The Great Outdoors
Phone: (734) 647-7600
A natural refuge in the middle of Ann Arbor, the Nichols Arboretum, or the Arb, is a terrific place to take in some fresh air. Just down the street from Mary Markley Hall, the Arb features 123 acres of rolling hills, open valleys, woods, prairies and a spot on the Huron River. More than just a park, it’s a research and learning facility complete with free tours for students and opportunities to get your hands dirty with volunteer restoration ecology. The Arb is free and open all year. Maps are available at each entrance (Geddes Road, Washington Heights, Nichols Drive). Or stop by the James D. Reader Jr Environmental Education Center at 1610 Washington Heights. For more information call (734) 998-9540 or visit the Nichols Arboretum website.
1800 Dixboro Rd.
Phone: (734) 647-7600
A great place to take your family when they come to visit is the University’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens. The Gardens include marked hiking trails of various lengths, landscaped gardens, and an extensive multi-climate conservatory containing plants of botanical interest from all parts of the world. It’s a wonderful get-away from the cold winter weather. Conservatory admission is free. Parking is available in numbered spaces at the main entrance to the lobby/conservatory and in the west parking lot. Parking cost is $1.20 per hour, with a $5 maximum per day. Parking pay kiosks accept credit cards, bills, and coins.
Ann Arbor has dozens of neighborhood parks and playgrounds with varied facilities such as playing areas for baseball, ice-skating, swimming, softball, tennis, fishing, and picnicking.
Popular parks close to campus include Burns Park (Wells St. and Baldwin Ave.) and Gallup Park (Huron Parkway at the Huron River). For complete information on the 125 parks in the Ann Arbor area and the facilities available at each location, call Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation at (734) 971-6337 or Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation at (734) 794-6230.
In the watershed of the Huron and Clinton Rivers are 13 Metroparks, with three in the Ann Arbor vicinity. All parks listed offer hiking, fishing, canoeing, cross-country skiing, children’s play areas, and picnic shelters. Motor vehicle permits ($5 daily, $25 annually) must be purchased as you enter the parks.
Located about four miles west of Ann Arbor, this 50-acre riverside park is a popular weekend destination. There is a baseball diamond, and a canoe livery with package trips available to Argo and Gallup parks. Entrance off Delhi Rd. south of Huron River Dr. 3902 E. Delhi. Ann Arbor, MI. Call (734) 426-8211 for more information.
Dexter-Huron is seven miles northwest of Ann Arbor and three miles upstream from Delhi-Metropark. It offers a baseball diamond and other Metropark facilities. Entrance off Huron River Dr. 6535 Huron River Dr., Dexter, MI. Call (734) 426-8211 for more information.
Twelve miles northwest of Ann Arbor along Huron River Dr. is 1,624-acre Hudson-Mills. There is a nature trail, hike-bike trail, three baseball diamonds, two tennis courts, a basketball court, volleyball, shuffleboard, and an 18-hole golf course plus disc golf. Bicycles are rented, as well as equipment for facilities and cross-country skiing. Main entrance off N. Territorial Rd; golf course off Dexter-Pinckney Rd, south of the river. 8801 N. Territorial, Dexter, MI. Call (734) 426-8211 for more information.
The U-M Department of Recreational Sports rents “Blue Bikes” by the day, weekend, or semester. The City of Ann Arbor maintains the Bicycling in A2 website with information on bike safety, parking, maps, and more. The City of Ann Arbor Bicycle Map (pdf) shows the various bike lanes, bike routes, and shared-use trails available for trips within the Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County area. The Border-to-Border Trail Map is a more detailed map of the portion of the trail connecting eastern Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to Wayne County, and the Michigan Department of Transportation has created a series of multi-county regional maps showing road surface type, traffic volume ranges, paved/unpaved trails with regional significance, recreational facilities, points of interest, plus other facilities and amenities.
The Argo Park Canoe Livery, 1055 Long Shore Dr., (734) 794-6241, offers canoe rentals on the Huron River. Gallup Park Canoe Livery, 3000 Fuller Rd., offers canoe, paddleboat, and bicycle rental at Gallup Park. Call (734) 794-6240 for information on rates and schedules. Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery, located in Delhi Metropark on East Delhi Rd., offers full-service canoe and kayak trips with put-in points at several locations upstream. Call (734) 769-8686 for more information.
Radrick Farms, on Geddes Rd. east of US-23, has ungroomed trails for beginners and intermediates, and is open only to Radrick Farms members and University students. Several local parks also offer cross-country skiing on ungroomed trails, including Bird Hills, County Farm, Dolph, Fuller, Gallup, and Independence Lake. The public schools’ Eberwhite Woods is also skiable, as are the prairies at Pioneer High. Contact the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department at (734) 971-6337 for further information.
The University of Michigan Golf Course, on Stadium Blvd. across from Crisler Arena, is open to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and their guests. The city has two public courses: Leslie Golf Course, located at 2120 Traver Rd. (734-794-6245), and Huron Hills, located at the intersection of Huron Pkwy. and E. Huron River Dr. (734-794-6246).
The Buhr Park Recreational Facility, 2751 Packard Rd. (734-794-6234), provides outdoor artificial ice rinks November through mid-March. (For a list of indoor ice rinks, see the recreational sports page).
The U-M maintains an outdoor track at Palmer Field, located by the Hill area residence halls. Many of the Ann Arbor City parks also have jogging trails. If you are interested in more structured activity, the Ann Arbor Track Club promotes fitness, friendship and fun through running and walking. They host weekly coached adult and youth workouts, as well as year-round events including races such as the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run and the Burns Park Run, training runs and walks, track meets, cross country races, social gatherings, and service activities. For more information, call (734) 332-9129 or e-mail email@example.com.
The city has three outdoor pools, open to residents and visitors by admission: Buhr Park, 2751 Packard (734-794-6234); Fuller Park, 1519 Fuller (734-794-6236); and Veterans Park, 2150 Jackson Rd. (734-794-6235). (For a list of indoor pools, see the recreational sports page).
The University provides outdoor courts near the CCRB at Palmer Field. Public tennis courts are available at a number of city parks, including Burns Park, 1414 Wells; Buhr Park, 2751 Packard; Fuller Park, 1519 Fuller; Veterans Park, 2150 Jackson Rd.; and West Park, 215 Chapin.