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Easy Nature Hikes:

Beebe Lake Loop

Beebe Lake and Woods

This 3/4 –mile loop beneath the shady forest canopy around the lake takes less than an hour to complete.

Trail access points:

  • East of Helen Newman Hall on North Campus
  • Off of Forest Home Drive near the intersection of Plantations Road
  • Off of Forest Home Drive behind Martha Van Rensselaer Hall

Guides to Cornell Plantations Natural Areas

There are many Plantations natural areas on and off campus that provide both easy and moderate hikes. For $2.95 each, you can purchase "The Field Guide to Natural Areas on or near Campus," and "Cornell's Guide to Off-campus Natural Areas."

Mundy Wildflower Garden

Nestled at the foot of a bluff and on an active floodplain of Fall Creek, this garden is a centerpiece of Cornell Botanic Gardens' native plant education program.  Like many floodplains, it has rich soils, and a high diversity of native plants, abundant wildflowers, and rare species. 
 To guide your plant discovery, you will find:

  • Labels next to over 200 native plant species.
  • Photographs and up-to-date lists of the season's flowering plants at the "Garden Highlights" display near the garden entrance. 

Slim Jim Woods

This mature forest borders Newman Meadow and serves as natural buffer between the arboretum and the more developed parts of campus. The woods, featuring tall white pines and a walking path, are bordered with a cultivated planting of trees such as three-flower maple, kousa dogwood, serviceberry, and ‘Bobwhite’ crabapples. No one knows where the name “Slim Jim” originated.

F.R. Newman Arboretum, east entrance
Best Season: 

Year Round

Morgan-Smith Trail

The Morgan-Smith Trail is a historical remnant of old-growth forest that connects the cultivated horticulture collections of the arboretum with one of our nearby natural areas, Park Park. The half-mile trail through old-growth and replanted forests is a great place to see trees that are more than 150 years old. Along the trail, trees of interest include sugar maple, hemlock, tulip, basswood, cucumber magnolia, white pine, white ash, black birch, and shagbark hickory. Understory plants include blue cohosh, dame’s rocket, skunk cabbage, jack-in-the-pulpit, red and white trillium, violet, trout lily, mayapple, and wood fern.

F.R. Newman Arboretum, northeastern edge
Best Season: 

March - October

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