Skip to main content


Image of Purdy Nature Preserve

Most people are familiar with the Y's role in youth development through popular programs such as swim lessons, youth sports, afterschool care and summer

day camp. But for over 100 years, the Y has also played an active role in helping kids and families connect with nature.

The Bruce B. Purdy Nature Preserve was created in 2005 through a donation of 104 acres of land to the YMCA of the Fox Cities from the late Bruce and Barbara Purdy. This unique parcel of land features wooded hills and ravines, open fields, restored prairie, ponds and wetlands, and pine plantations – all accessed through a network of approximately 3 miles of trails. Located on Appleton’s quickly growing north-side, the land within its boundaries is home to a diverse mix of local plant and animal life that is sure to interest all visitors to the preserve.

We ask all visitors to check-in at the Apple Creek YMCA, located at 2851 E. Apple Creek Rd., Appleton, WI 54913. Please enjoy the preserve responsibly while respecting plant life, wildlife and other preserve users. Preserve rules, maps and approximate trail lengths are available below, on the trail entrance kiosks or inside the Apple Creek YMCA.



Preserve Rules

All users must possess a YMCA membership, guest pass, or reside in Apple Hill Farms.

  • Trails open dawn to dusk
  • Hike on marked trails only
  • Please help keep our trails clean and carry-in, carry-out
  • No removal or destruction of plant or animal life
  • Swimming/Ice Skating is prohibited in or on the pond areas

 Prohibited Items

  • Pets
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Smoking
  • Bicycles
  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Camping
  • Motorized Vehicles


All hiking trails in the Purdy Preserve contain steep terrain and uneven surfaces that will be difficult for some hikers. Please hike with caution. Hikers are asked to consider carrying a cell phone.

  • Olson Trail 0.5 miles (1 way)
  • Nelson Pond Loop 0.4 miles (loop + access trail)
  • Muir Woodland Trail 0.5 miles (loop + access trail)
  • Archibald Trail 0.1 miles (1 way)
  • Lapham Pass 0.25 miles (1 way)
  • Leopold Prairie Loop 0.75 miles (loop + access trail)
  • William Horvath Trail 0.2 miles
  • Deer Trail 0.3 miles