Why You Should Visit
This 30-acre property is a dedicated state nature preserve located in Michigan City. The mixed forest community is a rare urban example of old-growth forest. Among its inhabitants are white pine, red oak, white oak, sugar maple, red maple, witch hazel, partridge berry, and wintergreen. A hiking trail departs from the parking area in front of Barker House.
The old-growth forest at Barker Woods is a place for quiet contemplation amidst a busy urban environment. Walk its trail in spring. Enjoy the songs of migratory birds returning from their wintering grounds far to the south. Admire the flowering dogwood and shadbush in bloom. Linger in the shelter of tall oaks, maples, and pines. Return in October for a spectacular display of fall color.
The Great Lakes
State Nature Preserve, 1975
Owned & Managed by
Department of Natural Resources
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done
Development near Barker Woods has drastically altered the hydrological processes of the wet forest habitat by ridding the land of sufficient amounts of fresh water. In addition, Barker Woods is being overrun by many non-native species — such as burning bush, garlic mustard, lily of the valley, periwinkle, and privet — that were introduced through landscaping. Restoring the wet forest habitats and eradicating invasive species was our main goal--work that is now being performed by the Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
What to See: Plants and Animals
Barker Woods homes a number of trees including: pin oak, black gum, red maple, yellow and white birches. Threatened and rare plants such as trailing arbutus, large-leaved shinleaf, paper birch, cow wheat, draping wood sedge and long sedge can also be found at the preserve so please stay on the trail.
This easy terrain is open for hiking on the trails, photography, and it is great for bird watching. Please park in the designated area. For more information please consult the Conservancy’s Preserves Visitation Guidelines.
From I-94, take exit 34A (U.S. 421 north toward Michigan City). Continue north on U.S. 421, passing U.S. 20, to Barker Road (Al’s Supermarket will be on the west side of road). Turn right (east) onto Barker Road, proceeding past Barker Middle School, to a stop sign on Cleveland Street. After the stop sign, take the first left onto a gravel driveway leading into the fenced preserve.