Park Address: 100 Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor MI 48105
Hours and Rules
Open 6 a.m.-midnight with quiet hours beginning at 10 p.m. 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.
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.
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 The Ride for closest stops and route details or check out the parks ride guide.
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 that support their mission to protect and restore Ann Arbor's natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens. If you are feeling the call to volunteer or give some time, reach out or explore the website above to see what’s upcoming or how to get involved.
Report a Problem - A2 Fix It
To report any maintenance issues or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It. 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. For special projects ideas in natural areas, Natural Area Preservation staff will guide you and provide project guidelines unique to natural areas.
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
Updated April 2022. Email [email protected] for incorrect/outdated information.