The Sycamore Land Trust is a nonprofit conservation group that protects land, restores habitat, and provides nature preserves to hike around Bloomington, Indiana. They own and maintain more than 10,500 acres on more than 125 protected properties and maintain trails on 13 preserves. Amazingly, these areas are all free for public use and Canyon Forest Nature Preserve is one of them.
Although Karlie never had the opportunity to explore this preserve, I recently took Sunny here. The preserve consists of about 1.6 miles of trails through the woods. David and Kathy Dilcher and Rudi Turner donated the land to preserve it for people to enjoy. And what a treat it is! Like many of the adventures we’ve taken in the Bloomington area, it’s a wonderful walk in the woods. It was particularly beautiful on our visit, as the leaves are nearly at their peak.
The preserve is open daily, but has a small six-car gravel parking lot with no street parking. Despite that we were the only ones there the day we visited. Most likely it’s a different story during the summer and on the weekends.
The trail is fairly narrow with many descents and inclines. This is because the preserve has a variety of ravines and the trail climbs down into them and back up several times. Although the trail has a few offshoots, at each intersection there is a sign indicating “you are here” and showing the entire trail system. This helped us complete just over a one mile loop instead of backtracking to the parking lot. The trail is hard packed dirt with quite a few tree roots in it. For this reason, it is only recommended for those in good health with good balance. Wearing appropriate footwear is a must.
Sunny enjoyed climbing up and down the hills and being in the woods. This preserve is truly beautiful and interesting because of the ravines. Although there’s no water, it was a great opportunity for her to work on her billy goat skills. We both decided this was a wonderful preserve and that Karlie would have loved it too. We rate this trail 3.5 out of 4 paws up with the only negatives being the small parking lot, no restroom, and no water.
How do I get there?
Getting to the preserve involves driving on some country roads, but is quite gorgeous in the fall. Take 45S past Abell Nursery. Turn right on W. Elwren Road and stay on it for about 2 miles. At the end, turn left on Greene County Line Road. After just over half a mile, turn right on Edwards Road. Just after crossing the railroad tracks is the gravel parking lot on your right. Park in the lot and walk straight ahead to access the trail. The address for the preserve is 13691 Edwards Rd., Solsberry, Indiana.
For more information, check out the Sycamore Land Trust website.