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Top Ten Outdoor Events near Detroit throughout February 2024

Love. Blue skies. Trails. If that trio sounds like an amazing time to you, then a February spent in Detroit's outdoors may become your new favorite month of the year - especially with these top 10 outdoor events (and hopefully more snow...) near Detroit coming down the pipeline!

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February in Detroit's outdoors will always keep you guessing. One day you'll have your snowshoes strapped on tight, trekking through a foot+ of powder looking for backcountry ski lines. A week later and you're running the same line with your trail runners, shorts, and a light long-sleeve shirt.


These "shoulder-season conditions" typically cause outdoorists a degree of justifiable annoyance. Especially towards the end of March and early April, after weeks and weeks of mud, you're ready for Pachamama to make up her mind on whether winter's frost or summer's heat will carry the day. Beyond the bipolar conditions, we at Expedition Detroit believe such frustration to result from the prolonged nature of that seasonal purgatory. Days and days of drizzle, clouds, and mud. Inescapable, unforgiving mud.


Hold on - don't write-off February as a "shoulder-season prelude" quite yet. Fortunately for Detroit's outdoor community, February is solidly not shoulder-season, meaning our default conditions will inevitably revery to glistening snow, deep powder, and trails perfectly groomed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. This month's fate is not sealed in mud - ideally-frozen trails will return soon.


On the other end of the spectrum, abnormally-warm conditions like those we are currently experiencing should be regarded as a gift from the recreational gods. Bust out the shorts and running shoes. Take your road bike out for a spin. Even take the tent out of storage for a night of comfortable winter camping. Carpe diem each of these spring-ish days in early February.


In this season of love, we encourage each of you to fall deeply in love with each sporadic moment that February may throw at us. Heat waves spent on the trail. Deep frosts flying down the hill.


And if you're looking for easy "Valentine's Season" date ideas, well, these top 10 outdoor events near Detroit may provide the perfect ice breaker for your new recreational love.

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1. Fall in Love with Winter along the Detroit River

Throughout February  | Valade Park, Detroit, Michigan


"When in doubt, head to the Detroit Riverfront." That has been our go-to advice for visitors to Downtown Detroit for the last decade, and it has become an easier and easier sell thanks to the ground-breaking team at the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.


All February long, head down to Valade Park for a full schedule of programs and events, including the return of their signature themed weekends, winter wellness activities, and so much more. The highlights include their Mardi Gras festival (THIS WEEKEND, February 9th-11th), a Lunar New Year celebration (February 23rd-25th), "Fireside Fridays," and "Self Care Sundays." On top of all of this, you'll have the opportunity to explore the best riverwalk in America - for three consecutive years running.

2. Clear some Calories for Fat Tuesday at the Paczki Run

February 10th  | Hamtramck, Michigan | 10 a.m.


Fitness fanatics, brace yourselves - the paczkis and all of their delicious temptations are coming. Fortunately for all of us watching our waistlines this winter, the annual "Paczki Run" in Hamtramck provides an efficient outlet to clear out some caloric space before the pastries come calling. The 5K run guides participants on a tour of Hamtramck - "the world in 2 square miles" - before concluding a finish line stocked with beer and...you guessed it...fresh paczkis.

3. Viva la Après at Detroit's Big Four Ski Resorts

Throughout February | Alpine Valley, Mt. Brighton, and Mt. Holly Ski Resorts


Of all of the time-honored traditions associated with a ski trip, you would be hard-pressed to beat a good ol' fashion Après-ski. For the uninitiated, "Après" is loosely defined as any pre or post-ski activity that typically involves a healthy level of rivalry or debauchery.


And don't worry, friends - Detroit's Big Four Ski Resorts have plenty of Après to go around.

The main highlights this month include live music at Alpine Valley, "Bloody Mary Bar Sundays" at Mt. Holly, and the Dew After Dark event at Mt. Brighton.

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4. Earn the Couch at the Super 5K

February 11th  | Novi, Michigan | 8:30 a.m.


Let's all recognize an indisputable fact: we in the Detroit region will still be in a state of mourning this weekend after the Detroit Lions' loss in the NFC Championship. ICYMI, we at Expedition Detroit just published an article focused on the Lions in an effort to process their historic, culture-redefining, and ultimately heart-wrenching exit just short of the Big Game.


That being said...Super Bowl Sunday is a de facto American national holiday, even if the Feds never formally acknowledge it as one. And, whenever there's a holiday, there will always be an appropriately themed holiday 5K run to support it. For the Detroit region, our premiere Super Bowl 5K run - the "Super 5K" - is annually hosted by our friends at RF Events. Lace up the shoes, burn some pregame calories, and earn that spot on the couch!

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5. Explore Your State Parks with Expedition Detroit!

All February  | 11 Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas


Deep powder or blue skies, freezing temps or 60º bliss. For us at Expedition Detroit, it doesn't matter what crazy weather February may throw at us - we'll keep leading guided trips across the Detroit region's most beautiful state parks, and we hope that you'll join us!


This month, we are planning a select offering of guided hiking, snowshoeing, and night hiking day trips throughout Metro Detroit. 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...


Explore Maybury State Park at Night with Expedition Detroit!


6. Embrace the WTF Life at Winter Trail Fest 2024

February 17th | Island Lake State Recreation Area | 11:30 a.m.


Freezing temperatures. Snow-covered trails. Half-marathon trail racing event. If at least one of these descriptors gave you a "WTF?" sentiment coupled with curiosity, then congratulations - you've found the perfect mid-winter racing event. If logging serious miles in the dead of winter is moderately appealing to you, then we strongly encourage joining the off-season running faithful at the the third annual "Winter Trail Fest's" half-marathon or 5-mile race events. Bonus points if you also join in at June's "Summer Trail Fest Ultra and Half Marathon," appropriately acronymed "STFU."

7. Feel the Love at Cupid's Undie Run

February 17th | Detroit, Michigan | 12 p.m.

You really didn't think we'd end this "Events Article" without a Valentine's Day themed race, did you? Oh, and we found a good one. This year, strip down and feel the love (while probably going numb) at the "Cupid's Undie Run" through Downtown Detroit! Join thousands of runners in cities all across the U.S. to support patients affected by neurofibromatoses, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and affects 1 in every 3,000 births. The run appropriately starts with ample drinking and dancing to warm up, followed by a mile(ish) run in your best undies, before concluding with an epic dance party at the finish line.

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8. Cure your Winter Blues on a "Nourished by Nature" Hike

February 17th | Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center | 1 p.m.   


Just like any other undertaking in life, adding a higher purpose to outdoor recreation - such as supporting conservation while hiking, skiing, or hunting - undoubtedly makes the experience more memorable and enjoyable. This month, the Clinton River Watershed Council (the "CRWC") invites you to join in on one such opportunity: a guided hike through at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center, complete with a pre-hike coffee and hot cocoa bar. All proceeds go towards CRWC's mission to protect, enhance, and celebrate the Clinton River, its watershed, and Lake St. Clair.  

9. Light Up the Night at Dew After Dark

February 23rd  | Mt. Brighton Ski Area  | 7 p.m.


Back for its second year, the team at Mt. Brighton will be lighting up its terrain park with their epic "Dew After Dark" freestyle event! Beyond fully-lit jumps, rails, and slopes, Dew After Dark will feature MTN DEW samples, exclusive Dew After Dark swag, "Rail Jam," live music, glow sticks, and the good vibes that you can only expect at Mt. Brighton.

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10. Close Out February with a Full Moon Hike

February 24th  | Island Lake Recreation Area | 6:30 p.m. 


For nocturnal recreationists, hiking under a full moon provides one of the most unique and naturally illuminating experiences of any calendar month. Especially on a cloudless night, there's an indescribable magic to night hiking without needing to turn your headlamp on thanks to the brilliance of a full moon.


If you're looking for a more curated experience for full moon hiking, then head over to Island Lake State Recreation Area for their "Full Moon Night Hike" event! This guided 4-mile night hike on the Hickory Ridge Trail will be partially lit with lanterns, but headlamps or flashlights may be needed on the other parts of the trail. The DNR recommends that participants wear ice cleats (such as Kahtoola Microspikes) as it may be hard to see slippery patches. There will also be a campfire at the beginning and end of the hike courtesy of the Friends of Island Lake!


Explore Island Lake State Recreation Area with Expedition Detroit!

 

Keeping with the holiday spirit, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to tell you all - our growing, dynamic community - how much we love and appreciate you. Wishing you nothing but the best for this month and rest of the 2024 winter season. And, as always, we can’t wait to see you out one, two, or all of these events!


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 info@expeditiondetroit.com to discuss Expedition Detroit feature opportunities.

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