Bird Hills

Difficulty: ????
Part of the SummerGame2014 Game

Welcome to Bird Hills, the city's largest park! For this badge, you’ll need some good walking shoes and a good amount of time — the trails in this park involve significant hills and are not stroller-friendly, unlike many other Ann Arbor parks. You may even break a sweat! You’ll want to print out the current brochure for the park. This badge relies more on you following that map and identifying features on it as you make your way through than it does on in-park signage.

To get started, park in the lot off Newport Road (if construction makes this difficult, or if you prefer, you can start at the Bird Road entrance). Take a short walk back up the entrance drive to the informational kiosk along Newport Road. The panels summarize the history of the park and have pictures of what the area used to look like. You'll be visiting some of the features shown, but much has changed in the last 200 years...

The previous owner, Henry Graves, initially planned to develop and subdivide the land into smaller parcels. The University of Michigan Dean of Forestry was involved in the planning process— enter his name from the "Past & Present" panel for your first code.

Next, look for the picture of a rocky-sounding road taken in 1928 on this same panel and enter the name for your second code.

You will be traveling a section of that road on this hike, which will take you through the heart of Bird Hills. NOTE: for some of the features, two numbers will be given: the first corresponds to map numbers on the kiosk (and in older park brochures), and the second to those in the current brochure.

Take the trail that starts behind the kiosk. You'll pass some townhouses on the left, then climb a small rise and descends to a four-way intersection. Go straight, up and over another rise to the next intersection (a log bench will be on your left). Continue straight, and you'll start the climb to the top of a ridge. The trail levels off just before coming to an intersection, with another log bench on your right. Take a left here, and go straight where a trail enters from the right (you'll be returning on that trail). The trail is mostly level for a while, then it will take a small dip. Just past this, look for an extraordinarily short side trail to the right (just a few feet!) leading to one of the named features (6/7). Enter its colorful name for your next code.

A short distance past this, look for a side trail to the left, leading to a very distinct tree (5/6). Its name is your fourth code.

Return to the main trail and you'll begin the descent to Bird Road. Look for the short section of concrete tracks, the last remnants of the farm road (aka what you entered for your second code) constructed more than a century ago. Keep descending until you come to a narrower trail entering on the right. The main trail continues straight to Bird Road, but you'll take this new trail back towards Newport Road. This trail (-/7) is named in honor of a former Ann Arbor Parks Commissioner; enter his name for your next code.

The trail starts fairly level and makes a wide right turn shortly after leaving the intersection. There are views of the Huron River, down and to the left, from this section of the trail. Soon, however, the trail starts climbing, with many twists and turns along the way. While walking this stretch, look for the two species of trees described in the brochure that are near the northern limit of their ranges. Both have distinctive leaves, but only one was once used to make refreshing drinks. Enter the name of the park feature (9/9) for your final code.

One last pitch gets you back to the top of the ridge. Hang a left, then a right (you might want to stop at the log bench for a breather and to rehydrate) to get on the trail back to Newport Road.

360 SummerGame2014 point bonus when earned

This badge has been awarded to 145 players

Game CodeDescriptionEarned On
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