Pileated Woodpecker with young
Pileated Woodpecker with young. Photo by
Dennis Malueg.
Birding Trail #6 The Green Circle Birding Trail:
River Pines Trail

Length: 3.1 miles
Crushed granite trail (along river), paved roads, sidewalks
Stevens Point Care Center on Sherman Ave. (south), downtown Stevens Point (north)

Map: Click here to view a map of the trail [PDF]
Section Page: Click here for more information about this trail

The River Pines Trail is the best place to wander along the Wisconsin River and enjoy waterfowl, birds of the tall timber, marshland inhabitants, and perhaps even stop and catch a smallmouth bass. Starting from the parking lot of the Stevens Point Care Center on Sherman Avenue (south) or at the Water Treatment Plant on the end Mill Street (north) this section demands a leisurely pace. It is best to walk from one end to the other and then return to your starting place. If one starts at the Water Treatment Plant, it is easy to cross the bridge on Highway HH and continue following the Westside Loop. This will make a total trip of approximately 4 miles back to the starting point.

Early in the spring this section is an ideal place to see migrating Common Loons, Trumpeter Swans, Wood Ducks, coots, mallards, mergansers, and golden eyes plus Belted Kingfishers. Eagles and ospreys use this section as prime fishing grounds. One can find Wild Turkeys roosting in the pinewoods and nesting in nearby oak woods areas. Woodland birds, including nuthatches, Pileated, Hairy, and Downy Woodpeckers, chickadees, Ovenbirds, waxwings and orioles, can be observed on a regular basis. Be sure to stop at the Highway HH Bridge and take in the summer colony of an estimated 2,000 nesting Cliff Swallows.

A short section of the trail meanders along a marsh area where occasional rails, Swamp Sparrows, wrens, Northern Waterthrush, and a variety of warblers can be found along the way. June and July are prime times for viewing these species.

Late evenings offer an opportunity to hear Great Horned and Barred Owl calls echoing across the river. Additionally, Cedar Waxwings put on quite a display feeding on mayflies coming from the surface of the river. Mosquitoes are to be expected. No matter what you are looking for, this is a relaxing, pleasant section on which birders can spend a couple of hours enjoying riverfront nature. Be careful in high water conditions as this section occasionally floods.

The Green Circle Birding Trail is sponsored by The Aldo Leopold Audubon Society (ALAS)

The Aldo Leopold Audubon Society