Hitz-Rhodehamel Nature Preserve
This is a very scenic Nature Conservancy property that protects more than three hundred acres. Thereís a short access trail that leads from the parking area to the main loop. The main loop, constructed by the Hoosier Hikers Council, is marked with white diamond blazes and is about 2.6 miles around. Be mindful of cars, as the trail twice crosses Freeman Ridge Road. There are also a couple of steep climbs mixed in. Expect high ridge lines, steep slopes, and scenic intermittent stream valleys, as well as interpretative signage at intervals along the trail. The Nature Conservancy notes that the forest is characterized in part by chestnut oaks that occupy ridgelines and dry slopes, and white oaks that prefer the moister soils found in ravine bottoms.
Spring visitors can look forward to nice wildflower displays, grading to ferns along the stream valleys during the summer months, and gorgeous fall foliage. Iíve been especially impressed by the stands of northern maidenhair fern along the western side of the loop, just north of Freeman Ridge Road. As for fall foliage, this is Brown County. While there may not be the expansive views available in the nearby state park, there will almost certainly be many, many fewer people within eyesight or hearing as you explore this wonderful destination.
TRAIL MAP (Click to enlarge)