“A loop or figure eight through the Motor Mill Historic Site's north unit prairie.
— Kenny Slocum
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek
This trail shares a trailhead with the Oak Savanna Trail
, marked with a sandwich board labeled "Oak Savanna Trail
After a short but relatively steep climb, the trail branches off to the right onto the prairie. It follows along the wood's edge - parallel to the Oak Savanna Trail
but not in the timber - for a little less than half a mile.
At the northern edge, a fence separates this trail from an adjacent pasture (private property) where the trail turns to the right.
After less than a hundred feet, the trail turns right again. The timber to the user's left is the Retz Woods Memorial Preserve, also open to the public but lamentably without developed trails. Depending on the season, extremely old logging roads and deer paths make this property a fun bit of extra exploring, but beware in high summer when the undergrowth fills in with thorns and thick brush.
Continuing along the main trail, the prairie narrows to a bottleneck with options to continue along the grassy path of the prairie's firebreak, or down to the left on a wide road leading back to the campground.
On the other side of the bottleneck, the trail diverges again along the timbers for a few tenths of a mile before joining back up with the main path, and descending back to the initial trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
This prairie is in slightly worse condition than the south unit, but still stellar. The woods nearby are home to a particularly diverse cast of characters, as the habitat includes rocky dens, open oak woodlands, and thick brambles providing food and shelter to everything from red fox and whitetail deer to barred owls and pileated woodpeckers.