I can state two things quite confidently as we approach the final stretch of the year:

  1. Fall is arguably Michigan's most beautiful season.
  2. Fall is incredibly brief.

It's with the latter in mind that I recommend we, as Michigan natives, remind one another to take advantage of this season's majesty by soaking in every last autumn hue. If you're a nature lover, might I suggest you add a picturesque drive on M-50 just outside of Tipton to your fall 'To Do List'.

Hidden Lake Gardens 'Reach for the Sky Canopy Walk' in Tipton, Michigan

Living in Irish Hills Michigan via YouTube
Living in Irish Hills Michigan via YouTube

If you grew up in Jackson or Lenawee Counties anytime after 1968, your first visit to Hidden Lake Gardens was on a big yellow bus with a sack lunch and a few bucks in your pocket just itching to be spent in the gift shop.

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The land was originally purchased as farmland, but when Harry Fee realized the land wasn't crop-friendly he instead began growing plants you'd find in a nursery. In 1945 he donated the land to Michigan State with the understanding that it be used to educate and promote horticulture.

Living in Irish Hills Michigan via YouTube
Living in Irish Hills Michigan via YouTube

Continuing that promise, in 2022 Hidden Lake Gardens constructed the Reach for the Sky Canopy Walk, an accessible, one-of-a-kind wooden suspension bridge. This ADA-compliant walk is 65 feet above the forest floor and allows you to stroll through the trees.

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Though the walk is handicap accessible the entrance to the canopy itself is located 1/4 mile away from the Trail Head parking area. People hiking to and from should be in reasonable shape with no serious health issues.

Living in Irish Hills Michigan via YouTube
Living in Irish Hills Michigan via YouTube

If you've never been to Tipton, Michigan's Hidden Lake Gardens make a point to put it on this season's bucket list. There are a slew of other things to do on the grounds, including trails, a conservatory, an arboretum, and a visitors center.  Even taking a drive around the grounds you'll be amazed at how extensive a collection of plants there are and how well labeled they are.

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Admission for kids 4 and under is free, kindergarten through college is just $5 and adults are $10. One word of caution is there are occasional times when the canopy walk may be closed for inspection or repair. Notice of any planned closures can be found at the Hidden Lake Gardens website.

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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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