Fern Cliff Nature Preserve

Fern Cliff Nature Preserve is in Greencastle, Indiana.  It was established as a nature preserve in 1988 and is currently owned by the Nature Conservancy.  The trail itself is 1.5 miles and goes across steep sandstone cliffs down into a ravine.  In the northern part of the preserve is a sandstone quarry where sand was extracted and used to make glass for Coca-Cola bottles.  You can see the foundations of the buildings that used to be there, which are now starting to be filled in by moss.  The green color, by the way, comes from the copper and other minerals found in the sand used to make the glass.  The Root Glass Company of Terre Haute won a design competition held by Coca-Cola in 1913 that produced the iconic hourglass shaped bottle.  You can read more about the history here.

Topo map of the preserve
Down in the ravine

The cliffs are covered with ferns.  We’ll have to come back in the spring when everything is green.

  • Parking: Small lot at trail head
  • Trail: Moderate, runs along steep cliffs, use caution when ascending and descending
  • Solitude rating: High, at least this time of year!

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