Douglas Woods Nature Preserve

Douglas Woods Nature Preserve comprises nearly 500 acres, including old growth forest. It also protects a segment of Fish Creek, home to more than thirty species of mussels.

Northern Indiana is a wonderland of the freshwater mussel world, but Fish Creek stands out across the Great Lakes region for the diversity of the species it hosts.

Several federally-endangered species live here, and Fish Creek is the only place on earth where White Catís Paw Pearly mussels occur.


After parking, head north along a lane lined on both sides by fields that the Nature Conservancy is now working to return to forest.

As you make your way north, youíll pass two ponds on your right. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of frogs will be here during the warmer months, and thereís usually a heron or two poised stock-still in the shallows, working hard to obtain a meal. Perhaps the ready food explains why Douglas Woods is home to a rookery (nesting colony) of Great Blue Herons.


It will take a while to reach the tree line. Once there, turn right for about a hundred feet, then left, following another lane that leads into the woods.

What begins as a clear vehicular track doesnít take long to peter out. From here you can return or continue along ever fainter deer paths and tracks into the forest interior.

Fish Creek is to the north and west of the point where the lane enters the woods. As you make your way back toward the creek, youíre likely to encounter many wooded ponds, some of them oxbows cut off from the creek.

Wet Woods

Wood ducks breed here, as do biting insects. The dim, trackless interior combined with numerous distractions can be somewhat disorienting. Your experience will likely vary according to your navigational ability and the effectiveness of your bug spray.


DeKalb and Steuben Counties. From the intersection of IN 1 and IN 427 in Hamilton, go south and east 2.4 miles on State Road 1. As IN 1 curves sharply to the right, continue east 0.4 miles on CR 4A to a sign on the left, and park on the left in the marked area.

North 41 31.066 West 84 51.920
DeLorme 23:D11

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Nearby Natural Areas

Ball Lake Nature Preserve
Robb Hidden Canyon Nature Preserve


ACRES Land Trust
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 51
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Nature Conservancy: Guide to Indiana Preserves; Page 60