Many may not think of Michigan as a world-renowned hiking destination, but the state has much natural beauty, miles of trails and, as evidenced by the hiking clubs that have popped up over the last decade, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. Though there are likely numerous small hiking groups around the state, these three are larger, organized groups that provide the opportunity for like-minded people to plan hikes as well as other outdoor activities with one another.
Southeast Michigan Hiking Group
All ages are welcome in this hiking group, which has been on the trails since 1998. Though the group led its first organized hike in 2005, it already has more than 1,000 members. This group hikes two to three times each month, 12 months a year. Most hikes are two to three hours in length and range from two to eight miles. This group distinguishes its hikes into two general categories, which are slower nature hikes meant for observing and adventurous hikes that cover more distance at a faster pace. As is stated on its website, "Hiking Michigan is just a group of people whose goals are to educate and help all people to understand and enjoy Nature and outdoor activities for the knowledge and health of it." Hiking Michigan publishes a free bimonthly newsletter, gives lectures to local classes and libraries and is involved with the state, metro and county parks. The group is free to join by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan Adventurers Club
Based in Farmington, Mich., this club has had more than 400 meet-ups since it was founded in August 2007. This group is geared toward people mostly in their 20s and 30s and has, according to its website, more than 1,200 members to date. Dues are just $10 per year to join, and this club organizes hikes as well as other activities like canoeing, camping, yoga, rock climbing and mountain biking. This group provides a chance for those most likely living in a suburban area to get together with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts and get outside to seek adventure. The Pinckney Recreation Area, Mackinac Island and Hartwick Pines are just a few of the places you might find this group on a weekend.
The organizer of this group can be contacted through its website only (link in references section below). Other like-minded groups that meet in this vicinity are the Ann Arbor Adventure Club, the Sterling Heights Walking Meetup Group and the Ann Arbor Rock Climbing Meetup Group.
Southeast Michigan Group
Also known as SEGM, this is a branch of the Sierra Club that represents Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties in southeast Michigan. This program organizes hikes as well as outings for canoeing, backpacking, cross-country skiing, camping and birding, to name a few. Because it is with the Sierra Club, all participants are required to sign a waiver prior to the trip. It also asks for a dollar donation per person on day hikes to help offset committee expenses. Some areas where members are known to hike are in the Pinckney Recreation Area, Indian Springs Metro Park, Bald Mountain-South State Recreation Area, Waterloo Recreation Area, Maybury State Park and Isle Royal National Park. This hiking group leads hikes at all levels, from easy butterfly observation walks through the Detroit Zoo to intense, 10-day backpacking trips.