McClue Nature Preserve
Local attorney Maurice McClue kept detailed notes of his rambles through this property during the last forty years of his life. When he died in 1957, he gave the land to the county for use as a nature preserve, a generous and foresighted gift that has only grown in value during the intervening decades. The eighty-acre preserve now includes mature trees and wooded wetlands arrayed across rolling terrain.
The parking area has a large wooden sign that depicts the trail system; a sign-in box usually contains paper copies of a trail map. Three color coded trails head south from the parking area.
If you have time for only one trail, choose the (green) Tulip Trail, which takes in most of the Old Woods area. The trees here are impressive, being obviously larger and older than those found elsewhere in the preserve. IDNR describes these woods as “some of the best old-growth forest in northeast Indiana”, and I believe it.
Invasives such as garlic mustard and multi-flora rose are problems in other parts of the property, but are under control in the old woods portion. Probably as a result, spring wildflowers like jack-in-the-pulpit, May apple, trillium, and false Solomon’s seal are abundant.
The (yellow) Juniper Trail is a side loop stuck to the south end of the Tulip Trail; it should be your next choice. It explores the middle of the preserve and passes over the high point of the property. Most of its tread is through more recent woods. You’ll also pass near a wooded swamp; be ready for the explosive flight of any wood ducks that happen to be nesting there.
Save the (blue) Long Trail for last. It begins in a pinery on the east side of the parking area before heading south, sticking as it does so to the eastern edge of the property. As the trail moves toward the southern end of the property, oaks become more common, with a more open understory and fewer invasive species. The trail climbs as it approaches the southern boundary, eventually curving to the west where it joins the Juniper Trail.
Steuben County. From I-69 Exit 154, south 0.4 miles on IN 127, then east 1.25 miles on 400 North to a marked parking lot on the south side of the road.
North 41 42.065 West 84 58.629
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Nearby Natural Areas
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 47
Indiana Department of Natural Resources