Saturday, September 21, 2013

Begin (or end) Crex Meadows visit with walk

Birdhouses on Norm Stone Prairie Trail
A great way to begin – or end – any day hike at Northwest Wisconsin’s Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is with a stop at the visitor center. As part of that visit, enjoy a brief walk on the Norm Stone Prairie Trail.

To reach the center, turn onto County D at its junction with County Road F then take the very first left. It offers exhibits on Crex Meadows’ history and a gift shop as well as a library, auditorium and classrooms. The prairie trail sits in front of the center.

Only a couple of dozen yards in length, the handicapped accessible trail circles a garden of prairie plants. Throughout spring and summer, the varied wildflower blossoms make for spectacular displays and attract a number of butterflies from a variety of species, including some that migrate.

Most of the grasses and wildflowers are native to Wisconsin. Since the original seeding, some non-native species have taken root. Interpretive signs give names of the plants.

You’re also certain to notice the tall post of bird houses towering over the gardens. Bluebirds and flickers nest there.

Read more about day hiking Crex Meadows in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Crex Meadows Wildlife Area guidebook.