Fortune Woods

Natural Areas: Fortune Woods

National Natural Landmark [1968]

State Designated Nature Preserve [#273; 2016]

Trees along Tall Timber Trail

View along Tall Timbers Trail. Click to enlarge

Fortune Woods features a long-stemmed lollipop trail (the Tall Timbers Trail) of nearly two miles that allows access to Big Walnut Creek and very large trees. A late 1960s Army Corps of Engineers proposal to build a reservoir in the area came to naught. About the same time, the area received a National Natural Landmark designation.

A mowed path leads south from the parking lot. The trail gradually moves into the woods, at one point looking out over the creek far below. The forest soon takes on an older aspect beech, maple, and oak tower overhead and the understory, though well-stocked with Virginia creeper and stinging nettle, opens up. Continue straight at the fork, following the ridge line down. Expect abundant wildflowers in spring; in summer, listen for the chick-burr of scarlet tanagers overhead.

Big Walnut Creek

Big Walnut Creek. Click to enlarge

The trail continues descending, now along the flank of the ridge through a rich understory of ferns and wildflowers. At the bottom, a short spur leads to the creek bank; riffles and overhanging trees contribute to a peaceful and scenic setting. After retracing your steps to rejoin the main loop, three crossings of smaller streams follow in quick succession wet feet are a distinct possibility before a pair of staircases rise part way out of the valley.

Trail Map

trail map

Click to enlarge


Putnam County. From the stoplight in Bainbridge, north 1.0 miles on Washington/200E; right 0.5 miles on 800N to 250E; left 1.5 miles to 950N; right 1.4 miles to a parking area on the right.

GPS: N 39 47.803 W 86 46.634



Finder Sketch

Click to enlarge

Nearby Natural Areas (miles)

Hall Woods (5.9)
McCloud Nature Park (7.9)