Adirondack Wildflowers: Trout Lily on the Boreal Life Trail (4 May 2013)

Interpretive Nature Trails in the Adirondacks:
Boreal Life Trail

This page is no longer being updated.  For an updated and expanded version of this material, see: Interpretive Nature Trails in the Adirondacks: Boreal Life Trail

Mushrooms of the Adirondacks: Hemlock Varnish Shelf (29 June 2013) Adirondack Wetlands: Transition between mixed forest and bog (18 July 2013) Adirondack Wetlands:  Boardwalk through Barnum Bog (18 July 2013) Adirondack Wetlands: Barnum Brook and Barnum Bog (10 July 2012) Adirondack Wetlands: Barnum Brook and Barnum Bog (22 September 2012) Adirondack Wildflowers: Pitcher Plant on Barnum Bog (29 July 2013) Adirondack Wildflowers:  Rose Pogonia on Barnum Bog (6 July 2012) Adirondack Wildflowers: Swamp Candles on Barnum Bog (18 July 2013) Birds of the Adirondacks: Mallard on Barnum Brook near the boardwalk (4 May 2013) Adirondack Wetland: From the Boreal Life Trail overlook (1 June 2013) Adirondack Habitats: Starflower, Bunchberry, and Goldthread (1 September 2012) Adirondack Habitats: Conifer forest on the Boreal Life Trail (7 July 2012) Adirondack Wetlands: Boardwalk through the swamp on the Boreal Life Trail Adirondack Wetlands: Barnum Bog on the Boreal Life Trail
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The Boreal Life Trail provides access to varied Adirondack habitats, including a spruce swamp, wetland, and mixed conifer-hardwood forest. The one-mile-loop begins at the gazebo near the VIC parking lot, where you take a right. The trail then passes through a forest of Red Spruce, Balsam Fir, Eastern White Pine, and Eastern Hemlock, before intersecting with the Jenkins Mountain Road. Continue straight across the road.

To walk the trail in a clockwise direction, take a left at the next intersection. This will lead you through a mixed hardwood-conifer forest to a 1,600-foot boardwalk across Barnum Bog -- an Adirondack wetland. The boardwalk begins through a transitional area of swampland, then continues through the bog, which is studded with Tamarack and Black Spruce. At the end of the boardwalk, you will be walking through a conifer forest along the shore of Barnum Pond. You can turn right to continue along the upland portion of the walk or you can take a short detour to your right which brings you to an elevated viewing tower providing views of Barnum Pond, Jenkins Mountain, and St. Regis Mountain.

After the elevated platform, you can continue to the upland portions of the trail. The path leads you up a hill through a mixed (primarily conifer forest), past a giant Eastern White Pine. This section of the trail is a good place to see a variety of mosses that thrive in the Adirondack Park. The trail then curves to the right and rejoins the main trail. The walking is easy, with a few hills.

Birds seen and/or heard along the trail include:

Black-throated Blue Warbler Blue-headed Vireo
Hermit Thrush White-throated Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow Golden-crowned Kinglet
Palm Warbler Cedar Waxwing
Alder Flycatcher Northern Flicker
Chimney Swift Song Sparrow
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Swamp sparrow
Common Loon Wild Turkey
Winter Wren Northern Parula
American Robin Black-backed Woodpecker
Tree swallow Black-capped Chickadee
Red-eyed Vireo Nashville Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler American Crow
Boreal Chickadee Belted Kingfisher
Black-throated Green Warbler Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Common Yellowthroat Brown Creeper
Blue Jay Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler Gray Jay
Osprey Mourning Dove
Broad-winged Hawk Turkey Vulture
Olive-sided Flycatcher Savannah Sparrow
Chimney Swift Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Wildflowers and flowering shrubs commonly seen along this trail include:

Canada Mayflower Bunchberry
Blue Flag Iris Clintonia
Common Wood Sorrel Foamflower
Goldthread Partridgeberry
Starflower Twinflower
Bog Laurel Buckbean
Common Wood Sorrel Cotton Grass
Creeping Snowberry Grass Pink
Labrador Tea Marsh Cinquefoil
One-sided Pyrola Painted Trillium
Pink Lady's Slipper Pitcher Plant
Rose Pogonia Sheep Laurel
Wintergreen Pipsissewa
Shinleaf Wild Sarsaparilla
Dewdrop Indian Pipe
Cow-wheat Whorled Wood Aster
Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain White Fringed Orchid
Roundleaf Sundew Spotted Touch-Me-Not
Swanp Candles Northern Club-spur Orchis
Hobblebush Leatherleaf
Indian Cucumber-root Hop clover
Helleborine Orchid St. John's Wort
Bog Rosemary  

In the winter, the Boreal Life Trail becomes a snowshoe trail. Follow the orange trail markers.


Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.