Explore Big Walnut Nature Preserve

A sea of bluebells covers the ground in a gorgeous display of nature.

If you’re visiting Putnam County, there’s plenty for you to do both indoor and out. In this post, we’ll be spotlighting one of our best outdoor features, the Big Walnut Natural Area, so if you’re looking for the perfect place to spend your day outside, look no further! In this post, we’re zeroing in on just one of the many truly unique natural areas in our county, but if you’d like a list of more, take a look here!

Visit Big Walnut Nature Preserve page

Explore Big Walnut Nature Preserve - Stairs

Encompassing several thousand acres, Big Walnut Natural Area is the perfect playground for those who want nothing more than the perfect place to hike. The area itself is actually broken up into several different sections, all located in different areas of the same preserve. Hall Woods and Fortune Woods, the two sections we’re focusing on here, are a great starting point and make for a perfect day spent in the woods. Both areas contain “lollipop” trails, and can easily be explored in the same day, as the trailheads are just a few minutes’ drive apart. 

Explore Big Walnut Nature Preserve - Flowers

While both are located just outside of Bainbridge, Hall Woods is just south of US 36. Upon arrival, you’ll see a small parking area, ensuring the trail won’t be crowded. The trail itself consists of large, mature trees and a few pleasant surprises. As you walk, you’ll pass a neat and well-maintained little cabin, which sits open to explorers. Eventually, you’ll make your way down a sturdy wooden staircase, which, depending on the time of year, may lead to a magnificent floor of abundant, bright flowers. Enjoy the scenery as you walk along the creek bank and listen to the water flow right past you! On your way back, you’ll be taken up another staircase and will get to enjoy even more large trees and ravines. We like to think of this trail as a little hidden gem, so you’re welcome for sharing!

Explore Big Walnut Nature Preserve - Trail

Fortune Woods, another “lollipop” trail, is just north of US 36, and is another area that guarantees you great scenery and a relaxing walk along Big Walnut Creek, one of the highest quality streams in the state. The trail is nearly 2 miles long and winds through very large maple, beech, and oak trees, and offers views of the water from way above in the beginning, and eventually leading you down right alongside the creek itself. At some points, the trails cross several smaller streams, and again, depending on the time of year, be sure to look out for abundant wildflowers and wildlife. Once again, as you make your way back you will be surrounded by towering trees and ravines. Okay, so we have two hidden gems, and they both only make up a small section of Big Walnut Natural Area, so imagine how much more exploring there is for you to do!

Explore Big Walnut Nature Preserve - Creek

We know you don’t need any more convincing, but the trails are both located within miles of three of our nine historic covered bridges and are very close to Downtown Bainbridge and Roachdale, which both have some great options for dining after you’ve worked up an appetite out there. We hope this guide to Big Walnut Natural Area gets you out here, so we can show you what else there is to explore here in Putnam County!


View All Nature Preserves in Putnam County