With the weather turning brisk, the call for outdoor experiences often follows suit.
Auburn and Opelika have a variety of trails including the Caroline Dean Wildflower Trail, Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, the Wood Duck Heritage Preserve and Siddique Nature Park and Chewacla State Park.
The Caroline Dean Wildflower Trail, located in Opelika, pays tribute to Dean and her contribution of her wildflower collection.
The entry of the trail is planted with caroline jasmine, Christmas ferns and native azaleas.
The trail is cared for by the Master Gardener program. According to their website, the Master Gardener program is an organization that teaches how to practice gardening and landscaping.
“In 2010, Mrs. Dean, an Honorary Master Gardener, asked Master Gardeners to improve the trail with plants from her personal garden for the benefit of the community,” said Lee County Master Gardener Billie Oliver.
The team of Master Gardeners transplanted 22 native azaleas from Dean’s garden to the newly restored area of the trail.
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“Personal donations of plants from Master Gardeners, the Alabama Wildflower Society members, the Auburn Arboretum, Gardens’ Delights, the Huntsville Botanical Gardens and others resulted in over 100 species of native plants within the lower section of the trail that comprises the present garden,” Oliver said.
Oliver said the Master Gardener volunteers working in the garden “strive to keep the natural aspects of the garden that make it relaxing and refreshing.”
The Kreher Preserve Nature Center, located off North College Street, has 1-mile, 2-mile and 3-mile routes on their trail.
Michael Buckman, Kreher Preserve and Nature Center manager, said the center was established in 1993 as an outreach program of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.
“The Center boasts 120 acres of preserved wilderness with a wide variety of plant and animal life, along with many interesting and beautiful natural features,” Buckman said.
The three trail routes total to 6 miles of hiking trails that weave in and out of the forests and meadows, Buckman said. He said the trails are marked with educational signs and plant labels.
Buckman said if needed, there are maps available in the main pavilion, but due to their relative flatness, the trails tend to be easy to navigate.
As a wildlife preserve, the Kreher Preserve Nature Center does not allow pets or bikes.
According to the park’s website, The Wood Duck Heritage Preserve Siddique Nature Park is a restored habitat for migrant and local birds.
The trails in the nature park include The Bandy Park Outdoor Walking Track, which is 0.25 mile, and the Master Gardeners Nature Trail at Municipal Park, which is 0.23 mile.
They also offer the 0.97-mile Opelika Sportsplex Walking Track and the West Ridge Park Walking Track.
According to the park’s website, Chewacla State Park has 10 trails that vary in distance and difficulty level.
They said for beginning hikers, the easier paths at Chewacla are the Camps Trail, Lakeside Connector and Boy Scout Trail.
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