Ringwood Forest is surrounded mostly by wooded and agricultural land. The forest within the property includes young and old plantations of confers and hardwoods, second-growth hardwoods stands, and both upland and floodplain forests. The conifers in the red and white pine plantations and “Historic Spruce Alley” (Norway spruce) planted in the late 1800s are of historical significance—they are thought to be some of the oldest plantations in the state. Other species found in upland areas include Chamaecyparis thyoides, Larix laricina, Pinus banksiana, Populus temuloides, Pseudotsuga menziessi, and Robinia pseudoacacia. Bottomland species include Acer rubrum, Fraxinus nigra, Populus deltoids and Quercus bicolor.
The South Fork of Bad River flows over 3,300 feet through the forest and is between 30-50 feet wide. The Bad River is a 44.3-mile-long river that begins in Gratiot County and empties into the Shiawassee River in Saginaw County within the bounds of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. The Bad River watershed is almost 90% agricultural and is a part of sediment reduction programs to ultimately protect the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron.