A Hiker's Path: Admiring a rushing waterfall at Nine Penny Branch Nature Preserve
This past week, I was down in Southern Indiana and I got the chance to hike in a small nature preserve that had been on my bucket list for quite awhile.
The Nine Penny Branch Nature Preserve contains 120 acres and is owned and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Located just outside of Charlestown, Indiana, the preserve was donated by John and Mary Crismore who dedicated it to their parents.
The Nine Penny Branch creek flows through the preserve and that’s how the preserve got its name. The preserve is considered a hidden gem by some in the area. A hiking trail meanders through old growth forest and and leads down to the creek to a beautiful waterfall.
There also use to be a stagecoach route that ran through the area and there’s still remnants of an old stone wall that marks the stagecoach route.
The trail itself is considered easy to moderate in ease of hiking.
It was a beautiful winter’s day when I hiked at the quaint little nature preserve. Sunny, blue skies and a temperature hovering right around 50 degrees awaited me.
I found the trailhead quite easily and noticed lots of signage that contained a map of the trail and a detailed history of the preserve. I took off down the trail with great expectations of what I might see.
The “Limestone Ledges trail” is 0.75 miles in length. It’s a point to point trail, which means that it’s 0.75 miles to the end and then one must turn around and go back to the start. This makes for a total hike of 1.5 miles. I might add that 0.3 miles of the trail, (from the parking lot to the overlook), is wheelchair accessible.
I hiked the wooded path, enjoying the scenery. Of course, the trees were in their winter attire and were void of their leaves, but this made for easier viewing of the nature around me.
I saw several woodpeckers high up in the tree tops, drilling away in search of their lunch. A few cardinals were perched on the branches of a tree, dressed in their bright red feathers, and a couple of bluejays sat idly by on a limb to see what mischief they might get into. These beautiful birds are known to be quite intelligent and inquisitive. They are also known for getting into mischief and have been known to be bullies at the bird feeders. There was no mischief for them to find on this day. The forest was pretty quiet.
I made it to the overlook and enjoyed the view of the creek below.
I continued on my trek, passing over a couple of small bridges, and then arrived at the old stone wall. The stage coach route. It was back in the mid-1800s when the stage coaches came through. The stone wall before me was pretty old and was covered with moss. Lots of history in this preserve.
I finally made it to the creek where the rest of the trail ran parallel to it. I could hear the sound of the waterfall ahead of me.
Finally I arrived at my destination. The creek was full of water from recent heavy rain in the area and this made for a wonderful rushing waterfall. It was very scenic with the backdrop of the limestone shelfs and outcrops on the backside of creek.
There was a nice bench right at that spot that I took advantage of just to soak in the moment.
I had known about this place for awhile now. I can’t say why it took me so long to visit, but I am glad that I finally did.
I made my way back to the parking lot and to my car. I really enjoyed my hike at this small preserve.
There are other places nearby to hike, including Charlestown State Park. So if you ever want to make a trip down to visit, you can make a day of it between the two.
To get to this place: At Charlestown, take Monroe Street off Ind. 52, turn right on Tunnel Mill Road, follow a short distance and arrive at preserve on your left. The address of the preserve is 3019 Tunnel Mill Road, Charlestown.
A quote for your week: “The journey itself is my home” — Matsuo Basho, Japanese poet, 1644-1694.
Until the next trail,Susan
This article originally appeared on Evening World: Hiker describes Charlestown's Nine Penny Branch Nature Preserve