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Top Ten Outdoor Events for December 2022

'Tis the season for some holly, jolly, and freezing outdoor adventures - and we are stoked for them all! As you navigate the madness of the holidays, here are the top ten outdoor events near Detroit to guide you through this most festive of months. Happy holidays!

Sing it with us: It's the most won-der-ful timeeeee of the yearrrrrr!

And yes, not only because of the holiday season. The Expedition Detroit team is STOKED for this month of recreation opportunities, which may come as a shock to some outdoor enthusiasts.To be fair, December can be a polarizing month - less in terms of Santa's homestead and more regarding attitudes towards outdoor recreation. The Winter Solstice hitting mid-month means that December brings the shortest and some of the coldest days of the year. Add in the seasonal work and family pressures, the net result is that the odds for bountiful outdoor recreation thin out a bit.

That, dear friends, represents the greatest gift that you will receive this month. December rings in opportunities for intrepid recreationists that simply do not exist mid-summer. Virtually empty running, hiking, and kayaking trails. Prime time for fat tire biking season. Expeditious snowshoeing and cross-country skiing routes. Fresh groomer tracks at Detroit's ski resorts. Extended hunting periods. An entire season ripe for outdoor innovation.

Put differently, December provides us all with two options: hibernate until spring, or fully embrace and capitalize on the gift that is winter in Detroit.

You already know which option we're choosing, so we're kicking off our winter expeditions with these awesome top ten outdoor events for December.

1. Go Big for Global Fat Tire Bike Day

December 3rd | Island Lake State Recreation Area | 10 a.m.

Wait, you didn't think that December had enough holidays? Neither did we, along with the international biking community. Along with other holiday traditions, the most ardent of cyclists switch out their slimmer summer tires for their fatter, snow-ready tires in early December. Fortunately, this isn't a niche sect of the biking faithful - the sport of fat tire biking has grown to such an extent that this seasonal passage has become memorialized into a global holiday. A holiday occurring today, December 3rd.

Ready to take your fat tire for its maiden seasonal voyage? New to fat tire biking and wondering where you can catch a glimpse of the festive action? We've got you: head to Island Lake State Recreation Area today for the official Southeast Michigan Global Fat Bike Day festivities. Riders will be setting out from the Spring Mill Pond parking lot to tackle "The Badlands" region of the park.

2. Earn First Tracks at Detroit's Premiere Ski Resorts

Throughout December | Throughout Detroit Region

Winter recreation invokes many different emotions, expectations, and memories. For certain members of the Expedition Detroit team, winter means claiming first chair rights and carving fresh tracks into a perfectly groomed ski slope. Yes, we of course love our backcountry terrain too, but there's nothing quite like a crisp groomer or a deep powder day at one of Detroit's four premiere resorts: Mt. Holly, Pine Knob, Alpine Valley, and Mt. Brighton.

As of the writing of this article, Mt. Holly, Pine Knob, and Alpine Valley are open for riding! Mt. Brighton has teased that they will be following suit shortly, although all four resorts are largely still in the snow-making/accumulating process. Conditions are only going to heat up (er, cool down?) as this month progresses, so while we're waiting for the snow to fall we will be purchasing our lift tickets (relevant links here and here), sharpening our skis, and dreaming of those first sweet runs.

3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Hunt

Throughout December | Statewide in Michigan

Yes, November is undeniably primetime for conservation throughout the Detroit region. That being justly acknowledged, December is a special, underrated time to get in woods. Not only does the snow make tracking game infinitely easier, but the ethereal calm that defines the woods after a fresh snowfall provide a near-religious experience for hunters willing to face the cold. There are several hunting seasons running concurrently throughout December, so be sure to check out our Michigan Hunting Cheatsheet to review the conservation opportunities available throughout our region.

We especially want to highlight late antler-less firearm season for whitetail deer on private lands, which runs from December 12th through the end of the month. If you have an unfilled antler-less tag, please consider harvesting a doe and donating the venison to a local food bank. Conservation in action goes much farther than any decision made in the field - we thank you in advance for assisting both the DNR in whitetail population maintenance and our neighbors in need of a hearty meal.

4. Run like Rudolph in a Holiday Race

Throughout December | Throughout the Detroit Region

Remember those few extra pounds that you may or may not have packed on during Thanksgiving? Well, lucky for you, 2022's holiday race season didn't end with that Turkey Trot your in-laws dragged you out of bed to run. To the contrary, 'tis the season for Christmas-themed races, so you'll burn off those extra turkey pounds in no time.