Fall is the perfect time to hike because this when nature begins to slow down with cooler temperatures but also the fall foliage is spectacular. There is a peacefulness in hearing the crunching of leaves under foot when hiking in the woods or on nature trails and with vegetation at its seasons peck the terrain is more noticeable, such as valleys and creeks that have been hidden by dense summer overgrowth can now be seen. Around the surrounding counties there are several nice easy trails and walking paths but since I represent the Joe Ford Nature Center I am going to highlight the trails within the park.

The year 2020 has taken a toll on visitors and the programs. The Joe Ford Nature Center has lost a considerable amount of revenue but it has not stopped us from working on the trails. All it takes is a little bit of manpower and tools to clear overgrowth and pick up debris created by man polluting the trails with trash or the elements causing fallen branches and trees. Currently there has been some progress on the trail grant that was received in late fall of 2019. If you were to visit the trails you will see fourteen trail benches placed throughout the park. Some of the benches have plaques from donations in recognition of individuals. This is a great way in honoring someone or a pet that has played a significant role in your life by donating $50 toward a bench and then Joe Ford Nature Center will place a brass plaque on one of the fourteen benches throughout the park. Another thing that may be noticed is the Wild Fern Trail and parts of Red Bird and Joe Ford Trail have been outlined with timbers. The rest of the segments of trails as well as the 7 fitness stations will be placed along the trails and completed as volunteer help is available.

All the trails are easily manageable and can be navigated by families with young children and older adults. There have been two additional trials cleared and one is an extension off of the Red Bird Trail that connects to the Wild Fern Trail. The extension weaves throughout the woods and circles around the Willow Pond and drops into a new trail called the Outer Trail. The Outer Trail does a loop at the west side of the bypass and weaves alongside the Joe Ford Trail and comes back along West Fourth Street and fades into Joe Ford near the GRADD Center. If a person were to do all of the trails at one time they can easily get over 2.50 miles of walking. With these added features we are hopeful more people will take advantage of the quaint area nestled in the western beltway of Owensboro.

If you are wanting to stay in Daviess and Mclean County there are other areas for walking and hiking. On the west end of Owensboro off of Hwy 60 you will find the Rudy Mine Trails. These trials are designed for hikers/walkers and bikers with some being easy/moderate to difficult. For more information on this trail visit Rudy Mine Trails Facebook page. The parks within Daviess County will be Yellow and Panther Creek. Yellow Creek is east of the county near Hwy 144 and Panther Creek is west of Owensboro Hwy 81 at Wayne Bridge Road. Both of these parks are easy to moderate hiking. Mclean County has Myer Creek Park in Calhoun with nice easy/moderate trails. Whatever your preference for enjoying the Fall be sure to get outdoors and go take a hike.

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