There are times in life when we need to step outside, get some fresh air, stretch our legs and find some peace and solitude. We have a hidden gem right here in Hendricks County, Indiana, that will help with that: Burnett Woods Nature Preserve in Avon.
Located on County Road 100 South, just east of Dan Jones Road, Burnett Woods is an 80-acre Indiana State Dedicated Nature Preserve that is owned and maintained by the Central Indiana Land Trust. Their purchase of the land was made possible by a gift from Ruth Burnett.
Burnett Woods is chock full of black walnut, oak, hickory, maple and tulip poplar trees, which provide lots of shade in the summer and display rich, beautiful color in the fall. It's also full of native wildflowers and shrubs that provide a different kind of beauty in the spring.
Getting There & Parking
One fine day, my daughters and I ventured into Avon to explore Burnett Woods. We found the best option is to park at the Avon Light and Life Free Methodist Church located at 8264 E. County Road 100 South in Avon. Park behind the church next to the softball diamond and walk in a southeast direction across the grass toward the road. You'll run right into the entrance to Burnett Woods.
What You'll Find
We discovered there are two trails there: A half-mile blue trail and a 1.2-mile red trail. Both trails are loops, so there is only one entrance and exit to the nature preserve.
Before you start hiking, there is a boot brush station asking visitors to wipe their shoes before progressing further into the nature preserve. That seemed like an odd request, since it's an outdoor trail, but a sign at the station explains why it's so important to clean your shoes: it keeps seeds from invasive plants like Japanese Stilt Grass and Garlic Mustard from being introduced to the habitat.
So we dutifully wiped our shoes on the boot brush and headed into the woods.
We opted for the blue trail loop. The trail is well-marked with blue dots painted on a few trees along the way, as well as signage that keeps hikers going in the right direction.
The blue trail is a flat, easy walk filled with brilliant colors of foliage if you visit in the fall. The multiple types of trees provide a wide array of yellows, red and oranges that envelop you as you walk.
As you progress through the woods, the traffic sounds fade away and the peaceful sounds of nature take over. We saw squirrels and chipmunks as we hiked, and we discovered several different animal tracks.
It was a fun walk through the woods, and my daughters enjoyed it, too.
Being familiar with the local terrain, my guess is that the red trail is also flat -- just a longer loop -- so we'll be back to Burnett Woods again to try ir.