The Irish Hills: A Cherished Destination for Hundreds of Years

The Irish Hills Michigan

The Irish Hills were first named by the Irish immigrants who settled in the green, rolling hills after escaping the Potato Famine of 1846. The area was predominately farms and orchards until the 1920’s when it became a popular tourist destination.

History of the Irish Hills

The area that runs through the heart of the Irish Hills, now used as US-12, was once used as a path by prehistoric mammals and early Native Americans. Hotels began to pop up along the road in the 1920s. It’s now designated as the US-12 Heritage Trail, a historically significant road that runs from Detroit to Chicago. The Irish Hills was once a common 19th century stopping point during the five-day stagecoach trip between Detroit and Chicago along US-12.

The Historic Brick Walker Tavern has had many transformations in its 160 years. Recently, it was restored as an events center and antique shop. Stop by on the weekends during the summer for fresh produce at the farmers’ market or catch lunch at Randy’s Roadside BBQ down the road on the historic US-12.

Irish Hills Natural Beauty

Jackson County and the Irish Hills have always been well known for beautiful natural spaces. With sparkling lakes, restaurants, and campgrounds, the entire area is full of small town charm and is popular for water sports, fishing and vacationing.

State parks, such as the Walter J. Hayes State Park, offer camping, swimming, boating, hiking, biking, and even geocaching. Camp Sequoia offers a beautiful natural lake and a sparkling swimming pool. Fishing and paddle boating will keep the whole family happy at the Irish Hills Kampground. The Walter J. Hayes State Park also features a public access to Wamplers Lake.

Wamplers Lake, Devils Lake, Sand Lake and Round Lake are just a few of the more than 50 lakes in the area. Within the Irish Hills, Devils Lake, Round Lake, Loch Erin and Sand Lake are the local favorites – but there are even more lakes in the area for you and your family to explore.

Lenawee County and Jackson County boast picturesque trails for hiking and biking. Many miles of trails are found throughout the county, including the paved Kiwanis Trail stretching between Adrian and Tecumseh. The beautiful Hidden Lake Gardens is a 755-acre botanical garden. It offers hiking trails, hilly, winding car paths, beautiful display gardens, an impressive bonsai collection and three conservatory domes.

Michigan International Speedway and the Irish Hills

If you mention the Irish Hills to a racing fan, they’ll immediately think of the Michigan International Speedway (MIS). MIS hosts two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races each year, but you’ll also find festivals, community events, and concerts including the popular Faster Horses Festival and the Michigan Wine and Beer Fest.

Irish Hills Festivals and Activities

Start planning for next summer! Here are some dates of activities in Irish Hills you won’t want to miss:

  • May: Michigan Beer and Wine Fest – A collection of more than 40 wineries and 20 breweries
  • June: Devils Lake Festival of the Arts – Artisan booths, kids’ activities, live music and food
  • July: Faster Horses Festival – Three-day country music festival and camping
  • August: Rockin’ the Hills – Award-winning Michigan craft beer and live entertainment

Throughout Irish Hills’ history, it has always been a favorite destination. Come for a visit, or make it your home. The Irish Hills has something for everyone. Start your exploration today! When you’re ready to start making your own history, the Riggle Team can help you find your home.