Accessible Tree Canopy Walkway at Hidden Lake Gardens
By: Brian Elliott
Among the 755 rolling acres that make up the grounds of Hidden Lake Gardens (6214 M-50, Tipton, MI), 10 miles west of Tecumseh is a brand new attraction that will take you back to nature in its finest, purest state. They have built an accessible tree canopy walkway and it is now open to the public Tuesday – Sunday from 10am-4pm.
This version of a canopy walkway uses a suspension bridge allowing people (no dogs allowed) to go single file across a 374-foot walkway that takes you 65 feet above the forest floor as you cross over a ravine.
From the closest parking lot, you follow a trail through the woods to reach the canopy walk that is nestled among the trees. The first half of the trail is paved, however the second half is not and could be difficult for some with mobility issues. The current trail was used as an access road for the equipment to build the canopy walk. It is loosely packed gravel, I was able to do it in my power chair but felt I could struggle if I slowed or stopped on the first big hill of the trail. *Work is being done to have an accessible crushed limestone trail, but that won’t be completed until later in this year.*
For people with disabilities that are unable to make the trek because of the distance or the loose rock on the trail, there are two paved, accessible parking spaces located in the woods near the entrance to the canopy walk. Speak with a HLG representative about driving back and using the space.
The experience is designed as a circuit. Once you reach the entrance, a few zigs and zags up the ramped entry takes you up in elevation, into an area they like to call the classroom, then one last ramp until you use the suspension walkway. After successfully crossing and feeling the bounce and sway of the walkway along with the incredible perspective of views there is a short trip through the woods as it loops back to the entry and trail. The entire experience - from parking lot - to canopy walk - and back to the car takes roughly 45min-1hr.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and veterans and $5 for students. Children 4 years and younger get in free. They offer a variety of memberships with a range in prices. Value-wise, the memberships are worth checking into if you are going with a group or make multiple trips to the gardens. This will definitely be fun to experience as the seasons change.