Native Tree Trail Self-Guided Walk

(We strongly recommend that you print this guide – along with a trail map! - before visiting us, as the supply at the information kiosk is replenished only occasionally)



Welcome to the Chesapeake Arboretum! As part of a larger network of trails totaling about 2.5 miles (4.2km), our “Native Tree” trail offers an opportunity to identify and study trees native to the Virginia/North Carolina Coastal Plain Forest. Beginning at entrance # 7 across from the main parking lot on Oak Grove Road, the trail crosses a gently flowing perennial stream on three bridges, meanders through the unique Stewartia Grove, providing a deep woods nature experience.  Please respect all visitors, property, plants and wildlife during your visit to our volunteer-maintained trails.   A “Native Woodland Garden” guided walk (approximately .20 mile /.32 km featuring showy native trees and shrubs) brochure is also available at our information kiosk and online at

Distance data is provided in feet and in meters to help locate trees and to measure the cumulative distance of the trail. Follow the red blazes for the main trail and the blue blazes for the side trail to Lake Hughes Overlook.   

Each tree listed in this detailed trail guide is identified by a plant tag specifying the common, the botanical (italicized), and the family (ending in “aceae”) names.  Also included are leaf descriptions.  Remember that a deciduous tree loses all of its leaves in the fall, an evergreen retains green leaves throughout the year, and semi-evergreen retains leaves through some of the winter season.

Gymnosperms (reproduce by cones) are represented by 4 trees on the trail.  Baldcypress and Loblolly Pine have needle leaves, Atlantic Whitecedar has scale-like leaves, and Eastern Redcedar has a combination of needle and scale-like leaves.  The remaining 36 trees are Angiosperms (reproduce by flowers and fruit) with broad, flat leaves.  To identify, first determine if the leaves are arranged in an opposite or alternate pattern on the twig.  Next, decide if the leaves are simple with 1 blade, or compound with 3 or more leaflets.  Finally, observe the leaf or leaflet margins (edges.)  Are they toothed with small projections, lobed with large projections, entire with no teeth or lobes, or a combination?

(measured in feet / meters):

0.0  /0.0     Information Kiosk with trail maps.  Begin Native Tree Trail. Walk to northeast (left) side of parking lot and then to Entrance # 7 pedestrian crossing on Oak Grove Road.  

150 / 46     Use CAUTION and cross Oak Grove Road; go straight and follow red trail blazes ahead.      

235 / 72    Atlantic Whitecedar on left. 

255 / 78    Blackgum on left.

270 / 82    Baldcypress on right; Redbud on left.

285 / 87     Willow Oak on left; Black Cherry on right.  Continue to follow red trail blazes ahead.

385 / 117   Swamp Chestnut Oak on left.

410 / 125   Swamp Laurel Oak on right.

535 / 163   Persimmon on left. 

575 / 175  TRAIL INTERSECTION.  At large American Elm, turn right and cross Bridge “H”.

665 / 203  Fringetree on left.

705 / 215  Devil’s Walkingstick on left.

710 / 216   Bitternut Hickory on left.    

725 / 221  White Ash on right.

735 / 224  TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn left and walk up hill.

745 / 227   Large Red Maple on right.  Florida Maple on left.

755 / 230  Pawpaw on left.

790 / 241 TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Note Virginia Stewartia ahead and Pignut Hickory, American  Holly and Poison Ivy on right.  Turn left to continue on trail.                                                

820 / 250  Swamp Bay on left.

825 / 251  Sweetbay Magnolia on left.

855 / 261  Sourwood on right.

870 / 265  TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn left.

900 / 274  Ironwood on right.

905 / 276  Hophornbeam on left.    

910 / 277 Tulip Poplar on left.  Note large Tulip Poplar at bottom of hill.

960 / 293  TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn right and continue on trail.

1065 / 325   American Beech on left.

1075 / 328   TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Bear left on blue blazed Lake Hughes Overlook Trail.   

1085 / 331    Sassafras on right.

1115 / 340    Flowering Dogwood on right.

1260 / 384    Water Oak on left.

1300 / 396   Eastern Redcedar on left.  Turn right into Lake Hughes Overlook rest area. 

1330 / 405   Loblolly Pine straight ahead and River Birch on left.  Retrace steps on blue-blazed trail.

1580 / 482   TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn left and continue on red-blazed trail.

1590 / 485   Sweetleaf on right.

1600 / 488  Alleghany Chinkapin on left.

1615 / 492  Shumard Oak on left. 

1730 / 527 Live Oak on left; Sweetgum on right.

1770 / 539   TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn left.  (Note: Purple and white labels identify plants of the “Native Woodland Garden” walk that begins at Entrance #7.)

1940 / 591  Sycamore Overlook.  Large Sycamore on left. Continue on red-blazed trail across Bridge “F”.

1990 / 607  TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Continue straight.

2020 / 616  TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn right; follow red blazes.

2120 / 646  Cross Bridge “G”..

2170 / 661 TRAIL INTERSECTION.  Turn left.

2275 / 693  Use CAUTION and cross Oak Grove Rd.

2340 / 713 American Chestnut.  Cross parking lot to return trail map at Kiosk. (Note:  Many other native and introduced specimens are identified on the Caleb Williamson Homestead grounds.)

Trail notes and tree I.D. labels  researched, compiled & installed  by
Chesapeake Master Gardeners Ed & Linda Bradley, 2010; revised 2011

Much more detailed tree identification information is available online at websites such as:
Virginia Tech’s,
Virginia Department of Forestry’s
or North Carolina State’s
Public libraries and retail bookstores are excellent resources for tree guides also.

We hope your visit has been both informative and enjoyable, and we invite you to become a dues-paid Friend of the Chesapeake Arboretum, a non-profit, volunteer-operated “Nature’s Classroom”.                                    


Wordpress Website Hosting provided by Laris Hosting