Hikers in Michigan have long loved the winding forested trails the state is known for, many of which offer spectacular views of cascading waterfalls or sweeping vistas of sparkling lakes.
But, no trails are quite like the mystical and magical Glenlore Trails — a wooded, immersive entertainment experience that takes visitors out of the suburbs of Michigan and into the wilds of their imaginations.
Glenlore Trails is an attraction in Commerce Township that was the result of pandemic ingenuity. It was developed as an alternative to traditional live events and as a way to give families, friends, and couples an opportunity to spend time together in an outdoor environment.
To the surprise of many, it quickly became a beloved mainstay in the community and is now a seasonal attraction that brings in visitors from around the Midwest.
Traverse Along the Haunted Glenlore Trails in the Fall
In late September each year, the wooded Glenlore Trails comes to life in a frightfully fun way. The Haunted Forest Experience is designed to surprise and delight guests of all ages, giving a spooky touch to the immersive illuminated experience that is still welcoming and enjoyable for guests of all ages.
The Haunted Forest comes to life on weekend evenings in the fall — with nightly showings taking place from Thursday to Sunday. Each year, the designers implement a new theme on the trails, which allows guests to return for a traditional experience that is vastly different from before.
Previous spooky elements have included talking Jack-o-lanterns, trees with lit-up faces that scream into the night, and ghostly apparitions along the side of the trails.
Many of the displays are interactive, inviting the young and the young at heart to engage with the trails and experience the lively atmosphere.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance because this is a popular experience that is becoming more well known with each passing year.
Indulge in a Whimsical Winter Fantasy in the Winter
After the ghastly winds of autumn have calmed, Glenlore Trails settles into the quiet of winter. The trails are transformed from a ghoulish experience to a fantastical wonderland that is perfect for wishers and dreamers.
Aurora is the name of the wintertime experience at Glenlore, and it typically begins shortly after the fall display has been taken down. It is a favorite among guests who want to enjoy the lights during the holiday season, but the display is usually available until late February or early March.
During this wondrous season filled with quiet snowflakes and still breezes, guests at Glenlore Trails can meander through the forested area as they soak up the hues of aqua, pale blue, green, and deep purple.
There are still faces on the trees, but they are more friendly, inviting, and silly. There are holiday lights on evergreen trees, illuminated pathways, and blocks that form lighted patterns for guests to decipher.
Throughout the winter, the designers of Glenlore Trails work to add new experiences and performances to the display, which encourages repeat visits.
In a time of the year when boredom can quickly set in, it provides an invigorating outdoor escape that is unlike any other winter attraction in Southeast Michigan.
Know Before You Go: Visiting Glenlore Trails
These are a few important things to know before you buy your tickets to visit Glenlore Trails:
- Glenlore Trails is open after sunset, so it is recommended for visitors who are comfortable exploring the illuminated trails in the dark.
- Live performances are incorporated into the trail experience, and performers can include dancers, musicians, and actors.
- It’s a family-friendly attraction, and visitors of all ages are welcome. Generally, families with young children purchase earlier time slots, while adults who are visiting without children tend to arrive later in the evening.
- This outdoor event is held in all weather conditions and is typically only closed during severe weather. You should dress for the elements.
- The trails span about 1 mile, and most visitors can complete it within an hour.
- The trails are not paved, but it is maintained so that wheelchair users and visitors with strollers can easily navigate the path.
- Pets are not allowed, except for service dogs.
- Concessions are available, and there are restrooms located along the trails.
- Photography is allowed, but the developers of the trails recommend that you leave your cell phone in your pocket and simply enjoy the immersive experience.
Add a Dining Experience to Your Glenlore Trails Adventure
Whether you want to grab some food before you embark on your journey through the mischievous forest, or you prefer to digest your experience afterward with a sumptuous meal, you will find that these local restaurants near Glenlore Trails are just the right addition to your night of exploration and fun:
CJ’s Brewing Company
All of the locals in Commerce know that CJ’s Brewing Company is where it’s at. This low-key brewery is known for its excellent craft beer selection and chef specialty items.
If you are visiting Glenlore Trails in the fall, you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to dine on the patio. During the winter, however, you can cozy up with your favorite frothy brew and a burger before or after your wondrous Aurora experience.
Whether you want to grab a slice of the best pizza in town, or you are ready to order the famous Captain Crunch chicken, you will find exactly what you are looking for at CJ’s.
The welcoming atmosphere combined with the extensive menu makes this a place that the whole family will love, and it can easily be tied into your day trip to Glenlore Trails.
The Village Grill
Families who are looking for someplace where everyone can eat before or after exploring Glenlore Trails will love The Village Grill. Known as the top family restaurant in Commerce, this casual diner is known for its varied menu that includes meals crafted from fresh, local ingredients.
The Village Grill serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you are most likely to enjoy dinner there before you head to Glenlore Trails. Some favorite dinner options include avocado tuna salad, chicken gyro supreme, and spinach pie.
This restaurant brings a taste of the Mediterranean to the heart of Southeast Michigan, and it has become famous for its homemade Greek specialties.
The Lakes Bar & Grille
Glenlore Trails is quickly becoming the go-to spot for date night in Commerce Township, and if you are looking to extend the romantic ambiance, grab a table at The Lakes Bar & Grille.
With an atmosphere that can be described as both comfortable and sophisticated, The Lakes Bar & Grille sets itself apart from other restaurants near Glenlore Trails.
There is a small outdoor patio area for those who prefer to enjoy their meals al fresco, but the dining room takes center stage at this restaurant.
Anchored by a wall of wine bottles and enveloped in warm and inviting tones, this is a space where diners can enjoy a quiet and intimate meal.
Popular menu items at The Lakes Bar & Grille include firecracker chicken pasta and The Lakes filet mignon, but this restaurant is most well known for its fresh seafood selections. From its Atlantic salmon to its pan-fried perch, you are sure to find a fresh catch that satisfies your cravings.
More to Do Near Glenlore Trails
Glenlore Trails may be tucked away in the quiet wooded areas of Commerce Township, but that doesn’t mean that it’s isolated. Several other attractions are nearby if you are hoping to extend your stay and explore more in the area.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
Oddities and nostalgia reign supreme at this unique museum in Farmington Hills, which is just 20 minutes from Glenlore.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum contains collections of neon signs, coin-operated machines, and model airplanes. In addition, there are pinball games and video arcades for kids to enjoy, and as an added bonus, admission is free.
Located in Novi, this indoor putt-putt course is just 15 minutes from Glenlore Trails. It’s the perfect extension to your lighted evening because this mini-golf course consists entirely of glow-in-the-dark holes.
Immerse Yourself in Light, Beauty, & Mystery at Glenlore Trails
Created with the most advanced lighting technology and adapted to provide a new experience with each passing year, Glenlore Trails is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Michigan.
Add it to your fall bucket list if you are looking for a haunted excursion. Or, try it out in the winter when you need something to lighten up the dark and dreary days that are dominated by shades of gray.