Still Looking at a Blanket of Snow? Hit the Trails!

Cross country skiing is a great way to enjoy some exercise while taking in beautiful winter landscapes – which leads to the question: Where are the Flint area’s best XC trails? Veteran cross country skier Chris Marty of Shumaker’s Ski & Snowboard store in Flint has an answer.

While the closest groomed trails are located at Independence Oaks County Park north of Clarkston, several local trails offer outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to ski on varied terrain, enjoy the area’s natural beauty and possibly spot some wildlife. Here is a closer look at Marty’s suggestions for trails to check out along with a few others:

Holly Recreation Area

Straddling southern Genesee and northwest Oakland Counties, the area offers the most miles of trails (10) within a single location. They range in length from the 6.4-mile Wilderness Trail to one-mile Whispering Pines Nature Trail. “Holly just has lot of miles of trails to pick from and any kind of terrain you could want with rolling hills, lakes, woods and fields,” Marty said. “There are usually quite a few people out there taking advantage of the trails.” Most trails begin just west of the intersection of McGinnis and Wildwood roads, just south of Grange Hall Road. Find more info at

For-Mar Nature Preserve

Located off Genesee Road, just north of Davison Road in Burton, the park offers seven miles of trails that intertwine between ponds, meadows, woods and Kearsley Creek. It’s also a hot spot for wildlife and there is an observation deck near Groundwater Pond. “For-Mar is a nice local place to ski, but it also gets a lot of use by winter hikers which does put holes in the snow,” Marty noted. See for more information.

Ortonville Recreation Area

Situated where Genesee, Oakland and Lapeer counties meet, the area features a popular three-mile loop trail off State Park Road, just east of Sands Road.
The loop is mostly wooded, including an impressive stand of white pine, with elevation changes that offer the chance to get into a tuck position and glide through long, downhill stretches. “Ortonville is probably the best place to go within about 30 minutes of Flint,” Marty said. “The hills can be challenging at times, but the trail is well worth it because of varying terrain and the woods are very beautiful and peaceful.” Click on for further details.

Robert Williams Nature & Historical Learning Center

Genesee County’s newest park opened last June and is a scenic 102-acre piece of land located off Atherton Road, just west of M-15 in Davison. Trails wind through woods and fields and around Kearsley Creek.

“I have not had a chance to ski there yet, but I can’t wait to!” Marty exclaimed. “It’s really a hidden gem with brand new trails. It’s rolling land with pristine woods, a really beautiful stretch of Kearsley Creek and all kinds of trees, just a downright tranquil place.” Find more info at

Sorensen Park

Located about 1.25 miles east of the Holly Hotel in downtown Holly, the 93-acre park is built around a section of the Shiawassee River and features the 3.1-mile Hiker T. Moose Trail. It winds through wetlands that are a habitat for weasel, mink, coyote, fox, deer, rabbit, red-tailed hawks and great horned owls. The trail is highlighted by the Shiawassee River Overlook, an observation deck offering views of an extensive sea of cattails and wetlands and the river winding through them. Visit

Linden County Park

This 135-acre facility features trails that offer views of Byram Lake.

Genesee County Parks’ Silence of Winter radio commercial was recorded here which incorporates the swishing sounds of cross country skiers. See for further info.

Seven Lakes State Park

The 1,400-acre park located on Fish Lake Road just north of Grange Hall Road between Fenton and Holly offers 6.5 miles of trails that meander through forest and open fields, wetlands and around several sizable lakes. Wildlife seen here includes deer, pheasant and rabbits. Among the trail highlights is an overlook with views of Big Seven Lake. Most parking lots are plowed in the winter. Go to for details.
Wax up your skinny skis and get ready for a full-body winter workout! ♦


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