Michigan State Parks Centennial: Wetzel State Recreation Area

Wetzel State Recreation Area is located in Macomb County near the base of Michigan’s Thumb region. The park is named for a local soldier, Walter Wetzel, who gave his life during World War II. Wetzel threw himself on an enemy grenade to save his fellow troops.

Wetzel State Recreation Area was created in 1969, and while it is slightly over 900 acres, it remains mostly undeveloped. There are three main components to the park: trails, picnic area, and a radio-controlled airfield.

The small picnic area has a couple of picnic tables, two vault toilets, and a paved parking lot. A paved ¼-mile trail leads to a lake for shoreline fishing or waterfowl watching. Hunting is allowed in certain areas of the park during the appropriate hunting seasons.

Four miles of trails begin at the parking lot and wind through wetlands and farm fields and around a couple of small marsh lakes. We recommend waterproof hiking boots as portions of the trails are quite waterlogged during certain times of the year.

At the south section of the park is the flying field for the Radio-Control Club of Detroit. Access to the field is separate from the main park. A dirt road leads to asmall dirt lot where you can park and access the field or the hiking trails.

While there’s not much at Wetzel State Recreation Area, it is a nice little park to visit if you live nearby. All four seasons in Michigan will provide distinctive wildlife viewing opportunities.


We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. (We have a video about Wetzel State Recreation Area here.) You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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