Places We Protect

Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods

Indiana

Interpretive sign in forest in early autumn.
Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods in Brown County, Indiana © Aimee Berry

Spring wildflowers, autumn colors and lush summer greens = perfect hiking spot all year round.

Overview

Description

Why You Should Visit

Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods in Brown County 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 are beautiful. Unlike nearby natural areas, you won't have to fight the crowds to experience the best of what nature has to offer.

What TNC is Doing/has Done

This preserve is an important part of the Brown County Hills large forest block. The Conservancy continues to acquire land 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 has been re-introduced to this site to improve the fire-dependent oak-hickory forest.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hours

Open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Size

511 acres

Explore our work in Indiana

What to See: Plants and Animals

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 waterthrush and several species of warblers, including worm-eating warbler, Kentucky warbler, and the endangered cerulean warbler. Each of these species depends on large, intact forest to survive.

Visit Hitz-Rhodehamel in mid-April and it will showcase its wildflower display, as well as 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.

Access and Trails

The preserve is open for visitation and the gravel parking area can accommodate 5 vehicles, including van accessible parking. A paved walkway leads visitors to an overlook, picnic shelter and the trailhead. A 3-mile loop trail traverses moderate to rugged terrain, with interpretive signs along the way. The trail is divided into two loops, a one mile loop north of the road and a 2 mile loop south of the road, with easy access back to the parking area by walking along Freeman Ridge Road.

Check out the Conservancy's Preserve Visitation Guidelines for more information regarding your visit to the preserve.