Where the Rivers Collide

It’s hard to drive around Rochester for very long and not find yourself crossing over water. Both the Clinton River and the Paint Creek meander under our bridges and through backyards, from Oakland Township, to Rochester Hills, and downtown. We have wonderful trails that follow alongside them, and they are a favorite pastime for our family. But even after living here our whole lives, my husband and I, perhaps like most residents, realized we had no idea where the two bodies of water themselves actually came together.

So, with our interest piqued, we set off on bikes to the point where the trails themselves cross, just southeast of town. Much to our dismay, we realized there was no visible path to follow the Paint Creek towards this joining water. So we braced ourselves for the unfortunate possibility of poison ivy, bravely stepped around trees and brambles, and tried to avoid three leaved plants of every kind.

Continuing several yards through the foliage, following the rushing water of the Paint Creek, we finally reached the Clinton River where they became one. It was actually a little exciting and anticlimactic all at the same time.  We really were perplexed as to why this cool spot wasn’t even marked. It is hidden, encompassed alongside a fenced field, a full-grown forest, and the industrial side south of town.

We never did get poison ivy, thankfully, but this little adventure was just the beginning of our love for finding secret spots around our area that often go unnoticed — even as we drive much slower these days past our beloved town. As the weather warms, I encourage you to find a new place to experience in our area that you perhaps have overlooked before. My favorites are nature parks and trails. Here are a few of the ones I suggest exploring:

Bloomer Park – Located on John R, north of Avon road. This park has great playgrounds, trails, pavilions, and a cycling velodrome.

Rochester Hills City Complex Trails – Located on Avon, west of Livernois.

Bear Creek Park – Located in Oakland Township, on Snell Road, west of Rochester Road. The nice playground and quiet pavilion are perfect for play dates and parties, and the easy trails are perfect for kids.

Stoney Creek Park – Mountain bike trails off Sheldon road, north of Mead. Great for hikers of all abilities. Offers dramatic elevation changes and varied scenery. It also has hidden “ruins” of an old house and a spectacular treed driveway if you’re adventurous enough to find it!

Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve – Trails accessible from the Paint Creek trail, just north of the Rochester Municipal Park downtown.

So, slap on some big spray, grab a water bottle, and tie up some good shoes. Follow a river, wind down by a creek, and enjoy the great discoveries you didn’t know Rochester had waiting for you.

About Heidi Morris

Rochester Hills mom of three. Loves life, loves family, loves to share new and interesting things with everyone. Contact her today at heidikmorris@yahoo.com

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