By Paul Anger
THATCHER, Ariz.— Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus [EACDPC] invites the community to visit and enjoy its “Nature’s Hideaway” Trail system. The four-mile, nature preserve trail system on the 120-acre campus offers an outdoor experience for everyone.
“With the beautiful weather and cooler temperatures, mornings and evenings are a great time to get out and get healthier by walking, running or mountain biking without having to worry about cars, crossing roads, or going nowhere on an indoor treadmill,” said EACDPC director, Paul Anger. “As a bonus, hikers are guaranteed to see a variety of native animals and vegetation along the trails.”
Runners will love the diversity of terrains along the 5k route that includes desert trails, sandy wash crossings, and steady and steep hills. There are several shades with benches along the trails that were constructed through BSA Eagle Scout projects that hikers can use to rest at along the trails. Mountain bike enthusiasts are welcome and will also love the challenge of the varying terrains and the beauty of the area. Those that choose to walk and enjoy the native scenery will be surprised by the range of native vegetation and wildlife in the area.
The shaded pond and riparian areas have several benches for visitors to relax, meditate, or observe the many species of birds that call the area home or stop in to rest on their migratory routes.
Around the Pond hikers may see great horned owls, western coots, and a variety of colorful songbirds that rest in the reeds at different times of the year.
Along the desert trails, hikers may see several species of hawks, roadrunners, quail, and of course jackrabbits and cottontails. Under the giant Cottonwood trees they may hear or catch a glimpse of the majestic great horned owls, or the newly relocated snowy-white barn owls. “Wherever you go on these trails, Nature’s Hideaway will not disappoint.
All the trails are native-soil dirt paths that are wide and cleared regularly, but are subject to weather. The trails are open from dawn to dusk, and there are no motorized vehicles allowed. Dogs and even horses are always welcome, but visitors are asked to keep all dogs on a leash. Come and discover what EAC’s Discovery Park Campus has to offer.
Current trail information and any warnings for visitors are posted on a kiosk just inside the Campus gate on the Safford Walking Trail along the Discovery Park Boulevard. For more information on EAC’s Discovery Park Campus and Nature’s Hideaway trail system, call (928) 428-6260.