Hiking at Hirundo
Hirundo has over seven miles of trails sprawled across 2,460 acres of diverse ecological evironments. We invite the public to enjoy Hirundo's trails free of charge.
If you enjoy your time at Hirundo, please consider a donation to help maintain the refuge. Donation boxes can be found at Gates 1 and 3. Or make a donation through the website by clicking HERE.
Enjoy your hike and tell your friends!
What lies behind the Gates?
Beyond Gate 1, down the 1/2 mile long the dirt road, is the Pine Tree parking area. From here, it is only a few hundred feet to Lac D’or (Lake of Gold). Along the shore are benches to enjoy the wildlife in and around the lake. The trail heads of the Wabanaki, Pushaw Stream, Big Spring and Thornplum trails are also just a few steps away.
Trailheads for the Pushaw Stream, Pond, White Pine, and Conifer Trails are located on the west side of LacD’or. All trails beyond Gates 1, 2, & 3 interconnect. The Pushaw Stream Trail follows the stream and has a short steep portion on the southern end. It connects with Pond, White Pine and Conifer Trails creating loops between 0.9 to 1.7 miles. The time commitment is approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on route chosen. All of these trails are forested and easy.
Note: trail portions by the floodplain forest flood during high water conditions.
Descriptions of each trail are detailed below. To see a map of Hirundo's hiking trails, click HERE.
Accessible from Gates 1 and 3:
Wabanaki Trail – 0.4 miles:
The Wabanaki trail is a historic trail, passing by the site of an archeological dig. This trail is one of three interpretive trails and the first one with signs. We thank Jacob Clark (Eagle Scout to be) and his supporters for organizing and erecting poles and materials to make this paperless trail possible.The northern part of the trail wanders along the banks of the Pushaw Stream over a flat, grassy surface. As it pulls away from the stream it enters a marshy area exposed to the sunlight and a muskrat lodge. Wooden bridges help you over the moist areas. Take a moment and look down next to the bridge. You are standing right next to a beaver dam. It ends at a junction with the Big Spring trail and the Thorn Plum trail.
Big Spring Trail – 0.2 miles:
The Big Spring trail starts by crossing the east side of the field, and then crosses a bridge into the woods. This short trail is an easy, flat trail that passes by some vernal pools and streams, and through some large pine trees. It comes to a junction with the Wabanaki and Thorn Plum trails at the spring.
Thorn Plum Trail – 0.3 miles:
The trail is named for the unique spiny and twisted thorn plum (Hawthorn) trees that populate the trail. It starts from a junction with the Big Spring and Wabanaki trails, passing through dense thorn plum forest, before coming out to a field. The trail is marked by a series of small, white signs. The trail meanders across the field before going back into the forest, and then meeting the road across from the White Pine trail.
White Pine Trail – 0.3 miles:
The White Pine trail is aptly named for the very tall, branching pine trees that line this trail. The section nearest to the road is littered with roots and uneven footing. Sections of the trail also have a number of moderate-sized rocks, some covered by moss. The trail widens and then ends at a junction with the Pushaw trail.
Conifer Trail – 0.3 miles:
The Conifer trail connects the Pushaw and Pond trails. The conifer trail has moderate-sized rocks and roots. There is one small, but moderately steep hill about midway through the trail. The trail never seems to have a distinct trail bed, but is abundantly marked and easy to follow, giving it a sort of “wild” feel like you’re just wandering through the forest exploring.
Pond Trail – 0.8 miles:
The Pond trail starts from behind the gift shop at Gate 3 to the right. It proceeds over roots and moderate-sized rocks through the forest. It is an uneven path, but there are no prolonged inclines. As the trail heads north, it passes the White Pine and Conifer trails, becoming wider and less rocky until it meets the Pushaw trail in the north.
Pushaw Stream Trail – 0.9 miles:
The Pushaw trail starts opposite the gift shop at Gate 3 and heads north, closely following the banks of Pushaw Stream for much of its length. On sunny days, the many branching trees on the far side of the stream create an amazing reflection in the water. The Pushaw trail has moderately steep inclines, rolling up and down through the forest over rocks and roots. In the north, it passes by Lac’Dor before ending at the shelter.
Trail of the Senses
All access trails located at Gate 1. Learn more.
Accessible from Gate 6:
Trapper’s Trail -1 mile one way:
Starting from Gate 6, the Trapper’s Trail is a wide trail mostly clear of rocks and branches. It goes up a moderate rise as it approaches the Vernal Pool Trail (on the left). After passing the Vernal Pool trail, it is mostly flat with only very slight grades. The southern segment of trail features denser forest of Hemlock and Beech to either side. After passing several trail junctions (Vernal Pool, Indian Pipe, Beech & Hemlock), the Trapper’s Trail ends at a small shelter where it meets the southern end of the Beech Trail.
Needle and Leaf Trail – 0.5 miles:
The Needle and Leaf Trail has a mild grade through most of the trail. There is an abundant covering of leaves, which do hide some small to moderate size rocks underneath. The trail starts out with sparser forest in the north, and the wanders into denser forest as it approaches the junction with the Beech trail. A left at this junction will return you to the Trapper’s Trail. Be sure to pick up the Interpretive Trail brochure that goes along with this trail to enhance your experience.
Hemlock Trail – 0.8 miles:
The Hemlock trail has a mild downhill grade from north to south. It starts out smooth, and then suddenly becomes very rough after a sharp right turn. As you walk south, the hemlock forest becomes denser and very quiet. A couple of bridges help you over some moist areas. At the southern end, it meets up with the Trapper’s Trail again.
Beech Trail – 0.9 miles:
The Beech trail starts out going south with a mild to moderate descent, at the bottom of which it crosses a small brook. After this there is a short, moderate section of uphill. The northern section is a bit wider and open before transition into dense forest in the south. There is an interesting contrast between beech forest on one side, and hemlock on the other. About halfway through there is a short spur leading to an overlook. At the southern end, the Beech Trail rejoins the Trapper’s Trail at the shelter.