Trails at Nichols Arboretum

Walking Trails in the Arb

Nearly 3.5 miles of trails crisscross the Arb and connect all three of its entrances: at Nichols Drive, Geddes Road, and Washington Heights. The trails pass by or through important areas of the Arboretum such as the peony garden, Heathdale, Alex Dow Field, along the Huron River, the main valley, and others. Maps of the Arb are located at each entrance. Walkers and hikers only on the trails and in the Arb; no bikes please. Dogs allowed on leash.

Suggested walking routes from the Washington heights entrance:


Laurel Ridge Trail

Laurel Ridge introduces visitors to beautiful selections of azalea and rhododendrons—members of the laurel family—as well as tree peonies and compatible Asiatic shrubs. These plants thrive here because of the acidic soil provided by the old pine stand and their location on a northerly slope, which offers protection from winter sunburn.

Click here for an interactive story map of Laurel Ridge created by Jessica Riojas, Doris Duke Conservation Scholar intern.

The tree peonies bloom in late April to early May. The azaleas are among the best of small-scale contemporary hybrids with May-flowering blooms in a range of colors and fragrances. Hybrid rhododendrons, with their evergreen foliage, bloom in late May to June. The deciduous viburnums provide partial screening from the nearby peony garden in the summer and beautiful foliage color in the fall.

Laurel Ridge Trail is at the Nichols Arboretum.

Laurel Ridge Trail plantings were funded through gifts from the Post family. For more information on how you can help support Laurel Ridge Trail, please contact our director of development Meredith Olson:; 734.647.7847.

Azaleas in the Arb

The entry to Laurel Ridge Trail at Nichols Arboretum. (Photo by Michele Yanga.)