Bluffs Nature Area is a roughly 40 acre tract of land that is filled with nature, yet is close to the comforts of the city. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas map for location context. On a glacially formed ridge, it is an important link in the corridor of natural areas surrounding the Huron River and supporting wildlife.
Footpath trails wind throughout Bluffs, with a lot of ups and downs. Some paths are quite steep, with many twists and turns. After a heavy rain and during snow melt, streams cross the paths in several spots.
Bluffs has a variety of natural features of note including an oak-hickory forest, wooded ravines, an open meadow, and glimpses of the Huron River in the distance. There are also a few examples of large older trees including open grown oaks and pine. Tough prairie species that have sprung up here include bluestem grasses, goldenrod, mountain mint, butterfly weed, boneset, lanceleaf coreopsis, blue-eyed grass and vervain. Three species of hickory: shagbark, pignut and bitternut are among the native nut trees growing in the park. It has been said that the largest collection of butternut trees in Ann Arbor can be found here as well. Uncommon understory trees and shrubs found are blue beech, witch hazel, hazelnut and highbush cranberry. Hikers are sure to enjoy the rugged trails throughout Bluffs, and it has long been a favorite place for bicycles.
In spring, expect to see all shades of green in the trees, plus violets, trout lilies, wild geraniums, and may apples. In summer, flowers shift to black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, yarrow, and bee balm, with dragon flies and butterflies flying about. Fall brings all sorts of colors in the trees and ground covers. Be careful about poison ivy, which can appear as low plants or vines growing up trees. Bird sounds and sights are common and a real treat. Deer sometimes appear. Small streams flow in several places, especially after heavy rains and snow melts.