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Canyon Forest Nature Preserve

Important information for your visit: Parking is very limited and the parking area can fit only two cars. Please plan to visit on a weekday, and have an alternative destination planned in case parking is full. Do not park along Edwards Road or the nearby railroad right-of-way, which is very dangerous as well as illegal. 

Canyon Forest Nature Preserve has been owned by Sycamore Land Trust since 2013, and was dedicated as an Indiana state nature preserve in May 2020 by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission. This dedication recognizes the preserve as one of the most significant natural areas in our state. Sycamore is still the owner and manager of the preserve.

In August 2020, Sycamore changed the name of this nature preserve. Learn more about this decision.

The preserve was donated by David and Kathy Dilcher and Rudi Turner. This Greene County property served as their playground and retreat for more than 40 years, and they wanted to preserve their land’s pristine ravines as a natural area for people to enjoy. Rudi, a retired Indiana University biology researcher who passed away in 2018, had a strong interest in orchids, which are found in the property. So are walking ferns and the uncommon Lycopodium (club moss).

David, a retired Indiana University biology professor, says the land is “especially interesting because some of the plants that live there are found in the fossil record in Europe but don’t live in Europe now, like sassafras.” David used to make herbarium specimens by collecting flowers, leaves, or fruits from trees at different times of year.

Restoration of the property began with the donors soon after they bought the land. At that time the ridgetop in the southeast portion of the property was a field with erosion problems, and they planted hundreds of pine trees to stabilize and reforest the ground. Sycamore has continued by controlling invasive bushes in this this area, including autumn olive, Asian bush honeysuckle, and multiflora rose. The forest downslope from the ridge and in the ravines has been undisturbed for a long time and is particularly high quality.

News & More Information

Canyon Forest Nature Preserve was recently featured in the magazine Outdoor Indiana in their July-August 2021 edition, read the feature here: Canyon Forest NP: Explore the Surprises in these Fern-tastic Woods

Directions

  • From W SR 45 going west just beyond the border of Monroe and Greene Counties, turn right onto E Chapel Rd between the white Greene County Church and the graveyard.
  • Take the immediate right onto Greene County Line Rd.
  • Go 1 mi and turn left on Edwards Rd. Parking is on your right just after railroad tracks.
  • County: Greene
  • Acres: 68
  • Features: seasonal waterfalls, sandstone outcrops, rare ferns, scarlet and summer tanagers
  • Year acquired: 2013
  • Donated by: David and Kathy Dilcher and F. Rudolf Turner
  • Trail: 1.6 miles, moderate; parking is very limited
  • Parking capacity: The gravel parking lot fits two cars. Do not park along Edwards Road or the railroad right-of-way.