METTLER WOODS NATURE PRESERVE

This Nature Preserve is a valuable remnant of the woods that once covered a large part of Illinois.

 

A level trail takes you into an oasis of native life. Woodpeckers dart through tall white oak trees, while hummingbirds feast on colorful jewelweed.

 

The trail crosses a creek that feeds into the Salt Creek Natural Area, an area recognized for its rich diversity of freshwater mussels. Preserving Mettler Woods helps ensure that clean water flows downstream, benefiting the mussels and other wildlife there.

Pileated woodpecker on oak tree at LCF Mettler Woods
LCF Mettler Woods Nature Preserve from the north
Pearl crescent butterflies at LCF Mettler Woods Nature Preserve
Hiking trail at LCF Mettler Woods Nature Preserve

HIKING

Level, 0.6-mile loop trail

Open sunrise to sunset, year-round

LOCATION

87.14 acres

5991 500 (5000) E, Clinton, IL 61727

DeWitt County, Illinois

DIRECTIONS

From Champaign-Urbana, take I-72 west.

Take exit 172 onto IL-10, toward Clinton.

Pass through Clinton, then turn left on Green Valley Rd (500 or 5000 East Rd).

In ¼ mile, Mettler Woods is on your right.

History & Significance

The value of Mettler Woods was first officially recognized in 1976 with its inclusion on the original Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. Seventy-one acres are registered as a Nature Preserve; those acres were made an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark in 1999.

 

The site was donated to LCF by The Nature Conservancy in 2005. It features 44 acres of grade B dry-mesic forest and 21 acres of mature second-growth timber. In addition to preserving these woods, LCF has reforested 13 acres of the site that were formerly farmland.

A 2003 tornado damaged many desirable trees, making the southwest part of the site more open and savanna-like. Prescribed fire would normally be part of maintaining the health of a forest like this, but fallen trees in the tornado-impacted area could make a fire too intense. This area will be left to natural processes for now. It is not included on the trail.

 

Mettler’s parking area was developed and donated by Champaign Asphalt.

Support LCF's work to save wild places like Mettler Woods.