Marlene Schroeder Nature Trail
I suppose the best way to describe the Marlene Schroeder Nature Trail is to actually call it the In-between Trail. It weaves itself along the no longer used Crow Lane Roadway and ends up meeting with so many other trails that any hiker for the first time can easily connect with many other paths.
The only way to start on this trail is to park at the end of Colby Farm Road at the Trail head sign. Parking for at least five cars is provided.
Walking down the wide path of the old Crow Lane, you will actually be crossing the beginnings of the Little River. Sometimes in heavy rain, the stream pours above and not through the conduits. Continuing up a hill, you can view on the left the inner field of the Cooper North Pasture Conservation Area and sometimes be lucky enough to see a grazing deer. Going up the hill, the trail eventually ends up at a crossroads. To the left is the Cooper North Pasture Preserve Trail and a little further long is the beginning of the Randal J. Millen Nature Trail on the right.
To protect important Natural Heritage certified vernal pools* that lie directly on the discontinued Crow Lane Roadway; the trail takes a sharp right and goes due north and runs on the highlands just above a wetlands expanse.
Thanks to the local Boy Scout Troop 251, an extensive bog bridge allows the hiker to cross the wetlands without harming the habitat and keeping the feet high and dry.
The path rejoins a higher bank and traverses a beautiful stretch of forest until it rejoins the old Crow Lane Roadway. Turning to the right, the path descends to a bridge over the Little River and then empties at the abandoned Route 95 roadbed now turned into the Gloria Braunhardt Bike/Pedestrian Trial. A small trek into the field just across the way and you can also link up with the Albert G Decie II Little River Nature Trail.
The “In-between” trail is a great way to have access to all the different paths in the forest. It’s also a great point of reference to prevent becoming lost. Of all the trails in this area, the Marlene Schroeder Nature Trail has that seasoned feel that gives a hiker confidence that the path won’t ‘disappear’ and it gives a feeling of being close to some of the best of what nature offers.