Visiting Dahlem

Visiting Dahlem

  • Five miles of walking trails are open daily from dawn to dusk by donation. A donation box is posted at the front walkway entrance by our big trail map.  Friendly reminder, you may walk your leashed dog on our Butterfly Trail located off Wickwire Road and parking is available at the Dahlem Ecology Farm parking lot.
  • Offices, Nutshell Gift Shop, and Exhibit areas are open Tuesday to Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
  • Questions, contact us!




Calling (517)782-3453 Tuesday-Friday 9 am-4 pm or by filling out a contact form at

Dahlem Welcomes People from All Walks of Life

  • Nature for All Trail – this 3/8 mile special paved trail was installed to provide outdoor experiences for visitors with limited mobility. This includes people with disabilities, seniors with walkers, young families with strollers. Several benches along the way provide resting spots with pleasant views, and interpretive signage engages all your senses as you participate in a sensory safari along the way.
  • Butterfly Trail – this trail can be accessed at the Dahlem Ecology Farm located off of Wickwire Road in Jackson. This grassy trail loops around fields and meadows of Golden Rod and other native wildflowers. The trail also provides opportunities to watch pollinators like monarch butterflies and honey bees at work. The Butterfly Trail is Dahlem’s ONLY dog-friendly trail available.  Dogs must be leashed.
  • The Nature Playscape was built to help families new to nature get a taste of what playing in the woods can be like while at the same time being a little bit safer. Our climbing tree, the giant boulders, the hollow logs, and wobbly bridge are just a few of the elements that make the playscape a favorite with children and adults alike.
  • Painted Rocks Movement – A new movement within the Jackson community has spread to Dahlem! In 2017, many visitors were delighted to find beautifully painted rocks throughout our trails. The idea is that if you find a rock, you can either leave it in it’s place or “hide” it in another place on the property. If you paint rocks and bring them out to Dahlem, we just ask that you are respectful of where you are hiding them and avoid walking through garden spaces, sources of water, and the habitats of the critters.
  • The Children’s Garden, The Geology Garden, The Sensory Garden, The Native Plant Gardens – Dahlem’s entry way and visitor center are surrounded by several gardens that enhance your visit. The Children’s Garden is maintained by the Jackson County Master Gardeners and is a tribute to Natalie Emmons, who loved nature and passed away while she was still very young. The Geology Garden is full of large rocks that delight children and adults alike. The Sensory Garden engages your sense of touch, smell and sight and you interact with many of the plants. And gardeners who want to do more to help local wildlife can see the variety of native plants in the Native Plant Gardens (around the office building and classrooms) that can enhance any garden and landscape.
  • Photographers and Nature Enthusiasts enjoy walking along our five-plus miles of trails, which take visitors through oak-hickory woods and grasslands, over streams and by ponds and fens. Our efforts to reclaim abandoned farmland and re-establish native habitats has resulted in a resurgence of native wildflowers, insects, and birds.
  • Solace and Peace can be found while walking the trails. Visitors who are working through grief or PTSD have commented that the serenity of our trails has been a welcome balm and an important part of their healing journey.


The mission of the Dahlem Conservancy is to provide Environmental Education and Outdoor Experiences to the Residents of South Central Michigan.