Hidden Lake Gardens

Tipton, Michigan

In the southeast part of Michigan is a famous region known as the Irish Hills. There are rolling hills and scenic vistas in the area, making it a very popular destination, in summer and fall. One of the area attractions that draws visitors back, again and again, is Hidden Lake Gardens. There are nine distinct trails within the more than 700 acres. Whether you are looking for wildflowers in the spring, songbirds or just a quiet walk through the oak and hickory forests, there is a trail here for you. There is even a guided auto trail. Trail maps are available at the visitors center.

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Some of these trails can be challenging, but two of them are fun for anyone. Near the hidden lake is a handicapped access trail. It has its own parking area which puts you right at the trail head. This trail is paved, it is a loop of less than a mile, so you come right back to the parking area, there are benches and scenic vistas along the way. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, but don't want to encounter steep hills and ravines, the Munger South Trail is just the thing. Munger South, is a loop of under two miles, with gentle hills and beautiful scenery. As you wander these trails, you will see that a large portion of Hidden Lake Gardens has been preserved in its undeveloped state. It is common to encounter white-tail deer, wild turkeys and all manner of songbirds along the way.

There are reasons to visit Hidden Lake Gardens in every season of the year. The gardens trails are open in the winter, but if you want a warm experience in the dead of another Michigan winter, visit the domes. There are three of them, Temperate, Tropical and Arid. The temperate dome is where bulbs and shrubs are prepared for spring plantings. The tropical dome is filled with palms, flowers, and fountains. The air is warm, humid and heavily scented by the jungle loam and the flowers that abound. The arid dome contains an entire southwest desert environment. Warmth again surrounds you, but this time, it is arid and dry. After even one hour in the domes, you will have forgotten all about the Michigan winter just outside.

Then, there is the Bonzai Forest, with numerous potted bonzai trees, arranged as a forest. Some of these trees are said to be more than 100 years old. Outside the visitors center is the Hosta Hillside, where the original rock garden was built by the founder, Mr. Fee, in the 1940s. There are more than 800 varieties of Hosta on display. The Hosta Hillside is an Official American Hosta Society Display Garden, so designated in 1995, and was only the second garden in the country to receive this distinction.

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Hidden Lake Gardens, a beautiful Michigan day trip.

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