“A beautiful escape from the city right in your backyard. This trail will warm your heart with its wildlife and views.”
— Rouge Park
Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Prairie Pathway is a unique escape to the countryside close to home. This trail is bursting with wildlife and scenic views. From beginning to end, there is always something to see and photograph along the trail. This trail also serves as a wonderful education opportunity to show children different animal, plant, and insect species.
Need to Know
At some points along the trail the ground can get a little lumpy. There is also a small wetland area that may develop after a heavy rainfall but there is another path that leads around the wetland.
This is a nice trail to run. It is a mowed grass trail that is well maintained and a mostly level ground surface. There is a spot on the trail where the ground becomes lumpy for a distance of about three yards where the wetland may be after a heavy rain. There is another portion of the trail that goes around the lumpy area.
The Prairie Trail is located on the corner of Outer Drive and Tireman Avenue in Detroit's Rouge Park. The trail is 1.7 miles long and is mostly on level ground. The path is wide and can have two or three people running side by side which makes it great for kids and families.
The path is cut through grass and is well maintained. It's all meadow and prairie land with scenic views that make you forget you're in a big city. Along the entire trail, you'll come across multiple kinds of beautiful butterflies and birds which makes this a great place for nature photography. Be sure to add on the Butterfly Garden Trail
for an added bonus. There is plenty of parking available on site.
The trailhead for this trail sits on an intersection where the other trails begin, the Stone Bridge Nature Trail
and Rouge Park Mountain Bike and Hiking Hybrid Trail
, each offering different experiences and sights to see.
Flora & Fauna
This trail is home to deer, foxes, turkeys, frogs, garter snakes and more. It is home for many different kinds of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects. There are wildflowers and other beautiful plants, as well as tall, flowing prairie grass all across the area. If you are looking for a good spot for nature photography, this is the place.
History & Background
From 1955 to 1963, Rouge Park was an Army site known as NIKE Missile Battery D-69. The Prairie Pathway is located where the Launcher Area used to be, and the surrounding land was home to barracks, a mess hall, and other military facility buildings. Today, there is no trace of the missile launcher site anywhere along the Prairie Pathway, but on neighboring trails you'll see old stone ledges or stairs that have become part of the landscape over the years.