18 June 2009

Pedestrian Nature Trail

Wilderness Swamp Trail. That has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? These days what was once known as Fort Wilderness’ Wilderness Swamp Trail has been renamed the Pedestrian Nature Trail.

No longer does it feature a fantastic name worthy of its post. No longer is there a boardwalk with spectacular views accessible to guests. No longer does the trail meander and wind around the Marshmallow Marsh. All that the Pedestrian Natural Trail offers guests is a quiet stroll free from modern vehicles with some vistas onto Bay Lake and beyond. Wait a second…

For all that the trail once was, it still carries rugged backwoods, quiet views of the Contemporary , Bay Lake Towers, and the Magic Kingdom, and pieces of Walt Disney World history known to few and sought out by even fewer guests along its trail.To begin with, the Pedestrian Nature Trail starts off to the right and behind the Settlement Trading Post, as you look at the store straight on. Taveling through the Cyprus for a while, you come to a clearing along the shores of Bay Lake. There is a bridge that crosses over to the remainder of the looped trail and a small cabin or guests can turn and walk back down the beach, past an abandoned set of volleyball posts, to the Fort Wilderness Marina.
























At this juncture, however, are the remnants of the Wilderness that once was. This is the former docking location for the Marshmallow Marsh Canoe Excursion. Remnants of the experience, including the dock, trash cans, and cabin, are still present.

This cabin can be seen on long forgotten resort maps, such as this one from 1978: From this point in space and time, the trail continues back into the woods with some spectacular vegetation and views such as this one.One of the most overlooked, and perhaps finest, features of this trail is the fact that it is, in fact, a true trail. It has not been totally cleared and paved over, it doesn’t come with handrails, and it is a close to natural as any point inside of Walt Disney World that guests have access to. It is places and experiences such as this one that keep me returning to the footpaths and byways of Fort Wilderness time and time again.


2 comments:

Scott said...

I had no idea this was present at WDW. Thanks for the informative post.

Jonathan from North Carolina said...

I went to Fort Wilderness as a kid in the 70's, and to hear of the Marshmellow Marsh is new to me. I will be a the Polynesian Resort in less than a week, and I plan on going to Fort Wilderness and check this place out myself. Thanks for the photo tour