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Top Five Outdoor Events near Detroit remaining in January 2024

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Just like waking up to today's fresh snowfall, January provides a perfectly clean slate for pursuing your wildest outdoor goals for 2024. We're absolutely STOKED for all that this new year will bring for Detroit's outdoors, starting with these top 5 outdoor events near Detroit this month!

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There's something beautiful about waking up on the morning of January 1st. The past year's successes and failures are logged into the annals of history. We're all provided with a clean slate - a perfectly snow-covered trail of a calendar year, ready for you and your adventures to mark its first tracks.

Even though January still falls within Detroit's "off-season" for outdoor recreation, we should all strive to continue with any momentum gained during the tail-end of 2023 and keep getting outside. In fact, we'd go so far as to argue that now is the single best season for recreating in Detroit's natural environment. The colder, darker days act as an antithesis to crowds, fair-weather adventurers, and other human elements that detract from an outdoor experience.

In other words, if you're training for spring races, looking for natural solitude, or simply hate sharing the trail with the masses, then January is your time to shine. These top 5 events are geared towards recreationists just like you, and we can't wait to see you at one, two, or all of these events!

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1. Defrost your Cross-Country Skis for Frosty Fest! 2024

January 13-14th  | Huron Meadows Metropark | 10 a.m.

Full-disclosure, the Expedition Detroit team has had cross-country skiing on our recreational activity wishlist for some time now. In other words, we're complete rookies at this sport - despite decades of downhill skiing experience. We've been looking for an opportunity to dive head first into this sport, and this year's iteration of Frosty Fest! represents an ideal chance to start getting into the action!

Located at Huron Meadows Metropark, Frosty Fest! will include a man-made snow course of multiple 2.4km loops. If natural snow permits, then the races will take place on the normal cross-country ski trails. The race offerings include 5K (MI Cup Junior points), 15K (MI Cup Senior points), and the "Krazy Klassic" 7K and 10K distances.

Quick note on Huron Meadows Metropark: the metropark is dubbed the "Southeast Michigan destination for skate-style and classic cross-country ski trails." Skiers can choose from 14.8 miles of trails for classic skiing or 9 miles of skate skiing. All trails are groomed daily and are lighted at night. The metropark's "Ski Center" (Golf Starter Building) features classic-style and skate-style ski rentals and a heated lounge, restrooms, and snacks. Groups of 10 or more can make arrangements to rent skis during the week.

2. Embrace the Elements in the Ode to Snow Ultra Race

January 20th  | Holly State Recreation Area | 9:20 a.m.

Let's call a spade a spade: winter trail running in Michigan is not for the faint of heart. The cold temps, unpredictable conditions, and fleeting daylight has a cumulative effect of weeding out any recreationists that prefer their trails, clean, dry, and warm. The Detroit region's winter trails are the playground of our most passionate, badass, "no pain no gain" genre of runners.

If you fit in that camp, then oh boy - do we have the event for you.

Crazy trail runners, meet "Ode in the Snow": an up to 8 hour "backyard style" ultra trail race along the (in)famous Ode to Laz Trail Loop in Holly State Recreation Area. The trail constitutes a 4.167 mile trail loop that has approximately 450 feet of climbing, is 2/3 technical single track, 1/3 moderate walking/hiking path, and a few hundred yards of pavement. For the event, runners are free to pick their favorite distance or run as much as they'd like, starting at 9:20 a.m. Runners looking for shorter distances should join Wave 2 at 2:20 p.m.

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3. Keep your Senses Sharp at a Winter Tracking Workshop

January 20th | Kensington Metropark | 1 p.m.

Contrary to popular belief, not all species of wildlife either migrate or hibernate during Detroit's colder months. In fact, the rangers at Kensington Metropark have nearly-perfected the art of tracking down our region's wintry wildlife during these colder, darker days of the year. The metropark is hosting an interactive Winter Tracking Workshop - including both indoor exhibitions and outdoor field tracking - through the park's beautiful nature trails in search of the park's wildlife, adaptive seasonal behaviors, and other interesting attributes regarding each animal's ability to survive Michigan's harsh winters. The hike will take participants through approximately 1 mile of trail on uneven terrain with possible snow coverage in search of fox, coyote, mink, and other wild animals.

4. Ditch your Skis at the Duct Tape Derby

January 20th  | Mt. Brighton Ski Resort | 1 p.m. 

Mt. Brighton may be famous for its impressive slopes, but this month the resort invites us all to ditch our skis and boards for its annual Duct Tape Derby event! Participants are encouraged to design a vehicle or sled exclusively out of reused cardboard, duct tape, and paint to race down the hill. Spectators will not only enjoy the hilariously fun racing action, but also live music, giveaways, outdoor food and bar, and much more.

For those charismatic souls interested in racing, note that spots are limited on a first come, first serve basis. Teams must be comprised of 2-3 racers, and no paint is permitted on the bottom of a sled. Register in advance by emailing your team name, participant names, and participant ages to

5. Cross-Country Ski Under Candlelight

January 20th | Metamora-Hadley State Recreation Area | 6:30 p.m.

As we said - we're really excited about getting into cross-country skiing this season, and this illuminated trail event hosted by the DNR at Metamora-Hadley State Recreation Area provides the perfect opportunity for skiers of all abilities to hit the trail. Skiers will traverse a well-groomed trail through the park illuminated by candles at night. The event also includes a post-ski warm up by a roaring fire with refreshments. Snowshoes are also welcome to walk along side the groomed ski track as well. If there is a lack of snow, this will be a walking event. Note that cross-country skis and snowshoes will not be available to borrow or rent.

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BONUS: Capitalize on your New Year Resolutions with a Guided Trip with Expedition Detroit!

All January | 11 Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas

In case you missed it, Expedition Detroit is currently offering a "NEW YEAR'S DEALS" special on ALL GUIDED TRIPS! That's right - only until January 31st, we are offering the following special offers geared towards anyone looking to #OptOutside more in 2024:

  • 10% off of all pre-booked Snowshoe Treks with the code "SNOWDANCE24."

  • Automatic "Book 2 Trips, Get 1 Free" special - applicable to all trip offerings.

  • Free Expedition Detroit beanie for the FIRST 24 BOOKINGS OF THE YEAR ONLY.

For anyone interested in our guided snowshoe treks, note that we offer no-risk reservation transfer options for any treks that are cancelled due to conditions. In other words, we guarantee that you will enjoy a world-class outdoor experience.

The Expedition Detroit team is proud to represent the Michigan DNR's largest commercial provider of guided hikes, backpacking expeditions, and trail running coach across ELEVEN of the Detroit region's most pristine state parks and recreation areas. Each of our guides has the field experience, wilderness first aid training, park knowledge, and outdoor passion that you can - and should - expect from any world-class trail experience.

P.S. Subscribers to our content get discounts on our Guided Trips AND online store items...


Happy New Year to you all, and wishing you nothing but the best throughout 2024. We can’t wait to see you at the trailhead!

Do you host an upcoming outdoor event that you would like to be featured in a future article? If yes, then we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at to discuss Expedition Detroit feature opportunities.



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