52 Hikes in 52 Weeks: Hike 6, Kokiwanee Nature Preserve

March 13, 2016

We spent this rainy March afternoon exploring Acre’s Kokiwanee Nature Preserve in Wabash County.  This trail was discovered by herd member Lyndy and turned out to be a fantastic find!  The preserve packs a lot of “wow” in its 139 acres.  The land was purchased from the Tribal Trails Girl Scouts of Kokomo in late 2003.  http://www.acreslandtrust.org/kokiwanee

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There are a number of trails throughout the preserve allowing you to explore several waterfalls and varying habitats.  We chose to do a big loop around the perimeter of the preserve and then an inner loop on the main trail.

Today’s heard consisted of regulars Becky and Lyndy as well as my daughter Casie.  The left side of the picture shows the wide, grassy main trail.

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We started our day on the Mossy heights Trail which traveled west from the parking area along the north edge of the preserve.  The trail was well maintained but muddy from all the rain with a few areas of standing water.  We were very excited to see some flowers popping up!

 

 

The wooded trail soon reached the west edge of the preserve and turned south, heading for the Salamonie River.   Shortly before the river, we came to an old picnic shelter.  Poking around in the shelter, we found a single high-heeled boot.  We had some fun coming up with different scenarios for how the boot ended up left in the shelter.  The presence of some empty beer cans added to the story-telling options!

 

Just passed the shelter, we found ourselves standing on the bluff over-looking the Salamonie River.  The river was high and moving very fast.

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The trail continued along the river bluff and became the Sleepy Hollow Trail.  We soon came to a second, newer pavilion.  Before reaching the shelter, however, we crossed over the top of Frog Falls.  It was hard to see the waterfall from this vantage point and with the wet, slippery conditions, we did not wander too close to the edge.

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After leaving the second shelter, continued along the Sleepy Hollow Bluff with the Salamonie River far below.  We traveled down into a steep ravine and back up the other side and were grateful for our hiking poles!  Becky managed to slip and partially catch herself with her poles, bending one pole in the process.  In classic “glass half full” fashion, she happily reported that she would now have to get new hiking poles!   Other than the hiking pole, the only damage was a bruised ego and bruised butt.

Following our ravine traverse, we jumped on the waterfall trail for a short jaunt before taking the spur to the river trail. We headed north on the river trail to where dead ended at Frog Falls.  The trail here followed right along the river with a couple of short wooden bridges.

Frog Falls was much more impressive from the bottom!  We all felt it was well worth the walk to see it.

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After snapping some pictures of the waterfall, we headed back along the River Trail following it all the way to where it curved away from the river and met up with the Waterfall Trail.  As the trail turned east, we saw the Tailwater Fishing Area which has lots of parking and access to the preserve.  We continued along the Waterfall Trail and soon came to Kissing Falls.

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We had the option of crossing the river at Kissing falls to continue our perimeter loop on the Little Fox Trail but opted not to cross due to the swiftness of the water at the crossing. It doesn’t look particularly fast in the picture but trust me, it was moving right along.   Being swept over the falls did not seem like the thing to do this day!

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Instead of crossing, we continued on the Waterfall Trail to the point it intersected with the Main Trail and the Farmhouse Trail.  We followed the Farmhouse Trail, passing the old farmhouse foundation before heading back to a safe location to access the Little Fox Trail.  The Farmhouse Trail and Little Fox Trail intersected at the sight of an old bridge foundation.

We continued along the east side of the preserve on the Little Fox Trail which eventually tied back in to the Main Trail.  We weren’t quite ready to be done hiking but opted to head back to the vehicles to get a drink and a snack.  Following the short break, we did the Main Trail Loop.  While not as scenic as the prior hike, it was still a nice romp in the woods.  This trail passes the remains of the old horse stable and follows along the west shoreline of Fawn Lake.  Many of the other trails can be accessed from the Main Trail

Over-all, we all felt this was a great place to spend an afternoon!  Hiking was not too strenuous although there were some hills to contend with.  Kids would need to be watched closely due to the rivers, cliffs and waterfalls.  Pets are allowed on leashes.  Picnic tables and pit toilets are available.  We hiked just under 4 miles between the two trails.   The spring flowers are just starting to bloom and this would make a fantastic fall destination.

 

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