The largest portion of The Ridges campus is found on the north end of the bay of Baileys Harbor. Much of this area, which includes the original 40 acres, is made up of a series of low, sandy ridges alternating with wet areas called swales. The ridges run parallel to the shoreline of Baileys Harbor and extend inland about a mile. Cooling breezes from Lake Michigan help to sustain a boreal forest in the Sanctuary – a forest type that is more characteristic of most of Canada. Many of the plants found in this area are more typically found further north, but survive here because of the cooling effect of Lake Michigan.
The Sanctuary is open to the public year-round and features hundreds of species of native wildflowers along its five miles of rustic trails and bridges.