Benton - River Preserve County Park

Sunny and I ventured to Elkhart County to check out the Benton – River Preserve County Park which consists of the Benton Dam, Benton Hydro, and Benton Spillway. These parks and trails make for an enjoyable outing and have something for everyone. The Benton Dam consists of mowed grass trails through a field which provides the opportunity for sighting wildlife. The Benton Hydro consists of a dirt packed trail covered with gravel and stones. It travels from the parking lot to the Benton Spillway. The Benton Spillway consists of a grass trail that leads over the spillway and connects with the Benton Hydro trail. We walked a portion of all of these trails and logged over 3M. It was a wonderful adventure and one we’ll do again.

We started our adventure by checking out the Benton Dam trails. These trails wind through a field with tall grasses. Although the Elkhart River runs nearby, we did not see it from the trail. We logged less than half a mile before coming to a spot to cross County Road 31 and access the other trails.

Sunny on the Benton Dam trail

Next we checked out the Spillway parking area which has a restroom and some picnic benches. We walked a little further down County Road 31 and found the trail to the spillway. This trail goes along Elkhart River and over the spillway. We found a way to get down to the water so Sunny could put her toes in the water.

Benton - River Preserve County Park sign
path up from the spillway
Sunny looking at spillway from above

After checking out the spillway we walked over the bridge to the hydro trail. This was our favorite trail. It’s a nice wide trail through the woods with few inclines/descents. The trail follows the Elkhart River and crosses back over the river. You can also see a field of corn on the opposite side of the river. It’s not a walk in the woods, but a wooded walk. It’s peaceful, shady, and a lovely way to spend some time. Total distance from the parking lot to the spillway is about 2M.

Benton - River Preserve County Park Hydro trail
bridge over the Elkhart River
Sunny on a bench

Our Rating

We rate the Benton -River Preserve County Park 3.5 out of 4 paws up for the variety of trails and the ability to access the water. Overall this is a lovely system of trails that offers something for everyone. Below are our ratings for each trail.

We rate the Benton Dam trail 2 out of 4 paws up. The trails are well maintained and somewhat scenic, we just prefer hiking in the woods.

We rate the Benton Spillway 3 out of 4 paws up. The trail leads to the spillway which is interesting and fun. It also gives the opportunity to get down to the water.

We rate the Benton Hydro trail 3.5 out of 4 paws up. The trail is the longest, most scenic, and goes from the spillway to the parking lot. The parking lot also has a port-o-potty.

How do I get there?

Take 6 W to Syracuse and then turn right onto County Road 33 N. Follow for just under 3M and turn left onto County Road 46. After about a mile turn right onto County Road 31. After a short distance you will see a parking lot on the left for the Benton Spillway and a short distance later on the right for the Benton Dam. The Benton Dam parking lot is only open during the summer. The other option is to stay on County Road 46 for about 2M and then turn right on County Road 127. After about half a mile the parking lot is on the right. This parking lot is also only open during the summer.

For more information check out Elkhart County Parks website.

River Preserve

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