Baker Woods Preserve – Chelsea, MI
Today I explored a new find, Baker Woods Preserve. The preserve covers 70 acres of old forest, open grasslands, and rolling hills and features well-maintained a trail system. Its varied ecosystem supports a large variety of birds and animals.
Baker Woods has been part of the Washtenaw County parks system since 2012 and was purchased under the Natural Areas Preservation program. The trails and parking area were created in 2014.
This great preserve is located between Dexter and Chelsea in Lima Township and is just a short distance from the I-94 Old US-12/Jackson Road exit (exit 162).
- Scenery – 5
- Trail Condition – 3
- Quiet/Solitude – 5
- Difficulty – 2
- Overall – 5
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A graveled parking lot sits at the head of the trail. The park system maintains informational signs and maps here to let you know about the park and the trials. The trailhead also has a bike rack so you can safely park your bikes while enjoying the park.
The first half mile of the path passes through a hardwood forest. It’s a very peaceful walk through tall oaks and hickory trees. Most of the trees here have been around for at least a century, some maybe more than 200 years old. This forest is one of the few places in the county where I’ve gotten some idea of what Washtenaw must have been like before the 1800s.
When you take this walk, just pause for a moment on this part of the trail and close your eyes. Let your other senses take in the area as well. After a few moments of smelling the forest and hearing the birds, I bet you’ll fee more relaxed, your mood will improve and some of your everyday stress will have melted away.
After crossing a small stream, the trail leads up to the meadows, a more open and grassy area of the park. As you walk up the trail it forks, forming a loop that goes around the northern end of the park. It doesn’t matter which way you go at the fork, in the end, you’ll end up back here. However, there is a shortcut trail through the meadow that cuts across the loop (see the map) that got me a little lost at first, but if you’re worried, always take the right path and you won’t get turned around — or (pro tip) grab a map at the trailhead (like I forgot to).
On my visit, I found colorful Cedar Waxwings and Indigo Buntings flying in and out of the trees on the edge of the grasses. There were also numerous other sparrows, small birds, and butterflies that filled the area. Finally, as I getting ready to leave, a flock of 20 Sandhill cranes that did a flyover to get to the farmer’s adjacent cornfield.
One note – the walk into meadow loop also gains about 40′ in elevation towards the back of the park. The trail is well designed, so there’s never much of a hill ahead of you, but if you have any problems with climbing slopes, take the left turn at the fork and the route up is less of an incline.
All in all, I had a great time at this preserve and will be coming back as often as I need a dose of natural calm to combat the modern world.
Where is this?
Baker Woods Preserve is located at 11914 Trinkle Rd, Dexter, MI 48130. It’s north of I-94 at the Exit 163 (Old US Hwy 12 ) east of Chelsea MI
|Address||11914 Trinkle Rd, Dexter, MI 48130|
|Trail Length||1.25 Miles|
|Highlights||Silence, abundant birds and wildlife|
|Access||Unpaved Parking Lot|
|Accessibility||Part of the trail is paved, some is hard packed earth. The trail has no stairs and some portions are steep.|
|Website||Washtenaw County Parks|
|Map||Baker Woods Trail Map|
|Best time to visit||Anytime|