If you love the great outdoors, there are plenty of wonderful places to explore here in the Great Lakes State. After all, our region is simply overflowing with natural beauty, whether you’re an expert outdoor enthusiast or more of a casual adventurer. As you look forward to your next excursions, we’ve got the perfect list: 12 beautiful and scenic trails in Michigan, one for each month of the year.
January: Pigeon Creek Park Trails
January often signals the peak of snow weather here in the Great Lakes State, so you might want to add snowshoes or cross-country skis to your trail outings. Pigeon Creek Park is the perfect place for winter fun, as it boasts extended hours (open year-round until 10 p.m.) and lighted cross-country trails that make for a magical experience. Not in the mood to ski? Check out the on-site sledding hill or explore the snowshoe trail.
February: Pelizzari Nature Center Trails
Romance is in the air during February, so bundle up and grab your sweetheart’s hand as you stroll along the marvelous Pelizzari Nature Center. There are three miles of trails to explore here and plenty of natural splendor in every season, so you’re almost guaranteed a peaceful and memorable experience. Gaze up at snow-topped trees or keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you bond with your hiking companion.
March: Detroit RiverWalk
When the snow begins to melt and temperatures rise, trails can become overridden with slush and mud – so you might want to opt for a paved pathway during the month of March. We recommend checking out the iconic Detroit RiverWalk, which is scenic in its own way. This 3.5-mile walkway extends along the breathtaking banks of the Detroit River and winds past a scenic lighthouse, public art displays, Milliken State Park, and skyline views galore. What’s not to love?
April: Aman Park Loop
Venture to Grand Rapids for a journey at Aman Park, which comes to life in April as wildflowers begin to bloom throughout. The loop trail is just 2.3 miles long, so it’s ideal for a day trip with the entire family. As you walk, watch for everything from seasonal blooms to gorgeous greenery to pretty glimpses of Sand Creek. This trail even allows leashed dogs, so you can bring your best buddy along for the journey.
May: Bow in the Clouds Preserve
You might not be familiar with this underrated nature preserve near Kalamazoo, but trust us when we say that it’s so worth a visit. The primary attraction at this 60-acre gem is its stunning marsh and surrounding wetlands, which can be accessed via a gravel loop trail and boardwalk space. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a few waterfowl and other creatures going about their day while you admire the lush beauty of the preserve.
June: Upper Falls Trail at Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Head to the Upper Peninsula for an unforgettable waterfall hike at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which might just be the most family-friendly natural attraction in the state. Despite the park’s popularity, you’ll still feel enchanted as you follow the pathway to Upper Falls. Simply park in the designated area and enjoy a quarter-mile woodland hike that leads to views of the rushing waterfall in all its glory.
July: Empire Bluff Trail
We’d be remiss to compile a list of our favorite hikes in Michigan without including the ever-stunning Empire Bluff Trail, which sweeps visitors away to an entirely new world. This walk is just 1.5 miles round trip, but the views of Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes you’ll find here will stay with you forever. As you reach the bluff’s peak, be sure to snap a few photos of the seemingly endless blue waters.
August: Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve
If you truly want to step into a natural wonderland, it’s tough to beat Arcadia Marsh. At the heart of this stunning locale is a 1.9-mile out-and-back boardwalk trail that’s absolutely lovely on a hot summer day. Stop by in the morning to beat the height of August temperatures and stretch your legs atop the marsh walkway, which makes for an ideal bird-watching destination. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the otherworldly beauty of this pretty park.
September: Escarpment Trail
If you’re more of a serious hiker, this gem in the Porcupine Mountains is an absolute must-visit, particularly as temperatures begin to cool off and fall makes itself known. In total, the trail features 8.4 miles (out-and-back) of challenging terrain, but the views are well worth the sweat and extra preparation. Gaze down at Lake of the Clouds, surrounding rocky bluffs, and blossoming autumn foliage.
October: Highbanks Trail
Make your way to Oscoda for an unbeatable dash of fall color along the stunning Highbanks Trail, which sits within the Huron National Forest and gives way to calming views of the Au Sable River. Whether you complete the entire 12.7-mile out-and-back hike or break it into a more manageable section, you’ll be delighted by wooded terrain, dog-friendly space, and true outdoor serenity.
November: Blandford Nature Center Trails
If you’re a history buff, you’ll have tons of fun strolling along the trails at Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids. This unique destination isn’t far from the hustle and bustle of the city, but its serene atmosphere and woodsy charm will make you feel like you’re on another planet. Take time to admire a sugarhouse, vintage carriage barn, schoolhouse, and more before enjoying a series of interconnected trails.
December: Pine Baron Pathway
The first hints of winter bring pure magic to the Great Lakes State, so why not celebrate with an outdoor adventure? The Pine Baron Pathway in Gaylord comprises four gorgeous loop trails that honor local lumber barons who once called the region home. As a popular cross-country skiing destination, it regularly draws in Michiganders during the wintertime and retains its beauty all year long.
Have you checked out any of these impressive and scenic trails in Michigan during previous outdoor adventures? Did your favorite destination make our list? We want to hear from you, so drop us a line in the Facebook comments or recommend another top-notch natural gem by filling out our nomination form here.