Minutes away from Mourningkill Meadows and Timber Creek Preserve lies a hidden gem unbeknownst to many; the North Woods Nature Preserve.
Enjoyed by locals since the 1970’s, it wasn’t officially recognized until recently. In 2001, it was purchased by Clifton Park for $70,000 using grant money from the Environmental Protection Fund, officially designating it as a Public Nature Preserve.
Oddly enough, the entrance to North Woods Nature Preserve is tucked away between two homes – 38 and 40 Shadow Wood Way – within the Country Knolls neighborhood. Although there is no specified parking for trail access, visitors should have little difficulty finding parking on the street due to the typically quiet nature of the road.
With a rating of Moderate on AllTrails.com, the North Woods Nature Preserve features two Loop style trails, color-coded as Blue and Yellow. Although the trails are not handicap accessible they are both family and pet-friendly (pets must be leashed).
To begin, visitors travel along the Blue Trail, AKA the Reservoir Trail. At a distance of one mile, the Blue Trail takes visitors to the Old Round Lake Reservoir where they will cross over portions of the water on bridges built by local Boy Scout troops.
For those seeking a slightly longer experience, they can choose to split from the Blue Trail in preference of the Yellow Trail. Added in 2012 thanks to an Eagle Scout Candidate, Matthew McGuffy, the Yellow section – AKA the Forest Trail – adds approximately another miles to the loop, taking visitors deeper into the woods.
Visitors of both trails have described them to be a fun and scenic experience during all seasons. The paths are reportedly well kept and maintained, with the Parks and Recreation Department scheduling volunteer events for residents to walk the paths in order to report on the trail’s status.
Beyond the many beautiful varieties of wildflowers that decorate sections of the trail, a variety of wildlife is commonly spotted. Deer, Pileated Woodpeckers and even Trout can be seen at different times of the year. In fact, the preserve is a popular spot for local birdwatchers, so grab a guide and a pair of binoculars and see for yourself.