The Nan Weston Preserve is a 248 acre parcel owned by the Nature Conservancy. The preserve lies in the River Raisin adjacent to the Sharon Mills County Park.
In an area highly altered by agriculture, logging and development. The Nan Weston Preserve serves to protect the remaining native ecosystems and provide stopover habitat for migrating birds.
The preserve features a trail system with several loops traveling through a native oak and hickory forest. The trails are often muddy and in places raised boardwalks have been constructed to allow passage.
The preserve is especially beautiful in both the spring and fall seasons. In the spring there are a vast array wildflowers, including huge areas of large flowered trilliums. In the fall, the forest turns to gold with the autumn leaves filling the trees and covering the forest floor.
- Scenery – 5
- Trail Condition – 3
- Quiet/Solitude – 5
- Difficulty – 2
- Overall – 4.5
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The trail begins on the south side of the parking lot and heads immediacy into the forest. This area gives a great first impression of what lies ahead, however, after a few hundred feet, the trail crosses a meadow under some high-power lines that remind you how important it is to preserve a place like this.
Once across the meadow, the trail dives back into the woods and heads towards the River Raisin. The path crosses many small streams, sometimes taking to raised walkways to keep your feet out of the mud and out of a fragile ecosystem.
On the fall day that I walked this forest, the ground was completely covered with a quilt of yellow and red leaves. Fortunately, the trail is well blazoned because, at times, it was hard to tell where the path was going. I admit to getting off trail a few times, but easily corrected when I found the next blazon.
After a while, the path comes to the River Raisin shore. The water is slow here because of the Sharon Mill millpond just downstream. I thoroughly enjoyed the picturesque scene there with the autumn leaves slowly drifting by on the river’s surface.
The walk back to the car gave me a chance to really take a closer look and enjoy the details of the autumn landscape here at the preserve. The mix and variety of the trees in the woodland made for an incredible show of fall colors. I know that I want to come back here in the spring to see the flowers burst from that same forest floor and start the cycle again.
Nature Conservancy Video
Spotlight on Nature: Nan Weston Nature Preserve
Where is this?
The Nan Weston Preserve is located just east of the intersection of Easudes Rd and Jacob Rd in Manchester, MI
|Address||Easudes Road at Jacob Road, |
Manchester, MI 48158
|Trail Length||3 Mile Loop (estimate)|
|Highlights||The natural areas are complete filled with interesting birds and plants|
|Access||Unpaved Parking Lot|
|Accessibility||The trail is a basic dirt trail with boardwalks and many stairs.|
|Website||Nan Weston Preserve|
|Map||Nan Weston Preserve Trail Map|
|Best time to visit||Fall and Spring|