Sunday, August 31, 2014

Forty-inch around trees await day hikers

Moss grows on an old-growth forest tree along the
Drummond Woods Ttrail.

National forest route links
to North Country Trail

Massive trees from an old growth forest and vibrant autumn colors await day hikers on the Drummond Woods Trail in the Chequamegon National Forest.

The 0.75-mile trail runs through the Drummond Woods, where a number of trees survived the 1800s logging of the Wisconsin Northwoods. The route sometimes is referred to on maps and in literature as the “Drummond Woods Trail.”

Autumn leaves
To reach the trailhead, from Drummond, Wis., take U.S. Hwy. 63 north. In one mile, turn left/west onto Old 63 N (aka Forest Road 235). About 150 feet from that intersection on the right is a small pull-off for parking.

From the lot, take the stem trail northwest into the Drummond Woods. Coming to the loop, go left/west or clockwise. The loop is flat and fairly easy for children.

Heading through a northern hardwood forest, the trail marks an excellent spot to enjoy fall colors: the yellows of basswood and birch; the oranges of sugar maples; and the scarlet of black ash and red maple. Evergreens dominate the canopy with towering white and red pines and hemlocks.

The hemlocks are particularly impressive. Some of them measure 40 inches around.

Carnivorous plant
The ground cover also offers a show, especially in spring. Violets, trillium and humble bellwort grow amid princess pine. When reaching wetter areas, blue flag iris flourishes in clumps.

A little more than halfway through the hike, the trail runs alongside a tamarack-black spruce swamp. On the ground, look for Labrador tea, leatherleaf, and pink lady slippers. One other surprise is the carnivorous pitcher plant, which traps insects in its blossom and then digests them.

Along the loop’s north side, you can extend the hike by taking the intersecting North Country Trail into the backcountry.

If visiting the region during winter, the trail is popular among snowshoers.

Read more about day hiking Bayfield County, Wisconsin, in my Day Hiking Trails of Bayfield County guidebook.