North Bay Park is a hidden treasure. The park features a network of trails, a raised boardwalk, an observation tower, fishing platforms and a fitness trail. These are all built around a central lagoon that is abounding with waterfowl, turtles and lotus flowers. It is absolutely one of the prettiest parks in the county.
In addition to it’s trail system, North Bay Park is a great place to go birding. The lagoon attracts several species of herons, egrets, ducks, and cormorants. The nearby wetland is filled with a huge variety of sparrows, warblers and friends.
- Scenery – 4
- Trail Condition – 5
- Quiet/Solitude – 3
- Difficulty – 2
- Overall – 4.5
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North Bay Park covers 139 acres and is located on the northwest end of Ford Lake where the Huron River enters the lake. The main parking lot is gated and staffed during the park season (not sure of the dates). The secondary parking lot, off of Grove St, is not gated or maintained, but offers a more accessible entrance to the park.
The trail system begins at the east end of the main parking lot. There is a paved walkway that goes steeply down towards Ford Lake. Several switchbacks in the path make the climb easier to take. The total decent from the parking lot to the lake is about 90′. Take your time, it’s well worth it.
Once you reach the bottom, the trail flattens out and skirts the edge of the Eagle Crest golf course and cuts through the wetland. Most of the trail here is a planked path, so you can keep out of the mud during the wet season. Once you cross this area, the path forks up to the boardwalk or on to the wooded areas beyond.
From there, take the stairs or ramp up to the platform at the beginning of the boardwalk. From here you get the first site of the lagoon. This area is often filled with Egrets and Great Blue Herons fishing in the shallow waters.
Heading down the walkway, make sure to keep an eye out to the trees over the shoreline, this is where you will find the Green Herons and Wood Ducks hanging out looking for their lunch. You can also spot a fair number of turtles stacked up on the logs, sunning themselves.
On the lagoon side, lily pads and lotuses fill the water. In summer, these both begin to bloom adding additional flair to the water of the lagoon.
At the far end of the boardwalk is an observation tower. Climbing to the top of the tower gives a great view of the whole lagoon.
The boardwalk connects with a trail that crosses the causeway on the outer edge of the lagoon. This part of the trail features a series of gracefully arched bridges connecting the sections of the causeway. All along this section, there are benches and tables. These provide a great place to sit and watch the birds and other animals that inhabit the lagoon and the lake beyond.
At the end of the causeway, the trail branches again. To the right, it continues past the fishing pier and around the north end of Ford Lake. Eventually, this exits to the Grove St parking lot. In the other direction, you pass though the woods again to join the path through the wetlands and then back to the main parking lot.
The only downside to this park is that it is boarded on the north side by the highway (I-94). So when you are along this side of the park, it can be quite noisy. However, the sound is not too loud or distracting when you are out on the boardwalk or far end of the causeway.
This is a great park and is rarely crowed. Head on down and enjoy it as soon as you can,
Where is this?
North Bay Park is located just off of Huron St and I-94, next to Eagle Crest Golf Club at 1001 Huron St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
|Address||1001 Huron St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197|
|Trail Length||2.5 Miles (loop)|
|Highlights||Boardwalk and Lotus Lagoon|
|Access||Paved Parking Lots|
|Amenities||Picnic Shelters, Picnic Benches, Bathrooms, Garbage cans|
|Fees||Yes, during the season. Free for Ypsilanti Township residents|
|Accessibility||Part of the trail is paved, some is wooden plank, some is hard packed earth. The trail has no stairs and some portions are steep.|
|Best time to visit||The Lotus flowers begin blooming around early August|