Get to Know Sharon Hills Nature Preserve Located on the western edge of the rolling Sharon Short Hills, the Sharon Hills Nature Preserve was shaped by glacial activity thousands of years ago during the last major period of glaciation. The hills, made up of sandy and rocky glacial debris, are an end moraine in the Jackson interlobate region.
Prior to colonization, the site likely supported oak savanna habitat and wetlands. In the late 1920s it was logged and the site of a sand pit. There is also evidence of a former homestead. Because of poor, easily eroding soils, it was used for many years as grazing land for livestock. Most recently it was used and owned by University of Michigan professors David and Ellie Shappirio, John Allen, Edith Maynard, and Sally Allen for entomology. The group donated the land to Legacy Land Conservancy in 2000 at the completion of their insect research.
This 67-acre preserve now contains a range of habitats including remnant prairie, meadows, wetlands, and oak-hickory forest. It provides a refuge for many of the upland game bird species that call Michigan home, including the wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and ring-necked pheasant.
From the parking lot the outer loop, Tolen Trail, is a good mile hike with various trails leading off the exterior loop making 2.2 miles of trail in total. We suggest you take a copy of our trails map with you when you walk, as the winding trails and convoluted landforms can be confusing. This is the only Legacy preserve where horseback riding and falconry (with a permit) are allowed.
Parking – Look for the signs on the east side of the road and park in the grassy parking area just off Sharon Hollow Road.