Arbor Hills Nature Area is a 6 acre wedge of woods and wetlands in the northeast corner of the city, between Green Road and US-23. See Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Area map for location context. Although one of the smaller natural areas in the city, it has some special features that are rare in the parks. At the west end, the park includes a portion of a small buttonbush swamp. In the middle, the woods are at least 70 years old. At the east end, there is a vernal pool. The wetlands here are part of a complex of seasonal pools and permanent ponds in the area.
The original 1998 botanical survey of the park found two tree species of special note in Arbor Hills Nature Area. Near the path that in the middle of the park, there is a flowering dogwood. There is also a swamp white oak, a much larger tree near the vernal pool east of the path. Swamp white oak and flowering dogwood are both at the northern edge of their range in southern Michigan. Both are considered to indicate a relatively undisturbed habitat.
A trail leads hikers through woods rich with spring wildflowers. Expect mud if the weather is especially wet. A boardwalk and small bridge will keep your feet free from most of the mud. Several wetlands support populations of frogs. In fact, Arbor Hills is one of the best spots in the city to listen for tree frogs! There is a small metal sculpture hiding along the side of one of the main trails. The north part of the nature area has a large grassy field that is flat and has one picnic table. Kilburn Park and Sugarbush Park are each an 8 minute walk from Arbor Hills Nature Area. To read more about Arbor Hills, check out the Natural Area Preservation newsletter article: 2016 Park Focus: Arbor Hills Nature Area by George Hammond.