Length: 523 ft. • Difficulty: 3 (frequent dips, a stretch of mud and roots and rocks)
Terrain: Heavy moss, peat, roots, mud, rocks, roots, densely wooded
As a connector trail, Owl Trail is the second-shortest trail in the City Forest system at 523 feet. (Hare Trail is the shortest, at 248 feet.)
The trail begins a little more than 500 feet after the junction of Moose Trail and Main Road and runs southeast to northwest. The ground is covered with a thick carpet of moss in the beginning, but it soon gives way to a peat base riddled with roots as it undulates toward Bear Trail. On the left – the west – the trees are extremely dense, providing excellent coverage for animals such as the snowshoe hare. On the right – the east – the trees have been thinned by the city’s forestry department in recent years. Debris left over from the thinning remains, providing more coverage for snowshoe hares and red-tailed squirrels.
About 360 feet along the trail you will encounter a small bed of mud. The trail becomes much rougher and more challenging from this point, as you will also have to maneuver around rocks in the mud, frequent depressions in the forest floor, and then a fallen tree that lies about 50 feet beyond the mud pit. About 93 feet beyond the fallen tree the trail ends when it intersects with Bear Trail, which runs northeast to southwest at this point.
If you want, you can take a shortcut to Bear Trail by taking a sharp turn to the left, heading south, at a large pine tree that is just before the pit of mud and stones.
Because Owl Trail runs along a survey line, it appears to continue running past Bear Trail at the northwestern end and past Moose Trail at the southeastern end. However, if you continue past Bear Trail, you will find yourself in a pocket of bog land heavily populated with skunk cabbage and ferns. If you continue past Moose Trail, you will find yourself mired in west ground and tall grass.
In the summer, mosquitoes are most intense at the Bear Trail end of Owl.
Upon reaching Bear Trail, you can turn left onto Bear and eventually connect to the back end of Moose. Or you can turn right onto Bear and eventually pick up Lynx Trail, which will enable you to go northwest to Loop Road or southeast back to Main Road.
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