Going by the dictionary, a boardwalk is a path typically made of wood, which runs alongside a waterfront, and often serves as a promenade. But many natural reserves and parks are using the boardwalk concept to create short walking trails through deep forests and over bogs and marshes. People who are not likely to walk across great distances or uneven grounds find these paths a convenient way to explore the natural world. Here are 10 boardwalks around the world which let you explore nature's wonders up close. And two of them are in India.
Cypress Swamp Boardwalk, Mississippi
The Cypress Swamp Boardwalk (part of the Mississippi’s historic Natchez Trace Parkway) cuts through a vast marshy area that is home to tupelo and bald cypress trees. The bald cypress can be identified by their ‘knees’ visible just above the water's surface. Watch the surroundings closely and you are sure to come across various species of frogs and snakes or even an alligator or two.
The Sinkhole Boardwalk, Florida
Pay a visit to Devil's Millhopper State Park if you want to stray away from the touristy beaches of Florida. And the best thing about it is that you can see a good part of the forest without dirtying your feet. A boardwalk with 132 steps winds around the 120 feet deep limestone sinkhole here, allowing you to enjoy the greenery and the wildlife of this mini rainforest. The wooden walkway even allows you to go down to the muddy pools at the bottom
Cyprus Lake Trail, Ontario
In Canada too there are quite a few boardwalks through a variety of landscapes. Even if you are not a hiking enthusiast, do not miss the boardwalk that winds through the boreal forest along the Cyprus Lake Trail in Ontario. The wooden walkway cuts through forests of towering century-old trees, past marshy shores, and overlooks the Georgian Bay. It connects with a network of trails that lead into various corners of Bruce National Park, including Cyprus Lake and Grotto.
Desert Boardwalk Trail, British Columbia
Known as Canada’s pocket desert, the semi-arid area near Osoyoos town in British Columbia is known for its unique habitat. Connect with the Osoyoos Desert Centre for a walk along the 1.5 km long boardwalk to explore the dry, shrub grassland said to be one of Canada’s most fragile and endangered ecosystems.
Weingartener Moor, Karlsruhe
This peat bog is part of the nature reserve lying between the German towns of Weingarten and Grotzingen. It was converted into a nature reserve in the 1940s and then later expanded. Explore its unique flora and fauna by strolling down the boardwalk which also has an adjoining hut for birdwatchers. In fact, the marshy land is known for its insects, amphibians, and birds. However, many visitors have warned that the boardwalk can be slippery if wet and one has to be very cautious; there have been accidents before.
Lammassaari Board Walk, Helsinki
The recreational island of Lammassaari is part of the Vanhankaupunginlahti (The Old Town Bay) nature reserve, the largest in Helsinki. Take the duckboard (another name for boardwalks over marshy lands) covered path, which together with the Lap of Nature trail, is perfect for hikes and birdwatching.
Kemeri National Park, Jurmala
This Latvian national park is known for its diverse wetlands and related flora and fauna. The 3.4 km long boardwalk, which ends in an elevated viewing platform, goes through the Great Kemeri Bog, a favourite with birdwatchers. You can either travel the entire loop or take a short trip along the smaller (1.4km) boardwalk. It is also a popular place to photograph sunrise and sunsets.
Beree Badalla Boardwalk, Queensland
Go off the beaten path in Queensland’s (Australia) Gold Coast and take the boardwalk adjoining Currumbin Creek. It goes through the tiny Beree Badalla Mangrove Reserve on the north end of the creek and ends at the old Currumbin Creek beach. On the way, you will see the lush mangrove species up close and even watch the tidal flats fill up with water during high tide.
Dhani Nallah Mangrove Walkway, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
In the Middle Andaman, the Dhani Nallah Mangrove Walkway, lying between Rangat and Mayabunder, passes through scenic mangrove forests before opening on the Dhani Nallah beach.
Ourem Creek Boardwalk, Goa
The easy-to-access boardwalk that starts from the back of Panaji’s Goa State Central Library runs over Ourem Creek and its mangrove forest. Apart from enjoying the tranquil beauty of nature, you are also likely to catch sight of birds, frogs, and crabs