Trails and Nature Areas

Garden TrailsWade’s Hiking Sights

Wade Seymour
Director of Grounds

Let us take a tour of our trail system. There are seven color-designated trails at the State Botanical Garden: Red, Blue, Green, Brown (Scout Connector Trail), Yellow, Orange and White.

Both White and Orange trails share our river frontage and travel mostly along the natural levy beside the river. Starting with the Orange trail, some of our natives you will see along the river are elderberry and river cane. Green ash, box elder, red maple and sycamore trees are visible on this trail. At times, especially in winter, you can see activity of beavers and may spot an otter.

The Orange trail follows down river then skirts a wet lands area where ducks and other water fowl sometimes feed. Leaving the flood plain, the trail stays beside a pretty rock-lined stream with large hardwood trees. There is good wild flower viewing here in the spring. May apples, wild irises and geraniums are abundant. The stream branch eventually ends at a steep-sided spring overlooked by a huge white oak tree. Passing through the electrified deer fence, the orange trail climbs up old farm terraces under a succession of pine woods. Ground pine carpets this area. The Orange trail is rather easy to hike, but it grows steeper near the parking lot.

The White Trail is our longest trail and our most challenging to hike. Away from the river, hills abound between steep stream valleys. There are two rain shelters for the weary or storm chased. The woods are generally upland hardwood, but there is one piney terraced area. There is a privet patch at the farthest curve, but the trail is mainly free of invasive plants.

The trail crosses under large power lines no less than four times, and we have to clear back brush from the trail in summer. At one point the trail comes close to an old chimney where a farmer’s house rotted away. Early or late in the day deer, turkey, raccoon, squirrel and many other animals are visible. The State Botanical Garden is designated as an Important Bird Habitat, and many bird species can be seen. Some days you can spot a Barred owl, gold finch and indigo bunting within a 15 minute period. Birding groups come regularly.