Unique view from beneath the nation's longest canopy walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @blackmarkmedia



Really, a rich life seems to be all about perspective.



When the Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens opened in Midland a year ago, architect Alan Metcalfe described the ‘perceived risk’ embedded in many elements of his design: the pulse-quickening but satisfying experience of leaving one’s comfort zone to sample and savor something truly different. That’s perspective.


Wooden pod and cargo net bridge tucked in the trees along the Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @blackmarkmedia



As high as four stories above the earthfor an elevated distance of 1,400 feetthe Canopy Walk offers what is surely a novel perspective within Dow Gardens’ 54-acre Whiting Forest, but it’s not the only one.



Woman walking on a fall leaf-covered trail at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @_dineshdon_


There’s also the foot-cushioned sensation of trodding the special ground-level trail surface that also allows rainfall and snowmelt to follow their natural course into the earth. There are hills to climb up and roll down, a playground to explore, pond and orchards to ponder. Your legs to stretch on forest trails. Your breath to catch at every thrill or reflective pause.

Aloft or alit, Dow Gardens — and its Whiting Forest, Canopy Walk and other features within — offer a year-around menu of novel experiences, a virtual merry-go-round of adventures circling the seasons, a picnic of perspectives.


Pond Arm of the Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, reflecting on the water with fall-colored trees in the background

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @_dineshdon_


Canopy Walk Calendar


The three-armed Canopy Walk, the longest such structure in the United States, provides a nature-flanked adventure in any kind of weather. Along the elevated way are stops for experiences delightfully different in each season.



View from the ground looking up through a grove of spruces, where three kids are laying in a giant cargo net hammock suspended high in the forest along the Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @_tomhughes._


Try savoring the brilliant colors of fall leaves, for example, from reclined suspension in an aerial cargo net. From it, consider Snake Creek, a tumbling waterway more enticing than its name, and one restored during the $20 million Canopy Walk construction process.

In spring, pause at the Pond Arm overlook — and don’t be surprised if ducks tumble in, to feed, rest or rear young. The next generation of butterflies, meanwhile, are likely emerging in the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit within Dow Gardens.

The Orchard Arm — with its glass-floored overlook perched forty feet in the air — boasts bounty when it bears fruit in late summer and autumn, and proclaims the year’s potential in spring when its trees flower. The four-zone orchard also offers longer perspectives: heritage trees with roots in the past (one tree in particular planted by The Dow Chemical Company founder Herbert Dow himself a century ago), and saplings pledging promise for the future.


Boy and his dad looking down from a glass overlook four stories high in the forest along the Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @jes_salvador7


Even in winter, when this usually colorful setting becomes a stunning study in black and white, a snow-dusted visit can both stir and soothe the soul, animal tracks flanking visitor trails.

Along a wintry Canopy Walk, wooden pod structures suggest a refreshing pause and break from the elements, while at ground level the Whiting Forest Café promises a cup of hot chocolate or locally roasted coffee in front of the fire. (The Canopy Walk does close temporarily if winter ice makes a walk there unsafe, but its design makes such shut-downs short and few.)


Woman looking up at the unique wooden pod structure along the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens Canopy Walk

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @yagirljodes


Paths & Picnics

Yes, at any time of year, Dow Gardens and its Whiting Forest within are great places to enjoy a novel perspective, with more than three miles of barrier-free, hard-surfaced pathways. Those are handy, of course, for travel from one feature to another. But don’t neglect the delightful option of merely roaming around amidst the natural beauty — at all seasons, each with its own novel perspective.


Woman looking down a flower-lined pathway winding through Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Dow Gardens 📷 @nrupalikulkarni


Some visitors bring picnics (welcome outdoors), while others duck into Whiting Forest Café for a sandwich or snack, coffee, tea or cold drink. And while grassy-area exploration is encouraged, visitors are asked to leave plants in place.


Woman walking over the Red Bridge with it reflecting on the water at Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Dow Gardens 📷 @namitha_hegde


A Playful Perspective

Sure, the ADA-accessible playground shrieks with joy in midsummer, when kids of all ages explore the long tunnel, the swift slide, swings, and climb-on and -over delights.

A babbling water feature practically demands that youngsters shed shoes and socks for a splashing good time — and more than a few parents follow that pleasurable example!

But kids seem to know intuitively that fun is not a summer-only thing, and they love to return to sample the playground’s versions of it in all seasons. Smart adults drop their guard to do the same.


Woman getting ready to go down the slide on the playground at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @pmu_by_salvador


Back to the Garden


Dow Gardens comprises a 110-acre display of annual and perennial flowers – 22,000 flowering bulbs and 35,000 annuals.



Vivid, blooming tulips in front of a gorgeous, sprawling tree at Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Dow Gardens 📷 @missb1021


Those flowers flourish along paved walkways and amidst distinctive bridges, an award-winning children’s garden, a memorializing Rose Garden, towering pines and inspiring water features. The Gardens are also the setting of The Pines, the home of Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow, a National Historic Landmark.

Dow Gardens posts weekly reports on what’s in bloom, and even maintains a Bee Blog with reports on these important pollinators. Summer highlights include a Lunchtime Concert Series, a Pines Concert Series, outdoor movies under the stars, and even golf cart tours of the Gardens.

Gardens aren’t necessarily just for the growing season, either, and Dow Gardens certainly isn’t. A seasonal favorite are its Christmas Walks, with luminary-lit paths and a holiday Poinsettia display inside the tropical conservatory.


Softly lit pathways for the Christmas Walk at Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Dow Gardens 📷 @dowgardens



Dow Gardens — and all features within, including Whiting Forest and its nation's-longest Canopy Walk — are covered by a $20 annual membership (or daily admission that's just $10, and only $2 for ages 6-17 or college students).


Several types of private tours of Dow Gardens and its Whiting Forest are also available by reservation.





People walking through a forest of towering pines at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens Canopy Walk

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @schoolnest