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Ridge Trail

Length: 0.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy/moderate

 

Winding through an upland forest dominated by pine trees, visitors to the Ridge Trail can witness a stunning overlook of a vibrant wetland. Keep an eye out for busy beavers working on their dam or heading home into their lodge. In the spring this area is bursting with noisy amphibians, such as the spring peeper and vast expanses of bright green skunk cabbage.


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Ridge Trail

Mallows Bay County Park

Explore the Ridge Trail Highlights

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image of Ridge Trail Entrance
Ridge Trail Entrance

Welcome to the Ridge 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

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image of Upland Forest
Upland Forest

This forested upland is dominated by pines, with minimal undergrowth. Upturned trees reveal a tiny ecosystem, home to the bees, wasps, spiders, beetles, and other insects - all beneficial to pollination and the food web here. Upturned trees and logs also provide an ideal habitat for several species of wood-decaying fungi, such as Turkey-tail, Trembling crust, and Beefsteak polypore. These species grow on the decaying wood of upturned trees and logs, playing an important role in breaking down plant matter... read more

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image of Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel

Mountain laurel is a native flowering evergreen shrub, with waxy green leaves that remain through the winter and pinkish-white flowers when it blooms. While highly toxic to humans if ingested, it is a food source for white-tailed deer, eastern cottontails, and other wildlife, especially during winter forage. It can also provide a source of cover for white-tailed deer, eastern screech owl, and various song bird species. read more

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image of Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage

In the spring and summer months, the creek at the bottom of the hill may be surrounded by smelly Eastern skunk cabbage. One of the first freshwater wetland plants to emerge in early spring, its strong odor attracts flies and beetles as pollinators but deters hungry deer and other animals from munching on it. Skunk cabbage also has a unique ability to produce heat that allows it to emerge and bloom even when the ground is still frozen - up... read more

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image of Snakes
Snakes

Snake holes are scattered amongst the mushrooms and moss growing in the rich soil of the trail. Mallows Bay is home to several species of snakes, such as the Common watersnake, the Rough green snake, and the venomous Copperhead. They typically shelter inside tree hollows, under leaf litter, or in holes dug by rodents or other animals. read more

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image of Wetland Overlook
Wetland Overlook

Where the forest thins, enjoy the expansive view of the wetland that the creek feeds. This wetland is a transition zone between land and water and is teeming with life. In the early spring, you can observe several amphibians, such as the Northern cricket frog, Leopard frog, Spring peeper, Green frog, American toad, and Fowler’s toad. Their loud calls indicate an active breeding season that is reliant on the ephemeral streams and ponds left behind by winter snowmelt and rain.... read more

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image of Beaver Dam and Lodge
Beaver Dam and Lodge

As you look out at the creek, look for the beaver lodge and dam in the water. The dam, made of grass, rocks, sticks, and mud, slows down the flow of water in a stream. In this calmer water, the beavers will build a lodge to live in, a domed structure made of sticks and mud that protects them from predators. These dams and ponds help control soil erosion and reduce flooding. They are also important habitats for other wetland... read more

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image of Eastern Bluebird Box
Eastern Bluebird Box

You may notice mounted bird boxes scattered throughout the park. These boxes are designed for the Eastern bluebird, a native songbird. Bluebirds seek tree cavities or woodpecker holes to nest in, but competition is high for these limited sites. A well-placed nest box can help boost populations. read more

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image of Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern Red Cedar

A handful of Eastern red cedar trees line the road leading into the park. Not a true cedar, the species actually belongs to the juniper family. Fruits grow in the late summer and are consumed by many kinds of wildlife, including the Cedar waxwing, which is named for this tree. read more


Elevation Profile