Fleming Creek Trail
at Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Fleming Creek Trail – 1.2 miles
Get off the beaten track and traverse a series of wetland habitats as well as a kame (a small glacial hill). The Fleming Creek Trail provides some of the best views up and down Fleming Creek. In season, kingfishers are frequently seen flying along the creek. The diverse former floodplain forest was not lumbered—it was too swampy—but the tree stumps are mute testimony to what happened and why parts of the floodplain are so open now. Invasive exotic pests have killed all the majestic American elms (Ulmus americana) that dominated the swamp until the 1960s. More recently, additional invasive pests have since killed the native larch trees (Larix laricina) and ash trees (Fraxinus). Other trees have been toppled by major storms, leaving their roots upturned. Unless they are a hazard to public safety, the dead trees are left to decay naturally, and a new but different forest regenerates. The scattered tall cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) are currently the tallest trees. The vegetation changes dramatically on the kame. Its well-drained soils support a stand of oak, hickory, as well as a dispersed patch of wild strawberries.
The Fleming Creek trail follows the east side of Fleming Creek between the two bridges (trail markers #5 and #8).
The Fleming Creek Trail is at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens site.