This property first opened to the public in the mid-1960s, as a memorial to the only son of the owners. NICHES Land Trust now owns the preserve and uses the house on the property as its headquarters. As I write this NICHES is updating the extensive trail network, so I have not attempted to provide a trail sketch. Check the information displays on the open porch of the headquarters for the latest updates. However, the property is small enough (about 16 acres) that there should be little danger of getting lost for long.
Spring wildflowers are impressive, and often labeled. A late April visit will not disappoint. Look for displays of shooting star and large-flowered bellwort (Merrybells), among many other species. There’s plenty to explore here, including ravines, areas adjacent to Wildcat Creek, and the tiny oak savanna and gravel hill prairie, the latter quite rare in Indiana.
The steep topography and viewing platforms offer an opportunity to look straight out at birds that spend most of their time in the tree canopy. In places it’s also possible to get partially obscured views of the Wildcat Creek valley. If you plan to descend toward the creek, prepare for lots of steps and steep paths, some of gravel.
During my previous visits, a path ran along the base of the gravel hill that supports the prairie. Close examination of the exposed areas reveals a tightly bound aggregate of gravel-sized rocks and smaller particles, so undermined in places that I don’t tarry where it overhangs the trail.
Directions: Tippecanoe County. From I-65 Exit 175, go south 0.2 miles on Schuyler Ave to 200N, then left 1.5 miles to 400E, then right 0.2 miles to the lot on the left. A busy curving road separates the gardens from the parking area – be careful when crossing.
GPS: N 40 26.683 W 86 49.693