“A short loop near the Osborne Nature Center through hardwoods, pine, and riparian habitat.”
— Kenny Slocum
Features: Birding — River/Creek — Wildflowers
The trailhead can be seen at the southeast edge of the parking area, just past the large picnic structure. It heads immediately into the woods on a surface of crushed lime and dirt. At 0.1 miles, just after crossing a bridge, a small connector trail leads users on a shorter route down to the river. Continuing straight along the hillside, the trail passes under a diverse canopy of basswood, hackberry, oak, cedar, and walnut. The undergrowth is exceptionally thick in this area; private property adjacent helps keep deer populations in check, unlike nearby state parks such as Backbone and Pike's Peak. The result is a lush tunnel of vegetation leading hikers to a gully near the edge of the property.
At the gully, steps lead down to an long-decommissioned old road. A wide grassy lane remains in its stead, with the Volga River flowing to the right. As you continue on the road, keep an eye up in the canopy. Just past a mowed opening in the forest, on the left, a large active bald eagle's nest sits high in a cottonwood. Past the nest, a prairie appears on the right-hand side of the trail. At dusk in midsummer, this prairie glows with thousands of fireflies - a great spot to stop and gaze.
Soon a gate appears with a chain across it; this is to prevent vehicles, not hikers. Proceed around/over the chain and cross the opening. To the left a wood-chip trail heads back up towards the Nature Center, but not before passing through the pioneer village.
Flora & Fauna
Wild turkey frequent the back reaches of Osborne Park. A beautiful patch of trillium can be spotted ~0.3 miles into the trail on the left-hand side in a canopy opening. The lack of deer in this park makes it a unique spot in the area to view wildflowers.