Marshall Nature Area

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Overview

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 be​​​​gin 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 Pr​eserve 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 B2B Trail.​

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.

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. – 10 p.m.

Amenities

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Unpaved Trails


 

Trash & Recycling​


 
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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.

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Public Transportation

The nearest bu​s s​top 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 TheRide for closest stops and route details or check out the parks ride guide. ​​​

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.​​

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. T​he 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 B2B Trail.

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



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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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