Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods is a large high-quality forest spanning ridge tops, ravines and upland areas. The preserve features chestnut oak forests on its dry ridges, and white oak forests in the steep ravines. In April, the spring wildflowers are vividly strewn throughout, and in mid-October, the autumn colors of the forest beautifully. Unlike nearby natural areas, you won't have to fight the crowds to experience the best of what nature has to offer.
Interior Low Plateau
The Nature Conservancy
This preserve is an important part of the Brown County Hills large forest block. The Conservancy continues to acquire properties in this area to help protect the forest as well as the forest interior birds that depend on it to thrive. Stewards and volunteers have been pulling garlic mustard and Japanese stiltgrass from this site for a number of years. Prescribed fire was recently introduced to this site to perpetuate the fire-dependent oak-hickory forest.
The chestnut oak woods on the dry slopes are in excellent condition with an open understory featuring painted sedge, lowbush blueberry, huckleberry, diverse mosses and lichens and the rare whorled pogonia. Animals to look for include turkeys, coyotes, and woodpeckers. The Conservancy is aiming conservation efforts on forest interior birds like the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Whip-poor-will, Eastern Wood-pewee, Wood Thrush, Louisiana Watherthrush and several species of warblers including Worm-eating Warbler, Kentucky Warbler and the endangered Cerulean Warbler. Visit Hitz-Rhodehamel in mid-April and it will showcase it wildflower display as well a good opportunity to spot migrating warblers. Of course, an autumn visit is also ideal as brilliant shades of red, yellow, orange and brown paint the woods.
The preserve is open for visitation and has existing trails on its moderate to rugged terrain. For more information please consult the Conservancy’s Preserves Visitation Guidelines.
From Bloomington take S.R. 46 east for 19 miles to Nashville. Turn left (north) on S.R. 135 and travel approximately four miles to Greasy Creek Road, turning right and immediately going left onto Freeman Ridge Road. Continue for about one mile to a wooden preserve sign on the right side of the road. The preserve is on the south side of the road and is marked by a wooden preserve sign. Park along the north side of the road just past the preserve sign.