Why You Should Visit
The Valparaiso Moraine is a phenomenon of sand, soil and gravel deposits which run from southern Wisconsin through northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana into west-central Michigan. The tract contains a combination of rolling hills, steep ridges, deep-wooded gorges, muck pockets, potholes and a natural kettle pond. Several Hoosier families in the area donated land and money for permanent protection of this peaceful preserve and surrounding areas.
State Nature Preserve, 1971 & 1995
Owned & Managed By
Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Nature Preserves
DNR-Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Indiana Heritage Trust, North America Wetland Conservation Act, Indiana Natural Heritage Protection Campaign, Shirley Heinze Land Trust and University of Chicago
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done
One of the few large, unfragmented blocks of forest left in Northwest Indiana, Moraine Nature Preserve offers a valuable habitat to various plant and animal species as well as benefits the communities that surround it. Grown to more than 800 acres from its initial 160, The Nature Conservancy continues to find ways to protect this area from urban sprawl.
What to See: Plants and Animals
Old-growth remnants of oak-hickory forest, mesic beech-maple forest, and old farm fields reverting back to its natural wilderness are some of the ecosystems found in the Moraine Nature Preserve. As one of the few, large unfragmented blocks of forest left in northwest Indiana it is extremely valuable to nesting forest interior birds as well as migrating species. The forest floor is rich with wildflowers, particularly in the spring. Ponds and wetlands are used by many species of both rare and common wildlife. It isn't surprising to see local educators, students and researchers studying the vegetation and wildlife found here.
The easy to moderate terrain make for a pleasant hike through the preserve even though there are no established trails. Please take the time to read the Conservancy's Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
From Valparaiso, travel north on S.R. 49 to U.S. 6. Turn right (east) and continue approximately 0.5 mile to Calumet Avenue and turn right (south). Continue traveling to C.R. 750 N (Meska Road) and turn left. Travel roughly one mile to the end of the road and park at the bottom of the hill. Parking is limited; please be considerate of private property and the preserve when parking.