Monday, June 2, 2014

McCloud Nature Park: A Natural Gem in Hendricks County, Indiana


**Thank you to Joe Reagin for a wonderful tour! Thank you to Hendricks County for sponsoring our visit. Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.**

On every vacation, we love to spend some time enjoying peace, tranquility and natural beauty. We found McCloud Nature Park to be an ideal spot for a nice hike while discovering the treasures of the great outdoors. We started our visit at the Nature Center which houses a number of interactive exhibits to help visitors learn about the wildlife in the area. My daughter could not resist the hands-on learning!




The preserve is an incredible gift

We were very fortunate to go on a guided hike with Joe Reagin, a naturalist at the park. Throughout our walk, we learned the history of the park. I was surprised--and delighted--to learn that the park consisted of land that had been originally set aside by a couple of families that lived in the area. The families were concerned with preserving the location as a natural sanctuary for wildlife and humans alike. They have given an incredible gift to us all!


Changes to come

McCloud Nature Park is growing but I think that it is gorgeous just the way that it is. The park is home to a prairie that naturalist are continually strengthening. Naturalists are also reforesting a section of the park. There are plans to build a larger Nature Center. The hope is to be able to accommodate the park's growing number of visitors as well as the increased interest in their programs.


A must-see: the stunning steel truss bridge!

One the most dazzling yet peaceful features of McCloud Nature Park is Big Walnut Creek. Big Walnut Creek ambles through the park providing some stunning vistas. Spanning a section of the creek is a charming steel truss bridge built in 1913. The steel truss bridge was moved to the park from another location in Indiana. However, the magnificent structure looks like it has always been a resident of the preserve and provides for amazing pictures!


Things to know:
  • There is a restroom right outside of the Nature Center.
  • The area is prime for bird watching. 
  • Owls love McCloud Nature Park and visitors love to sign up for moonlight nature walks to see resident owls. However, these walks are popular and fill up, so be sure to sign up well in advance!
  • The Nature Center has a bird viewing area.
  • The Park has 6-miles of trails to choose from.
  • Picnic area available.
  • Admission is free but there may be a charge for some of the events.
During our visit to Hendricks County, we began our day at Hot Blown Glass. After visiting the glass studio, we headed over to McCloud Nature Park. We loved both attractions and found our morning to be quite enjoyable as well as enriching. McCloud Nature Park is beautiful and was a wonderful place for us to hike while enjoying the splendors of nature and escaping the buzz of the everyday.

McCloud Nature Park is located at 8518 N Hughes Rd, North Salem, Indiana. The park is open from dawn to dusk daily.

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