Hansen Nature Area is located on the west side of the city off South Maple Road, and has the highest elevation (990 feet above sea level) of any city park. View the Ann Arbor Parks & Natural Areas
map for location context. You will find a 1/2 mile trail through the woods, making Hansen Nature Area a beautiful spot for a walk. This 9-acre neighborhood park has a beautiful woodland accessible from the Grace Bible Church parking lot. There is also an open field with a small play structure adjacent to Maple Road.
The woodland is very open, and in spring the forest floor is blanketed with trout lilies. The small pond in the western section of the park is home to painted turtles, spring peepers and chorus frogs. The circular unpaved pathway directs hikers through an oak hickory forest outfitted with a scattering of wildflowers like Jack-in-the-pulpit and May-apples.
Access and Parking
Parking is usually available in the parking lot of Grace Bible Church which is adjacent to the property. For accessing the trails, look for the trail head to the west of the parking lot, while the playground is to the east and visible from Maple Road.
Public transportation: There are several bus stops within a five minute walk. Check out TheRide Guide for more details.
• Nature trail
- Total trail length: ½ mile loop
- Topography: Flat
- Trail type: Natural footpaths
• Bike rack, bench – see asset map for specific amenity locations
There are ongoing and limitless opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. GIVE 365 and the seasonal Adopt-a-Park Program offer volunteer opportunities ranging from a 90 minute commitment, to a more long term, ongoing role. Natural Area Preservation also has volunteer opportunities that support their mission and involve volunteers in all aspects of maintaining biodiversity and restoring damaged ecosystems. If you are feeling the tug to volunteer or give some time, reach out or explore the websites above to see what’s upcoming or how to get involved.
Report a Problem - A2 Fix It
To report maintenance issues, or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It. Parks are large spaces and A2 Fix It requests can be difficult to find without detailed information. When reporting an issue in a park please include location details. There is a details and description section near the end of the request process to help you provide this. In addition, users can utilize the pin (website) or X (mobile app) feature to provide specific location information inside the park. Finally, please consider including a wide angle photo or include background landmarks, which helps staff find and fix the problem.
Gifts and Donations
Information on donating to the parks and the Guide to Giving
can be found here
. Alternatively if you have a special project or park improvement idea that you want to donate your time and energy toward, a great place to start is through Adopt-a-Park and the proposing a special park project
guide. For information on donating a tree through Adopt-a-Park, the tree donation guide
can help you get started.
Aerial photos from 1940 show the area that would become Hansen Nature Area as one of the few pockets of woodland left untouched in that part of the city. Surrounding the area in the 1940s were orchards and farmland which gave way to housing developments in the 1960s. In March of 1964, H.E. Hansen sold the 10.3 acre parcel to the City with the wishes that it be preserved as a public park area. Mr. Hansen resided in a farm adjacent to the undeveloped land in which you can see the park land in the background in one of these 1920s-1940 era photos. In the fall of 1964, the property was officially named Hansen Park in honor of Mr. H.E. Hansen. A questionnaire was sent to neighbors to receive input on what they wanted in the park. Neighbors requested a walking trail and some wanted a playground for their children. During a public meeting, the question of a playground was put to a vote and with more people in favor, Parks and Recreation began plans for a small “tot play area, with a split rail fence since it is so close to Maple Road.” The playground is still in use and guarded by the split rail fence.
Ecological restoration efforts started in 1997 under NAP’s leadership. Work in Hansen began with building the trail and removing invasive species. In 2003, NAP conducted a prescribed burn throughout the entire park. Prescribed burns are used to eliminate invasives and give natives a competitive advantage. Spreading native seeds after the burn also helped to strengthen the native plant population. After the burn was conducted, a neighbor wrote that “Hansen is carpeted with yellow trout-lily – really beautiful. Also some large patches of toothwort, and smaller spots of wild geranium and May-apple with a few happy Jack-in-the-pulpits and a couple trillium. Do you suppose that burn had anything to do with it?” The controlled burn likely did encourage the native wildflowers to flourish. Visit
Natural Area Preservation for more details on the efforts to protect and restore Ann Arbor’s natural areas. Or click on the links below for more reading on Hansen.