MICHIGAN IS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE AND RECREATE OUTSIDE
Our incredible state has beautiful beaches and scenic trails from the tip of the upper peninsula to the bottom corners of the mitten! But many of you may want a fresh perspective or some insight into what goes into planning a day hike. While hometown hikes can be fun, nothing beats going on a day trip and experiencing the woods in a place you have never been. So let’s discuss getting out of town for a new adventure!
When preparing for a day hike, plan on bringing a backpack, a water bladder of some type, and enough food and snacks to enjoy a full day on the trails. In places where it is permitted, you may want to bring a packable cook stove to enjoy something hot. If not, pack small meals that can be eaten on the go. If you have binoculars, bring them and spend some time glassing for birds. If you own a GPS, go exploring, get off the beaten path, and enjoy nature!
Three great locations that offer family-friendly or intermediate level hiking trails that make our favorites list include …
Ludington State Park
One of our favorite places to hike in Michigan is Ludington State Park. This state park is one of the most popular in the state because it offers campers and visitors so much to do. As far as hiking goes, it has numerous trails; some that are just over a mile long in total length and one that is over five miles long. If a family chose to hike several of these trails, they could spend the entire day hiking trails and exploring the edges of Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan. Learn more here: https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/parksandtrails/
Sleeping Bear Dunes: Dune Trail
Sleeping Bear Dunes is far from a secret. The area receives thousands of visitors annually, but only a small percentage of them hike the entire Dune Trail. Round trip this trail is several miles long and ends at Lake Michigan. This is a strenuous hike because you are hiking in sand and along steep dunes, but the hike is a lot of fun and something your family will never forget doing together. Learn more here: https://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/traildunes.htm.
Owasippe Boy Scout Camp
A great place to spend the day hiking that isn’t far from the Grand Haven area is Owasippe Boy Scout Camp in Whitehall. The hiking trails are often closed during the summer because campers are using the trails but much of the year, the trails can be used for hiking and biking. This camp is made up of thousands of acres and has over 75 miles of hiking trails. Best of all, the area is home to 19 rare or endangered species. The camp is home to a Wolverine Lake, which is a pristine lake that is as clear as a glass of water. What I like best about Owasippe is while hiking there, you truly feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, far from civilization. Learn more by clicking here: https://ooec.org/trails/.
Please note that when you are hiking, always bring twice the water that you intend on needing, bring plenty of food, a compass, a GPS and additional clothing. Things don’t always go as expected when hiking which is why proper planning and preparation are critical.
About The Author: Tracy Breen has traveled across North America in search of adventure. From Alaska to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and many places in between, he loves hiking, camping and being off grid.
Why discuss day hikes in the thick of winter?Because we want you to start planning for a summer outdoors, now! Recent research shows that kids today spend half as much time outside as their parents did when they were growing up. Another recently released study indicates that nearly half of the United States population doesn’t spend ANY time recreating outside. As each generation passes, we seem to become more of an indoor society. We no longer need to be hunters and gatherers, so basic outdoor skills are not taught or encouraged like they used to be.
Day hikes are also a gateway to larger outdoor adventures. Once you’re comfortable packing up and getting away for a day, packing up and going off-grid for a weekend becomes attainable. Once you’ve gone off-grid for a weekend, spending a week-long vacation in a remote location becomes feasible. We will continue this series of blog posts about getting away and expanding your adventurous side over the next few months, so be sure that you’re subscribed to our newsletter!