Exercise Guide: Johnson Preserve and Lillie Park South

Sierra Club Huron Valley Group
Sierra Club Huron Valley Group
Public group
Location image of event venue


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.

Legacy Land Conservancy's Lloyd and Mabel Johnson Preserve has a nice, wet woods with spring ephemerals and more. Sometimes you'll find ducks on its vernal ponds, occasionally you'll see a racoon watching you. As summer arrives, the meadows at Johnson Preserve come into bloom. Trails in the woods will be muddy in places this time of year.

The Preserve adjoins Pittsfield Township's Lillie Park South. Here you can visit Turtle Rock and Duck Potato Ponds. Much of Lillie's trail system is packed gravel. As of mid-April 2020, the boardwalk across Turtle Rock Pond is closed due to high water (our 2nd map gives a route to avoid it).

As a trivia note: the strip of land dividing Lillie Park North from Lillie Park South, currently used as a power line easement, is the abandoned railroad bed of the Detroit, Hillsdale, and Indiana line, the same railroad line on which the Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve rails-to-trails trail is built.

The trailhead is at the pavilion at the east end of the Lillie Park South parking lot (entrance on Platt Road, approximately ½ mile south of Ellsworth (roughly 4365 Platt Rd).

Neither Johnson Preserve nor Lillie Park have any trail signs. While you are unlikely to get dangerously lost, carrying a map can be helpful.