Hiked this trail today and personally enjoyed it. To clear up some confusion that may occur there are a few different trails in the area with varying difficulties.

There are ~5 trails inside the actual park, estimated because they interconnect and you could hike more or less and create your own. They range from .25 - 1 mile in length. These trails, from what I saw of them, were paved and very well maintained, definitely an easy stroll.

There is also the sweet water spring loop trail, or Damian Maertens trail, not sure which came first and they are one and the same path. This trail is 4.8 miles in length with a few opportunities to shave some distance/time off. This is the trail that highlights when you select northwest trek trail. This trail is easy going for all but a mile of it, this mile is located between sweet water bridge and about 300 yards from the quick return .5 mile shortcut. Between these two points the trail is very narrow, loose soil in places, for a good portion it has a 65-75 (estimated but close) degree slope on one side and either a continuation of this or an electric fence on the other, with a couple hundred yard decent to the bottom. If you started the trail heading south, through the park entrance, you will have to climb in elevation through this area. We opted to start heading north at the trailhead and didn’t notice any significant change in elevation until we descended in this area. The remainder of the trail is very easy, capable of two people walking adjacent to each other comfortably.

Wildlife was scarce for our trip. Rabbits, chipmunks, lots of snails and slugs, and a few lizards/newts. There were a few picture worthy flora samples in the area. As you have read from other reviews nettles are abundant and present along the entire trail.

TL;DR: If you’re taking kids or inexperienced hikers I’d recommend paying the admission to the park and enjoying the well maintained paths and the scenery. If you want a little challenge, enjoy the sweet water spring loop, just keep an eye on the time as the signs state the trail gate is locked when the park closes.

this is a trail outside of the entrance to see animals. you do not have to pay. it starts at the parking lot.

10 months ago

Good place to take kids. Unfortunately, most of the animals are hidden in their habitats. There were lots of animals on the tram ride, but sit on the left side if you want a good view of them.

a great place for moderate activity but so much to look at!

Lots of animals to see. Nice tram ride.

Normally a nice trail, but the nature trail is riddled with stinging nettle, so this was a miserable, painful outing.

walking
Sunday, March 26, 2017

This is a great place to learn about the animals, take a walk and enjoy your children. Lots to see and the tram is a lot of fun. Must see at least once.

hiking
Monday, April 04, 2016

Great hiking with the kids, nature trails were fun, lots of animals in great habitats and an excellent new playground with water feature just opened for the kids. Cannot recommend this highly enough.

walking
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Very easy, not much to look at. Just okay. I wouldn't go out of my way to do this hike. We belong to the NW trek so we might do these if we still want to burn up some kid energy.

walking
Sunday, March 22, 2015

Really great trails for kids. We took ours to Northwest Trek then did the nature trails. A great way to spend the day. We had our youngest in a jogging stroller, and it was bumpy but made it through just fine. Definitely more of a nature walk though than a hike. Only downer is I don't think you can do the nature trails without paying for the Trek.

hiking
Saturday, July 12, 2014

Really pretty trail, even though most of the best views of Ohop Lake and the Sweetwater Spring were overgrown. Not knowing how the trails were and wanting to stay cool in the unusually warm weather we wore shorts and were greeted by plenty of nettle stings on the back portion of the trail, so beware. We did the entire loop around Sweetwater Spring and a few of the other random loops which ended up being a little more than 5 miles.

hiking
Friday, July 13, 2012

Completed this last year, late spring after a visit to NW Trek with kids (17, 8, 6). Rain rolled in heavy during our last mile or so. We were all soaked but had a lot of fun.

Well kept trail, really pretty. Saw two deer while trekking, and the park fee was around $30.00 for an all day pass.