Touch the Earth Natural Area

Located conveniently near State Road 46 just west of Columbus, Touch the Earth Natural Area is one of the larger protected natural areas in Bartholomew County and is an excellent spot for hiking and bird watching. Sycamore’s Tangeman Woods preserve is less than a mile away, just on the other side of State Road 46.

A mowed parking area along County Club Road provides access to two miles of mowed trails through scenic woods and former farm fields that have reverted to nature. The trail features several benches and an observation deck. Dedicated neighbors volunteer to keep the trail and parking area mowed for visitors.

Restoration efforts at Touch the Earth have included tree plantings, a prairie planting by the parking area, and control of non-native invasive plants including autumn olive, privet, and Asian bush honeysuckle. Our neighbors volunteer every year to pull garlic mustard along the road.

In December 2021, Connie and Terry Marbach donated a 10-acre addition to Touch the Earth Natural Area. This gift filled in a key area in the center of the preserve and features a native prairie grass and wildflower meadow that was planted by the Marbachs.


  • From Columbus, go west on State Road 46 for 5 miles to Country Club Road and turn left (south). Look for the blue water tower that is across SR 46 from Country Club Road.
  • From Bloomington and Nashville, travel east on SR 46, past Nashville. 4 miles after crossing the Bartholomew County line, turn right onto Country Club Road, the next road after Wolf Creek Road.
  • The entrance is on your left after about half a mile, across from a stone house
  • County: Bartholomew
  • Acres: 108
  • Acquired with gifts from: Anonymous, Connie and Terry Marbach, Sycamore members
  • Years acquired: 1995, 1998, 2021
  • Trail: easy, 1.9 miles
  • Features: Colorful prairie plantings, diverse habitat of forest and successional fields
  • Parking capacity: There are eight spots in the gravel parking area

News & More Information

  • Marbachs donate acres to expand ‘Touch the Earth’ — The Republic, Columbus, Indiana (Front page March 21, 2022)
  • Sycamore Land Trust’s staff, supporters, and community members gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 27, 2021, to celebrate the completion of improvements to the parking area and a beautiful new educational kiosk at Touch the Earth Natural Area funded by Bartholomew REMC. An extensive invasive removal project is underway with support from Cummins, Inc.