Twin Swamps Nature Preserve
Twin Swamps Nature Preserve is a large, wet, wooded preserve that protects remnants of an ecosystem that once flourished in this part of the state. This is just about as far south and west as you can go while remaining in Indiana, so itís no surprise that the species mix is substantially different here than elsewhere in our state.
No matter where you are in this outstanding preserve, you have an excellent chance of encountering one or more reptiles and/or amphibians, and a near certain opportunity to enjoy the attention of various biting insects. Watch your step, and bring repellent.
As the name suggests, the preserve includes two swamps, and a short-stemmed lollipop trail - about a mile long - gives hikers a taste of both. Pick up a brochure at the registry box and start down the path, which quickly enters the woods.
Along the way, a series of small footbridges cross some of the wetter areas. Before long, a side branch goes off to the right; it leads to a boardwalk and small observation tower that allow closer inspection of a swamp dominated by bald cypress and swamp cottonwood trees, the latter with large heart-shaped leaves on long stalks.
After rejoining the main loop, turn right and continue to the second swamp. Overcup oak is the dominant tree here, though recent beaver activity has so flooded the soil that even these remarkably water-tolerant trees are under great stress.
Overcup oaks take their name from their acorns, which are almost completely surrounded by the cups that hold them; the leaves can be up to ten inches long. The loop portion of the trail parallels the overcup oak swamp for a while before returning to the lollipop stem that will take you back to the parking lot.
Posey County. From the intersection of IN 62 and IN 69 west of Mount Vernon, go south 8.2 miles on IN 69 to Graddy Road, then right 1.4 miles to Raber Road (300W), and finally right 1.0 mile to the parking area on the left.
North 37 49.952 West 87 59.042
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Nearby Natural Areas
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 98
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 476
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 508
Nature Conservancy: Guide to Indiana Preserves; Page 206