Lookout TrailGanong Nature Park
|Distance||880 metres one-way|
|Estimated Time||45 minutes|
|Surface Type||wood chips, old road|
|Elevation Change||30 metres|
|Trail Markers||white arrows|
|Maintenance Rating||well maintained|
|Dog Friendly||on a leash|
The Lookout Trail starts by traveling through a sparse mixed forest with lots of ferns underneath. The wide trail is covered in wood chips. Soon the trail comes to a junction with an old road. Turning left will take you back to the parking lot. Turning right will take you to the Lookout. The trail will come to another junction of an old ATV trail. Keep right again on this trail.
There are some spots that look like they are wet for parts of the year. They are full of corduroy (small logs placed in the wet spots) that look like they were installed by ATV users in the past. The trail soon comes to an old basement of a house with an interpretive sign (see below). Across from the basement is the start of the Forest Pond Trail.
Continue on the trail for another 200 meters and you will come to a rock outcrop. The rocky outcrop provides some amazing views of the bay in several directions.
For directions to Ganong Nature Park go to the Ganong Nature Park Page.
At the left of the visitor center there is a mowed trail that enters the woods. This is the start of the Lookout Trail. You can also access the trail on an old road that enters the woods on the left just before the parking lot. A third way to access the Lookout Trail is from the Forest Pond Trail.
Trail Last Hiked: June 19, 2016.
Page Last Updated: January 20, 2017.
From the Sign
John Smith Farm
This is the ruins of the John Smith Farmhouse. Originally the land grant to Mr. Smith was separate from Oak (Todd's) Point which was purchased by William Todd in 1891. The Smith lot was purchased some time later by Mr. Todd to create the larger property owned by St. Croix Estuary Project Inc. today.
Field stones were used for the foundation and to build the nearby rock wall. It is possible that stones were quarried a short distance away at the granite lookout.
As can be seen in the photo, this was a small family farm with very poor rocky land. No information is available on the Smith family, but it is likely that they would have joined Mr. Todd in his enterprises next door.
Note the extent of reforestation that has taken place here, and the trees and other plants that have taken up residence in the foundation.
From the Sign
The Lookout is a unique place, well worth exploring. The view is spectacular of course with a panorama stretching from Oak Haven on the northwest to the mouth of the Waweig River on the east.
This granite bluff is really special. This massive rock structure slopes down to the forest below and visitors are requested to be very careful here. In the past stone blocks were quarried from this area and there are various places where you can still see the marks from the tools used to carve the rock.
Look around the bluff area. Notice that the trees are very old and gnarled. Unable to find much soil here, they have adapted by sending out roots to find any available nutrients. So many of the roots are more like massive branches as they have developed bark to protect them from the elements.
Very unusual colonies of mosses and lichens occur over this whole rock surface. Sit down and take a close look at these remarkable plants. Please treat them with respect. It took many, many years for them to grow here.