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Stage Nature Center

Headlands Trail MapWhen thinking about a nature getaway and beautiful trails, we automatically think about a trip "up north". However, excellent nature areas, well developed trails and Michigan wildlife are sometimes close at hand, even in metropolitan areas. The trails and wildlife at the Stage Nature Center in Troy, Michigan are a perfect example of these urban treasures.

Trails start immediately outside the visitors center. These are primarily wood chip trails that are wide and well shaded. The trail system is divided in to a number of loops and winds through about 100 acres. There is variety of wildlife here due to the diversity of habitats including forest, meadow, marsh, pond and stream. In fact, the streams here are the headwaters of the Rouge River.

The trail loops are easy walks, accessible to nearly everyone. The longest, the Blackbird Loop, is less than 3/4 of a mile in length. It includes a boardwalk that passes through a wet forest, a dry meadow, a climax forest, and a wet sedge meadow. This mix of habitats is home to a broad range of plant life.

The Sugar Maple Loop is less than 1/2 mile long. It winds through a low, wet forest. Growing along the way are musclewood, skunk cabbage and old American elms. When the trail moves into a dryer area, there are sugar maples, beeches, and red oak. The Bluebird Trail is quite short, in fact, it functions as a short cut for the Blackbird Loop. The trail pathway defines the edge between a forest and field. This habitat is home to an amazing variety of animals.

Then there is the Fox Trail, again, less than 1/2 mile long. Lots of different natural features are found on this trail including some created by human disturbance. There is a short side trail that leads to the "Marsh Tower" From there one gets an excellent view of the bottomlands of the Rouge River. This is also the trail that leads to a clearing where the annual dance of the woodcock occurs.