JUNCTION/STEEL EARTHWORKS TRAIL MAP
Dogs permitted on leash only.
Be sure to review hiking regulations before visiting. Click here to view visitor regulations.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT NO ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGGING, DISTURBING OR COLLECTING IS PERMITTED on this important archaeological site. You will be entering a highly protected nature preserve. Regulations include staying on the trail at all times, and not collecting nor disturbing any plants, wildflowers, animals or minerals. Please help us keep the preserve a true Sanctuary for our native plants and animals, as well as for future visitors.
Earthworks Trail: 0.5 mile loop, easy The Earthworks Trail begins at the Trailhead Parking Lot and takes visitors on a tour through the field containing the 9 earthworks composing Junction. Through most of the year, the earthwork features are selectively mowed in order to reveal their 2000 year old locations to our modern eyes. Occasionally, even the earthwork walls need to be mowed to maintain their grassland components and to keep out invasive plants. Consequently, although the earthwork locations are not visible every single day, they are visible the majority of the year.
Tippecanoe Darter Trail: 1.7 mile loop, easy-moderate but long; level The Tippecanoe Darter Trail originates from the Earthworks Trail, and transverses a 70 acre restored grassland prairie on what was not so long ago a crop field covered with soybeans and corn. Rare grassland birds have already established themselves in the prairie. We encourage you to bring your binoculars and keep your ears alert for their songs. Look for such signature birds as Dickcissels, Grasshopper Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, and Yellowthroats; as well as native bumblebees. After traversing prairie, the trail crosses through a narrow easement, descends over an ancient steep river terrace, and ent ers the floodplain woods. This riverine forest is rich in Silver Maple, Cottonwood and Black Walnut; and is filled with orioles, vireos, tanagers, and warblers. Two trail spurs lead to Paint Creek, providing scenic river vistas along two cobblestone “beaches.”
Star Brook Trail: 1.2 mile loop, Easy-moderate, one ascent Star Brook Trail leads into the bluff forests lying abov e Junction’s earthwor ks and prairie. When Junction was purchased in 2014, the forest was completely inundated with invasive shrubs and flowers which had nearly displaced the native flowers and shrubs. Especially dense were bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose, so much so that seeing into the forest mor e than a fe w feet in front of one’s fac e was simply not possible. The Arc of Appalachia has been working since 2015 with volunteers to remove the non-native vegetation and begin restoring the woodlands to a semblance of its original botanical composition. Thousands of man and woman hours have gone into this effort. Please enjoy the result! Common trees in the bluff forest include Shagbark Hickory, White Oak, Red Oak, and Hackberry.
Steel Earthworks Trail: easy-moderate but long Please note, there are no signs up yet for the prairie loop and connector trail, but they are accessible. The connector trail originates off of Plyleys Lane and takes you one mile down an mowed corridor to the Steel Earthworks Prairie trail. From the Junction Earthworks parking lot, walk down the road to the left. Please be cautions while walking the road! At the stop sign, stay straight onto Plyleys Ln. Do not turn right, which is also Plyleys, and do not turn left, as that is a private drive. Just before you reach the corn field on the right, there is an opening in the brush on the right with a silver gate and the mowed corridor. Go around the gate, and walk the mile long railroad corridor until you get to the opening and trail into the stunning views of the Steel Earthworks Prairie. The trail goes out to the circle mound, then loops out through the prairie, has a spur to the river, and loops back to where you started. Feel free to bike out the corridor, but please do not bike through the prairie and Earthworks.