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Beaver Trail

Length: 0.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate/difficult


Along this trail, hikers will traverse the slopes along the beaver pond, where evidence of beaver activity can be seen. Hotspots highlight unique plants along the trail, such as native orchids and mosses, under the shade of towering beech trees. Past the beaver pond, the trail transitions into a secondary succession forest – a landscape dominated by young, skinny trees that hints at the former use of the land for farming. 

Elevation gain: 114 ft Route type: Linear

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Beaver Trail

Mallows Bay County Park

Explore the Beaver Trail Highlights

image of Beaver Trail Entrance
Beaver Trail Entrance

Welcome to the Beaver Trail! Once you're in the virtual trail: Click or tap on the screen to navigate along trail, highlighted by the text along the bottom of your screen. Click or tap on the orange hotspots to learn more information about the highlighted area. Use the mini-map in the upper left hand corner of your screen to navigate or skip ahead. And most importantly, have fun! read more

image of Common Persimmon
Common Persimmon

In addition to the Paw paw, another native tree with edible fruit at Mallows Bay is the Common persimmon. The sweet, orange fruit ripens in autumn and attracts wildlife such as deer, raccoons, and several bird species. Persimmon trees are also a host plant for the caterpillars of several moth species, such as the Luna moth, a large green moth that has been documented at Mallows Bay but is rarely seen due its short one-week lifespan as an adult. read more

image of Beech Tree
Beech Tree

Right off the trail stands a large American beech tree. Its leaves turn golden in the fall and do not fully drop in the winter, a phenomenon called marcescence. Scattered on the forest floor you may find the edible beechnut - brown, triangular-shaped nuts covered in a spiny husk. read more

image of Crane-fly Orchid
Crane-fly Orchid

Under the shade of the large beech tree you may find small, terrestrial woodland orchids called Crane-fly orchids. In the early spring, green leaves with purple undersides can be found on the forest floor. The leaves will disappear as the stem grows to approximately 1 foot tall, with a cluster of small beige flowers. The flowers are pollinated by moths in the Noctuidae family. read more

image of Fan clubmoss
Fan clubmoss

Also known as Ground cedar or Crows foot, Fan clubmoss is a type of perennial evergreen plant that can be seen on the forest floor, even through the winter. They tend to be found in wooded areas where oak trees and conifers are also found. Populations were once threatened by their popularity as Christmas greenery, but have recovered. read more

image of Beaver Pond
Beaver Pond

In the pond, the active beaver dam can be seen. Piles of sticks and mud slow the flow of water from upstream, forming a shallow pool of water. Other evidence of beaver activity include tree stumps that have been gnawed into a triangular point. In this area, there may also be snapping turtles moving through the depths of the water. Painted turtles, red-eared sliders, or northern red-bellied cooters may be basking on fallen logs. read more

image of Secondary Succession Forest
Secondary Succession Forest

The landscape along this part of the trail is dominated by stands of young trees, with very few mature trees, hinting at generations of this land's use for farming. As the land returns to its natural state, it is colonized by secondary succession trees, such as Sweet gum. The ground will be scattered with spiky fruits called burr balls or gum balls. Sweet gum seeds are a food source for many species, such as sparrows, finches, wild turkeys, squirrels, and... read more

Elevation Profile