Length: 1,006 ft. • Difficulty: 2 (a few rocks, Grade 3 slope that is slippery when wet)
Terrain: Gravel, some rocks, grass, conifers and deciduous trees
Between Skunk and Hare trails on Main Road, Squirrel Trail begins on the east side of Main Road, 146 feet before Hare Trail. Look for the brown-and-white sign. There is also a white sign denoting “Undisturbed Forest / Block #4” nearby.
The trail begins next to a pile of recycled asphalt the city uses to patch the access roads and major trails in the forest system. Gravel at first, the trail is wide here as it passes cinnamon ferns to the left, bracken fern to the right, and bunchberry plants on either side, along with debris left over from thinning of the forest in recent years. If you look to the right not far along the trail, you’ll see the largest erratic in City Forest, a large boulder swept along and left behind by the receding glaciers that once blanketed the northeastern United States thousands of years ago. The boulder is about 8 ½ feet tall by about 15 feet wide.
As you head east, you’ll encounter a small bed of azure bluet flowers carpeting the middle of the trail among the thinning grass. The flowers feature four white-purplish petals with a yellow center.
About 200 feet farther, you will pass the end of Skunk Trail on the right, near some abandoned boards left on a wooden stand.
The trail then narrows as vegetation encroaches on the worn path. Rocks exposed from erosion poke up from the trail’s gravel base.
About two-thirds of Squirrel Trail is straight as it heads east-northeast toward East Trail. About 610 feet in, though, the trail bends to the right and heads southeast while going down a steady but small, Grade 3 slope. Be careful when the grass is wet in this area; you may have trouble with traction, especially late in the summer when the grass is highest.
As East Trail comes into view through the vegetation, you’ll encounter a fork in the path. Continue riding straight to hook up with East Trail, only a few feet short of East’s 5,000-foot marker. Bearing right and heading farther south will put you onto Raccoon Trail, which will soon drop you into extremely wet land you may have trouble riding your bicycle through.
© 2001-09, Ryan R. Robbins. All rights reserved.
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