Saunders Woods

Why You Should Visit 

The 1998 acquisition of 920 acres at Saunders Woods culminated a multiyear negotiation for the largest unfragmented blocks of bottomland hardwood forest in Indiana. The importance of the purchase can be seen in the ecological signature of plants in the understory. Bottomland hardwoods are more typically found along the deep alluvial soils of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, making their presence in Indiana quite unique.


Gibson County


Interior Low Plateau


1,160 Acres


State Nature Preserve, 1998  

Owned & Managed By

The Nature Conservancy


Indiana Heritage Trust & North America Wetland Conservation Act

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done

In order to protect the forest community at Saunder's Woods, the Conservancy works to acquire buffer lands around the preserve. The stewardship staff has also been reforesting these buffers, planting over 300,000 acorns, pecans, and hickory nuts to protect the integrity of the critical core acres.

What to See: Plants and Animals

Dominated by pin and overcup oak, pecan and shellbark hickory along with other hardwood species, the forests are significant in size and in terms of its location - there are at the northern limit of of their natural range. Flatwood species can also seen where State Road 64 bisects the woods; look for larger, old-growth specimens. A rise in elevation within the woods takes you from an understory of chest-high poison ivy to acres of lush green sedges and grasses. Rare flora found here includes social sedge, climbing dogbane and deciduous holly. The trees offer habitat to a variety of wildlife including frogs, several species of owls, the Pileated Woodpecker and the Appalachian brown eye butterfly - if one is lucky - are just a few.

The relatively flat terrain will make for an easy hike despite the lack of developed trails at the preserve. Beware of poison ivy! For more information, please read the Conservancy's Preserve Visitation Guidelines.


From Princeton, travel west on S.R 64 approximately 6.9 miles until reaching the preserve. S.R> 64 bisects the property and intersects with C.R. 100 W. Turn either left or right on C.R. 100 N and park along the side of the road.


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Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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