Hiking is a great way to spend some time outdoors and connect with nature any time of year, though this activity is far more popular in warmer months.
There are many hiking trails in Southeast Michigan, as well as nature preserves that allow hiking in some areas. Many of these also allow cycling or other outdoor activities. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular ones in or near Canton.
The Morton-Taylor Trailhead, right here in Canton, provides ample parking and access to several popular hiking and nature trails, including the Lower Rouge loop which runs near the river of the same name and provides an excellent way to experience and enjoy the river and the surrounding woods and wetlands.
Overall, the trails consist of over 3 miles of crushed gravel pathways and 5 miles of single-track paths for hiking and biking, arranged in loops with interconnecting paths. Twisting, scenic and slightly hilly, the trails are easy to hike but full of natural beauty. Optional challenges have been installed along several trails for those looking for more of a workout, and wooden bridges link paths on opposite sides of the river.
All of the trails can be accessed from the area around the parking lot, which is located at Michigan Avenue and Morton Taylor Rd in Canton.
The Fellows Creek Wetland was built to restore the water-filtering properties and habitat for wild plants and animals that the natural wetlands once provided, before they were disrupted by construction and agriculture. It is once again a thriving ecosystem, full of fascinating wildlife and measurably improving the water quality downstream.
It also has a nature trail that can be hiked by those looking for a deeper connection to the natural world, or just a very pleasant route for hiking or biking. The trail consists of a single unpaved loop that is 1,620 feet long, so it’s not as long as some of the other trails in the area, but it is chock full of natural beauty including shore birds and muskrats.
Parking for this trail is located at 42712 Lilley Pointe Dr in Canton.
The ITC Corridor Trail runs the entire north to south length of the city of Novi and is maintained both for the enjoyment of hikers and bikers as well as a way to encourage safe, timely commuting without using motorized vehicles. There are plans to expand the trail and build side routes to connect various municipal campuses and parks, but for now the 4.66-mile-long trail provides recreational and exercise opportunities as well as commuting options.
Maps and markers make it easier to plan and execute 1 mile, 5k, and 10k runs, hikes, or biking trips on the trail.
Parking is accessible at either end of the trail, either near the Ascension Providence Hospital campus, located at 47601 Grand River Avenue in Novi, or at the ITC Community Sports Park, at 51000 Eight Mile Rd in Northville.
The Holliday Nature Preserve, which features over 10 miles of hiking trails (pedestrian only, no bikes allowed here), is unique on this list as it is entirely maintained by community volunteers, headed up by the Holliday Nature Preserve Association, an all-volunteer community organization.
Through their dedicated efforts, the preserve has thrived, resisting efforts to replace it with golf courses and the like and surviving various other incidents, remaining a pristine area of natural beauty for all to enjoy thanks to their continued efforts to keep the trails, fields, forests and streams clean and healthy.
The trails are open to the public and there are plenty of benches for those looking for a more leisurely experience. The HNPA also organizes monthly community walks and other events, and they are always happy to accept more volunteer help.
If you want to visit the preserve, the best place to park is at 6935 N. Hix Rd in Westland.
Miller Woods is the legacy of Norman and Cornelia Miller, a 10-acre plot of land where no tree has ever been harvested. As such, it is a glimpse of what most of Southeast Michigan looked like in the early 1800s—large stands of hardwood trees, primarily American beech and sugar maples, and the shade-tolerant plants that thrive beneath the canopy, many of which are now endangered.
Native wildlife thrives in woods like these, and the beauty of the forest in all seasons can hardly be overstated. The 1/3-mile-long unpaved trail loop offers a chance to relax and enjoy this unspoiled piece of living natural history. The trail is pedestrian only, no bikes or strollers allowed due to the prevalence of roots on the trail. Dogs are also prohibited by Plymouth city ordinance, leash or no leash.
Parking for visitors to the preserve can be found along Powell Rd, east of Ridge Rd, in Plymouth.
The Lower Rouge River Recreation Trail follows the Rouge River for 4 miles through Canton. The trail is heavily wooded with crushed stone paths and beautiful views. As you travel through the paths, there are also eight pedestrian bridges that cross the river at various points.
This wooded trail is wonderful for watching birds, insects, and especially, butterflies. At the eastern end of the trail, you can connect to the 33-mile-long I-275 trail.
And finally, we have Mill Trail, a 1/2-mile paved trail with regularly mulched side paths through a wooded area near US-12 in Wayne. While it is one of the shorter trails on our list and doesn’t boast pristine forests or restored wetlands, the trees and wildlife are nonetheless enjoyable and it is popular among those looking for a quick 1-mile round trip walk, jog, run or bike.
The surrounding park also has plenty of things to interest kids and families looking for a quick and easy outdoor activity. Parking can be found near the park entrance, which is on 2nd Street near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and US-12 in Wayne.