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
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.