Indiana Hikes: Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

My new favorite hiking spot in Indiana can be owed to ice cream.

The other day, my friend posted an article on an ice cream trail in southern Indiana and jokingly proposed a Girl Scout trip.  Picturing some severely sugared-up children, I wondered (via Google) if there was any place we could at least loop in some hiking or running around.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Just a few miles from stop #4 (Kovener’s Korner in Seymour, Indiana, if you’re counting), a national wildlife refuge sits just minutes from Interstate 65.

For more than 50 years, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in southern Indiana has provided resting and feeding areas for waterfowl during their annual migrations. More than 280 species of birds have been seen this southern Indiana wildlife refuge.
My Girl Scout is currently into learning about birds, so we thought this would be a great way to explore a new part of our state while encouraging her interest.

We timed our trip to attend the Wings Over Muscatatuck Migratory Bird Festival in early May. The kids spent the morning doing nature and art activities like building bird feeders, playing games and learning about how we can help pollinators before we hit the trails.

There are paved and natural hiking trails at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in south central Indiana.Muscatatuck wildlife refuge offers easy hiking on a number of terrains. There are some paved, accessible trails next to the visitor’s center that won’t disappoint. Several other trails are within a short driving distance along gravel roads and bridges. Even during their major festival, I think we may have seen two hiking groups total along the trails we visited.

The kids really enjoyed exploring along the trails, whether it was spotting geese or a cardinal or finding frogs hopping into mud puddles.  And they will probably never let me forget about the fact I nearly stepped on a garden snake along the trail!

If your Cadette is working on her Outdoor Art Apprentice badge, nature photography is a component. Keep in mind that inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras or cell phones will probably not be adequate for shooting photos of wildlife from a distance (I think I had one successful photo all day; time to get my camera fixed!).

However, you can get pictures up close of some amazing natural treasures along your path.

Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana: Great hiking trails and bird watching opportunities

It is free to visit Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, but I encourage you to pick up a patch at the visitors’ center. It’s $5, and proceeds help support the programs at the refuge.

mustatuck-national-wildlife-refuge-indiana-patch

And yes, if you’re wondering, we did stop at Kovener’s Korner on the way home to celebrate the seven miles we hiked. I recommend the Jack & Jill. 🙂

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