“A loop through the enchanted forest of the Osborne Archery Range.”
— Kenny Slocum
Birding · Fall Colors
While the archery range is sparsely used, the "do not enter" signs indicate the proper direction of travel. Ignore them at your own peril, as you run the risk of running into an archer's blind spot.
This trail is accessed from the Hunter's Ed Trail
. Shortly after a row of parallel mowed spots, a sign for the "archery range" will lead runners into the woods.
The trail rolls gently throughout its course, roughly following the bends of the Volga River through the first 0.3 miles. Near the far end of the loop, a number of short trails lead to dead ends or small connections to the return trail; stick to the right to avoid backtracking.
After crossing a fairly new bridge, and a ravine that could probably use a bridge, the trail makes a very small loop before returning on a path just a few feet from the initial segment. Slowly the trails separate, until the woods give way again to prairie. This prairie is privately owned Conservation Reserve Program ground, so please be respectful, but enjoy an incredible view. The high bluffs along the Volga River serve as the backdrop to the coneflowers, fluttering Cabbage White and Monarch butterflies, and flickering birds enjoying the fruits - figurative and literal - of the prairie.
To return, either backtrack the loop and follow the Hunter's Ed Trail
back to the care, or pack on some more mileage by connecting to the east loops of the archery range and Osborne Pond Trail
Flora & Fauna
These woods are particularly fruitful for mushroom hunters, with deadfall providing the nutrients for white and golden oysters. Try to beat the Morel enthusiasts in the spring. In late summer, Chantarelles can be found amongst the leaf litter.