The flat, easy trail stays beside Martis Creek, which meanders across the meadow, nourishing small wetlands and a lake throughout the year. In spring the ponds fill and burst to life, and though they shrink in summer, the wetlands remain a reliable source of water and leafy food for numerous wildlife. You may see deer, beaver, fox, and a variety of birds including eagles, waterfowl, and migratory species.
Looking by your feet you’ll find a diversity of plant life including wildflowers and water-loving species like willow and sedge, which contrast with the dry sagebrush and grasses that surround. Looking up, you’ll see the ski slopes of Northstar Mountain to the south and the rugged tops of the Sierra Nevada mountains far to the west.
In less than a mile from the trailhead, Martis Creek Trail meets with the greater Tompkins Memorial Trail system, where you can complete a short loop back to your car by turning right or a longer loop by turning left.