Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Unless otherwise posted, when a park is closed, no person shall remain in or enter it other than to quietly sit or walk. Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules. Smoking is prohibited, and dogs must be on leash.
Marshall Nature Area is an 87 acre natural area in the far northeast area of Ann Arbor, at the corner of Plymouth and Dixboro Roads. View the
Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas map for location context. A small gravel parking area is accessible off Dixboro, just north of Plymouth Road. West from the parking area is an open oak grove which was once the site of the Marshall family homestead. Trails begin at the northwest corner of the oak grove. The trails through the park are unpaved and in some areas are narrow. Some sections of the trail traverse steep slopes. Otherwise, the terrain is gently rolling. Trails meander through the park and a large trail loop connects to Washtenaw County's
Freeman Preserve to the west. The park connects to the
Dixboro Road Pathway which heads south along Dixboro and connects to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Then, the path links to the Botanical Gardens Trail which continues further south until it connects with the
Most of Marshall Nature Area is wooded with some open fields. Much of the forested area is open with mixed hardwoods such as oak, hickory, maple and beech. Dogwoods and a variety of wildflowers add springtime color to the park. Pockets of planted pine and spruce are found on the south and west side of the park. The main trail will loop through both types of woods and the fields. Small, seasonally wet areas are found along the loop trail, so be prepared. The area directly north of the parking lot is mostly shrub-thicket. Areas of the park are undergoing restoration by the staff and volunteers of
Natural Area Preservation. These efforts include prescribed ecological burns and removal of invasive non-native plants from higher quality natural areas of the park.
Access and Parking
There is a
gravel parking lot off of Dixboro Road, just north of Plymouth Road. There is space for about a half dozen cars.
The park now connects to the Dixboro Road Pathway at the park's main entrance. This pathway provides a paved walking and biking path that connects to the park and crosses Plymouth Road, heads south along Dixboro Road, and connects to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. At the botanical gardens, the Botanical Gardens Trail heads south the rest of the way parallel to Dixboro road and eventually connects to the
B2B Trail. This connects Marshall Nature Area to a huge network of paths and trails through the city.
The nearest bus stop is at the East Medical Campus of the University of Michigan. The park is a mile east, but there are no sidewalks or bike lanes along Plymouth Road between this stop and the park. Visit The Ride for closest stops and route details or check out the parks ride guide.
Using a phone? - Click for a GPS Tracker and Wayfinding Map
- Unpaved trails
- Landfill receptacle at parking area
There are ongoing and limitless opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. Natural Area Preservation has volunteer opportunities to help protect and restore Ann Arbor’s natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic within the community.
Report a Problem - A2 Fix It
To report any maintenance issues or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It. Keep in mind that parks are large spaces and A2 Fix It requests can be hard 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. Users can also utilize the pin (website) or X (mobile app) feature to provide specific location information inside the park. Please consider including a wide angle photo, 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. For special projects ideas in natural areas, Natural Area Preservation staff will guide you and provide project guidelines unique to natural areas.
Ann Arbor's city parks sit on the ancestral and traditional homelands of several indigenous Native peoples. Read a land acknowledgement from the city and learn more about the early history of the land here.
Marshall Nature Area was sold to the City of Ann Arbor in 1966 by Dr. Mark Marshall and Lois Marshall, for use as a park. The homestead of the Marshall family remained as a caretaker's house for many years until 1996. This house was in the oak grove next to the parking area. Parts of the park were once grazed fields. The remnants of a pine plantation can be found on the north end of the park.
In 2022, the
Dixboro Road Pathway was completed. This path links the park's main entrance to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, the Botanical Gardens Trail, and further south, to the
Read Natural Area Preservation newsletters highlighting Marshall Nature Area:
1996 Park Focus: Marshall Nature Area
2008 Park Focus: Marshall Nature Area by Shira Diem, Anna Shipley, and Jason Tallant
Email [email protected]a2gov.org for incorrect/outdated information.