Heading outdoors can have more benefits than getting fresh air. When it comes to spending family time, the benefits of stretching your legs together have been shown to strengthen both physical fitness and emotional bonds.
Our 810Kids! team has assembled a local trail guide and a few tips to help make family hikes even more fun and enjoyable for everyone.
- Scavenger hunt – Make a list of things like a leaf or rock of a particular color, a feather or animal footprint to keep the family attentive and engaged in finding each item.
- Alphabet walking – Especially for children learning their ABC’s, naming items or wildlife you see according to the letters they represent can be fun and educational.
- Tree-hugging – A “tree master” chooses the type of tree you’re likely to spot along the trail and calls out its name. When the type of tree is announced, hikers run and hug the nearest one.
- Picture wizard – Take turns walking or running ahead of the group to capture images of objects like tree bark or a wildflower at super-close range, using a cell phone. The rest of the group has to guess the correct image in the photo.
- Guess what’s next – Take turns guessing what you’ll find, like a bird, a squirrel, or an acorn, while also guessing the number of steps on your walk it will take to find the object.
CHIPPEWA NATURE CENTER
400 S. Badour Road
Midland, MI 48640
A full 7½ miles of trails are available for all to enjoy. Check out the three-mile River Trail, 0.6-mile Homestead Trail, and 3.5-mile Chippewa Trail; open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk, weather permitting. For additional detail visit: ChippewaNatureCenter.org
5500 Bray Road
Flint, MI 48505
Almost a mile of trails along the shores of Mott Lake offer visitors a variety of views overlooking the lake toward the wooded path.
Trail map: goo.gl/bSNygF
BUELL LAKE COUNTY PARK
14098 Genesee Road
Clio, MI 48420
The one-mile Buell trail begins steps away from the Buell Lake boat ramp and is perfect for a family hike. There’s also a play area and restroom at the trail’s end.
Trail map: goo.gl/D559yz
FLUSHING COUNTY PARK
4417 N. McKinley Road
Flushing, MI 48433
Enjoy the one-mile, paved loop path that runs along Carpenter Road and swings close to the Flint River.
Trail map: goo.gl/mfS7Zc
FOR-MAR NATURE PRESERVE & ARBORETUM
2142 N. Genesee Road
Burton, MI 48509
Numerous miles of trail, including a 5K route at the north and main entrances, can be accessed to enjoy the beauty of For-Mar. Hike along the bend of Kearsley Creek and explore pathways that twist through the stream’s heavily wooded mudflats. The trails have 60 signposts to help point visitors in the right direction.
Trail map: goo.gl/XLjSqn
LINDEN COUNTY PARK
15349 S. Linden Road
Linden, MI 48451
Visitors can explore two trails at Linden County Park. One is a 1.5-mile loop through beautiful terrain. The other is perfect for spring hikes and it cuts right through the center of the park.
Trail map: goo.gl/k6tAWV
RICHFIELD COUNTY PARK
6322 N. Irish Road
Davison, MI 48423
With the Flint River meandering through two miles of trails, visitors will discover a suspension bridge dating to 1930 that connects the north and south sides of this Genesee County park. The north side features trails perfect for walking.
Trail map: goo.gl/iZ7EcC
STEPPING STONE FALLS
5161 Brand Road
Flint, MI 48506
Take a walk on the 1.25 miles of recently repaved terrain around the western side of Mott Lake and around the Flint River to Stepping Stone Falls.
Trail map: goo.gl/iJrteM
Editor’s Note: For more information on Genesee County Park trails please visit the park’s ‘Explore Trails’ page.
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