Location: Just outside of Marienville. Coordinates of park entrance: Latitude: 41.522640, Longitude: -79.122285. See the map at the bottom of this post.
Length: 3 Miles
Difficulty: Fairly easy without many elevation changes.
Rating (out of 5): 4.5
- Often wet in places, with a good deal of the trail being near standing water. Bug repellant is suggested. There is a floating bridge that might be unpleasant for those with difficulty balancing.
- A great deal of varied scenery including streams, a lake, marshes, pine forests, and more.
- Abundant wildlife was visible on our trip, which included ducks, salamanders, snakes, ant hills, and various birds.
- Blueberries have been planted at various points along the trail.
- Very secluded, with only one other car in the entire park during our visit.
- Locations on the provided maps along the trail are marked by the location of a nail on the map.
- When traveling North on 66, take a left onto North Forest Street. Note that the same intersection has three options for turning left as it’s a seven-point intersection, choose the last option.
- The road changes from North Forest Street to Beaver Meadows Road / T358. Continue for just under 4 miles. The entrance to the park is marked by a large National Forest Sign, turn right at the sign and continue down the road.
Like so many good trails, this one had an unextraordinary entrance, marked by a simple diamond on a tree, and a no camping sign.
We had heard about the trail from a friend and had seen her photos, so we began the trek with high expectations.
The trail started off as advertised, a flat trail without many elevation changes. We were eager to take a break from hills after our last two weekends included lots of them.
The path intersects with lots of small streams and plenty of water-soaked mosses. My wife was prepared with hiking boots, I had my newest white sneakers on, which you can guess was a mistake.
The one feature of the trail that I liked the most is that the scenery kept changing. As soon as you got used to the look of the forest and the vegetation around you, it would change.
Occasionally along the way, there are small maps with your location marked by a nail.
Alas, we arrived at the segment of the trail I had heard about, the floating walkway over the marsh.
Once again, when we reached the other end of the floating trail, the scenery changed, this time to an aging pine forest with a lush green carpet of moss.
A really neat section of the trail meandered through new growth pine trees, that grew so close to the trail that it was all but hidden.
While rounding the backside of the trail, we startled a fairly good-sized snake. He was clearly more scared of us than we of him, as we have seen this type of snake plenty of times, and I knew it was harmless.
The Lakeside Loop Trail:
Watch closely for the lakeside loop micro trail just on the left of the Beaver Meadow Loop.
Here we saw a few ducks up close, and I did my best to take a good photo without disturbing them. It’s somewhat of a graining photo, and if you look too close, you might even see the Lockness monster. I’m kidding of course.
Back on The Beaver Meadows Loop:
Just down from the Lakeside loop, we spotted clusters of frog eggs in a pool of water along the trail. Incidentally, frog eggs are often grouped together, whereas toad eggs are found in chains.
Nearing the end of the trail was a spillway for the lake and a bridge over it. The last segment of the trail connected back to the parking lot by passing over a short dam, another change of scenery.
What a trail! I’ll definitely go back, maybe someday I’ll even get to see what’s on the nearby Seldom Seen trail.