Water Hikes

by Madison Mann, Outreach Intern

This article originally appeared in the fall 2018 issue of The Twig, our newsletter for Sycamore members. To see more articles or view it as a PDF, click here.

Beloved for its rolling hills, rich forestry, and an abundance of wildlife, southern Indiana is an outdoor lover’s paradise. A recent study conducted by Visit Bloomington found that the outdoors are the number-one draw for tourists to Bloomington. Within this paradise, there’s a slew of water-related hidden trails for hikers of every skill level.

Formerly a limestone quarry, The Cedars Preserve protects mature red cedars, sinkholes, and piece of history in southern Indiana. Though legend has it the original owner perished aboard the Titanic, the quarry lives on through large remnants of limestone and a small wooden shed. The 1.4-mile trail on this Sycamore Land Trust property in Monroe County will lead you past these features and alongside a small tributary off Clear Creek. As you hike, listen for the songs of the Louisiana waterthrush and prairie warbler.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls” is a song you wouldn’t want to listen to at Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest in Greene County. A 1.6-mile loop trail will guide you through a section of the 63-acre Sycamore preserve where plunging ravines and seasonal waterfalls impress hikers. You’ll pass a deep ravine and cross a small creek that meanders through the acreage. The loop trail takes you past breathtaking limestone outcrops. You’ll love this neck of the woods
just as much as the scarlet and summer tangers, walking ferns, and club moss that call it home. With a moderate intensity rating, this is accessible to most hikers.

Spring Mill State Park has opportunities for every adventurer. Due to multiple cave springs, a pioneer village was created in the early 1800s. This village is open to visitors eager to learn about the former distillery, grist mill, saw mill, and wool mill. Check out Twin Cave, where you might be able to see some endangered blind cavefish. The Donaldson Cave is a great experience for self-motivated adventurers willing to take the extra time to register through the Indiana Karst Conservancy and receive a permit. I would highly recommend this for all of my fellow cavers.

Happy exploring!