Brauer Preserve Sign and Parking Area

A Ramble Through Beautiful Brauer Preserve

Brauer Preserve – Overview

In 2003, the Washtenaw County Natural Areas Preservation Program purchased 187 acres west of Ann Arbor from the Brauer family and then, seven years later, obtained an adjoining 39 acres. The result was Brauer Preserve, a 226-acre tract that protects diverse habitat types, from sandy knolls and upland oak/hickory forests to rich wetlands.

Heading to Brauer Preserve in Washtenaw County is a unique experience for nature lovers. This 226-acre tract protects diverse habitats, from sandy knolls to upland forests to wetlands, surrounding 85 acres of active farmland. The preserve provides a relaxing stroll – within sight of a big red barn to the mature trees and impressive fern communities that thrive in the hardwood swamp surrounding Lake Isabella. There are also plenty of trails, perfect for secluded walking. With its variety of habitats and views, Brauer Preserve is a great place to explore nature all year round. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an afternoon of outdoor adventure, Brauer Preserve is sure to please.

The preserved area has a 2-mile-long trail system consisting of four connected trails: Blue/Lake Isabelle Trail, Yellow/Woodland Loop Trail, Red/Oak Knoll Loop Trail, and Green/Far Fields Trail. Our walk below followed the Blue, Yellow, Red, and Lake Isabelle trails for about 2 miles.

Make sure to equip yourself with waterproof walking shoes or boots, as many trails may be wet and muddy, particularly the route leading to Lake Isabelle. Also, applying Mosquito repellant is a wise idea, as the little buggers are out in force in the summer and fall months.

We heartily suggest you head out and discover the stunning beauty of Brauer Preserve! You’ll be glad you did. Immerse yourself in its magnificence and make unforgettable memories in the serene countryside with loved ones.

Brauer Preserve Sign and Parking Area
Brauer Preserve Sign and Parking Area


  • Scenery – 4
  • Trail Condition – 2 (spring)
  • Quiet/Solitude – 5
  • Difficulty – 2
  • Overall – 4
  • Trail-Packed Earth, Grass
  • Accessibility – See Below
  • Dogs Allowed – No
  • Bikes Allowed – No

Location – Lodi Township (see map below)

Gear Suggested – Waterproof Boots, Mosquito repellant, Long Pants & Sleeves

Park – The Walk

Getting to Brauer park is very easy. It’s located just south of Scio Church Rd on Parker Rd in Lodi Township. There are signs along Parker that indicate the parking lot entrance.

Notice Board at the Brauer Preserve Trail Head Notes
Notice Board

The path starts as a wide and well-maintained grass path into the (at least this year) cornfield. With the tall stalks on either side of the walk, it seems a bit like entering a corn maze, but in this case, you have a better prize when you get through it and enter the forest.

Once you pass through the crops, the path takes a turn and heads into the woodlands proper. The path here changes from a broad grassway to a simple trail. The trail passes into the woodlands, and you quickly find yourself surrounded by old oaks, hickories, and lush undergrowth.

This is your first chance to see the tranquil beauty of Brauer’s forests. A mix of oak, hickory, and other upland trees makes this woods a great place to let your stresses go and drink in the stillness of nature.

Out of the first woods, you can join the Red Loop trail and head further into the preserve. The Red Loop’s woods is a little thinner, but the trail winds up and down some sandy hills where the dappled light fills a wetland filled with native plants, mosses, and fungi.

I found one of my favorite plants here, the Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora). Sometimes called the Ghost Plant or Indian Pipe, this delicate plant pops up a few days after a rainfall, dotting the forest floor with eery white stalks.

I found one of my favorite plants here, the Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora). Sometimes called the Ghost Plant or Indian Pipe, this delicate plant pops up a few days after a rainfall, dotting the forest floor with eery white stalks.


The Brauer Preserve is an great place to explore and to spend some time in a rich example of a Michigan forest. The trails are well kept and the scenery keeps changing the deeper you explore into the area. The Lake is probably a better sight in the fall and spring rather than high summer, but it seems to be rich with wildlife and fowl. I’m looking forward to seeing how the forest changes with different seasons.

Path Taken

Total distance: 2.63 mi
Max elevation: 942 ft
Min elevation: 912 ft

Leave No Trace and Obey The Park Rules

Please Remember

  • Always leave no trace, pack out everything you take in. We suggest that you bring an empty bag with you so you can pack out your trash and remove any that you see along the way.
  • Stay on marked trails. Straying into the undergrowth can damage delicate ecosystems.
  • Parks and preserves are surrounded by private lands. Please be respectful of property boundaries and stay inside the public land.
  • Let someone know where you are going. Some areas have limited or no cell service, so if you get stuck you may not be able to call for help.
  • Read the notes, warnings, and information provided at the park readerboard/kiosk. There may be closed trails or special seasonal information.
  • Respect the no bikes, no dogs, and no horses rules. These are posted and may be updated at any time.
  • Respect wildlife and nature. Do not approach or disturb animals or birds living in the area.
  • Leave only footprints – Take only pictures.

For more information on Leave No Trace – see

Where is this?

Park – Facts

Address3200 South Parker Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Size226 Acres
Trail Length2.25 Miles (Blue/Yellow/Red Loop)
HighlightsThe natural areas are filled with interesting birds and plants.
AccessUnpaved parking lots on Parker Rd.
AmenitiesNot much
AccessibilityPart of the trail is mown grass, some areas are very wet. Not advised for wheelchairs or people who need assistance walking.
Best time to visitAnytime (Bring good boots in the spring 😉 )

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