Spicer Lake Nature Preserve features scenic glacial lakes and a sprawling trail network with long boardwalks. The trail system begins behind the main building and starts out as a paved path. Follow it downhill, then turn left to visit the extensive boardwalk system that skirts and at one point extends slightly over Spicer Lake on a viewing platform.
Spicer Lake and nearby Lancaster Lake are kettle lakes, formed at the end of the last ice age. The lakes are now much smaller than when originally formed. In the millennia since the retreat of the glaciers, plants have steadily encroached on the edges of the lakes, and the remains of those plants are gradually filling in the lakes. Much of the boardwalk system crosses these filled-in areas, called kettle-hole swamp forest.
When you’re done exploring Spicer Lake, retrace your steps and follow the Wetlands Trail to Lancaster Lake, with wetlands to your left and rising ground to your right. A small dock extends into Lancaster Lake, an impossibly beautiful cattail-lined jewel. Consider returning via the Woodland Trail, which traverses higher ground on its way back to the main building. If you do this, expect to see (especially in the spring) plenty of wildflowers.
Directions: St. Joseph County, just east of the La Porte County line. From U.S. 20, go north about 3.5 miles on County Line Road to the preserve entrance on the right.
GPS: N 41 45.196 W 86 31.456
Facilities: Bathrooms, water, shelter house, nature center