Calli Nature Preserve
Calli Nature Preserve protects about two hundred acres, including hemlock stands, limestone cliffs, and significant stretches of the Muscatatuck River.
There's a two mile loop trail. Pick up a trail guide at the registry box – it contains descriptions pertinent to seventeen numbered stations along the path. You’ll start out with a descent into a wooded valley; the thick ground cover includes many kinds of spring wildflowers like twinleaf and Canada violet.
Indeed, Calli is the best place I know of to see twinleaf; it occurs in large clumps along the trail in several locations. As the year progresses, ferns and stinging nettle become more prominent on the forest floor. After following along an intermittent stream valley, the trail passes through a rather open area, and then enters a thick band of older trees along the Muscatatuck.
The trail then more-or-less follows the river for a mile or so. It’s a very scenic stretch; in some spots, limestone cliffs rise twenty or thirty feet above the opposite bank, and are often undercut by the river.
Here and there, large, relatively intact chunks of fallen rock lie partially submerged in the river. There are several hemlock groves along the river; they are generally located on cooler north-facing slopes that enjoy a certain degree of shelter from the sun. Elsewhere, majestic sycamore trees tower over the river, attended by vast oceans of stinging nettle.
The trail leaves the river for a while, crossing a large meadow along the way, before veering left, reentering the woods, and turning sharply right. Again, you’ll find yourself along the river, which the trail follows through another hemlock stand before beginning an ascent until the river is far below to your left.
Near the end of the loop, you’ll pass just to the left of an odd tree at station seventeen. Its top is a red oak, but the first few feet consist of two trunks – one a red oak, and the other a white oak; they fuse together in a single trunk farther up.
Jennings County. From the intersection of IN 3/7 and US 50 in North Vernon, go east 1.4 miles on US 50 to Road 40E (the first road past the Muscatatuck Bridge) then right 0.3 miles to a parking area on the left.
North 39 00.239 West 85 36.244
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Nearby Natural Areas
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 130
Indiana Department of Natural Resources