Explore: Van Tassel Pedestrian Bridge and Paint Creek Trail

Explore: Van Tassel Pedestrian Bridge and Paint Creek Trail

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 24, 2021)

Orion Township, MI – North Oakland County is full of parks and trails, and in Orion Township two of those trails now connect, thanks to a recently constructed 90′ bridge with treetop views over picturesque Paint Creek.

The Van Tassel Pedestrian Bridge is named for former Orion Township Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel, whose leadership helped Orion to develop in a way that respected the natural beauty of the area.  She was there for the ribbon cutting in November and a plaque remains on the bridge in her honor.

The 50,000 lb structure is as tall off the ground as 22′, making ducks in the creek look small and giving wonderful views of the patch of woods around the creek.  The bridge is part of a connector trail for Paint Creek Trail and Polly Ann Trail, and is part of the larger Belle Isle Trail System which is in progress to connect Belle Isle in Detroit with Ironwood at the Western tip of the Upper Peninsula.

I made two visits to the area, each day taking the Paint Creek Trail in the opposite direction starting from the small parking lot at 1125 Kern.  In one direction there’s Downtown Lake Orion, and the other way one heads into Oakland Township, past the Royal Oak Archery Club.  For a bit about them check out this recent post.

The trail runs along the creek, as well as the backyards of neighboring homes and there are several places to access it.  Overall it stretches just shy of 9 miles from Lake Orion to Rochester. There are several parks nearby as well as Orion Oaks and Bald Mountain State Recreation Area.

Learn more about these great natural spaces:

Paint Creek Trail

Polly Ann Trail

Check out places to Explore in Oakland County and beyond in the Oakland County Times Explore Index.  We are currently looking for a sponsor for our Explore! series. If you’d like to help us do more stories like this, please contact editor@oc115.com for more info.




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