Urban Nature Trails in Michigan to Move Your Workout Outside 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Rainbow Over Detroit Riverwalk
Sure, a lot of us love the convenience of hitting the gym for our regular exercise routines. We hustle inside, work up a sweat, then we’re done for the day. Or we like the ease of doing our favorite yoga moves or weights workout at home. If this describes your exercise approach, then it’s time to shake things up a little. Moving your workout outside provides lots of mental and physical health benefits. And what better way to do this than to hit some urban nature trails across Michigan.
Outside perks. Exercising outdoors offers an array of benefits that can’t be found inside, according to recent studies. These perks include:
  • Lowered stress and anxiety levels
  • Better sleep
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better cognitive function
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer
If you want a fun, new workout area for brisk walking or even some hiking, try these urban trails across Michigan. You can incorporate these into day trips, or while you’re on vacation.
Huff Park, 1500 Aberdeen St. NE in Grand Rapids: The wetlands boardwalk trail is the star of this city park on the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Part paved trail and part boardwalk, this mile-long loop makes you feel like you’re out in the country.
Van Raalte Farm, 1076 E. 16th St. in Holland: At the edge of Holland sits an historic home built by the family of the city’s Dutch founder. It’s now a city park, crisscrossed by several well-marked trails that are perfect for walking in the warmer months and some for cross-country skiing in the winter. Bringing your pup? There’s a three-acre fenced dog park here.
Kalamazoo Valley River Trail: You can walk or bike this paved, multi-use corridor that stretches for 24 miles. There are big plans for expansion and trail connections in several directions. There are also many designated parking areas for trail users. Find those and other details here:
MLK Equality Trail, Jackson: This city trail takes walkers through a few different neighborhoods. It’s just shy of four miles long, but it hooks into several other trails if you’re up for a longer adventure.
Detroit RiverWalk: Stretching for more than three miles along the Detroit River, the Detroit RiverWalk has won top honors from USA Today readers for the best riverwalk corridor for two years running. The walk stretches from the Belle Isle Bridge to Rosa Parks Blvd.
Bird Hills Nature Area, Newport and Bird Roads, Ann Arbor: The biggest park in Ann Arbor boasts a buffet of wooded trails that make you feel like you’re in an Up North forest instead of one of the state’s biggest college towns. There are five trailheads and a rustic feel throughout.
Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area, Traverse City: Many unpaved trails run through this sprawling 140-acre undeveloped area behind Traverse City’s residential and business development on the site of the former Northern Michigan Asylum. Hike up hills, cross streams and wander through wetland areas in this diverse ecosystem just steps away from an evolving urban development.
Straits State Park: On the edge of St. Ignace there is a state park that has a one-mile trail system. It’s short, but it has a powerful finish because it gives users a fantastic view of the Mackinac Bridge.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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