Here are some places for winter fun in Oakland County and beyond.
By Matthew Totsky
With record-breaking snowfalls and endless days filled with subzero temperatures, the winter of 2013-14 will go down in history as one of the most brutal in Michigan’s history. This year’s winter chill got off to an early start in November.
While some would just as soon barricade themselves indoors for several months and never utter the words “polar vortex” again, others actually look forward to the return of blizzard-like conditions. But, rest assured, these people are not gluttons for punishment. They are just in the know about the amazing winter activities throughout Oakland County and its surrounding areas.
Many families love to go sledding and ice skating, and there are several wonderful local spots to do both of these activities including Beverly Park, a 34-acre-park located at 18801 Beverly Road in Beverly Hills. The village will also host its annual Winter Family Fun Day on Jan. 25, 2015.
Other popular local sledding hills include Franklin Park, adjacent to the Franklin Community Church; Lincoln Hills Golf Course in Birmingham; Cranberry Lake Park in Oakland; and Bloomer Park and Borden Park, both in Rochester Hills.
Oakland County Parks
Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking are among some of the most popular winter pastimes, and all are offered in every Oakland County Park and Recreation area except Groveland Oaks and Lyon Oaks Golf Course.
Independence Oaks offers cross-country skiing, ski rental, ice skating and ice fishing over 12 miles of marked nature and ski trails. When you’re ready to take a break, warming shelters and vending machines are also available. Located at 9501 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston, take Exit 89 on I-75 and go 2½ miles north.
Addison Oaks has brand-new groomed cross-country skiing (skate and classic styles) on the Buhl Lake Trail as well as ice fishing (conditions permitting). Located at 1480 W.
Romeo Road in Leonard, 9 miles north of Rochester.
Highland Oaks has cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on ungroomed trails for those with their own equipment. Located at 6555 Milford Road in Highland, north of White Lake Road.
Lyon Oaks is the place to go for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on nearly 6 miles of ungroomed trails. Bring your own equipment. Located at 52221 Pontiac Trail in Wixom, between Old Plank and Wixom roads.
Orion Oaks also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking for those with their own equipment (no grooming). The rolling terrain is ideal for beginning or intermediate skiers. If the conditions are right, you can go ice-fishing, too. Located at 2301 W. Clarkston Road in Lake Orion, between Baldwin and Joslyn roads.
Rose Oaks has approximately 5 miles of ungroomed trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as well as several ponds for ice fishing (conditions permitting). Located at 10400 Fish Lake Road in Holly, north of Rose Center Road.
Waterford Oaks offers hiking and snowshoeing on more than 3 miles of ungroomed trails as well as a family sledding hill. Located at 1702 Scott Lake Road in Waterford.
Another place great for winter hiking is Paint Creek Trail, an 8.9- mile linear park located in northeast Oakland County at 4480 Orion Road in Rochester. It was the first rail-to-trail in Michigan, as it was converted to a trail from the former Penn Central Railroad. The trail is 8 feet wide and traverses through Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township and the Village of Lake Orion.
Metro Detroit Fun
For those who want to venture a little bit outside of Oakland County, there are plenty of options as well.
Stony Creek offers sledding and tobogganing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snow-kiting and snowboarding. Located at 4300 Main Park Road in Shelby Township.
Indian Springs has nearly 12 miles of trails through scenic wooded areas and frozen wetland for beginner and intermediate cross-country skiers. Sledding and tobogganing hills are also available. Located at 5200 Indian Trail in White Lake.
Highland Recreation Area and Bald Mountain Recreation Area both have long trails on state park land for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and hiking as well as several cabins available for winter camping. Highland is located at 5200 Highland Road in White Lake Township, and Bald Mountain is located at 1330 E. Greenshield Road in Lake Orion.
Kensington Metropark has more than 12 miles of groomed trails on the golf course and through the woods. Ski rentals are available. Ice skating, snowboarding, sledding and tobogganing can also be enjoyed. Located at 4570 Huron River Parkway in Milford.
One of the most popular spots for winter fun is the Rink at Campus Martius Park in Downtown Detroit. Open from now through March 1, this is one of the most scenic places in the D. Skate rentals are available, and a broomball league operates on Tuesday evenings from Jan. 6 through Feb. 24. Located at 800 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your fun winter outings today! Or stay inside and watch your Frozen DVD for the thousandth time. The choice is yours! NS