Midland County Winter Recreation

Spending time outdoors has been proven to make people happier and healthier. So, if you’re looking for something to do outdoors this winter, look no further than your Midland County parks.

If you are just looking at dipping your toes in outdoor recreation this winter, you may want to consider visiting the Pere Marquette Rail Trail for a nice, easy, snowy hike. The trail, which is 22 miles long, stretches from the City of Midland to Coleman. Along the trail, there are 13 different places you can park to start your adventure. John Schmude, director of Midland County Parks and Recreation says “we do plow portions of the rail trail to make it more accessible.” In addition to seeing walkers on the trail, you may also see people on fat-tire bikes. “Fat-tire biking is a Rail Trail and Pine Haven thing,” Schmude stated. Dogs are also welcome on the trails, just remember to keep them on a 6-foot leash.

Pere Marquette Rail Trail covers 22 miles from Midland to Coleman.
If you’re more of an adventurer, check out Pine Haven Recreation Area. This park consists of 323-acres of Michigan state forest land and 4 acres of Midland County land. Predominantly owned by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the park is leased and operated by Midland County.  While it offers many trails for hiking, you’ll also see the more seasoned recreation enthusiast on the trails, too. Perhaps on a fat-tire bike, snowshoes, cross-country skis or skate skis. The trails at Pine Haven Recreation Area offer some of the most varied terrain in Midland County. Schmude says “park staff will begin compacting snow on Friday'' to allow for a more enjoyable experience.

Birding is also another popular winter activity in the area. While some species migrate for the season, many stay in the area and several new species join them for the season. County parks like Veterans Memorial Park and the River Trails Heritage Park offer walking paths with abundant opportunities for viewing birds and other wildlife. Veterans Memorial Park is just outside of the village of Sanford while River Trails Heritage Park is just north of Edenville Township. 

Midland County Parks offer great resources for you to enjoy the outdoors in the winter. “Parks close at 5pm,” Schmude says, so there’s still a lot of daylight left to enjoy the great outdoors.

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Read more articles by Stephanie M. Yancer.

Stephanie M. Yancer is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors camping, kayaking, paddleboarding and sitting by the campfire. Stephanie is married to Justin, a U.S.M.C veteran and has three boys, a 21-year old and 6-year old twins. She graduated from Central Michigan University and is an alumna of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. She can be reached at StephanieYancer@gmail.com.