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Trail Conditions

6/30/17: Most trails on the main property are open. The River Trail is open except for the oxbow loop. The pipeline section of the Sugar Bush Trail will remain closed due to water over the trail.  All trails have an accumulation of slippery sediment from the floods, so proceed with caution. The Ridge Trail is open, but wet in low areas. The Wetlands Trail is open with water on some spots, but passable. The River Point Trail is open and in the same condition as Ridge and Wetland trails. The river access on Homestead Road will remain closed due to slippery, unsafe conditions. The universal access canoe/kayak launch site will remain closed due to flood damage at this time.

6/26/17: Arbury Trail and the Wetlands area are open, and the Chippewa Trail is open from CNC to Patterson Rd. Other trails remain flooded and closed until further notice. The canoe and kayak launches on Chippewa River Road and Homestead Road are closed until further notice. Please stay safe and avoid flooded areas. We look forward to seeing you back at CNC!

5/2/17: Two and a half inches of rain over the last three days have the trails soggy, to say the least! The oxbow portion of the River Trail is once again under water and not usable. The river is scheduled to peak later today as long as the rain holds off. The upland trails including River Point and Ridge are also wet, with many areas that are muddy. Some good alternatives would be the Chippewa Trail and Arbury Trail. Other than occasional puddles, the homestead loop over to the Field Trail is also a short, but somewhat dry route at this time.

4/11/17: The water has receded, but trails remain muddy. The Oxbow Trail remains flooded. Most other trails are passable with proper footwear. Trails on higher ground are dry. Low spots on the Chippewa Trail remain underwater.

4/3/17: Despite the heavy rainfall Friday and sprinkles today, the trails are handling it well! However, there are wet areas in the lower portions of trails, especially in the Oxbow and Ridge Trails. With continued rain in the forecast for the remainder of the week, expect wet conditions on the lower trails in the flood plain areas. The Arboretum Trails remain damp, and in the back area to the east, they are somewhat impassable without a tall boot. If you are traveling down the beginning stretch of the River Trail just pass the arboretum by the river confluence, feel free to take the new reroute to your right just before the bridge. Even with the rain and wet conditions, this reroute remains dry and has added a nice water feature along the trail. As the weather improves, the bridge and old trail will be removed.

3/20/17: The snow has melted from the trails, and muddy conditions will likely follow for several weeks as the spring rains come in. The trails are still user friendly with appropriate footwear for the wet conditions. The Chippewa Trail is a great alternative! It’s in great condition and free of debris. CNC staff the trail’s bridges in the next two weeks. It will remain open during the repairs, although users may experience short delays while we move parts into position. We will try to avoid trail work on sunny warm days when trail use will be heavy. Thanks for the understanding.

3/13/17: Once again, the trails are snow covered. We will not be grooming since there is no base on the trails and the snow will be melting towards the end of the week. There looks to be about three inches of fresh snow, so the trail could be skied, although conditions are less than desirable. Towards the end of the week, we will start to see rain and temps above freezing. One can assume the trails will deteriorate as the week goes on. Expect muddy and wet conditions in the lower area of all trails.

2/27/17: The trails are very user friendly with the right footwear. Some of the lower interior trails are still quite wet. The River Trail is damp in the Oxbow and low surrounding areas. The higher areas of the trails have dried up nicely. With two days of rain in the forecast for this week, the trails will become muddy again. The Chippewa Trail is in great shape, with many users already out enjoying the unseasonable warm weather.

2/20/17: The warm weather last weekend helped to dry the surface of the trails. Unfortunately, they are still a little muddy in most places. The trails are clear of debris and easily passable (with the right footwear!). Most of the snow and ice is also melted off the Chippewa Trail. Staff will be doing some repair on the bridges on this trail in the next week; the trail will remain open.

2/14/17: The warm weather has relieved the ice situations on the trails.  Although they are muddy and wet, they are useable! Several walkers were able to navigate around the water with ease yesterday. With some early morning temps below freezing, you may find an occasional slick spot. Temps rising into the 50s will help to dry the trails.  All trails are ready for use. Enjoy!

2/8/17: The trails are ice covered and not user friendly, Chippewa Trail included. With warmer temps forecasted for Saturday, we’re hopeful the ice will melt off and trails will be walkable. Please use caution if you decide to Venture Out!

1/31/17: Winter seems to be back! All trail are walkable at this time. They have firmed up nicely with minimal ice patches. The trails have about an inch of snow on them – not quite enough to ski or groom, but better than the ice covered conditions of last week. Enjoy!

1/23/17: The warm rain has helped melt a lot of ice off the trails. Unfortunately, the River  and Homestead trails where we groom still have a thick layer of ice in most locations. We would not recommend using these trails. The homestead access at the River Trail was closed last week due to extremely hazardous ice. That is now open since the bulk of the ice has melted in that specific location. The Oxbow area is flooded. The interior trails on the main property and all trails on the outer properties seem to be useable, with the exception of occasional ice and wet, muddy conditions. Also, the parking lots of all outer properties are open.

1/16/17: Trails are still extremely icy with minimal snow, and not skiable. With the forecast for the week calling for high temps and rain, the trails will likely turn to slush.

1/11/17: With yesterday’s rain, the trails have minimal snow, and are ice covered in spots. Crews are working to clean up debris from downed branches due to high winds.

1/9/17: As you might imagine the trails are less than desirable. With the early grooming that was done it has made the base that is left extremely icy.  Expect ice patches and not much snow. Also with the wind over the past several days there are some small limbs and debris on the trail surface. The crew has removed all substantial downed trees and branches.

Trail Information & Map

Open every day from dawn-to-dark, you’re invited to enjoy 15+ miles of trails on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis through 1,200 acres of diverse ecosystems. Get out on the trails to take in spectacular views of the natural world while observing the plants and animals that call this area home.


Click on Map for a Larger Version

Our Trails

For the safety and enjoyment of all of our visitors and wildlife, CNC does not allow bikes, ORVs, dogs, smoking, fires, alcohol, picking or collecting. Pets are not allowed on Chippewa Nature property.

    A 0.4 mile paved loop. See four ecosystems and how they have been managed on one of our shortest trails. Enjoy an overlook of the Pine River.
    A 2.7 mile loop. Walk our longest trail along the rivers, through the Beech-Maple Woods, Oxbow Woods and wetland, and over old river beds.
    A 0.6 mile trail. Walk through the Homestead Farm, then hike along upland fields and woodlands to reach the Oxbow.
    Drive 2 minutes to this 1.7 mile loop. Explore all our wetland types, including our biggest marshes. Trail includes docks and a boardwalk.
    Drive 3 minutes to 2 miles of trail loops. Walk through a hemlock and birch woodland and see the River Point Pond and Chippewa River.
    Drive 3 minutes to this 1.5 mile loop. Follow a sand beach ridge of an ancient lake and see where fields are turning into young woodlands.
    Walk, bike or in-line skate to downtown Midland on this 3.5 mile, non-motorized paved pathway. Interpretive stops along the route tell the exciting story of this unique landscape. This is the only Chippewa Nature Center trail where bikes are allowed.

Chippewa Trail Facts

  • The trail is ADA accessible.
  • Interpretive signage along the trail describes the significant historical, cultural and natural features.
  • There are benches and resting areas along the trail.
  • Dogs are not allowed the trail on CNC land, but are allowed on the land owned by the city.
  • The trail is located on property owned by the City of Midland (from the Tridge through the softball complex), land donated to Chippewa Nature Center by The Dow Chemical Company (from the edge of the softball complex to Patterson Rd), and other land owned by Chippewa Nature Center (from Patterson Rd. to the Visitor’s Center).

In 2006, Chippewa Nature Center was awarded third place at the NAI Interpretive Media Awards, Wayside Exhibit category held in Albuquerque, NM, as part of the National Interpreter’s Workshop, for the interpretive panels along the Chippewa Trail. The Interpretive Media Awards Competition is brought to you by the National Association for Interpretation and its Visual Communications Section to promote excellence in the delivery of natural, cultural, and historical non-personal interpretive services. The purpose of the Chippewa Trail wayside exhibits at Chippewa Nature Center is to highlight and explore how the landscape they are passing through has changed through the millennia, by both natural and human actions. Chippewa Nature Center staff worked with Rosene Creative Services of Jasper, GA to design, fabricate and install the wayside exhibits.