2020 Hike #35 on August 8th at Depauw Nature Park in Greencastle Indiana

52 Hike Challenge

General Info

The Depauw Nature Park is located at 1400 W County Road 125 S, Greencastle, IN 46135.

Between 1917 and 1977, the Nature Park was the site of a limestone quarry, owned and operated by Hanson Aggregates. Limestone rock in the quarry began forming approximately 350 million years ago from the remains of animals living on the bottom of an inland sea that covered this area. The layers of remains are the basis of the rock layers observed in the quarry walls.

With the quarry dormant for decades, Hanson Aggregates generously donated 280 acres of the land and leased the remaining 178 acres to DePauw University for $1 per year for 99 years. DePauw acquired adjacent property to increase the total size of the Nature Park to 520 acres. DePauw commissioned Mansur Developers in 2002 to design a Master Plan for possible uses of the Nature Park. DePauw completed Phase I of the Master Plan in 2004 and opened the Nature Park to the public in September 2004.

The Phase I work included demolition and removal of remaining buildings from the quarry operation, clean-up of debris and fuel spills from storage tanks, improving the driveway and parking, arranging for power and water utilities, installation of water fountains, construction of primitive campsites, improvement of outdoor classrooms, installation of ten miles of trails, and construction of the Amphitheater.

DePauw completed Phase II of the plan in fall 2005. The Phase II work included construction of the Manning Environmental Field Station and the Ian and Mimi Rolland Welcome and Activities Center. Other work included installation of a sanitary sewer system and railings on the Rim Trail.

The Prindle Institute for Ethics was completed in 2007. The mission of the institute is to enhance teaching, learning, and research in ethics at DePauw. The Bartlett Reflection Center was completed in 2009. The Reflection Center is located next to the Prindle Institute within the Nature Park.

Trails:

Connector Trail: 1.1 miles The Connector Trail starts at DePauw's athletic fields and goes to the entrance of the Nature Park at West Walnut St.

Creekside Trail: 1.7 miles The Creekside Trail runs along Big Walnut Creek. There are lots of spring wildflowers in bloom along this trail from mid-April to mid-May.

Prindle Trail: 1.7 miles Prindle Trail P1, is 1.3 miles long and goes from DePauw's main campus to the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.

Prindle Trail P2, is 0.4 miles long and goes from the Welcome Center in the Nature Park to the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.

Quarry Trail: 1.2 miles The Quarry Trail goes along the south side of the quarry pond and through the quarry bottom.

Rail Trail: 1.0 mile The Rail Trail follows the old railroad line that was used to transport aggregate from the quarry.

Rim Trail: 1.9 miles The Rim Trail goes along the entire rim of the quarry, offering spectacular views of the quarry. Stay clear of the rim’s edge because the rocks near the edge are unstable.

Woodland Trails: 1.6 miles The Woodland Trails are steep and rugged. Most of the forest in these areas is growing on deposits left over from the quarry operation.

Woodland Trail, W1: 0.4 miles Woodland Trail, W2, W3: 0.5 miles Woodland Trails, W4, W5, W6: 0.7 miles

Total: 10.1 miles

This information was taken from www.depauw.edu. To find out more about this park, click here.

My visit

Tracy accompanied me on the #35 hike of 2020. DePauw Nature Park is such an interesting place, so I decided that I needed to return for a third time. There is still a lot of the park that I have not gotten to explore.

We chose to stay along the Rim Trail during this hike. It is the most interesting trail in the park. The view of the Quarry is something you won't find anywhere else in Indiana. We also checked out the Prindle Institute for Ethics. It was closed due to Covid and the nature area had been neglected.