RUNderful Life: Black Locust Trail

The pond adjacent to the trail is teeming with waterfowl year round. / Photo

FOR THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

I have been MIA running on my treadmill due to the weather and marathon training, but when we had a break in the rain in late January I visited a park and trail to share with The Natomas Buzz readers.

This is a short, half-mile trail, full of wildlife and natural beauty. The Black Locust Trail circles a small retention pond located adjacent to the Wyndham Garden Hotel (2298 Terracina Drive) and is adjacent to the paved Jackrabbit Trail.

There are multiple ways to access this trail. I prefer to run/jog there from wherever I might be at the moment, or you can get there by driving or biking. If you go by vehicle, drive past the hotel where there is plenty of street parking. From there, you can easily maneuver down to the trail.

I frequent this trail on a regular basis as it is always peaceful and serene – except right after the January storms which left behind a lot of debris which was removed quickly by city staff.

Evidence of beaver activity adjacent to the trail. / Photo by Mariah Talso

This little pond is always full of wildlife. I have seen a family of otters here in the morning hours and sat and watched them as they played along the shore. There are tons of turtles darting their heads in and out of the water. There is also evidence of beavers living here, however I have yet to see one.

This pond is home to many different types of waterfowl and really is a bird watchers dream. There are benches all around the trail, so you can take some time to observe the birds as they fly in and out to the island in the middle of the pond. At various times of the year the island is just covered in birds, bird droppings, or both. The waterfowl and the island habitat changes with each season.

Bird watching is easy along Black Locust Trail. / Photo

In addition, the surrounding vegetation is constantly changing. My favorite time to visit this park is in December and January when the pyracantha shrubs are overflowing with red berries (don’t eat them as they are poisonous!). I may be wrong on the name of this plant, but the red berries always brighten up the cold winter days for me.

I hope you will take some time to visit the Black Locust Trail and neighboring pond, and that any nature you observe will bring a smile to your face. Do take advantage of the benches and maybe bring a lunch or a coffee to enjoy as you appreciate this little slice of nature in our own backyard.

Please be very careful if you go in the near future to watch your step and be wary of slippery and muddy sections of the trail.

Mariah Talso moved to North Natomas in 2012. She has two young children who enjoy the trails, parks, and playgrounds in the area. In 2018, Mariah decided to run a marathon, took up running and hasn’t stopped. She loves running outdoors, traversing the trails and levees throughout Natomas. Click here to read her other columns.

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