Stony Creek is a part of the Huron-Clinton Metropark system. The Huron-Clinton Metroparks consist of 13 beautiful parks, covering more than 25,000 acres throughout southeast Michigan, encompassing Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Stony Creek Park has 4,461 acers of natural beauty. The park straddles Macomb and Oakland Counties and has a beautiful 500 acer lake.
There is a great deal to do in this park. Circling the lake is an eight-mile paved tail where you can walk, jog, bike, or inline skate. The lake allows non-motorized boats. If you don’t have a boat kayaks, canoes, and a wide variety of other floatables are available including giant swans. The fishing in the lake is good. The state record crappie was caught in Stony Creek Lake. There are also two beaches at the lake. The Eastwood Beach is the largest and most popular. It boasts a fantastic playground which can entertain kids for hours.
The park also has a very nice nature center. There is an eighteen-hole golf course as well as disc golf in the park. The Go Ape Treetop Adventure is a 2-3-hour journey through the forest canopy as you take on suspended obstacles, Tarzan swings and breathtaking zip lines – all with an incredible view. There are a number of hiking trails and mountain bike trails. There is so much to do for the entire family that you can keep them entertained throughout your visit.
Tucked into the park is the Ridgewood campground. We spent four days and three nights in the campground over the Memorial Day Weekend. The campground is open from Memorial Day Weekend until September 16. There are 45 sites in the campground. A few sites are tent only, all the other sites are open to tents or RVs. There are a few sites which can accommodate the largest RVs. This is primitive camping. There are no hookups. Generators are not allowed in most sites. However they are allowed in six sites including two which are ADA accessible sites. There are flush toilets at the campground but no showers. There are showers available to campers at the Eastwood beach. There is a campground host on site during the day. He is a very nice and helpful gentleman. Campfire wood is for sale in the campground and the host delivers it to your site. There is a dump station in the park located across from Eastwood beach. Potable water is also available near the dump station.
The campground is well kept. The bathrooms are reasonably clean. On a busy weekend they can get a bit messy later in the day but otherwise are pretty clean. All the sites are wooded and come with a fire ring and picnic table. The sites are grass and sandy soil. Once you unload your vehicle you must remove it from your site and park in the parking lot which is a little inconvenient but actually makes the camping experience nicer.
This was my second time to camp at Ridgewood Campground. This time I was on site 22, last year I was on site 23. Both sites are large and you can “pull through” on either site. They don’t call them pull through but you can, and I did pull through. The cost is $25 a night which in my opinion is a bargain since it is so close to a metropolitan area. You can be in downtown Detroit in about 45 minutes. There are two “premium” sites which according to the website are $50. These are sites 19 and 36. I think 19 is the nicest site in the campground it is quite large and secluded. But In my opinion not worth twice the price.
One problem with the campground is that it is only open on weekends. When I asked about this, I was told it was because a lack of staff. They should consider opening a camp host position to work campers providing a free campsite by the ADA sites where they could very easily add a full hookup site. Then they could have volunteer staff to keep the campground open all week long.
There is a $10 entrance fee to the park which, if you are camping you only have to pay once. There is an additional fee for some of the activities like boat rentals, golfing, and the Go Ape Adventure.
I recommend this campground. It is well worth the $25 nightly cost. You can reserve campsites but it is not required. The campground host said that there are usually some sites available every weekend. For more information go to https://www.metroparks.com/parks/stony-creek-metropark/.
This was our first dry camping for anything more than overnight. I am extremely happy at how well the solar system performed and how well we managed our holding tanks. I realize this was only a short test but based on how well we did I am confident that we are going to be able to manage extended periods of time while dry camping. We feel a little more confident in our full time abilities having passed this small test.