Location: East County Road 750 N, Valparaiso, IN
Trail Length: 2.3 total miles easy/moderate
Hours: None posted
Entrance Cost: Free
Parking: Yes, but minimal
Blogger Thoughts: (Donna Lind)
It is always fun to discover a great trail close to home that turns out to be a wonderful surprise. Take a beautiful September afternoon, warm temperatures and blue skies – throw in a couple of hiking companions, a bottle of water, camera and a new trail to explore, and you’ve got a new adventure.
I had never heard of the Moraine Nature Preserve and I was excited when I learned where it was located. Driving north on Calumet Avenue out of Valparaiso, we turned left onto East Country Road 750 N. After about a quarter mile the road turns to one-lane gravel and there are several small spots where you can pull off to park. Each spot is close to where you can enter the trail. We parked at the first spot we came to, however I would suggest going all the way to where the road ends because there is more space for parking.
The trail is easy and well maintained, winding through a forest of tall trees, thick vines snaking up and low ground cover. Hints of fall are everywhere; yellows and oranges are starting to peak out and the trail is already littered with fallen leaves. As we hiked, we made sure to keep our eyes trained down because tree roots crisscross the trail continuously, but where the trail led up casual inclines, the roots served as stair steps. September colors of yellow golden rod and red Virginia Creeper were everywhere.
About 1.7 miles into the hike, the trail led back to the road but we took a trail that turned to the left and it led us back into the woods for another half mile. The end of the trail let us out to where the road reaches a dead end, and although we had to hike along the road to get back to our car, it continued to be a quiet, peaceful walk. A calm pond to the left side of the road reflected the trees surrounding it with yellow and orange leaves already floating on the surface. A little farther down and to our right was another small pond covered in lily pads and reflecting the blue sky.
If you’re looking for a short, quiet visit with nature without the crowds, this trail is one to consider. I know I’ll be back.
(There are many other places to explore in this area, head to the right where the road ends for an open path with beautiful flowers, or take the trail off to the right to find a lake!)