Yesterday I went on a long visit to Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park on Matlock Rd to document the park. If you haven’t been, it’s a pretty cool park with lots of nature – as you would expect from a nature park.
It’s got some cool tidbits of history, and I think it’s an overall great place to roam or play with the kids, do some bird or animal watching, and get some excercise, or just hold hands for an evening stroll. There are also a few geocaches in the park if you’re into that sort of thing.
Park hours are 5am to 9pm March through October and 5am to 6pm November through February according to the sign out front.
I’ve been to the park a few times and it’s never been busy. This visit was a Saturday afternoon and it was the busiest I’d ever seen it. You can see from the number of cars, there still weren’t very many people there.
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there are actually several parking areas. I’m not sure how many parking spots but it’s not that many and it’s never been full that I’ve seen so far.
When you first arrive and park, you’ll see there’s a pavilion to the left. It has benches and picnic tables and a working water fountain if needed.
To the left there’s an open area with lots of shade and room to play.
From the main pavilion, it’s time to enter the deeper nature path part of the park. But first, there are some ground rules you should be aware of. These are clearly marked but you’ll want to know about them in advance. In particular, if you’re trying to access the Walnut Creek Linear Park on a bicycle, no bikes are allowed on the nature trails.
Are dogs allowed? Yes. Dogs on a leash are allowed in the park according to one of the rule boards (and according to local ordinances).
There are also poop stations found in various areas of the park. The ones I saw were stocked, but it’s probably a good idea to bring your own bags, just in case.
Attractions Within The Nature Park
Once you’re inside the nature trails, there are multiple educational stations, lookouts and interesting features to explore. Each one comes with an informational plaque with various facts about the area, animals, nature features, etc.
I took pictures of some of the plaques for the gallery below. You can right-click on any of the images below and can open it in a new tab to see it larger.
Here’s a map of the park. If you go to the “Bridge” section, it’s closed off (as of the time of this article). You can still walk on the bridge and look over the creek, but it’s gated on the far side. You can see there are multiple ways you can travel within the park. These maps are found in various intersections of the park to help you navigate.