Hemmer Woods Nature Preserve is a National Natural Landmark that protects about seventy acres of old growth woods. The preserve includes both upland and lowland sections, and a ¾ mile loop trail traverses part of the former. After passing through the gate from the parking lot, turn right toward the registry box and, if you can find one, pick up a trail brochure. Continue in the same direction and consult the brochure for information on the twenty-five numbered stations that appear sporadically along the trail.
The preserve contains some very large trees. Oaks and hickories are especially prominent in the upland portion, and the lowland part of the property (no trail) is, according to DNR, home to some of the largest tulip poplars in the state. The trail climbs over a series of small hills and is everywhere a delight; pawpaw trees seem to fill much of the space beneath the canopy, and the small pond at station five teems with frogs.
Spring wildflower displays are outstanding. Mayapple, trillium, bloodroot, and trout lily are all common, but Dutchman’s breeches steal the show in late March and early April, carpeting the forest floor in white. I never miss an opportunity to stop here and steep myself in the ambiance of these woods.
TRAIL MAP (Click to enlarge)