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  • Moderate Backpacking: The Penosha Trail

    Welcome to Brighton Recreation Area in Brighton, Michigan! This moderate-level guided and instructional backpacking expedition traverses the most consistently top-ranked trail in the entire Detroit region: the bucket-list worthy Penosha Trail! This famous loop, described as a "quintessential Michigan hike," has earned its acclaim through the trail's dramatic ridges, mature forests, wildlife-teeming wetlands, and seasonal wildflowers. Perfect for backpackers training for their first overnight trip, this moderate-level day trip includes instruction on how to properly plan for a backpacking trip, tips on packing your backpack, and practical field training on proper form and pacing - all while exploring southeast Michigan's premiere trail. Don't forget to bring all of your gear, including - as always - your spirit for adventure! MORE ON THIS TRIP: Meeting Point: Bishop Lake trailhead parking lot Trail length: 4.9 miles Elevation Gain: 393 feet Trail Rating: Moderate Route Orientation: Loop Parking Specifics: Michigan Recreation Passport required for parking at Bishop Lake trailhead CHECK OUT OUR #TRAILTUESDAY SPOTLIGHT ON THIS TRAIL:

  • Advanced Trail Run: Pontiac MTB Loop

    Welcome to Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area in Waterford Township, Michigan! Congratulations - by conquering Pontiac Lake's famous MTB Loop, you will have successfully ran one of the most technical trails in southeast Michigan. Circling around the forested wilderness area north of the namesake Pontiac Lake, the MTB loop features rocky, hilly terrain with sharp turns. As the name suggests, this trail is primarily utilized for mountain biking, but the Michigan DNR has provided Expedition Detroit with limited access to conduct guided trips due to the beauty, challenge, and world-class prestige of the MTB Trail. As an advanced trail, this trip is perfect for experienced trail runners that are preparing for a half marathon, marathon, or ultra marathon. With a guided and coached trail run, you will not only benefit from the experience of a knowledgeable guide, but also reap the metaphysical benefits of running on one of the "Top 100 Trails" in the U.S. Don't forget to bring all of your gear, including - as always - your spirit for adventure! MORE ON THIS TRIP: Meeting Point: Main trailhead parking lot off of Williams Lake Road. Elevation Gain: 649 feet Trail Rating: Difficult Route Orientation: Loop (counter-clockwise to mountain biking traffic) Parking Specifics: Michigan Recreation Passport required for parking at the Williams Lake Road trailhead CHECK OUT OUR #TRAILTUESDAY FEATURE ON THIS TRAIL:

  • Guided Backpacking: Highland North Loop

    Welcome to Highland State Recreation Area in Highland, Michigan! This introductory-level guided and instructional backpacking adventure will explore Highland's intrepid "North Loop" trail. Setting off from the E Livingston Road trailhead, this 2.2 mile trek traverses the rolling pines, mature pine forests, and stunning prairie grasslands of Highland's northern sections. Perfect for first-time or new-ish backpackers, this introductory-level day trip includes instruction on how to properly plan for a backpacking trip, tips on packing your backpack, and practical field training on proper form and pacing - all while exploring one of the Highland's "hidden gem" trails, the "North Loop." Don't forget to bring all of your gear, including - as always - your spirit for adventure! Additional facts regarding this trail: Meeting Point: Main "MTB Trailhead" parking lot off of E Livingston Road. Elevation Gain: 111 feet Trail Rating: Easy Route Orientation: Loop Parking Specifics: Michigan Recreation Passport required for parking at the MTB Trailhead

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  • #TrailTuesday: Exploring Island Lake's Hickory Ridge Trail

    Welcome back to our #TrailTuesday Series! This edition explores the towering pines, vast meadows, and glistening snow-covered vistas of Island Lake State Recreation Area's Hickory Ridge Trail! Join us as we capitalize on the Detroit region's first snowfall by exploring Island Lake's most accessible - and possibly most beautiful - trail. Let's start with a polarizing confession: I am a "Thanksgiving believer." That means that I absolutely refuse to engage with the connotation of "Christmas" until that extra plate of turkey has reached its final destination, a post-meal nap has concluded, and a Detroit Lions loss has adequately been mourned. I try not to take hard stances on trivial matters, but I will absolutely die on the hill of delaying any Christmas activities until Black Friday at the earliest. I may or may not have lost relationships over this belief. Where did that irrational stance originate? Right here in the Detroit region's outdoors. Growing up as a Michigan transplant to Washington, D.C., my family always made the pilgrimage back to Metro Detroit on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. That 8 hour drive from the Mid-Atlantic to the Great Lakes struck my impressionable mind as a seasonal rite of passage: the gradual shift of fall into winter, with one final autumnal act to go before the great jovial wave of Christmas cheer covered all. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love winter (and Christmas, I swear I'm not the Grinch). In fact, a large part of why I vividly recall that episodic childhood experience involves the Thanksgiving weekend snowfall that always seemed to arrive in step with our family minivan. For a D.C. kid, venturing out into the snow-covered expanses of the parks near my cousins' homes felt like journeying into the frontier of the "Great White North." An adventurous expedition from fall into winter. And yes, an internalized sensation that winter recreation - in all of its varieties - starts after Thanksgiving. Fast forward a few decades, I'm making fresh tracks during yet another Thanksgiving weekend snowfall along the beach at Kent Lake. The crisp air, crunch sensation of fresh snow, and ethereal silence of the iced-over waves confirm that winter has finally arrived in Detroit. As the snow rapidly accumulates around me, a familiar childlike instinct starts compelling me to go explore. "Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will." That quote from 19th century poet Charles Baudelaire has inspired, both implicitly and directly, most of the growth of the Expedition Detroit platform. This winter, we invite you to join us on rediscovering your childlike genius along Detroit's stunning, snow-covered trails. Especially when those trails are as diverse, picturesque, and accessible as Island Lake State Recreation Area's Hickory Ridge Trail. MEET ISLAND LAKE STATE RECREATION AREA If Yellowstone National Park is widely considered the "Grandfather of the National Parks," then Island Lake State Recreation Area is undoubtedly the "Grandaddy of the Detroit Region's Parks." This designation goes far beyond the park's size, location, and recreational capacity. The history of Island Lake is objectively fascinating. Traveling back to eastern Livingston County of the 1800s, most of the area had been purchased by livestock and grain producing farmers. However, along the sandy beaches just south of Kent Lake, the Federal government had ordained a small portion of the growing county with a very distinct purpose. The U.S. army utilized this area as for summer encampments and training for its soldiers, including Michigan regiments shipping overseas in 1898 for the Spanish American War. Following its military use, the park also briefly hosted a boys' academy before its purchase in 1922 by Dodge Motor Company. Similar to several other areas in Livingston and Oakland Counties, the Dodge Motor Company decided to donate the area surrounding Island Lake and nine other distinct recreation areas to the State of Michigan. Island Lake was the first and one of the larger parcels to be donated, therefore earning the designation "Dodge Park #1" between 1923 through 1943 - the Detroit region's first state park. Due to the increased interest in the Detroit region's park system and corresponding conservation acquisitions made by the state during those two decades, the Michigan Department of Conservation formally reopened the park as Island Lake State Recreation Area in 1944, including an acquisition of 1,868 additional acres. In 2023, Island Lake preserves more than 4,000 acres along the banks of the Huron River. The park has retained its popularity over the past 80 years through its accessibility from I-96 and plethora of recreational activities. The park represents a world-class destination for mountain biking, paddling, hiking, swimming, triathlon training, picnicking, hunting, fishing, trapping, and target shooting. Despite its improvements over the years, Island Lake has excelled in maintaining a backcountry and natural feel, featuring four inland lakes and a mixture of open brush, mature hardwood forest, pockets of open meadows, and its famous "Badlands" region that belongs more in the Dakotas or Colorado than southeast Michigan. With a lifetime of recreational activities, Island Lake has the potential to overwhelm its visitors. We get it, and that's where this article comes in handy. Again, if you only have time to visit one outdoor destination in the Detroit region, then you should visit Island Lake. And, if you're itching to start your winter trail while at Island Lake, then there's no closer trailhead to the main Kent Lake entrance than the Hickory Ridge Trail. HIT THE TRAIL Total Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: 173 feet Trail Rating: Easy Route Orientation: Loop Parking Specifics: Parking available at the main Kent Lake trailhead; Michigan Recreation Passport required for entry to Island Lake State Recreation Area Stepping out at Kent Lake is always a sight for travel-weary eyes. In the warmer months, you'll be greeted by whistling birds, budding trees, or hordes of beachgoers sunbathing, swimming, or paddling in the gentle waves. The crowds thin in the fall, but the brilliant leaves still welcome you to one of the Detroit region's most iconic trailheads. The colder months hit a little different though. The vacated picnic tables, complete absence of sand, and icy waters of Kent Lake evidence that peak tourist season has indeed closed for the season. A cold gust of wind to the face further demonstrates that winter has come. There may even be another car in the parking lot - a far cry from the frequent parking space battles accustomed to July. My intrepid friends: these are all signs that you are exactly where you should be for your wintry expedition on the Hickory Ridge Trail. Especially after fresh snowfall, you are all but guaranteed to make first tracks on the trail, spot undisturbed wildlife meandering right off of the trail, and experience the masterfully-healing solitude of winter recreation. Before starting on the trail, however, remember to take extra precautions prior to setting off into Island Lake's winter wonderland. Make sure to download a comprehensive trail map via AllTrails+ prior to embarking down the trailhead. Dress in layers and pack in any extra gear that you might need for hiking during the darker months of daylight savings time. Always remember to pack water within an insulated container that will prevent it from freezing. Once you've verified your kit, head towards the western edge of the beach for the trailhead marked with an "A." Your adventure will conveniently track the alphabet. The first 1.1 miles consists of a forested oscillating trail running parallel to the Huron River. On a clear winter's day, this segment of the trail will provide unbeatable views of the river and its non-migratory wildlife perched or grazing along its banks. Unfortunately, this segment is also situated directly south of Island Lake's shooting range. Don't worry, the gun shots will quickly fade to the point of blissful silence as you continue down the trail, but you may wish to bypass this section of the Hickory Ridge Trail if hiking with any noise-sensitive companions. Yes, that includes our four-legged pals. As this section gradually ascends towards Kent Lake Beach Rd., your river views will be pleasantly supplemented by towering pines and other hardwood trees. Densely forested sections of trail like this are enjoyable in every season, but there's something undeniably special about massive pine trees covered with fresh snow. The "Narnia" comparisons are endless, especially if you're fortunate enough to solo hike this mesmerizingly beautiful section in the snow. After crossing Kent Lake Beach Rd., follow the unmissable "HIKING TRAIL" directions into the 1.3 mile segment that we dubbed "The Meadows." While every Detroit region state park contains unique experiences for outdoor enthusiasts, the Expedition Detroit team's favorite aspect of Island Lake involves its vast range of topography, landscapes, and habitats. As you ascend into The Meadows, you'll immediately be struck by the stark departure from the dense forest that you just spent the previous mile hiking under. The Meadows consists of far-reaching vistas of the disparate "oak savanna" grasslands that uniquely decorate the Detroit region's natural environment. You will trek this this meadowed grassland directly towards - and around - Trout Lake. Note that there is a "short cut" route that eliminates the Hickory Ridge Trail's circumnavigation of Trout Lake, but we strongly suggest that you do not deviate from the longer route unless necessity requires such deviation. Plus, you'll miss the several offshoot opportunities to venture down to the lake. As you pass back into another heavily-forested section of the trail at the 2.5 mile marker, please be aware the you are entering an area that is very popular with hunters - especially during firearm season. While on my winter hike last weekend, the only other trail users that I came across were two hunters heading into the woods for their afternoon sit. There was also a pop-up blind located in a field at the 2.6 mile marker and plenty of deer sightings to validate their decision to hunt that evening. This part of the trail is stunning - the density of the snow-covered trees truly creates an other-worldly experience. The sensation of solitude despite your proximity to the park's boundary. However, you're probably not alone this time of year, so it's incredibly important to review our "Tips for Recreation During Hunting Season" included below. As we've recently covered, hunting is immensely important for the sustainability of the Detroit region's outdoor industry. Hikers and hunters alike deserve the equal opportunity to recreate in our shared outdoor spaces. Better yet, both groups can do so safely by following a few simple best practices. Hickory Ridge Trail sign "F" starts to mark your return to civilization. Beyond crossing the paved Huron Valley Trail, your undisclosed proximity to I-96 will become apparent as the vehicular noise reverberates over Kent Lake. Trust us, you won't mind at all. In fact, in our humble opinion, the Hickory Ridge Trail saves its best features for last as you descend the boardwalked stairs towards the vastness of Kent Lake. After taking a few minutes to enjoy the boardwalk platform's vistas, your trail concludes with a 0.8 mile highlight reel of Kent Lake's southern shoreline. Trail runners will especially enjoy this segment, which features sharp turns, ascents, and descents. Slower-paced hikers will equally enjoy how the trail meanders along the shoreline, including multiple beach opportunities to break from the trail and visit the waterfront. The Hickory Ridge Trail ends right back where it started: a long promenade along Kent Lake Beach. From here, the choice is yours whether to make snow angels over the sand, dare to take a polar plunge, or B line it back to your car. TIPS FOR RECREATION DURING HUNTING SEASON In light of the arrival of firearm hunting season, here are seven Expedition Detroit tips for avoiding hiker-hunter conflicts across our region's most beloved outdoor destinations: 1. REVIEW LOCAL REGULATIONS. Regardless of whether you're hiking or hunting, do your homework before hitting the trail on whether hunting is permitted along your route. As a general guideline, Michigan's "State Recreation Areas" permit hunting unless stated otherwise; conversely, Michigan's "State Parks" prohibit hunting unless stated otherwise. 2. WEAR BRIGHT ORANGE. While "hunter orange" is required for hunters during certain firearm seasons, we strongly advise both hunters and hikers to wear at least one article of orange clothing on public land trails between September 15th and January 31st ("Hunting Season"). Aside from regulatory requirements, wearing orange promotes both safety and awareness along our shared trails. 3. MIND YOUR PETS. This one goes out directly to hikers along hunting-permitted trails that enjoy trekking with your four-legged best friend. Hikers should keep their dogs on-leash throughout Hunting Season. Dogs should also be outfitted with hunting orange attire (leashes or vests). 4. LEAVE ANY AGENDA AT THE TRAILHEAD. While we all have our own particular ethics, morals, politics, or other heartfelt leanings, the only mindset that each of us should be packing into the woods is a spirit of enjoyment, rejuvenation, exploration, and lawful recreation. Hunters, this means recognizing the responsibility that accommodates the joy of ethical hunting. Hikers, this means recognizing that hunters have the right to lawfully pursue their chosen recreational activity. Both groups should remember that both poaching and hunter harassment are actionable offenses under Michigan state law. If you suspect that the actions of either a hiker or hunter have violated Michigan state law, DO NOT ESCALATE the situation by attempting to confront the suspected person. Instead, contact the DNR's law enforcement's communications center via 800-292-7800. 5. MIND THE TRAIL. Trail awareness for both hikers and hunters is very, very important during Hunting Season. For hikers, the ask is quite direct: STAY ON TRAIL. Other than aligning with "Leave No Trace" best practices, keeping to the trail will minimize your likelihood of interacting with hunters in the field. For hunters, we advise that you setup at least 100-150 yards from any maintained trails. Beyond minimizing the likelihood of interacting with other hunters and trail users during your hunt, this is also a best practice for safety during especially firearm season. 6. MAXIMIZE YOUR RECREATION WINDOWS. Popular hiking and hunting windows do not inherently need to overlap during Hunting Season. Although hunters can technically head into the woods at any time with daylight, the "peak hunting hours" are typically 3 hours after sunrise and 3 hours before sunset (i.e., complete darkness). The hunting windows do fluctuate with changes in daylight, although planning to recreate as close to mid-day as possible would be a non-hunter's best bet for diminishing the likelihood of seeing a hunter along the trail. Also, don't forget about headlamp hiking and the perks of nighttime recreation, which by law are 100% void of any hunters. 7. SMILE. This might be the single most important - and simplest - item on this list. In fact, this point was brought up during the 2023 Michigan Outdoor Summit as a key action step towards making Michigan's outdoors a more welcoming, sustainable, and economically viable space. If you see someone on the trail that looks different than you, is engaging in a different recreational activity than you, or appears either intimidated or disgruntled by you - just smile at them. Let's go even further and say "Hi!" to them. Beyond humanizing your shared experience and introducing a second or two of kindness into their day, this simple act is the best way to prevent any sort of contentious situation from arising. Plus, smiling requires less effort than frowning. BOOK A GUIDED HIKE OF ISLAND LAKE STATE RECREATION AREA WITH EXPEDITION DETROIT! The #TrailTuesday Series idea started as a recommendation from readers looking for a deeper analysis into the individual trails that define Detroit's vast network. One of our main goals for this platform is to produce content that reflects the outdoor interests and desires of our community, so please continue to provide us with your suggestions via our contact form or here in the comments! This article continues sponsored links.

  • Detroit is Losing Young Professionals. Our Outdoors can Win them Back.

    In the fight to retain the Detroit region's Millennial and Gen Z workers, our greatest - and most underutilized - asset for retaining young professionals is our natural environment. Here's how we can spur on our region's viability through prioritizing the growth of our outdoor opportunities. The Great State of Michigan - and the Detroit region specifically - is an incredible place to call home. Speaking both personally and professionally, we at Expedition Detroit couldn't imagine a better "base camp" location than this corner of the Great Lakes. Beyond the world-class outdoors, resurgent economy, state of the art venues, and cross-border experiences, the main draw to living and working in Detroit can be summarized in one word: "Opportunity." We've experienced that opportunity first hand. While other large metropolitan areas present an upstream battle trying to launch a new career, entrepreneurial pursuit, or nonprofit initiative, the cumulative effect of our relatively low cost of living, rich innovative ecosystem, and undeniably resilient work ethic provides the perfect recipe for successful launches. Truly, the immense growth that we obtained in our first year stems largely for the intangible benefits of simply launching here. In Metro Detroit. Within its emerging outdoor industry. And yet...people are still leaving - especially our region's young professionals, aged 25 to 34. In a recent article published by Crain's Detroit Business, 20-somethings about to graduate from Michigan's universities cited Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Minneapolis as "talent magnets" drawing them away from our fresh coasts. For us at Expedition Detroit, this issue is very personal - "the pain point," as an earlier business mentor succinctly put it. Most of my closest friends have taken career opportunities in markets outside of the Detroit region, and especially within "conventional adventure hubs" like Denver, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and North Carolina. Their rationales for doing so were valid, and ultimately they believed that the professional and personal lifestyle opportunities found in other markets fared better than here. In a world inundated with "live your truths," "safe space bubbles," and cheap dopamine hits going for a dime a dozen on social media, the market stands undefeated as an objective indicator for well how a business - or an economy - is truly performing. Yes, the trophy case of accolades that Detroit's resurgence has collected in recent years is worth celebrating, but at the proverbial "close of business," our numbers are down. Worse yet, they're projected to stay down. Unless, of course, we collectively decide to change course in several meaningful ways. We roll up our sleeves as only Detroiters know how to do and refine the strategies that are drawing young professionals to distant destinations. We implement innovative, disruptive, and market-redefining approaches to what it means to live, work, and thrive in a metropolitan area. And, as the stone-cold data supports, one of the best places to start is by emphasizing our outdoors. STATE OF THE YOUNG STATE Friends, there's no way to sugar coat this: the state of Michigan's young state is not good. Since 1990, Michigan has ranked 49th in population growth, with demographers anticipating our figures to further drop until 2050. Beyond non-existent population bragging rights, this prognosis has truly dire consequences for our state's viability. This unfortunate trend means that businesses will continue to struggle accessing a skilled workforce, dynamic corporations will flock to other markets for infrastructure investments, and our state will continue to lose representation in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. These doomsday indicators have dominated the headlines for the last month, prompting the Whitmer Administration to expedite "population growth" as one of its key policy issues and establish the "Growing Michigan Together Council." The figures demonstrating Michigan's exodus of recent college graduates is especially worrisome. Only 55% of voters between the age of 18 and 29 believe they will still be living in Michigan a decade from now, according to a statewide public opinion survey. In the period spanning 2017 to 2021, an average of 9,000 Michiganders with bachelor’s degrees or higher left the state every year, according to Census data from the American Community Survey. That figure was fortunately offset somewhat by 3,000 in-bound professionals per year, but the macro-trend still does not bode well for our economic vitality. So...why exactly are college grads adopting the U-Haul as their "official vehicle of young professionals from Michigan"? The main complaint is lack of job opportunities outside of the automotive industry or manufacturing in general. Michigan's cold temperatures, lack of comprehensive public transportation, episodic economic growth have also contributed to repelling our graduates. Each of those very tangible factors can be addressed through economic and infrastructure investments (well, maybe not the cold). There's another category, however, that constitutes a significant draw to younger professionals. A more intangible, yet immensely important, factor to building a life within a particular region. One that the Detroit region is uniquely positioned to capitalize on within the coming decade: Lifestyle. And, as the post-pandemic data continues to supporting, especially an outdoor lifestyle. ALLURE OF THE OUTDOORS "I think a big one for me would be safety in a city, being able to walk around and feeling like I can be able to go out to places and don't have to go with a big group all the time." This quote from a forthcoming Albion College graduate sums up a general sentiment that young professionals - most notably "Generation Z" that came of age during the pandemic - value in their budding careers. Alongside economic opportunities, young workers want to feel alive within and connected to the place where they work. An ample supply of safe green spaces, innovative outdoor infrastructure, and accessibility to world-class outdoor opportunities go hand-in-hand with upward mobility and higher-market salaries within the job searching spectrum. The lasting legacy of the pandemic's impact on the preferences of our young workforce cannot be understated. While Americans struggled with the mental and physical effects of the nation-wide Covid-19 lockdowns, nature became the go-to antidote. With the entrenchment of "work from home" policies spanning multiple years, Americans reevaluated which intrinsic values should be associated with their ideal concept of "home." In this vein, park visitation figures skyrocketed, outdoor recreation participation metrics shattered records, and millions of workers found their preferences irrevocably impacted by the immensity of benefits associated with an outdoor-centric lifestyle. Colorado Springs, CO provides an ideal archetype of the allure of outdoor recreation to young professionals. The city boasts 7,000 acres of open space for hiking and biking, 230 miles of bike trails, 160 miles of park trails, and 105 miles of urban trails. Millennial and Gen Z workers have flocked to the city in droves, noting the draw of seamlessly incorporating outdoor recreation, natural immersion, and exercise into their daily commutes and general work life within the city. A near perfect ying-yang balance of work and life. On a national scope, Outside Magazine, one of the world's leading outdoor industry periodicals, maintains a "Most Livable Towns and Cities in America" list. Each location listed is given a scorecard listing several metrics, including conventional median home price, population, and diversity categories. The scorecards also contain uniquely-outdoor qualifiers, such as percentage of city that's parkland," "percentage of residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park," and "percentage of residents of color who live within a 10-minute walk of a park." Unsurprisingly, each of the featured cities ranks highly in these outdoor qualifiers. REIMAGINING DETROIT: AMERICA'S PREMIERE OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE DESTINATION This article has admittedly been a "downer," so let's kick off the holidays on a high: Detroit constitutes North America's greatest opportunity to continue reinventing itself as a premiere outdoor destination. One with the undeniable capacity to attract generations of workers - especially younger professionals - to an unmatched quality of work-life balance. No, this isn't wishful thinking. In fact, the foundation has already been laid and the gears are rapidly turning. On the community front, organizations like Thrive Outside Detroit have curated events geared towards engaging the City of Detroit's youth in nature-based activities. Thrive Outside has partnered with the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, the Belle Isle Nature Center, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Detroit Public Schools Community District to collaboratively engage Detroit's next generation of outdoor enthusiasts with creative and impactful outdoor experiences. From a trails, greenways, and parks perspective, Detroit is spear-heading a multi-tiered approach to connecting its entire community to accessible, world-class outdoor experiences and destinations. Vacant lots are being converted into cutting-edge parks. Initiatives like the Joe Louis Greenway are creating hundreds of miles of safe, accessible, and stunningly beautiful corridors for recreation and transportation. The ever-expanding Detroit Riverfront Trail continues to connect and draw Detroit's disparate neighborhoods to its pristine - and award-winning - riverwalk. As the cherry on top, the new Gordie Howe International Bridge will directly connect all of these city-based destinations to Windsor's section of the Trans-Canada Trail. While we could easily conclude this article with a punch list of cutting-edge outdoor initiatives that have launched within the City of Detroit over the past few years, we'll conclude by reiterating what living, working, and recreating in Detroit presents: opportunity. Especially in the outdoor arena, Detroit's unique geography, land availability, trail infrastructure, and population demographics presents an unprecedented opportunity to creatively innovate within the outdoor recreation industry. In virtually real time, we can craft a regional landscape intended to attract, engage, maintain professionals of all ages, and ethnicities - most notably our recent college graduates. In other words, just as our region pioneered automotive mobility, we have the perfect opportunity to build the prototype for a dynamic, interconnected, and inconclusive outdoor ecosystem. The model outdoor destination for the 21st century professional recreationist. The next generation of great Detroiters.

  • #TrailTuesday: Kensington Metropark's Fox, Chicadee, and Wildwing Trail Loops

    Welcome back to our #TrailTuesday Series! This edition features a picturesque jaunt through the winding trails of Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan. Join us as Katie shares her first foray as a "Trail Tuesday contributor" while exploring Kensington's enchanting Fox, Chicadee, and Wildwing Trail Loops! Exploration. The word itself conjures a sense of excitement, intrigue, and for some, maybe slight anxiety. New places and new experiences., ranging from adventures close to home like a day trip to a new town, or spanning across oceans to foreign lands. Here at Expedition Detroit, our spirit of exploration leads us to the bountiful and breathtaking adventures that Detroit's nature scene has to offer. There are a myriad of details that are required for any level of exploration. Research to be done, reviews to be read, gear to buy, and details to be hashed out. It takes some serious mental energy - hence, possible anxiety. As an amateur hiker myself, I find myself investing a substantial amount of time scrolling through Alltrails pages and checking maps as I try to navigate my own adventure planning. It can be a little daunting and overwhelming - which is precisely why I'm excited to share my first #TrailTuesday expedition, taking on that prep work to help empower our community to embrace their longing to explore. So without further ado, let's hit the trail! MEET KENSINGTON METROPARK Shockingly accessible despite its expansive outdoor opportunities and colorful history, Kensington Metropark is conveniently located directly off of I-96, close to the "Trail Town" of Milford, Michigan. The MetroPark was named after the early-19th century town of Kensington, whose current park grounds were once home to a bustling farming community. Founded in 1832, the settlement grew and expanded to include a sawmill along the great Huron River, a bank, taverns, general stores and homesteads. Sadly, the town's lifetime was a short one. By the 1930s, Kensington essentially diminished to a ghost town due to financial troubles at the aforementioned bank, lack of a railway station, and a dam. In the 1940s, plans were made to transform the land into a nature lover's idyllic destination, and they started by building the dam that birthed the shining 1,200 acre Lake Kent. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can see the last physical remnants of the Village of Kensington's buildings along the Aspen Trail. Today, the Kensington Metropark boasts an impressive 4,481 acres full of opportunities for hiking, biking, running, picnics, boating, wildlife life photography, golf courses and beaches. But today, our focus stays on this favorite natural trail. HIT THE TRAIL Total Distance: 4.75 mi Elevation Gain: 207 ft Trail Rating: Moderate Route Orientation: Loop Parking Specifics: Parking available at the Nature Center; MetroParks Pass Required A favorable start to this trail involves the ease of parking and embarking right at the trailhead. You will begin your trek at the Nature Center: a bustling hub for wildlife photographers and bird feeding enthusiasts. Some guidelines to note: due to Kensington Metropark's abundance of wildlife - especially along the Fox, Chicadee, and Wildwing Trail Loops - this trail does not allow dogs, bikers or runners. That being said, do not fret - there are ample opportunities for those pooches, bikes and joggers at other locations around the park. This particular trail is meant to be enjoyed and savored from the vantage point of a peaceful, yet pleasantly challenging, hike. The trailhead is well marked right across from the Nature Center building itself. You will appreciate the frequent trail markers placed throughout the trail including an easy to read map. This journey almost feels like the unfolding of a storybook, moving from chapter to chapter, each one revealing its own unique habitat to explore. This trail's story starts in the marshes. The gravel path leads you along gentle curves and slopes for about half a mile, winding through marches and swaying reeds. To navigate the wet terrain, the name of the game here is wooden bridges. Lots of them. And pay heed to the warning signs - yes, they can be slippery. Keep your footing and continue onward, and you will be rewarded by the views of Kingfisher Lagoon, and the many birds flitting through the delicate perches. It may be hard to resist the allure of gorgeous side paths (specifically the number 15 trailer marker) which leads farther into the marshes. There you may be met by a gang of friendly songbirds looking for a handout. Remember, we are on the Chicadee Loop and it is aptly named! Next chapter, the meadows. Gravel fades to dirt, and the trees loom larger as the trail gains some elevation, and ushers you into hilly and lush meadows. Benches are tucked away, offering a stop for some rest and refection. There is beauty to be found here in all seasons, from the lush green of summer, the rusty crispness of autumn, or the frosty covered branches in a clean winters morning. The trail gradually steepens, ushering you through twisty hills to highest point of elevation, and into the heart of the loop - the vast forest terrain. For the next mile, the path weaves its way around trees, offering an engaging level of difficulty as you navigate the occasional rockiness and protruding roots. After 2.7 miles logged, you may wonder if you've seen all there is to see. But fret not traveler, you have more scenic views to discover! Emerging from the trees, you will notice the Nature Center off in the distance, and there is the option to take the path that gives you a nice quick shortcut back to the parking lot. But if you are up to log a couple more miles, continue on! You are now entering the final lake side chapter. This final mile and a half is fun and engaging, as your terrain will vary between dirt paths, dip back into the forest for leafy carpets, then meander closer to the water for serene views of waves and waterfowl. You may encounter a family of sandhill cranes, spot a shy doe through the trees, or meet more friendly song birds. As your adventure comes to a close, the final hurrah appears in the form of a water walkway. Sit and catch your breath, and immerse yourself in the full expanse of Wildwing Lake as you and commend yourself on a successful trek! WEEKEND BONUS TIPS Kensington Metropark is a prime choice for a weekend excursion. If this beautiful trail wasn't enough of an attraction, you have a seemingly unlimited selection of recreational activities. Where to begin within Kensington's "Can't Miss Experiences"... Be sure to stop in at the Nature Center for instructional and engaging exhibits. You can also mosey on over to the Farm Center, a 150 year old restored barn and working farm, that provides a glimpse back into Kensington's farming history through animals, exhibits and and special programs. Links aficionados can break out their 9 irons for a couple rounds of golf. Make plans for seasonal fun, including sledding and visits with Santa, or outdoor movie nights on a balmy summer evening. If you're looking for even more active recreation, then hit the water for some fishing, kayaking, beach chilling, splashpads, or a lakeside picnic. For land lovers, a paved 8.5 mile loop follows the shores of the massive Kent Lake - this loop represents a well-loved destination for bikers, walkers, and doggos alike. Oh, and once the snow hits, strap on your cross country skis to experience the course in all it's winter glory. The #TrailTuesday Series idea started as a recommendation from readers looking for a deeper analysis into the individual trails that define Detroit's vast network. One of our main goals for this platform is to produce content that reflects the outdoor interests and desires of our community, so please continue to provide us with your suggestions via our contact form or here in the comments!

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  • Expedition Detroit | Adventure Starts Here | Guided Outdoor Adventures

    ADVENTURE STARTS HERE World-class outdoors. One hour from Downtown Detroit. ​ CHOOSE YOUR EXPEDITION In The Woods On The Water Down The Hill On The Trail On The Hunt START YOUR ADVENTURE join us on our guided outdoor adventures Expedition Detroit proudly offers the largest variety of guided hiking , backpacking , and trail running services throughout southeast Michigan. With trips occurring across 11 state parks, we can't wait to guide you on your next outdoor adventure! BOOK YOUR EXPEDITION 6 days ago TRAIL TUESDAY SERIES #TrailTuesday: Kensington Metropark's Fox, Chicadee, and Wildwing Trail Loops Nov 10 HUNTING Hunting Hard Knocks, Pt. 1: The Necessity of Hunting for Michigan's Outdoors Nov 7 TRAIL TUESDAY SERIES #TrailTuesday: Belle Isle's Lighthouse and Blue Heron Lagoon Trail Nov 1 LIFESTYLE Top Ten Outdoor Events near Detroit throughout November 2023 Oct 31 LIFESTYLE Hike Further, Live Longer: Medical Benefits of Hiking Detroit’s Trails Oct 26 FEATURED DESTINATIONS Discover Detroit's Best Fall Hike: Pinckney's Crooked Lake Trail MOST RECENT ARTICLES Direct from the field to your feed. EXPLORE MORE WORK WITH US We work with industry-leading brands and hometown retailers alike in our mission towards building a better outdoor ecosystem for Detroit. From retailers to influencers, manufacturers to advocates - if your work creates value for Detroit's outdoor community, then we want to work alongside you. our partners To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key. LEARN MORE Subscribe to the Expedition Detroit Newsletter! SIGN UP Thanks for submitting - you have been added to our monthly Newsletter subscriber list. We can't wait to see you out there! the Expedition Detroit Official Store Whether you're in the field, at the gym, or on the couch, we have prepared our favorite threads for your next adventure. Expedtion Smile Flannel Price $50.00 Add to Cart Deer Camp Hoodie Price $56.00 Add to Cart Columbia Fleece Jacket Price $76.50 Add to Cart Branded Camp Axe by Motor City Axe Price $139.99 Add to Cart Branded Camp Hatchet by Motor City Axe Price $99.99 Add to Cart Crop Hoodie Price $52.00 Add to Cart SHOP FULL STORE About Expedition Detroit READ MORE The Detroit Region: a world-class outdoor destination worth exploring, celebrating, and protecting. That is the core belief of this business, and every aspect of our operations originate from it. ​ Expedition Detroit is your go-to source for original content, guided adventures, and recreational gear for exploring the best outdoor opportunities within an hour's drive of Downtown Detroit. From well-known experiences to hidden gems, top-tier gear to time-tested survivalist tips, volunteer opportunities to recreational advocacy, our sole focus is to support, inspire, and expand Detroit's outdoor community. ​ We can't wait to see you out there. Let's Get Social

  • Collaborate | Expedition Detroit

    PARTNER WITH The Expedition Detroit Team works alongside like-minded individuals, influencers, companies, and organizations whose operations create value for Detroit's outdoor industry. LOOKING TO REACH DETROIT'S OUTDOOR COMMUNITY? Awesome - you're at the right place. Our innovative multi-media platform broadcasts the outdoor industry's leading products, services, and nonprofit values. We proudly feature our partners' gear, operations, and advocacy opportunities within our publications. Contact us today to learn more about our custom packages for marketing and promoting your enterprise! LET'S CONNECT OUR PARTNERS Expedition Detroit is proud to partner with the following leading brands in the outdoor industry JOIN OUR AFFILIATE PROGRAM Earn commissions from promoting Expedition Detroit guided trips and store products!

  • 404 Error Page | Expedition Detroit

    Oops, looks like you're on the wrong trail. Check the URL, or go back to the homepage and try again. Back to Homepage

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