Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail is a paved hiking and biking path that connects the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens with a network of trail systems throughout the area. The trail provides an important non-motorized link from the botanical gardens to Washtenaw County’s Parker Mill Park to the south, with connections to the regional Border-to-Border Trail, the local Gallup Park pathway, and beyond.

The trail  provides a safer travel route that parallels but avoids Dixboro Rd., a busy Washtenaw County artery with a narrow shoulder inadequate for safe biking or walking. As it makes its way to Parker Mill Park, the two-mile path crosses parts of the botanical gardens, Radrick Golf Course, and the grounds of the U-M Adventure Leadership Program. The project was completed in the fall of 2017.

The trail expands on existing non-motorized connections to University of Michigan and St. Joseph Mercy Hospitals, University of Michigan Central and North Campuses, Eastern Michigan University and Ypsilanti, Concordia University and Washtenaw County Community College, as well as public transportation to these destinations.

Nonmotorized transportation connections to U-M’s campus are central to Matthaei Botanical Gardens’ strategic goals. Currently more than 135,000 visitors each year carpool, ride a bike, or drive a car to get to Matthaei. The trail allows them to leave their cars safely behind.

The completed trail caps a multi-year collaboration between the University, state and local agencies, businesses, and individuals. The trail travels over land owned by the University of Michigan, which granted an easement for the project. Washtenaw County Parks, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and Michigan Department of Transportation together provided more than $2.5M for the trail construction. In addition to these grants, over 125 individuals and businesses contributed almost $800K toward the trail.

The trail is open daily year-round but is not maintained in the winter.

A map of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail
Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail

A fall 2017 photo of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens Trail shows off the beauty of one of its boardwalk bridges. (Photo by Larry B. Miller.)