Decimal Degrees: Lat 40.620734 Long -80.029652
Degrees, Minutes, Seconds: N 40 31'14.74" W 80 01'46.88"
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NOTICE: Dogs are not permitted off leash at the Nature Center or anywhere in North Park (exceptions are the designated, fenced areas located on Pearce Mill Road and Walter Road). In addition to being on lead at all times, owners are required to pick up and remove all feces created by their dog. Violators will be reported to County Police and will receive citations by mail. Dogs are permitted on Nature Center property as a courtesy only and if abuse continues, dogs will be excluded from this area entirely.
Trails are dynamic in that they are always changing in response to weather, plant growth, use, overuse, and attention from volunteer and scout service work. Some trails will always be top on our list for care, such as the Braille Trail. Some trails have been removed from our system for a variety of reasons, with others in question for future removal. Please feel free to contact us if you would like an up to date account of the condition or existence of any of the trails listed below.
BLUEBIRD TRAIL – 9,936 feet (1.88 miles), approximately 30 minutes Bluebird Trail starts at the end of Crow’s Trail. The first section leads you into a rolling, grassy field habitat maintained by local boy scouts through troop and Eagle Scout projects. Here you will find ongoing scout service projects and other special environmental education activities. Keep on eye open for bluebirds and tree swallows that make use of the nest boxes. You may notice scat from owl, fox, raccoon and coyote as they also make use of the field. The second section of trail takes you across McKinney Road past green soccer fields and downhill into young successional woodlands to end at Brooker Drive off of Route 19 in Wexford. Stop for lunch or coffee at one of the shops at Wexford Plaza. After being refreshed, you can continue on a longer hike to the Harmony Trail by crossing at the light.
CCAC TRAIL – No Longer Existing
CROW’S TRAIL – 2,180 feet (.41 mile), approximately 15 minutes Starting off of Spur Trail, Crow’s Trail winds uphill through a beautiful mature woodland valley. Crows can be heard and seen calling and playing during the day in the treetops. Barred Owls have been nesting in this valley since 1999. Listen for the lyric song of woodland birds; thrush, vireo, warbler, woodpecker. Coyote, fox, raccoon, flying squirrel, turkey, deer and many other animals also depend upon this fragile habitat. Notice that much of the trail follows along the remnants of an old farm road. An educational brochure identifying common trees of this valley is available. Bridges were constructed through Eagle Scout projects. Crow’s Trail leads you to Bluebird Trail and to the Harmony Trail.
FOX MEADOW TRAIL – 375 feet (.07 mile), approximately 2 minutes Fox Meadow is a connecting trail starting from Bluebird Meadow to the lower right corner of North Fields. It was developed as a shorter, alternate route of return from North Trail. It also allows hikers to enjoy the diversity of plant and animal life by traveling through successional growth. Where once was a field is now returning to woodland. An opening was created to attract wildlife. Deer browse, owl pellets, rabbit and fox scat, turkey feathers and other clues of wild travelers are easily observed. Enjoy a rest on the new bench built as an Eagle Scout project. An educational brochure has been developed for this site as part of an other Eagle Scout project.
MEADOW TRAIL - 4,065 feet (.77 mile), approximately 45 minutes This trail begins with a pleasant stroll down from the Nature Barn through successional fields, crossing Grom Run stream in Willow Flycatcher Wetland into our recently redeveloped apple orchard, then up to cross Brown Road into our recently enlarged Monarch Meadow, both improvements were through Eagle Scout projects. Learn about local butterflies with the new educational sign or rest on the new observation benches to enjoy the multitude of bird and insect life found in this meadow. Continue to the utility right-of-way and take a few minutes to go left to enjoy Spring Peeper Wetland and its inhabitants and the new educational sign, or turn right to continue on Meadow. Watch for the sign post that directs you to the right midway up the steep hill. This will provide you with a chance to walk through the ecotone between pocket meadows and the young deciduous forest. Once at the very top you will step out into Walter's Field and then into Pigeon Field to explore the plant and animal life in these valuable field habitats. Visitors have the opportunity to stroll around these fields and birdwatch before meandering back down the hill along the utility right-of-way. Meadow connects to bridle trails at two different locations.
NATURE ACCESS TRAIL (Braille Trail) - 2,130 feet (.4 mile), approximately 20 minutes One of the most well-known trails in North Park, the Nature Access Trail is an easy path that winds its way along streams. Designed for the visually impaired, a rubber rope will act as a guide throughout the forest. This is a great path for a casual family stroll or picnic among wild flowers. Benches allow you to stop to take in all the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful woodland. Take in the songs of wood thrush, barred owls and veery. As you stop to enjoy the trickles of water along Ruth Run stream you may catch site of chipmunk and toad. Smell the earthy scent of logs returning to the earth or the pungent odour of trampled skunk cabbage. New on-site educational signs and other improvements have been created through public volunteers and Eagle Scout projects, including the new QR Code symbols which are found along the trail. Download a QR code app on your "smart phone" to make use of this great, new, narrative description of the woodland. Several educational brochures are also available for this trail, New pools have been created to provide breeding habitat for amphibians. Deer exclosures protect fragile plants and demonstrate the pressure that deer overpopulation can have on habitats.
NORTH TRAIL – 3,630 feet (.69 mile), approximately 40 minutes North Trail starts with an uphill climb from the Nature Barn through old pastures and apple orchards (Bluebird Meadow) and ends with a relaxing walk around the upper North Fields. In early spring, hikers are treated to an assortment of flowering trees; apple, cherry, maple and dogwoods. In the summer and fall the fields are in bloom with a wide variety of wildflowers. In any season, there is a beautiful vista of a rolling meadow. This area was active agricultural land through the mid 1990s. Successional growth areas of field to forest are the primary habitats. Bluebird boxes have been placed through Eagle Scout projects and by public volunteers. This is a great birding area but also home to many mammal species. Watch for tree swallows, yellow warblers, red-winged blackbirds, field, chipping and song sparrows. Northern harrier and Northern shrike have been found in this field. North Trail connects to Towhee, Skyline and Fox Meadow. Special native grassland habitat restoration projects are being developed and there is a list available of plants and wildlife that are found in this valuable habitat. Skyline Trail bisects North Trail if you want a short cut.
OBSERVATION TRAIL - 1,835 feet (.25 mile), approximately 15 minutes This in and out trail starts at the top right corner of Purple Martin Meadow. Observation Trail provides the opportunity to see the forest from a unique view. The deck was built as an Eagle Scout project. The Observation Deck is located at the end of the trail, allowing the hiker to experience the canopy of the forest. Ruffed Grouse, white-tailed deer, red fox, sharp-shinned hawk are some of the wildlife that may be observed in this valley. Once a connecting trail to Wagon Wheel and CCAC, this trail now terminates at the deck due to adjacent property development which caused the hillside to subside, destroying the trail and reducing the esthetic value of the area.
POND TRAIL – 1,970 feet (.37 mile), approximately 10-15 minutes Dredged to its original size and depth in 2008, this trail, closest to the Nature Center, is of special interest to children. Stop to look for tracks of raccoon, muskrat, white-tailed deer, and fox. Keep a sharp eye out for bull and green frog, northern water snake (non-venomous), green-backed heron, mallard and wood ducks while circling the pond. Leave extra time for this trail, as there are several new bridges (built as Eagle Scout projects) that allow for a closer look into the pond for aquatic insects, tadpoles and minnows. Watch dragonflies catching prey and whirlygig beetles twirling on the surface. Listen for the sounds of frogs and kingfishers. If you are quiet, you may see the resident muskrat as it swims from its home in Butterfly Island to look for food in the pond.
SKYLINE TRAIL – 2,005 feet (.38 mile), approximately 9 minutes A trail that leads to the clouds! This one way hedgerow trail cuts through the middle of and reconnects to North Trail to take the hiker through the center of this 32 acre fallow farm field with the feeling that you are walking up to the sky. The observation blind was built as an Eagle Scout project and from its location you may notice the remains of the windmill and cistern which was used in the days before electricity to pump and store water for the farm. Try out the new observation deck (Eagle Scout project); taking you above the height of the goldenrod, you can easily spy birds and butterflies. Listen for yellow warblers, song sparrows and gold finches along this trail. Bluebirds and tree swallows are also abundant during the summer thanks to the efforts of local volunteers and Boy Scouts that have built and erected nesting boxes. Notice the many animal trails that traverse the field. Watch for scat from wild creatures and also be on the look out for dog poop left from irresponsible dog walkers.
SPUR TRAIL – 4,075 feet (.77 mile), approximately 30-35 minutes Spur branches off of the Nature Access Trail, and continues to wind throughout the forest. The hike begins with an arduous, yet shady, climb up a long windy hill. Along the trail you will come to Crow’s Trail on the left which will take you to Bluebird Trail and to the Harmony Trail. Continue on Spur and you will traverse through mature and successional stage woodlands, small meadows and large beds of soft green ferns. As you travel down back toward Grom Run you may notice a proliferation of Japanese barberry, an invasive alien plant species which is threatening to destroy the natural ecological balance in Pennsylvania's forests as it eliminates all natural food for wildlife and prevents the natural regeneration of the woodlands. You will cross Grom Run several times along this trail, over foot bridges created through Eagle Scout projects. Be sure to pause to enjoy the shade of maple, sycamore, serviceberry, oak and cherry, and the sound of running water and warblers. Stop to look for frogs and crayfish. At the end of Spur Trail, the visitor is conveniently brought to Brown Road across the entrance road to Latodami Nature Center Barn.TOWHEE TRAIL – 1, 966 feet (.37 mile), approximately 10 minutes Towhee gives the hiker a feeling of “roughing it.” Cutting off of the top right part of North Trail, Towhee is narrow and steep, and not as well maintained as some of the other trails. Great for observing tracks in the mud or listening to bird calls (listen for the rufus-sided towhee song – “drink your teee”). Towhee is a casual walk down through the successional deciduous forest. At the end of Towhee you can return the way you came, or cross Rt. 910 to connect to Pine Township’s Pine Haven Park and the townships trail system.
WAGON WHEEL TRAIL - 5,380 feet (~1 mile), approximately 30 minutes Wagon Wheel, an Eagle Scout project, was one of the first trails built at the nature center. The old wooden farm wagon for which this trail was named has long since decayed. You may notice the ruins for the old pig sty and turkey pens, products for which Latodami Farm was renowned for locally. Wagon Wheel was redirected in 2009 through an Eagle Scout project and no longer wanders through the pristine wooded wetland valley due to outside development. But, enjoy the new observation benches and the new trail as it takes you down along a new route between The Rabbit Patch and Sweet Flag Wetland and back to Meadow Trail below the Nature Barn. This new route will provide new wildlife experiences as many habitats merge in one visual location.
WHITE-TAIL TRAIL – 1,070 feet (.2 mile), approximately 5 minutes As of 1-1-2010, this trail is unusable. This trail gets its name from the ubiquitous white-tailed deer that prance across the pathway. This is a short, straight, flat trail that is easy for beginners and connects the Nature Access Trail to Meadow Trail. White-tail and Meadow Trails are located within young successional stage woodlands that are not more than 30 years old. These areas were once farm fields. This trail is presently in poor condition, due to hillside seeps and plant overgrowth. We are looking for this trail to be redeveloped through a Boy Scout Eagle project in the future.
Original trail descriptions were written by Caroline Glendenning, Erin Hurley, and Sarah Lewis – 2000. Rewritten in 2014 by Meg Scanlon.
Map below by Mary Bates - 2002
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