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Trail wends through the tree canopy in Michigan's Dow Gardens

The High Road

Trail wends through the tree canopy in Michigan's Dow Gardens

In central Michigan, a new walkway is snaking its way through a forest canopy. The elevated trail was designed by Philadelphia-based firm Metcalfe for the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, a historic public garden established by Herbert H. Dow, the founder of Dow Chemical, in 1899.

The 1,400-foot-long catwalk snakes through the canopy 40 feet above the floor of the 54-acre forest.

Photo of an elevated trail with a mesh bottom
Mesh netting at a trail spur (Nic Lehoux)

At various points, trail’s solid floor turns into mesh netting that visitors can sit on, floating among the tree trunks.

Photo of an elevated trail with a covered structure at the end
Another spur looking over a pond (Nic Lehoux)

Structures built along the trail create other spaces for reflection and observation to complement other structures on the site, including a playground, visitors’ center, café, and educational spaces.