Indian Springs Metropark: Woodland Trail
This is Indian Springs’ best trail for escaping into the natural world and possibly sighting wildlife. Woodland Trail is a 3.5-mile walk but three crossover spurs allow you to shorten it; Crosscut, 0.75 miles, Hunter’s Ridge 1.25 miles and Sawmill, 2 miles.
The entire loop, however, is an easy hike that takes most people less than two hours and allows them to take a break at the park’s most scenic corner, Timberland Lake. The foot trails are either surfaced with gravel or mowed lanes and have extensive boardwalks over wet areas and streams. The trail is extremely well marked and the park has also erected almost 20 interpretive plaques along the route, all of them encountered before or after the Sawmill Crosscut junctions. Being a swamp, there is little, if any, elevation gain.
There is nothing the park staff can do about the bugs however. Be aware that deer flies and mosquitoes can be particularly annoying from late June through early August. Pack along some powerful repellent if you arrive then. On the other hand a late April/early May hike would be delightful here with nearly 250 flowering plants infusing the woods and wetlands with color.
Wildlife that may be spotted include whitetail deer, coyotes, mink and birds ranging from barred owls and red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks to an occasional sandhill crane. The one animal the area is best known for is the massasauga rattlesnake, Michigan’s only venomous snake.
This small rattler, adults range from 17 to 29 inches in length, is extremely shy and avoids contact with people at all costs. Few visitors ever see one in the park. Its color pattern consists of grey with a row of large rounded brown/black blotches down the centre of the back. Although poisonous, massasauga bites have rarely cause death to people and only strike when they are mistakenly handled or stepped on, usually unknowingly. By all means don’t let this snake stop you from enjoying this trail.
|Difficulty - Easy|