explore the diverse wetlands by crossing multiple long wood bridges connecting mini islands in the marsh. Follow the trails across the marsh and into the woods for more wilderness to explore.


Maybury State Park (Northville)

There are plenty of state parks to chose from but Maybury tops the list. The winding nature trail is easy to walk and takes you along some great fishing spots along the lake. Get in some extra steps and walk over to Maybury Farm for barnyard fun. An annual State Park pass is $12.


Paint Creek Trail (Rochester) 

Paint Creek Trail is nearly 9 miles long and built along former rail road tracks. It runs through 4 townships and you can start your journey from Paint Creek Cider Mill.


Carpenter Nature Preserve (Southfield) 

Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve is one of the coolest places to visit in metro Detroit. Get a Rocky Mountain experience close to home and let the kids climb on rocky terrain, hills and pathways. Afterwards, take a stroll through the nature trail (it’s stroller friendly) and make your way to the overlook onto five-acre Carpenter Lake.


Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (Trenton) 

Explore nature at the only international wildlife refuge in North America. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located along the Detroit River and features new and established trails, boardwalks and watch points. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge runs from the lower Detroit River, 20 miles south of the city, and 48 miles along the western shore of Lake Erie.


West Bloomfield Nature Preserve (West Bloomfield) 

The West Bloomfield Nature Preserve is 162 acres and home to a variety of animals and birds. Look, listen and learn along the trail as you follow interpretive signs and relax on the wetlands overlooks.


Holliday Forest & Wildlife Nature Preserve (Westland)

Explore the foot trails that date back to the days of the Potowanami Indians who fished and trapped in the area. This three-mile section of the Tonquish Creek watershed is in its natural state, containing thickets, upland woods, wetlands and meadows. It’s not stroller friendly but lots of fun to explore.


We think Storybook Trails count too! Here are book walks to check out in metro Detroit.