Need a breath of fresh Northern Michigan airand to get in some light exercise? Guided group hikes and events can be an excellent alternative to a self-led hike. No mapping trails. No additional safety precautions. No extra stress. Just enjoying the woodland views and wonderful company. Here are a handful of free Northern Michigan hiking events to add to your calendar.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

September 2 // 11 a.m.

Discover what life was like along the Manitou Passage on this one-hour beach walk. Meet at the Sleeping Bear Point Trailhead. Note, though the hike is free, a park pass is required. 

Arcadia Marsh

September 9 // 10 a.m.

If you’ve been meaning to take a stroll on the new Manistee County universally accessible boardwalk, look no further. Led by Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy senior land steward and staff botanist Angie Lucas, this Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve hike will be full of fun facts and information to entice your thoughts. Sign up for the event. 

Misty Acres Nature Preserve

September 14 // 8:30 a.m.

If a slow and steady meander through the woods is your type of hike, you’ll want to check out this September hiking event at Misty Acres Nature Preserve in Manistee County. Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy volunteer Don Schuster will guide hikers through a forest bathing (Shinrin-Yoku) experience while helping you connect with your surroundings and enjoy the experience in your unique way. Sign up for the event. 

Swanson Preserve

October 5 // 10 a.m.

Try forest bathing, a sensory experience that allows you to deepen your connection to the land, on a Mindfulness in Nature Walk. The two-hour walk will be co-led by Leelanau Conservancy docent Ann McInnis and Gloria Garrett, Ph.D. Gloria is founder, facilitator and trainer for Mindfulness in Nature, a gifted nature photographer, a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation and a Certified Naturalist with the University of California, San Diego Natural Reserve System. Her Ph.D. is in energy medicine, bringing mind and body into balance with the support of nature. Sign up for the event.

Fruithaven Nature Preserve

October 16 // 10 a.m.

This free .7-mile hike will wind through the 176-acre Fruithaven Nature Preserve in Benzie County. Enjoy a closer look at this property’s natural features and, with any luck, fall colors will be in full swing! Sign up for the event and find more fall color hikes. 

Headlands International Dark Sky Park

November 9 // 2–4 p.m.

In autumn, the Headlands provides incredible views of the changing seasons. Hike through the woods and take it all in. Add the event to your calendar. 

Bonus! Leelanau State Park Virtual 5K Run/Walk

Any day // Any time

Okay, this hike isn’t guided, but it’s too cool not to share. Participate in a fun, virtual 5K through December 1 that will benefit the Friends of Leelanau State Park as they raise funds for new playground equipment. You can bike, run or walk anywhere in the world! All participants will receive a medal and a T-shirt for participating. Post your before and after pictures on the Friends of Leelanau State Park Facebook page. Register on www.runsignup.com or at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse gift shop. 

Written by Courtney Jerome

Photo(s) by Brian Confer