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Spicer Lake Nature Reserve // New Carlisle, IN

Submitted by: Stephen Lehman

For the busy adventurer Location: Cost: Free Hours: Changes Seasonally What to expect: Nature center, many trails

Well hello there, dune lovers! Long time, no see! I am excited to tell you about my recent adventure to Spicer Lake Nature Reserve in New Carlisle, IN. Spicer Lake Nature Reserve is a part of St. Joseph County Parks. This preserve seems to be safely tucked away as I had never heard of it prior to Dig the Dunes asking me to explore it.


Just as I entered into the forest, I came across a sign. I immediately knew that there was no shortage of trails to be walked here. The four on the sign were only a few among several others that I encountered on my journey. The trails were well taken care of, whether they were mowed grass paths, well-traveled dirt paths, or even gravel, I could tell that I wasn’t the only human being to have explored here. After realizing how many trails there were, I decided to go in a direction that would lead me deeper into the preserve.


I came upon a small boardwalk. I realized I had found the “observation deck” that some of the signs pointed towards. This observation deck overlooks a buttonbush swamp. I can only imagine how many plants and wildlife species could be found there! This was the first of many interesting experiences I had while exploring Spicer Lake. I noticed that the Fall colors were just beginning to be visible. I’ll bet the beauty of this place doubles once all the leaves finally turn. Autumn seems like such a magical season to me, especially when I’m in places like this.


As I continued to walk, I heard something rustling in the leaves beside me. I looked with a bit of anxiousness and after a few moments, I finally saw the culprit: a small garter snake. Most of us have seen one of these before, as they are very common in our area. Garter snakes almost exclusively live in places with some form of water nearby. Since amphibians are a large part of their diet, the wetlands nearby are perfect for these snakes to live near.


Before coming out to Spicer Lake, I used instagram to search for photos taken here. I saw a photo of a Lake with a bench sitting on a dock. I knew that I wanted to find that location before I left. It was only about 30 minutes into my adventure when I came upon the sign for Lancaster Lake. There it was!


This spot is perfect for a peaceful breather in the middle of exploring. If you venture out this way (which I highly recommend), this spot is a must. I took some time and sat down, listening to the sounds of the forest all around me and took in the moment. It’s places like these that remind me that it’s not so hard to get away from the business of life and just soak in all that nature has to offer.

Overall, Spicer Lake Nature Preserve was wonderful. With several trails and beautiful scenery, this place can seem nearly perfect. I hope you all get to make it out to Spicer Lake soon!

Until next time my friends, get outside!


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