Maple Loop TrailBlacklick Woods Metro Park
Columbus Metro Parks
Reynoldsburg, Franklin County
From Interstate 270, take the Reynoldsburg exit. Take Main Street East to Brice Road. Turn right on Brice, then take a left on Livingston Avenue. The park will be on the right about 1 mile and a half after turning on to Livinston. Follow the main Park Road to a parking lot at the Beech Maple Lodge/Ashton Pond.
Length: .8 miles
Duration: 1 hour
Surface: Crushed Limestone
Type: Loop Trail-Hiking
Accessibility: The trail is ADA accessible.
The Maple Loop Trail is accessed via the Beech Trail. This central Ohio hiking trail meanders through a well developed beech-maple forest complete with spicebush, arrow wood, lots of birds, and diverse wildflowers. The trail is flat and easy to hike at a leisurely pace-something you will need to do if you really want to soak in all of the wonderful natural sights along the trail.
These spicebush berries will change from
lime green to red by late summer, and
will provide excellent nutrition for the wildlife.
While this is a beech-maple forest, that doesn't mean you will only find beech and maple trees here. While you will see lots of American Beech trees with their smooth gray bark, and many Sugar Maples with their rough, darker bark, many other tree species are present here as well. For example, in areas which were probably exposed to the sunlight by treefalls or clearcutting before 1950 or so, you will see a number of Wild Black Cherry trees with their flaky dark bark and stright trunks. These trees like the sunlight of an opening, and grow stright and tall in response to the competition that such high-light environments provide for plants. Also present are White Ash trees, Paw Paw, and American Hornbeam.
A portion of this trail runs next to the forest edge along the Blacklick Woods Golf Courses. In this area, you may notice the vegetation getting a little thicker near the extra light provided by the edge. Here you are likely to see more light-loving species of plants, such as mints, asters, wild raspberries and blackberries, and Wild Cucumber vines, among many others. Such edge environments contain conditions similar to those found in forest gaps created by storms, overstory tree mortality, or selective timber harvesting. The difference is, forest gaps develop over time and the light-loving species give way to shade-tolerant plants such as beech and maples. Edges tend to be longer-lasting and hence the plant community tends to resemble a younger ecological state for a much longer time.
The Maple Loop trail is also a great place to see birds. Along this trail, you will see the oblong tree cavities created by Pileated woodpeckers. Besides pileated, the area is frequented by Common Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sap Suckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Hairy Woodpeckers. This diversity of woodpeckers is due to the large contiguous forest, as well as the fact that the forest is old enough to contain a number of dead and dying trees which are home to the insects these birds love to eat. Beyond the woodpeckers, expect to hear the hollow woodwind-like calls of the Woodthrush, warblers, and around dusk, the "who-cooks, who-cooks, who cooks for you" call of the Barred Owl.
The Maple Loop Trail is a pleasant and relaxing hike through one of the few remaining Beech-Maple forests of Franklin County. Take your time and soak in the many, many natural sights and sounds and you will be delighted with an hour well spent.
Blacklick Woods Multi-purpose Trail