Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trillium Ravine

Trillium Ravine is a 15 acre nature sanctuary preserved by the Michigan Nature Association. It's about an hour's drive from Kalamazoo, just outside the town of Niles, MI.

This Tuesday was the first time I had visited and the wildflowers were spectacular. The trillium were abundant and in peak flower. There were literally thousands of White-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) covering the sides of the ravine and the forest floor along the trail. This preserve is also known for two other species of trillium: Prairie Trillium (Trillium recurvatum) and Toad Trillium (Trillium sessile). Both have dark-red (or maroon) flowers and both were in bloom this week.

Like many other wildflowers, these trillium seem to be blooming much earlier this year. Tom Power's guidebook said trillium at this preserve bloom as early as April 9th. Joann and John Smith posted photos from a visit on May 1, 2011 showing the same blooms a full month later.

The preserve is easy to reach. It's less than a mile from US-31 exit 7, Walton Road. Taking Walton Road (east), the turn for the preserve is immediately past the US-31 cloverleaf. Geyer Road doesn't look very promising since it leads into a subdivision and is marked No Outlet. Geyer Road turns into Riverside Drive and the houses spread out in the woods. The preserve is on the right side (west) of Riverside and well-marked. The trail is a short, clearly-marked, loop.

Trillium Ravine Preserve
(approximate address:)
2500 Riverside Drive
Niles, Michigan 49120

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