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Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve
Now that winter is finally loosening its grip on Indiana, it is only natural for Northside residents to want to get outdoors. All Greater Indianapolis residents yearning for some time outdoors will particularly enjoy Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, a secluded park in Fishers. It is a tremendous area for hiking and picnicking.
In total, Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is about 127 acres in size. 42 of these 127 acres are protected by the State of Indiana. These 42 acres are one of just two Indiana Department of Natural Resources protected nature areas in all of Hamilton County. The remaining 85 acres of land in Ritchey Woods are unprotected swamplands, prairies, and wetlands. While unprotected, they are still somewhat safeguarded as conservation areas. Cheeney Creek and Hare Creek both run through the DNR-protected portion of Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve.
Facilities and Amenities
There are a number of great amenities and facilities available to Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve guests. At the center of the park, there is a shelter house that is 1,288 square feet in size. While the park does take pride in its seclusion, it is still equipped with state-of-the-art bathrooms with composting equipment. Elsewhere, the Osborn Family Pioneer Graveyard is one of the more unique places in the entire park. It is located in the DNR-protected section of the park, and it is easily accessible from the Creek Ridge Trail. There is also an observation platform near the preserve’s wetlands. Visitors can easily reach it by using the Hickory Trail.
Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is great for hiking. In total, there are about 2.25 miles of hiking trails in the park. Hikers must stay on park-designated trails. Also, only hiking is allowed on park trails. Bicycling is not permitted in the park. However, visitors are welcome to bike to the park and leave their bicycles at Ritchey Woods’ bike rack. The Creek Ridge Trail is perhaps the highlight of the entire park. Hikers on this trail will get a good view of Cheeney Creek, which snakes along the northern part of the preserve.
Location, Hours and Special Rules
Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is located in the southwest corner of the intersection of Hague Road and 106th Street. The entrance to the park is located off of Hague Road just south of 106th Street. There is no entrance fee to the park, but visitors must adhere to park hours. The park opens at dawn and closes promptly at dusk. Visitors to the park are forbidden from removing any plant or animals from the park and feeding park animals. Dogs are allowed in Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, but they must always remain on a leash. Additionally, owners must pick up after their dogs.