Parks and Recreation Department of Excelsior Springs
Points of Interest:
See a tremendous spring wildflower display.
Enjoy fall colors of a variety of tree species.
Look for migrating songbirds.
Natural Features Description:
This small island of rich forest not far from the historic Elms Hotel in Excelsior Springs is packed with a diversity of ephemeral spring wildflowers and tree species. In the spring the blooms of Dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, toothwort, spring beauty and bloodroot grace the forest slopes. Interestingly, many of these species of wildflower have ant-dispersed seeds. The seeds of Dutchman’s breeches have a structure, an elaiosome, that is rich in lipids that attracts the ants to take the seeds to their underground nest. After eating off the elaiosome, the ants discard the uneaten seed in their trash pile. Some of these seeds germinate and in this way Dutchman’s breeches are dispersed across the forest floor. Many fascinating plant-animal interactions go on in our forests and woodlands. In the spring look for grosbeaks, orioles, warblers and vireos on their migratory journey.
From Interstate 35 take exit 20 to Highway 69. Stay on Highway 69 for 9 miles. When Highway 69 turns left, continue straight on to Highway 10. Stay on Highway 10 through Excelsior Springs for 2.4 miles. Just before crossing a bridge over the Fishing River, turn right onto Lover’s Lane. This brings you into Isley Park. The natural area is on the north-facing slope to your right (south). A paved trail follows the base of the natural area and an unpaved trail goes up into the forest. If you do a loop with the natural surface and paved trail it will be a mile hike. This area is owned by Excelsior Springs.