On a warm January afternoon, we visited the Yellow Birch Ravine, near Taswell, Indiana. This area is a 441 acre nature preserve that contains many deep valleys and steep rocky cliffs. The combination of tall cliffs and narrow valleys, at times, creates a microclimate more like you might find in the Appalachian Mountains. Hemlock trees and even a small cliff side patch of mountain laurels can be found on the slopes in this area.
On the side opposite of the parking area is a trail that will lead to the main attraction of Yellow Birch Ravine, the arch. This trail is very well worn and easy to follow. About 3 tenths of a mile down the main trail is a faint trail following a small creek, this will lead to a hemlock lined valley that ends in tall cliffs and two seasonal waterfalls. The main trail will continue past this and wrap around a ridge eventually leading to an arch.
The arch is not visible at first, but continue up the valley, walking in the creek at times. If you are willing to do a little rock scrambling you can easily get in behind the arch. When we visited water flowed from the cliffs above on to the arch making for the most unique water fall we have seen in the Midwest.
Overall, this hike makes for a great day hike with lots to see in every valley. It is a high interest hike that is good for kids as well. Winter offers the best opportunities to appreciate the cliff walls and to scope out each and every crevice, waterfall, or arch.
Finally, if your in the area you might want to check out Hemlock Cliffs, it is not too far away and has a similar hike.
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