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.