Waterloo State Recreation Area’s Eddy Discovery Center Hiking Trails
If ever there was something I regret when it comes to enjoying Michigan’s beautiful state parks & recreation areas… It would have to be that I did not discover them sooner. For the Waterloo State Recreation Area and the adjoining Eddy Discovery Center, this is most certainly the case.
Yes! You can fully experience Nature in Metro Detroit!
If you’ve been following along with us, you know that one of our most valued themes, is that nature is accessible so very closely to our metro Detroit region. This particular spot is just under an hour from the Downriver area. Because of this, we’ve been able to get out and visit several times in the last few weeks. What a place to enjoy the healing power of nature’s creation!
Family Friendly Waterloo Rec Area Features
This park has a little something for nearly everyone, and we’ve found it is a wonderful natural space for teaching your kids about the natural world. The Eddy Discovery Center itself is a nature center surrounded by interpretive trails that are easy to navigate for nearly anyone. At spots along the trails, you’ll find descriptive signage. These signs provide families an opportunity to teach the next generation about all kinds of topics. This carries over to the actual hiking trails as well. Strategically throughout the trail system there will be signs highlighting certain aspects of the spot in question.
Observations From The Trails.
Our first visit here, we were able to enjoy the late spring growth stages of the forest. To our visual delight, we were greeted with lush green foliage springing up everywhere. The dappled light falling through the boughs of the forest canopy, really added to what we would call a magical experience. The landscape here is quite varied. Be ready to enjoy everything from more mature forests, younger growth areas, remnants of past human habitation, and even a real bog.
Perhaps the most memorable particularity of our first visit though, was not what we saw. No, it was the enchanting floral fragrances which wafted through our gleefully overloaded olfactory senses. At several points we simply stopped right in the middle of the trail to greedily draw in as much of the wonderfully aromatic forest atmosphere as possible. I really wish it were possible to convey this to you with photographs! You’ll simply have to visit and experience it for yourself.
The troubles of the world simply melt away amidst such natural bliss… Words really can’t explain the healing these forested trails have brought.
Explore the Waterloo Recreation Area Trails
Among all of the state parks and recreation areas we have enjoyed, this park is somewhat unique in that most of the trails are accessible from a central area. If you park near the Eddy Discovery Center, you’re not far from any of the trails in this section of the park.
Here’s what we’ve explored so far!
Waterloo Pinckney & Oak Wood Loop
This loop is easily one of the more easily accessible, short, and beautifully scenic that we’ve explored here thus far. It is just over one mile in length. Starting from the parking area, you’re immediately on the Oak Wood loop. At about the halfway point of the trail, it joins up with the busier and quite long Waterloo-Pinckney trail. While the area is relatively hilly, the Oak Wood follows the valley portions more and doesn’t require a bunch of hill climbing.
Waterloo Bog Trail
The Bog Trail is another fairly short and easy trail to explore. You’ll enjoy a rather mature Beech Maple forest as you make your way to the short boardwalk section which allows a glimpse into the very unique Bog ecosystem. The difference is quite remarkable!
Spring Pond Trail
Our most recent exploration was the Spring Pond Trail. This loop begins and ends at the same point, and is just over one mile in length. You’ll find it just a short distance from the beginning of the Bog Trail. This trail features a more densely packed undergrowth in it’s forest areas. You’ll find very little in the way of hills to navigate here too. We took our time and still managed to finish this one in well under 1 hour’s time.
If hiking through beautiful woods is your jam… Take around 30-40 minutes and check out the Lowland Trail. This loop is again, just over 1 mile in length and is easily appropriate for just about any hiking skill level.
Unfortunately a bit of an absent minded mishap of mine got in the way of capturing a bunch of images from these last few trails. You see, after taking a short break on a bench located on the Spring Pond trail… I managed to leave my tripod there. It wasn’t until we were about a half mile into the Lowland Trail that I realized my folly. Luckily, the tripod survived and was recovered on our way back to the car.
Natural Play Trail
This trail begins right near the Eddy Discovery Center. It’s a really short loop and has multiple benches and “playground” type areas for children to explore and learn. The trail is almost completely flat and is groomed with what seems to be something like Quickrete. So, it’s fully groomed, steeped in the forest, and a perfect place to let your kids learn and blow off some steam!
Thanks for reading about our Waterloo Recreation Area Adventures!
We appreciate you taking your time to poke through our adventure chronicle! Since we’ve yet to explore many of the trails here, be sure to keep an eye out for more posts coming soon!