Bluffs Nature Area

header image
Skip Navigation LinksHome » Departments » Parks and Recreation » Parks and Places » Bluffs Nature Area


​​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 Area​s 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.​ There is a landfill and a recycling bin at the ​southern Sunset Road entrance.​

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.​

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



Landfill & Recycling Bins​



Access and Parking

​There is street parking available at the Sunset Road entrance. There is street parking at the unsigned Orkn​ey Drive entrance​. There is a small dirt parking lot at 1279 N. Main Street. There is some street parking on Huron View Boulevard on the north side of the park. Refer to posted signage regarding parking rules and restrictions.

The park is accessible on bike and foot by riding and walking to the Sunset Road entrance through the neighborhood streets. There is no bike lane on Main Street. There are no bike racks at the park.​

Public Transportation

The nearest stop is less than a five minute​ walk from the Sunset Road entrance. Visit TheRide for closest stops and route details or check out the parks ride guide. ​​​​

Park History


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.​​

The first 20 acres that comprise Bluffs Nature Area were acquired by the city in 1952​. This land was acquired ​to preserve it and have it be public space. In 2001​ the city acquired nearly 20 ​more ​acres of land for Bluffs, saving the land from development and doubling the size of the nature area. The southern entrance on Sunset Road was added in 2010​ after the city purchased a small parcel of land from the bordering Elks Lodge. A new trail entrance was added off of Orkney Drive after the city purchased a small parcel of land from neighbors who bordered the park in 2013

To read more about Bluffs Nature Area history and other Natural Area Preservation activities, check out NAP Newsletter articles about the park: 

2023 Park Focus: Bluffs Nature Area by Renée Hytinen

2012 Bluffs Nature Areas: Welc​​oming Additions by Anne Rueter 

2001 Park Focus: Bluffs Nature Area by ​Chris Cookingham


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
Park Finder

Park Finder

Discover parks and find amenities through the City of Ann Arbor Park Finder. This map allows you to search park names or search by amenity type or keyword.

View the Park Finder
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.

Submit a request