What we're about

While we are excited to be meeting you outdoors again, we encourage you to also take time to work for environmental and racial justice.

Some resources for social justice and the outdoors:

• From Outrage to Justice by national Sierra Club director Michael Brune (https://www.sierraclub.org/michael-brune/2020/05/christian-cooper-antiracism-outdoors)

• Public lands in the United States: A curriculum (https://www.wilderness.org/articles/article/public-lands-united-states-curriculum)

• How to Be An Ally In The Outdoors (https://www.melaninbasecamp.com/trip-reports/2019/7/7/mbc-guide-to-outdoor-allyship)

• The Toxic Intersection of Racism and Public Space (https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/amy-cooper-christian-cooper-fear-in-central-park/612094/)

• Recreating in Color: Promoting Ethnic Diversity in Public Lands (https://www.fs.usda.gov/rmrs/sites/default/files/documents/SYCU_Recreating%20in%20Color_MayJune2018.pdf)

• Dear white people, please read ‘White Fragility’ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/05/dear-white-people-please-read-white-fragility/?fbclid=IwAR2zw0KB83csPcn6VHQbR7X3m7UNE-fwlXKs1Lg4dCKMIMJ4WYJXYJ_6W0w)

The Sierra Club is the largest and oldest (founded in 1892) environmental organization in the world. Our mission is to get people outside to enjoy the natural world leading to their understanding and desire to protect it for our families and for our future

Upcoming events (4+)

Nature in Michigan - Photo tours of SE Michigan parks and nature areas

A chronological listing of older hikes:

As part of our ongoing efforts to help you connect with nature during the new coronavirus and Covid19 pandemic, we present an ongoing series of photo-tours of parks and natural areas in SE Michigan.

Below we have listed a number of photo-tours of spring arriving at various parks and natural areas in SE Michigan. We hope you enjoy them, whether or not you are able to get out to any of the parks represented, or any other park.

Many of them have "Mystery Plants" or "Mystery Trees" - plants or trees that are not identified. This will be indicated in the picture's caption, at the bottom of the screen. If you want to contribute identifications, all the better. [See below for some instructions on using some of the features of the photo galleries, including how to zoom on pictures, see camera-settings, and so on.]

This Event Page is a way for you to sign up to be notified whenever a new photo tour is posted. If you RSVP to "attend" this outing, every time a new photo tour is posted, you will receive an e-mail telling you about the posting. You will only receive these e-mails if you RSVP to attend this event *and* have your Meetup account set to notify you about comments in your upcoming Events.

Make sure you look through the Comments section - many of the photo tours are linked there and all future additions will be added via "Comments".

If you have or want to create photo tours of hikes you'd like to share, contact John via messaging on here. If you have photos from any of the parks for which we have posted Exercise Guides, please RSVP to the Exercise Guide and post some photos on those "events" as well.

Instructions for viewing pictures on Smugmug:
To view photo tour, simply click the link below. It should open a new tab on your browser, showing the gallery. Click the first picture and it will enlarge to nearly fill your screen.
On the far right of the screen, on the horizontal centerline, is a right-arrow; click it to move to the next picture. A similar arrow is on the far left, to move to the previous picture.
Along the upper left side of the screen is a series of icons; the 3rd from the top is 3 horizontal lines; click it and the info about the picture will display - Title indicates the park where it was taken, the Caption identifies the plant or might have a "Mystery plant #"), then a bunch of photographer-geek information about lens, shutter speeds, etc. In some galleries, there will be a map showing where the picture was taken.
If you have clicked the Info icon, click the picture once and the information section of the screen (the stuff to the left of the picture that showed when you clicked the Info icon) disappears. Click the picture again and it will load a higher-resolution version (zoomed in) that you can click-and-drag to move around and view details of the picture.
When the icons are showing on the left side of the screen, the next to the bottom icon is a down arrow - click it to download a full-resolution copy of the picture.
NOTE: The photos on John's Smugmug account are available for download for your own, NON-COMMERCIAL USE, free of charge. If you want prints, feel free to download and print at home, at your favorite print shop, or use Smugmug's printing service (pre-Covid19 their service and quality were excellent; we assume the quality is still top notch, no idea about lead times, etc).

Exercise Guide Guide - links to all our exercise guides

Online event

These "events" are NOT in-person outings. They are guides to aid and encourage you to get out on your own or with others during the Covid19 pandemic. Please follow all local recommendations regarding masks and social distancing - we are all in this together.

Meetup isn't displaying all of our Exercise Guides to area parks and nature preserves, even when you select "See All". As of 2/1/2021, we have 23 of them:
Bird Hills - Kuebler Langford - Barton Nature Areas https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269759800/
Cherry Hill Nature Preserve https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/272327176/
Draper-Houston Preserve https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269864698/
Hewen's Creek Park https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/275115771/
Indian Crossing Trails https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/272893601/
Johnson Preserve - Lillie Park South https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/270102865/
LeFurge Woods - Superior Greenway https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/271552602/
Leonard Preserve https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/272210526/
Marshall - Freeman Nature Areas https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269719706/
Matthaei Botanical Gardens https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269419503/
Montibeller Park https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/277587512/
Nan Weston Preserve and Sharon Mills County Park https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269908929/
Nichols Arboretum https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269909028/
North Bay Park https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/271683197/
Parker Mill County Park https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/274992447/
Pinckney State Rec, Pickerel Lake Loop https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/274517487/
Pittsfield Preserve https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/274988350/
Saginaw Forest https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269633371/
Scio Woods https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269615503/
Stinchfield Woods - https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/270598308/
St. Joe Nature Area - https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/274979299/
The Bluffs Nature Area https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/269677237/
Waterloo SRA - Bog and other Discovery Center trails https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/270498632/
West Lake Preserve https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/270026665/
Whitmore Lake Preserve https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Huron-Valley/events/270022968/

Exercise Guide: Bird Hills - Kuebler Langford - Barton Nature Area

Barton Nature Area Parking

This is NOT an in-person event. Sierra Club group outings are currently suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

These Exercise Guides are intended to assist and encourage exploration of parks and natural areas in the Huron Valley Group region. Please enjoy them on your own or, using appropriate social distancing and masks, with others.

This hike spans three of Ann Arbor's premier parks, over glacial hills and the Huron River, right in town. Park in the Barton Nature Area/Barton Dam parking lot on Huron River drive, then cross the road and head uphill into Bird Hills. You'll travel over the glacial hills of Bird Hills and Kuebler Langford, then cross the pedestrian bridge over the Huron River to Barton Nature Area in the Huron River flood plain and finish by walking across the top of the Barton Dam (another pedestrian bridge allows you to avoid the dam if you prefer).

Expect lots of hills through Bird and Kuebler, a fair bit of wet in Barton. As of late-March, trout lilies were poking up through the ground in Bird Hills and Kuebler-Langford. With luck, and alertness, you might see a Great Blue Heron along the Huron, or maybe a Red-tailed Hawk or Great Horned Owl. And you're guaranteed many picturesque views along the way (like the one above, overlooking the Huron River and Huron River Drive from Bird Hills).

Our basic route (yellow path on 2nd map below) is a 3.4-mile hike with about 500' of gross elevation gain. Add the green loop in Bird Hills for an extra 1.7 miles and 300' of elevation. The green loop in Kuebler adds 0.6 miles and 130' of elevation gain.

Like many of Ann Arbor's city parks and nature areas, the trails are excellent, with lots of intersections and no markings. This makes them a good place to practice navigating in woods - they are small with clear boundaries, so getting lost isn't a concern. But getting misdirected is an enjoyable possibility - stay calm, listen for traffic or the river, and enjoy your wanderings.


Exercise Guide: Draper Houston Meadows Preserve

Draper-Houston Meadows Preserve

This is NOT an in-person event. Sierra Club group outings are currently suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

These Exercise Guides are intended to assist and encourage exploration of parks and natural areas in the Huron Valley Group region. Please enjoy them on your own or, using appropriate social distancing and masks, with others.

Hike along the Saline River, in meadows, and through some small woodlots. Hepatica are in bloom, trout lilies are up and will be blooming in a week or two. There are some impressive sycamore, oaks, and elms to see in the woodlots. Wood frogs and others are noisy in the vernal ponds.

At present, wear either waterproof boots or accept wet feet. Parts of the trail are flooded a few inches deep. Remember, Sierra Club policy is to walk through the water and mud, rather than around it - do your part to not promote erosion. Water is particularly an issue along the southeast parts of the trail along the Saline River.

The map below, when viewed full size will print at 8.5 x 11. It indicates where the signposts are and the current trail layout, although it doesn't label the trails by color.
Note: the "red" trail on the map below, north of the Saline River, coming off Platt Rd. is unverified.

Warning: the County's PDF map of the trails (https://www.washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter/View/1292) is outdated. The trail colors on the map *do not match the signposts*. It also shows some trails that no longer exist and omits some that do exist.
The County's interactive map (https://gisappsecure.ewashtenaw.org/public/ParkFinder/) shows correct trail configurations and colors. At provided link, search for "Draper-Houston" in the search box (upper left), click the name when it shows up. The map will center on Draper Houston, but it will be shaded brown; click the 'X' on the search box and the brown overlay disappears, leaving a printable map.

NOTE: as a Washtenaw County Preserve, dogs are *not* allowed in Draper-Houston.

Past events (192)

Wednesday Walk: Sterling State Park

Sterling State Park

Photos (2,437)