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Independence Oaks County Park
Independence Oaks County Park is the largest unit in the Oakland County Parks system at 1088 acres, and a state-designated Wildlife Viewing Area. The park encompasses rolling hills, wooded ravines, the headwaters of the Clinton River, and a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer. But the centerpiece is Crooked Lake, a 68-acre lake with crystal-clear water that is free from the buzz of motorboats and jet skis.
The park has a 14-mile network of trails with most of it in a rugged, undeveloped area on the west side of the lake. Here Springlake Loop, Ted Gray Loop and a portion of Lakeshore Loop can be combined to make a 3-mile loop that begins near the Lewis E. Wint Nature Center and leads you across the park’s highest ridges and along Crooked Lake. Cutting across the loop are several connector trails that allow you to shorten the hike.
On the east side of the lake are the paved trails that are popular with inline skaters. They include the River Loop, a paved 2.2-mile loop that includes a stretch through the Clinton River Flood Plain Natural Area, a wetland area, and the All-Visitors Loop that leads to an observation deck on Crooked Lake.
Click on highlighted trails for individual trail page:
All Visitor’s Loop 0.3 mile Paved
River Loop 2.2 miles Paved
Lakeshore Loop 2.3 miles Hike
Springlake Loop 3.1 miles Hike
Rockridge Loop 1.7 mile Hike
Nature Center Teaching Trail 0.4 mile Interpretive
Ted Gray Loop 1.0 mile Hike
Springlake/Ted Gray Hike 3.0 miles Hike
Cross-country Ski Trails 7.0 miles Nordic ski
Independence Oaks features a boat launch for non-motorized boats and seasonal rowboat, canoe, kayak and pedalboat rentals on Crooked Lake. On the east side of the lake are picnic areas, rental shelters, a ball field, sand volleyball courts, playground equipment, horseshoes pits and a beach with a bathhouse on Hidden Springs. In the wionter the park offers cross-country skiing, ski rental, ice skating, ice fishing, warming shelters.
Enlarged to 8300 square feet in 1997, Lewis E. Wint Nature Center is one of the most impressive facilities in southeast Michigan. Exhibit areas lead you through four theme rooms devoted to water, the sun, weather, and geology.
The park is open year-round from a half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset. Lewis E. Wint Nature Center is open daily 10 a.m.. to 5 p.m.. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and holidays.
** A motor vehicle daily permit or an annual Oakland County Parks pass is required to enter the park by both county residents and non-residents.
Independence Oaks is located near the village of Clarkston and can be reached from I-75 by departing at exit 89 and heading north on Sashabaw Road for 2.5 miles. Once inside the park, follow signs to the nature center.
Contact the park office (248-625-0877) or the Lewis E. Wint Nature Center (248-625-6473) or the Oakland County Parks website(www.destinationoakland.com).
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