Scenic Trails at Maplewood Nature Center

Maplewood Nature Center Trails (PDF) meander through oak woodland and around Green Heron Pond. Nature Center trails offer leisurely hiking in a quiet spot away from urban bustle. Watch wildlife, take photographs, and enjoy solitude and light exercise in a natural setting.

Hiking Trail Features & Accessibility

  • The 1.5 miles of nature hiking trails begin at the Visitor Center entry patio.
  • Close wildlife viewing is allowed by 600-foot floating boardwalk and observation decks.
  • Lime rock surface is on most of the trail along the pond.
  • Trail accessibility for strollers and wheelchairs may vary with trail conditions. 
  • Print your own copy Maplewood Nature Center Trail Map
  • Woodland natural dirt path follows the hill contours for increased trail safety and comfort.
  • Self-guided Spring Nature Bingo Hike Print and take along on your next hike in nature!

Wildlife You May See & Hear

Water is a magnet for wildlife, and Green Heron Pond attracts its share of birds, mammals and other species. In spring, geese, ducks, herons, and many other migratory species of birds join resident muskrat, mink, and painted turtles. The pond is a nursery for ducklings, such as mallards and wood ducks which feed on midges and other insects emerging from the water. 

The edge of the pond bordering the prairie is a dynamic habitat for wildlife. You may find gray tree frogs, dragonflies, and many pollinating insects. In the oak woods, look for white-tailed deer, great horned owls, and woodpeckers.

Learn About Trees with Tree Quest!

This self guiding hike around the pond is fun to navigate with your family, friends, by yourself, or any group of people! Check out the Tree Quest Brochure (PDF).

Sustainable Hiking Trails

The Nature Center trails use sustainable trail design to reduce erosion and negative impacts on Green Heron Pond. Trail segments follow slope contours wherever possible. Stretches of trail subject to spring flooding have been rerouted upslope to drier land. These improvements have yielded many benefits: better pond views, gentler slopes which are more compatible for the elderly and families with young children, and trail surfaces that dry out more quickly in spring. 

This sustainable trails project carried out in 2009 was funded by the City of Maplewood and by a Federal Park and Recreational Trails grant. Many community partners, including St. Paul Audubon Society and Century College Field Biology program, seeded and planted abandoned trail corridors to re-establish native vegetation.