About this Event
3333 State Road 60 East, Mitchell, IN 47446
Join the Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves for a free guided hike at Donaldson Cave Nature Preserve, Spring Mill State Park.
Take S.R. 37 to Mitchell. Go east on S.R. 60 about 2.75 miles to the Spring Mill State Park entrance, which will be on the left. These preserves are located in this state park and are marked on the park map available at the gatehouse or park office. Several trails run through the preserves. Trail 4 leads to Donaldson Cave; Trail 3 passes through Donaldson’s Woods. Please stay on trails. There is a naturalist in the park year-round.
Trail 4 leads to Donaldson Cave; trail 3 passes through three dedicated nature preserves: Donaldson Cave, Donaldson's Woods, and Mitchell Karst Plains Nature Preserve. This hike meets in the Donaldson Cave Parking Lot which, after taking your first left past the gatehouse, will be on the right side of the road, past the manager's house and service area.
Donaldson Cave Nature Preserve surrounds the cave mouth. This is one of the most picturesque scenes in the state. Stream water flows from the cave and winds along the gorge bottom. The slopes of this gorge support forest types typical of the southern Indiana hill country. White oak, black oak, and pignut hickory occupy higher, drier portions of the slope. Lower, more shaded slopes are covered by beech-maple forest. A few plants can grow on the steep dry slope directly above the cave mouth, which is accessed by the trail. Many of the plants that do survive are more commonly found in prairies. These include shooting star, bird’s-foot violet, hoary puccoon, blue-eyed grass, prairie dock, and New Jersey tea.