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Joe Prance Nature Trail and Butterfly Gardens



0.9 mile 1.5 kilometer out and back
100% Runnable


Ascent: 15' 5 m
Descent: -15' -5 m
High: 622' 190 m
Low: 616' 188 m


Avg Grade: 1% (0°)
Max Grade: 2% (1°)


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Trail shared by Rouge Park

Joe Prance Nature Trail and Butterfly Gardens is a calming, beautiful hideaway located within Detroit's Rouge Park.

Rouge Park

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildlife

There is a curfew for this park; like most, it is open from dawn until dusk.


The Joe Prance Nature Trail was recently renovated in the summer of 2017. This trail is a basic running trail with a twist. The trail features two butterfly gardens with interpretive signs to learn about what you may see. It is located at the back north side of Joe Prance Pocket Park near West Chicago Road with another trail entrance at the very back center of the park near the tree line.

Need to Know

There are patches of poison ivy throughout the trail but the ivy tends to stay off to the sides of the pathway, so use extra caution. The back side of the trail sometimes floods and remains muddy for a few days after an excessive amount of rain. Closed toe shoes and long pants are recommended.


The terrain for this trail is mostly level. There are some stumps, tree roots, gravel and uneven ground at a few parts throughout the trail but nothing excessive. The butterfly gardens are often used by locals as a place to read a book or just enjoy nature. This trail is located within a residential neighborhood, and due to the short trail distance, residents walk their dogs on the trail frequently. This trail is located inside of Joe Prance Pocket Park on the corner of West Chicago and West Parkway roads in Detroit, MI. There is parking on site. There are also bathrooms on location.

Flora & Fauna

Along this trail you may see chipmunks, deer, different kinds of birds, muskrat, raccoon, or even a coyote. The butterfly gardens create extra opportunity to see different kinds of butterflies and other insects.

History & Background

Located in the city of Detroit, Rouge Park is the city's largest park. Rouge Park contains many features for people to enjoy like play structures, grill areas, community pools, Buffalo Soldier Stables, Stone Bridge Nature Trail and Joe Prance Pocket Park with the nature trail and butterfly gardens, among others.

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Apr 15, 2019
Juan Nunez

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes


in Rouge Park


  5.0 from 3 votes
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11 Views Last Month
1,400 Since Dec 4, 2017



The beginning of the trail just after the trailhead.
Dec 6, 2017 near Dearbor…, MI
looking up a small hill that the trail goes down.
Dec 6, 2017 near Dearbor…, MI
Leading to the Butterfly Gardens
Dec 6, 2017 near Dearbor…, MI
The second butterfly garden.
Dec 6, 2017 near Dearbor…, MI
Interpretive signs in the first butterfly garden
Dec 6, 2017 near Dearbor…, MI
The trail dips down a few feet and goes back up again in this spot. The trail was freshly cleared during the 2017 renovations as seen by the cut logs on the left side.
Dec 6, 2017 near Dearbor…, MI


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