Ropchan Memorial Nature Preserve


Ropchan Memorial Nature Preserve protects about eighty acres of classic lake country terrain. Thereís a kettle lake, a large wetland, glacial ridges, and scattered boulders dropped by the last glacier as it fled northward. Itís not far from here to Michigan, and the plant life reflects that proximity. There arenít many places like this in Indiana.


Trail


Trails

The trail layout is relatively simple, and consists of a loop with a long spur at its eastern end; total length is just over a mile. The path tees almost immediately after you leave the parking area; Iíll describe it as if youíre going to turn left at that first junction.

Youíll descend briefly along the flank of a ridge and gradually work your way around what seems like the inner surface of a large bowl. The ground rises steeply to your left, and drops off nearly as steeply to the right, while a kettle lake (second image, left) fills the bottom of the bowl.


Kettle Lake

The path rises and falls as you continue around to the east side of the lake; from here, youíll climb a small hill and descend the other side of the mound toward another junction point.

Turning left at the junction point starts you on the out-and-back bog trail. On the way out youíll skirt the northern edges of a large wetland; it will be off to your right. Tamarack and yellow birch grow here, both near the southern limit of their natural ranges.

Exuberant colonies of cinnamon fern are everywhere, and there are occasional stands of royal fern. Eventually the bog trail peters out; when it does, turn around and return to the junction point, then turn left to continue your hike.

The southern, second half of the loop trail takes you right next to the kettle lake you passed earlier, and then veers left to explore a peninsula that juts into a wetland. On reaching the tip of the peninsula, the trail begins climbing back toward the parking area.


Directions

Steuben County. From Orland, go east 2.2 miles on State Road 120, then go north an eight of a mile on county road 750 West to the parking area on the right (east) side of the road.

North 41 44.496 West 85 07.949
DeLorme 23:A8


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Facilities

None.


Nearby Natural Areas

Beechwood Nature Preserve
Fawn River Nature Preserve
Pokagon State Park


References

ACRES Land Trust
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 43
Indiana Department of Natural Resources