Spicer Lake Nature Preserve
I confess to being a fan of boardwalks through wetland areas, and that's one reason why Spicer Lake Nature Preserve is a particular favorite of mine. Scenic glacial lakes and a substantial trail network through forest and wetland, often passing over the latter on long boardwalks.
Spicer Lake and nearby Lancaster Lake are kettle lakes, formed at the end of the last ice age. The lakes are now much smaller than they were when originally formed. In the millennia since the retreat of the glaciers, plants and their remains have steadily encroached on the edges of the lakes, gradually filling them in.
This preserve is very close to Michigan, and perhaps part of its appeal lies in its contrast with much of the rest of Indiana. Whatever the reason, I recommend a visit.
The trail system begins behind the main building and starts out as a paved path. Follow it to a "T", turn left and continue for several hundred yards, before turning right again at another "T" junction. Eventually you will emerge onto a viewing platform that overlooks Spicer Lake (left, top).
On retracing your steps, follow the Wetlands Trail to Lancaster Lake (left, bottom), with wetlands to your left and rising ground to your right. A small dock extends into Lancaster Lake. Like Spicer Lake, Lancaster Lake is an impossibly beautiful cattail-lined jewel. Gazing at it makes clear why people like to live on lakes, even if they end up destroying what they originally sought.
Consider returning via the Woodland Trail, which traverses higher ground on its way back to the main building. In doing so, expect to see (especially in the spring) plenty of wildflowers.
St. Joseph County, just east of the LaPorte County line. From U.S. 20, go north about 3.5 miles on County Line Road to the preserve entrance on the right.
North 41 45.196 West 86 31.456
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Bathrooms, water, shelter house, nature center.
Nearby Natural Areas
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 30
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 75