This forest on the top of Devil’s Lake State Park’s East Bluff is much older than it looks! This is area along the East Bluff trail that we call the “miniature forest”. In this spot the trees are more sparse, a bit gnarly, and well, not nearly as tall as the trees surrounding them. These are not young trees however, they are actually old trees that found a way to grow in very little soil atop a bed of quartzite. The lack of nutrients demanded that the trees maintained a compact height to survive. Scientifically this area is known as a “bedrock glade”. You can learn more about bedrock glades here.
The miniature forest is particularly lush this year, filled with grasses and wildflowers thanks to a prescribed burn that took place in May of last year. Check out the picture below. What a difference a year makes!!
This miniature forest is located along the south end of Devil’s Lake State Park’s East Bluff Trail. From the north end of the park, simply hike up the East Bluff trail. The miniature forest is located about 3/4 the way along the 1. 1 mile trail. From the south end, hike to the top of the bluff using Balanced Rock trail. Once on top, turn left and hike until you reach the forest. Once you become familiar with the look of this bedrock glade, see if you can find others within the park. There are a few.