The Ridges Sanctuary

Preservation, Education, and Research


The Ridges Sanctuary is internationally recognized for the incredible diversity of plant life found here. Nearly 500 vascular plants find their home in this rich complex of boreal forest and wetlands. Some, like the delicate Twinflower, are typically found much further north, but can survive here because of the cooling effects of Lake Michigan. Others, like the insect-eating Pitcher Plant and Sundew, prefer the acidic waters of the swales. Twelve endangered or threatened plant species are protected within the Sanctuary.

Among all the plants found here, perhaps none are better known and sought after than the orchids. Over 25 native orchids bloom in The Ridges Sanctuary. These range in size from the tiny Heartleaf Twayblade to the tall, elegant Showy Lady’s-slipper. In order to protect these rare beauties from damage or theft, exact locations of most orchid species are usually not disclosed except to qualified researchers.

Visitors to The Ridges can hike the trail year-round. There are also opportunities to take  a guided hike with one of our experienced Naturalists. For more information on these opportunities, click here.