Trail Sections — University Trail


  • Length:

    2.6 miles

  • Surface:

    Crushed granite trails and boardwalks (in Reserve), paved roads (along Wilshire Dr.)

  • Activities:

    Hiking, jogging, biking, no pets (use alternative route along North Point Drive)

  • Parking:

    Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center (west), Along Wilshire Dr. (east)

The University Trail spans from the Green Circle Trailhead off of Business 51 (west) to the Moses Creek parking lot off of Wilshire Drive (northeast). The west portion of the trail meanders through Schmeeckle Reserve, a 280-acre natural area on the UW-Stevens Point campus. Diverse habitats of forest, prairie, wetlands, streams, and oak savannah provide ample wildlife viewing opportunities. The east portion follows Wilshire Drive to the north. A portion of the road has extended paved shoulders for trail users.

University Trail

Features


Visit the Green Circle Headquarters

The Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center is the headquarters of the Green Circle, open every day from 8 am-5 pm. Staff are available to answer questions about the trail or the Stevens Point area. The center also features free parking, restrooms and water, trail maps, a gift shop, and a conservation museum.

Click here for more information about the Visitor Center

What is Schmeeckle Reserve?

Schmeeckle Reserve is a public 280-acre natural area on the UW-Stevens Point campus. It was created to preserve and restore natural communities of central Wisconsin. Take a detour from the Green Circle to explore over 4 additional miles of trails and boardwalks. Paths are open to hiking, jogging, snow shoeing, and slow biking. The scenic Lake Joanis is a popular place for fishing and canoeing.

Click here for more information about the Reserve

Alternate Route for pet owners

Since the Reserve is used by the university for education and research, some rules are different on this portion of the trail. Pets are not allowed in the Reserve, as they can disturb sensitive wildlife studies. Pet owners should follow the alternate route along North Point Drive (see map for more details).

Birding Information (Site #1)


The University Trail winds through Schmeeckle Reserve, a 280-acre reserve on the UW-Stevens Point campus with a variety of habitats. Nearly 220 bird species and 33 species of mammals have been documented in the Reserve. Schmeeckle is one of the sites featured in the Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail: Central Sands Prairie Region booklet.

Birders can plan on a leisurely one hour walk through wetlands, woodlands, and grassland prairie. The Reserve provides a unique opportunity for birders to walk through a cattail marsh with its elevated boardwalk system, with opportunities to see Red-winged Blackbirds, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, or Willow Flycatchers.

Springtime brings abundant migratory species such as warblers, kinglets, and White-throated Sparrows. In the evening, one can listen for the “peent” of the woodcock and experience its joyous dance. In the summer, follow the trail through grassland habitat to observe a variety of sparrows such as Savannah, Grasshopper, or Vesper Sparrows. Eastern Bluebirds can be seen in the Berard Oak Savanna or along the woodland edge. The woodlands feature a mix of conifers and a deciduous forest wetland, providing opportunities to see Veery, Hermit, or Wood Thrushes gleaning food from the forest floor. The Pileated Woodpecker is a permanent resident which excavates large cavities in trees in search of food. Some other permanent residents include White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, Great Horned and Barred Owls, and Ruffed Grouse.

In 2010, Moses Creek (ditched in the 1930s) and nearly 18 acres of wetlands were restored in the northeast portion of the Reserve. Wide boardwalks travel over portions of the restoration area, which include islands of large trees, peninsulas, and replanted wetland vegetation. As this area heals itself, watch for waterfowl and shoreline birds in the swales, woodpeckers enjoying the dead snags, and songbirds along the edges.

The northeast section of the trail connects the University Trail with the Moses Creek Trail with a walk down Wilshire Drive. This section is an additional one mile walk along a golf course and through a residential area that provides a variety of cover for birds. Nuthatches, chickadees, robins, woodpeckers, and Blue Jays are only a few of the birds that may be seen. The two small bodies of water on both sides of the road provide distant viewing of waterfowl.

Photo Gallery