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Explore Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens Georgia

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Explore 225 acres of woodlands and wetlands with outdoor exploration.
Butterfly at Sandy Creek Nature CenterThe ENSAT Interpretive Center includes live reptiles & amphibians, marine and freshwater aquariums, interactive natural history exhibits, and a resource library all housed in a green-friendly building. See the ca.1815 log house and several wildlife observation areas. More than four miles of trails and an ADA Interpretive Trail are available with connections to the North Oconee River Greenway and the Cook’s Trail.

The Louie R. Bridges Log House - As families moved to different areas seeking a better life, they also brought distinct cultural heritages and different adaptations to their environment. Shelter from the weather, wild animals, and other elements was critical to the survival of the family. Because trees were plentiful, a log structure created a simple and practical shelter.

Brick Factory Ruins - At the southern end of the property, you will find the ruins of a brick factory that operated in the early 1900"s. In fact, Claypit Pond, which is located behind Walker Hall, was created by the dredging of clay used to make the bricks at this factory.
Native Grasses Prairie - When the first settlers arrived in the Georgia piedmont, they crossed a variety of landscapes: forests, wetlands and prairies. Today, as we travel the piedmont of Georgia, we still find many forests and wetlands, but the piedmont prairie is almost a forgotten scene. Piedmont prairies are grassy areas, usually about 20-50 acres, scattered between forests. They are havens for wildlife, such as quail, deer, turkey, and many other species of song birds, by providing food and cover. These prairies differ from their Midwestern counterparts because trees are scattered among the grass covered land.

Wildlife Rehabilitation - Sandy Creek Nature Center frequently receives calls concerning the rehabilitation and care of injured or orphaned wildlife. Unfortunately, the nature center has neither the space nor resources to care for these animals. The information on this page has been complied to hopefully answer our visitors’ questions.

Going on a Hike? Check out one of our Trail Packs. Each pack contains materials to help you learn about several different topics. Choose from, Insects, Birds, Wildlife, Tracks and Scat or Plants. The packs are free to check out, just leave us your driver’s license and go and explore!

Free admission and parking.

Amenities: Restrooms, Accessibility for mobility-impaired, Party Facilities.
Wild ducks at Sandy Creek Nature Center
ADA Interpretive Trail (.2 mi) - Starting at rear of ENSAT, this walker and wheelchair accessable boardwalk enters woodlands and continues to a tributary of the Oconee River. Great short trail for all ages. Features interpretive areas and a wildlife observation blind.

LOOK FOR: Animals at observation blind, changes in forest from upland to wetlands near creek.
Brick Factory Loop & Log House Loop - Starting at Walker Hall, trails form several loops through ruins of Georgia Brick Company (ca. 1900).

LOOK FOR: Building foundations, collapsed chimney remains, squirrel nests, lizards in sunny spots at cabin and early 1800’s log cabin moved onsite from Oglethorpe County in 1980.
Claypit Pond Trail (.5 mi) - Starting at Walker Hall, pass through brick factory ruins, turing left down steps to pond edge. Trail follows shoreline halfway around the pond.

LOOK FOR: Beaver sign and lodge on small island in pond, fish, turtles basking on logs, frogs, snakes, great blue heron (winter), green heron (summer).
Cook’s Trail (4.1 mi) - Greenway trail that connects Sandy Creek Nature Center with Sandy Creek Park. Length is one way! Wander along Sandy Creek through woodlands and wetlands. See Cook’s Trail Map for more information. FLOODS IN WET SEASON.
Crossridge Trail (.1 mi) - Connects Kingfisher Pond Trail with Claypit Pond Trail, passing through pine / hardwoods adn crossing Pine Ridge Trail.

LOOK FOR: Sapsucker holes in large pines, mushrooms (in wet weather), ant lions (or doodlebugs) under shelter. SLOPES SLIPPERY WHEN WET.
Sandy Creek Nature Center Sign
Hooded Warbler Trail (.2 mi) - A short loop in the upper Clapit Pond wetlands. Dense thickets of privet adn tall trees make excellent cover for many bird species.

LOOK FOR: Warblers and orioles, listen for bird songs, discover salamanders, ferns.
Kestrel Trail (.7 mi) - Named for a small falcon that may be seen in forest edge area. Trail follows Oconee River floodplain with several vistas of the river. Continues through the extreme northern end of the property in wooded uplands.

LOOK FOR: Deer and turkey in edge between woods and fields, turtles and perhaps an otter in the Oconee River.
Kingfisher Pond Trail (.3 mi.) - This trail winds through Oconee River floodplain along Kingfisher Pond and follows a creek for much of the way.

LOOK FOR: Wild ginger and mayapple near southern end of trail, signs of beaver activity around pond, animal tracks in mud, waterfowl, turtles, snakes, and kingfishers.
Levee Trail (.9 mi) - Follows Sandy Creek past the Log House. Continues to the confluence of the North Oconee River and Sandy Creek. Returns through the floodplain of the Oconee River.

LOOK FOR: Signs of beaver and raccoon along river and creek banks, turtles, herons, huge sycamore trees. NOT PASSABLE IN HIGH WATER.
Oconee Trail (.2 mi) - Starting at a curve in Old Commerce Road, trail descends to North Oconee River, and loops back through dense privet and hardwood floodplains forest.

LOOK FOR: Birds in priet, occasional river otters, adder’s tounge fern. FLOODS IN WET SEASONS.
Pine Ridge Trail (.4 mi) - Travel through pine woods, dense shrub growth, mixed pine / hardwood forest. Walk along the highest point on the property.

LOOK FOR: Signs of squirrel and woodpecker, spring wildflowers under hardwoods, birds.
Screech Owl Trail (.4 mi) - In dense woods, climbing to a rocky outcrop. Crosses an old roadbed. Large pines and other upland trees.

LOOK FOR: Signs of previous agriculture, exposed rock, changes from floodplain to upland habitat.
Contact - Address & Website
Phone: 706-613-3615 - Address: - Address: 205 Old Commerce Rd., Athens, GA - Sandy Creek Nature Center Website


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