Walking and Hiking Trails
Enjoy a hike on our trails.  Trails vary in length and topography, with many being inter-connected.  Maps and trail descriptions are also available at the Nature Center.

Follow along on a small map or a large map (.pdf), which will open in a new window for reference purposes.

Please remember to follow Arboretum Etiquette when enjoying our trails.

The Beech/Maple Trail
(Blue Arrows; 3/4 mile)

Ravine along the Beech-Maple TrailThe Beech Maple trail begins by winding through an area populated by Black Locust, Oak, and Tulip trees. These parts of the trial are in the secondary phase of a natural process known as Ecological Succession; that is, how a meadow or field changes to a forest by gradual replacement of plants. The dominance of Black Locust (as well as Cedars, Cottonwoods, Hawthorn, or grapes is a characteristic of the early secondary stage of ecological succession, while the Oak and Tulip trees appear in the late secondary stage.

The trail also passes through the Beech/Maple forest, an excellent example of the climax stage of ecological succession. In this case, Beech and Maple trees will dominate the area until something happens to destroy it (after which ecological succession begins anew).

The trail skirts the Research Pond, then continues back toward the Nature Center. The pond is slowly filling in and will also undergo ecological succession, but with different plants (ones more tolerant to water saturated soil).

Finally, nearing the Nature Center, the trail passes through a secondary growth portion of the forest.  Several invasive species of shrubs can be seen growing here which are, unfortunately, typical today of secondary growth forests.  These invasive shrubs include privet and honeysuckle.  Their removal is important to the ecological development of the forest.

The Habitat Trail
(Yellow Arrows; 1 mile)

Non-Poisonus SnakeIn walking the yellow trail, it is useful to think about the habitats of the plants and animals that may be seen along the trail. At its head, the trail passes through an area that was once a field habitat. In a process called ecological succession this field habitat changed to a forest habitat: specifically, an area where shrubs and small trees are dominant. 

Just as seen at the end of the Beech/Maple Trail, this area is unfortunately dominated by various species of invasive shrubs and herbaceous plants, such as garlic mustard.  Removal efforts have been ongoing for several years and will continue.  Just as the plants of the habitat changed, so did the types of animals that live here. For example, Indigo Buntings and Woodpeckers now dwell where Goldfinches, Field Sparrows, and Bluebirds used to live.

Subsequently, the trail runs across Salamander Stream, an aquatic habitat. The stream serves as a home to salamanders, mosquitoes, crayfish, and snails. the stream also supports the deer, groundhogs, and raccoons from the surrounding woodland habitats.

Winding through a valley and cresting atop a hill composed of dirt, gravel, and rocks, (known as a glacial till), the trail passes over the underground habitat of burrowing animals like groundhogs, who build their homes in glacial till because it is easy to dig up. As the trail continues, it is possible to see the different levels of the forest habitat. In this area, oak trees make up the canopy, or top level, while Dogwood and Maple trees make up the under story. On the ground level are herbaceous plants, and below is the underground habitat. The trail then starts back to the Nature Center through the woodland habitat.

As can be seen along the Habitat Trail, plants and animals depend on each other on many levels to make a habitat a livable place. A delicate balance exists in any habitat. No parts are wasted or insignificant.

The History Trail
(Red Arrows; 1 mile)

Mildred Hayes MemorialThe History Trial begins behind the Nature Center and passes up a wooded slope.  As the hill continues upwards, the woods end and the Hayes House can be seen to the left of the trail. Formerly the residence of Arboretum Founder, Stanley W. Hayes, the house was built on the site for it's panoramic view and serenity.

Passing steadily upward and across a grassy slope, the trail leads to the Mildred Hayes Memorial. The memorial was built in recognition of Millie's love for nature and children, a shaping force in the Arboretum's objectives.

Plunging back into the forest and cresting the hill, the trail then runs down to the Brice E. Hayes Memorial Fountain. The memorial honors Dr. Brice Hayes, the son of Stanley Hayes, for his hard work, genuine interest, and pride in his father's dream.

Not far from the fountain lies the Paul C. McClure Native Woody Plant Preserve where native trees, shrubs, and vines are grown and displayed for the educational benefit of the public. Each tree is labeled and catalogued for easy reference.

Exiting the woods, the trail runs across a section of a one mile dirt track constructed here in 1890 by Robert Howard. Dubbed "The Fastest Track in the World," it was used for bicycle and horse races. Mr. Howard went on to design and build another track: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cutting from the track into the wild bird sanctuary, the trail shows the visitor a variety of trees, shrubs, and grasses, both native and non-native, planted to provide food and shelter for birds. During the summer, goldfinches, indigo buntings, and bluebirds can be found here, while the best known winter residents are cardinals.

Top of Page

Hayes Arboretum  ▪  801 Elks Road   ▪  Richmond, Indiana  47374  ▪  765-962-3745