Ruthven Nature Area


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​​​Ruthven Nature Area is a 29 acre natural area located northeast of the intersection of Huron Parkway and Geddes Road, just across Geddes from Gallup Park. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas map​ for location context. Trails enter the park from Huron Parkway and Geddes. This site is an excellent example of glacial terrain. As glaciers receded from our area thousands of years ago, hills and depressions were left behind by the melting ice. As glaciers melt away, sand and gravel trapped in the ice are moved and sorted by streams and may accumulate in crevices in the ice. Eventually the ice below melts too, leaving an isolated hill of sand or gravel on the landscape. These glacier-created hills are called kames, and the hill in Ruthven is one of them. The sandy soil of the hill drains quickly, so the vegetation is different there. This topography supports diverse ecosystems, including dry fields with sparse trees atop the kame, and wetlands in the kettle area. The climb to the top of the kame is well worth the view of the Huron River and surrounding areas. If you look closely, you might find fox tracks or dens on the kame. In the kettle area, frogs are abundant and can be heard calling on spring and summer evenings. Indigo buntings can be heard calling from the kame in the summer.​ This nature area is undergoing restoration efforts by the staff and volunteers from the Natural Area Preservation unit​, including prescribed ecological burns and removal of non-native invasive plants.​

Park Notices

Unless otherwise posted per City Council resolution, 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.

Park Hours

6 a.m. – Midnight



Unpaved Trails



Access and Parking

Parking is available in Gallup Park at the Boat Launch entrance​, across Geddes Avenue from the park. Geddes can be crossed at the crosswalk at the corner of Huron Parkway and Geddes.​​​

There is a paved multi-use pathway along Huron Parkway and sidewalks along Fuller Road, but no sidewalks along Geddes Avenue. There are no bike lanes on Huron, Fuller, or Geddes.

Public Transportation

There is a bus stop on Huron Parkway immediately adjacent to the park entrance. Visit TheRide for closest stops and route details or check out the parks ride guide. ​​​​​​


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 a​bout the early history of the land here.​​

Ruthven Nature Area was bought by the city from the Ruthven family in 1966.​

Recent Developments

An additional eight-acre parcel of land was added to Ruthven in 2019, after the city bought land bordering the park on its eastern side from Windy Crest Partnership.​ The majority of this addition lies within important floodplain land, as Millers Creek runs through it.

Read Natural Area Preservation Newsletters describing the natural features and restoration efforts in Ruthven:

2009 Park Focus: Ruthven Nature Area by Jason Tallant

2020 Park Focus: Ruthven Nature Area by Meija Knafl


Volunteer in the parks

Looking to make an impact in a park or nature area? Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation provides volunteer opportunities for almost every interest, ability, and commitment level.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities
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A2 Fix It

A2Fix It - Service request tool

A2 Fix It is an online system you can use to report any maintenance issues or other problems during your park visit. When reporting an issue in a park please include detailed location information in the "details and description" section near the end of the request process. Pictures that provide location context are very helpful.

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