The city park system abounds in wild pockets. These range in size from the Hannah Nature Area, a quaint 1-acre wooded site at the end of Bath St. just west of Seventh St., to the sprawling Marshall Nature Area, 79 acres of ridges, hollows, and low-lying meadows east of Domino’s Farms. Located between the Leslie Park Golf Course and Upland Dr., the Leslie Woods Nature Area is a mature woodland that contains some of the largest oaks and hickories within the park system. Another oak-hickory woods, the Bluffs Nature Area above North Main St. features steeply wooded slopes and trails popular among mountain bikers. Two obscure entrances on Miller west of Newport drop off immediately into the Miller Nature Area, a densely overgrown valley. Many small trails switch direction so quickly that disorientation can set in; plunge ahead and you’ll eventually emerge in a quiet neighborhood on Arborview.
The 54-acre Olson Park, at Dhu Varren Rd. and Pontiac Tr., honors former Ann Arbor parks director Ron Olson, who went on to head Michigan’s state park system. Transformed from a gravel pit, Olson includes wetlands, woods, Traver Creek, and Traver Pond, providing a habitat for many species of native plants, butterflies, songbirds, and migratory waterfowl. It has a half-mile paved path surrounding Traver Pond, a basketball court, a dog park, soccer fields, a playground, a picnic shelter, and a dense net of mountain bike trails.