Expedition Detroit is proud to announce that we are now leading guided hiking, backpacking, and trail running outdoor adventure trips across ELEVEN Michigan state parks near Detroit! Learn more about our trips - and how to book your next local adventure - here.
"When are you guys going to start leading guided trips?"
If we had a nickel for every time that we've heard that question, well, let's just say that business would be booming.
Since the launch of Expedition Detroit last fall, we have sought to explore every aspect of Detroit's rapidly emerging outdoor industry. The trails, parks, ski hills, waterways, and trail towns that our recreational community flocks to. The governmental agencies, organizations, and advocacy groups that meticulously maintain our beloved outdoor spaces. The major corporations and hometown retailers that supply our expeditions. The coffee shops that fuel our adventures and breweries that host our post-trail stories.
In the midst of this industry-wide exploration, we found that one critical component was largely missing: guided services. Yes, the fantastic teams at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Huron-Clinton MetroParks host excellent guided events, but these events are typically far-and-few between or have very cool, but nuanced, themes attached to them. In fact, while we were working with the DNR on aligning our online store with their "These Goods are Good for Michigan" campaign, our negotiations almost stopped dead in their tracks when we brought up the prospect of leading guided services.
"Please, please tell us when you're ready to launch," the DNR representative said, "we're desperately looking for guides!"
Well, friends, that day has come. Starting this month, Expedition Detroit is officially the largest supplier of commercial guided services in state parks throughout Michigan. Better yet, and keeping to our core ethos, we are solely providing guided hiking, backpacking, and trail running services in the following 11 state parks and recreation areas throughout the Detroit region:
Belle Isle Park, Brighton Recreation Area, Highland Recreation Area, Holly Recreation Area, Island Lake Recreation Area, Maybury State Park, Pinckney Recreation Area, Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, Proud Lake Recreation Area, Seven Lakes State Park, and Waterloo Recreation Area.
Here's everything that you should know about our guided trips:
WHAT GUIDED TRIPS WILL EXPEDITION DETROIT OFFER?
We will initially be offering guided hiking, backpacking, and trail running trips. For hiking, trip participants should expect a fantastic day hiking experience across the most beautiful and sought-after trails in the Detroit region. If you're a fan of our #TrailTuesday Series, then you will recognize and thoroughly enjoy exploring several of the trails that you've read about.
With our backpacking and trail running services, we enhance the exploration factor by including instructional and coaching elements to your experience. For backpacking, our guides will not only lead your trip while providing tips on pacing, water intake, and proper form, but also will hold instructional sessions on gear assembly and utilization, proper packing technique, wilderness safety, Leave No Trace principles, and any other questions that aspiring, new, or growing backpackers might have.
Our trail running services take the coaching element to a whole new level. Each of our running guides will have ample running coaching qualifications to assist you with preparing for your next race or reaching fitness goals. The best part? You will simultaneously reap the physical and mental health benefits of exploring the Detroit region's best trails while being led by a knowledgable and experienced guide.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BOOKING A GUIDED TRIP WITH EXPEDITION DETROIT?
Let's start here by affirming a core belief of our guided services operations - your recreation time is sacred. We know firsthand that every hour spent on the trail is earned, not given. As such, we have designed our entire guided services with one goal in mind:
Maximizing the value of your experience in the Detroit region's outdoors.
This goal starts with your safety in mind. Each of our guides are Wilderness First Aid certified and carry industry-standard gear in the unlikely event of a medical emergency. We firmly believe that safety starts with knowledge, so our guides are required to complete mandatory "trail awareness hikes" prior to leading a guided trip. Each guided route has also been independently reviewed and confirmed by the Michigan DNR.
Our guides will also comprise of accomplished outdoor recreationists resulting from years of academic, professional, or field experience. From backcountry trips up north, out west, or around the world, to knowing our state parks like the back of their hands, our guides have the outdoor experience to successfully and safely guide you along each of our featured trails.
With our safety plan and qualifications in place, the main reason why you should book your next guided outdoor adventure with Expedition Detroit is our unrelenting passion for Detroit's outdoors. Each of our guides have experienced the transformative power of our region's great outdoors - the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits obtained only by time spent in nature - and they can't wait to share their local knowledge and passion with you. To further evidence this, we have aligned our operations to financially support the Michigan DNR's efforts towards protecting, maintaining, and expanding our state's parks, trails, and waterways.
Expedition Detroit's slogan is that the Detroit region is a world-class outdoor destination worth exploring, celebrating, and protecting. Each of our guides believe this to their core, and you should expect this belief to emanate throughout your experience on our pristine trails!
HOW DO I BOOK A GUIDED TRIP?
Head over to our "Guided Expeditions" page here at ExpeditionDetroit.com! Offered are organized by activity, experience difficulty, and price. Clicking on any particular trail will provide you with additional information on the trail, as well as a satellite image of the route map that includes mileage and elevation gain.
With regard to pricing, we have an established sliding scale that reflects trail length, trail difficulty, and the chosen activity. For example, the shorter hikes on "Easy"-rated trails are priced the lowest, while long trail runs on "Advanced"-rated trails are priced the highest. All trip prices and other information are available online.
Please note that guided trips may only be reserved in advance and online. There is also a mandatory waiver that all trip participants must sign online as part of the booking process.
WILL ANY DESTINATIONS BE REGULARLY FEATURED?
Yes! We are planning on conducting weekly, consistent trips at specific parks. Currently, we will be hosting a weekly Monday morning 5K trail run at Maybury State Park titled "Maybury Mondays," as well as a weekly Thursday evening hike (and occasional backpacking trip) also at Maybury. Other weekly scheduled trips that we are in the process of finalizing will include Friday evening hikes at Proud Lake Recreation Area and Sunday afternoon introductory trail running and hiking at Belle Isle Park.
While our regular schedule for guided trips will vary between the parks, we are planning for Saturdays to feature one specific park during all-day, multi-trip offerings. Our first Saturday feature will occur at Island Lake Recreation Area this Saturday, June 17th, kicking off with a 9:00 a.m. trail run at the Yellow Loop Trail, a 1 p.m. hike also along the Yellow Loop Trail, and a 5 p.m. backpacking trip along the Hickory Ridge Trail.
Wednesday evenings will round out our initial weekly trip offerings, alternating between a guided hike or trail run at featured trails across our state parks. TOMORROW, June 14th, will kick off our initial Wednesday evening hike at Highland Recreation Area's famous Haven Hill Loop trail!
DO YOU PLAN ON EXPANDING YOUR GUIDED SERVICES?
To summarize, 1,000% yes. These initial services are intended largely to fill a critical gap in Detroit's outdoor recreation industry - i.e., the virtually complete absence of any guided services. Beyond eventually expanding our backpacking services to overnight trips, we also plan on increasing our platform to include guided mountain biking, kayaking, canoe camping, bikepacking, paved trail cycling, and even hunting and fishing expeditions. We also plan on expanding into other state parks throughout the Detroit, especially those in the northeast and southeast sections of the Metro Detroit area.
We also fully intend on hiring additional guides in the near future! As outlined in our article, each guide should be at least Wilderness First Aid and Leave No Trace certified. Aspiring guides should also have a broad range of backcountry experience, local expertise, and a palpable passion for Detroit's outdoors. If you or someone you know might be interested in a part or full-time position as a guide, please CONTACT US!
As always, we would love to hear your ideas and feedback regarding every aspect of the Expedition Detroit platform - especially regarding our guided trips. We are a community-driven venture aiming to maximize value for you, so your thoughts are worth their weight in gold for us. We're especially thankful for our subscribers, we get special discounts on both our online store AND our guided trips. These codes come out in our monthly Newsletter, so subscribe today to get yours next month!
Thank you for your continuing support of Expedition Detroit. We can't wait to see you at the trailhead!