If you’re looking for a short hike on a well-shaded trail on a hot summer day at City Forest, Bog Trail may be for you.

To reach Bog Trail, enter City Forest at the Tripp Drive gate, 1.6 miles north of the intersection of Stillwater Avenue and Hogan Road. Take East trail for about 2,000-2,500 feet; a sign denoting Bog Trail will be on the left. (Don’t worry about guessing how far you have gone, East Trail features markers every 500 feet.)

Bog Trail is not maintained, so you may want to take the trail when it is relatively dry outside.

Follow the trail sign down a short maintained path to Shannon Drive. That’s the dirt road that runs parallel to East Trail. A second sign across Shannon Drive shows where Bog Trail picks up.

At first, you may not be sure of where the trail is, but if you look closely at the ground, you will see a path that winds through a thinned grove of trees. The beginning of the trail isn’t much to look at because the city has thinned the trees, but the farther you go, the more dense the trees become.

The ground is soft at this section of the trail. The dark brown material that covers the trail is not dirt or mud but peat, which comprises decaying plant matter. As you walk farther down the trail, you will see how dead trees and the forest’s plant life decay and become part of the soil. (Lest you equate “decay” with a bad odor, don’t worry.)

After a few hundred feet, you will reach a small patch of grass and mud. Among the tracks left by the mountain bikers, you might be able to spot tracks from wild animals, such as deer.

Farther along, the trail narrows through decaying trees and a small patch of pine trees on the left. The trail then goes through a patch of ferns.

The trees thin on both sides of the trail as grass again dominates the trail, for about 60 feet. A little while later, you will again descend into a thick grove of pine trees, ferns and grass. There is a minute stretch of the trail – 15 feet, perhaps – that is constantly wet. A series of short logs provide a makeshift walkway over the mud and standing water that often frequents this spot. Be careful if you use the logs to go over the damp spot: the logs are rotting and are not anchored.

After crossing the logs, you will then emerge from the trail’s peat deposits and go deeper into the pine trees. The ground gradually changes from the softness of peat to rocks and tree roots protruding through the ground’s surface. Remnants of an old and narrow access road are visible with ruts on both sides of the trail. The grass becomes its thickest along this stretch.

Bog Trail ends by merging with Tripp Drive.

The trail is ideal for getting a good sense of the more untouched areas of the forest, without the need to delve deep into the woods. The hike will take about 30 minutes round trip at a good pace. The trail is excellent for dogs but difficult for mountain bikers because of the soft ground and roots.

2001-09, Ryan R. Robbins. All rights reserved.
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