One of the crown jewels of our state's nature preserves, the Bluffs of Beaver Bend, offers colorful sandstone cliffs that tower over the White River. Ferns and a variety of lower plants carpet the cliffs and hillsides with a kaleidoscope of colors and textures. Look for the sections of cliffs that have broken away from the bedrock and exposed unique geologic formations.
Bluffs of Beaver Bend has been known by several names including White River Bluffs, Sprout Springs and Gormerly's Bluff. The area, now named for the large bend of the White River and Beaver Creek, has a rich history. Native Americans used the bluffs as shelter and the river as a source of food. Large beds of freshwater mussels existed in the river, and traces of these shells can still be found today. Moonshiners, bootleggers and gangsters have also played a part in tales told about the Bluffs as has buried treasure. Regardless of whether these stories are true, the Bluffs of Beaver Bend is truly a gem.
Interior Low Plateau
The Nature Conservancy & Division of Nature Preserves
Indiana Heritage Trust, Department of Natural Resources & Natural Resources Conservation Services
The Nature Conservancy further consolidated the site, giving Bluffs of Beaver Bend permanent and sustainable protection. With the DNP, the Conservancy is reforesting the floodplain to buffer the high-quality preserve lands. The existing woods will be protected and the lowlands will be restored to bottom-land hardwoods and managed as a natural area.
The preserve is noted for the variety of ferns that grace its cliffs and hillsides including ebony and pinnatifid spleenwort; marginal and crested shield ferns; walking ferns; Christmas ferns and the lovey maidenhair fern. Almost forty species of trees and near twenty kinds of shrubs have been identified at the preserve as well as dozens of mosses, liverworts, lichens and other understory plants. Keep an eye out and your ears open for migrating Warblers and the common Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
With a road running between the East Fork of the White River and the preserve, the Bluffs of Beaver Bend is one the most accessible preserves the Conservancy has to offer. Trails do not yet exist on the preserve, so please be cautious and aware of your surroundings when hiking.
For More Information
Division of Nature Preserves
From Shoals, travel west on U.S. 50 into town. Immediately past the White River Bridge on the southeast corner, turn left (south) onto Water Street (C.R. 63). Continue south to Spout Springs Road (this is the first right you can take) and turn right. Travel roughly 0/13 mile to the parking lot on the left side of the road.