McClue Nature Reserve
Natural Areas: McClue Nature Reserve
Sign. Click to enlarge
This eighty-acre preserve includes mature trees and wooded wetlands arrayed across rolling terrain. Three color coded trails head south from the parking area. The woods traversed by the (green) Tulip Trail were once one of the finest old growth stands in northeastern Indiana. Unfortunately, a tornado knocked many of them down, and their enormous trunks now lie scattered about, even as younger trees around them race toward the sky. The wildflowers in this portion of the preserve are not what they once were, but there’s a good mix in other areas. Then again, the southern portion of the Tulip Trail is home to a stupendous patch of trout lily that must number many thousands.
Reserve Interior. Click to enlarge
The (yellow) Juniper Hill 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. The trail climbs as it approaches the southern boundary, then curves west to join the Juniper Hill Trail.
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Steuben County. From I-69 Exit 354, 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.
GPS: N 41 42.065 W 84 58.629
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