After several days of rainy, cold weather we finally had a sunny, warmer day so we headed on an adventure. Like last week when we ventured to Bicentennial Woods, this one was close to home and also in Huntertown, Indiana. In fact, it is just down the road from Bicentennial Woods, but is a completely different experience. This time we explored the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve.
The Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve is part of the Acres Land Trust which is dedicated to protecting land in northeast Indiana, southern Michigan, and northwest Ohio. It is similar to the Sycamore Land Trust in southern Indiana.
There are two gravel parking areas for the preserve – one at 1802 Chapman Rd. and one at 1992 Chapman Rd. We originally drove down the gravel road at 1802 Chapman Rd., but did not see the parking area behind the large metal building. So we drove back to Chapman Rd. and traveled a little further to the parking area at 1992 Chapman Rd.
The parking area at 1992 Chapman Rd. has a large red barn and the trail can be accessed on either side of the barn. We entered to the left. The trail starts with a grass path through a meadow with some trees. It winds around and eventually connects with a gravel trail that leads to the Acres office, the former home of Tom and Jane Dustin. The gravel path is a 1/3M handicapped accessible loop. Both trails are easy, flat trails. There is little shade so bringing water is a must. This hike is better for spring and fall, or early morning when it’s not too hot. Although the website indicates the preserve has a 1.5M trail, my watch indicated we only walked a little over 1M.
The preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk and the only restroom is located in the Acres office. It is open to the public, but only when the office is open.
Although the trail is just down the road from Bicentennial Woods, it is nothing like that trail. Instead of a narrow trail winding through the woods and overlooking a creek, it is a grass trail through a meadow with some trees. It is a well-maintained trail, but is not nearly as scenic as others we’ve visited. Because of this the preserve rates only 2.5 out of 4 paws up. Despite that, Sunny thoroughly enjoyed herself, but then again, like Karlie, she’s always happy when she’s out exploring.
How do I get there?
Getting there is fairly straight forward. From Coldwater Rd. turn onto Chapman Rd. About a mile down the road, there is a sign on the right for Acres Land Trust. This leads to the Acres office and parking area. Or travel a little further down Chapman Rd. to another Acres Land Trust sign on the right and park near the barn. No matter which area you park, the trail is just off the parking lot.
For more information check out the Acres Land Trust website.