Hendricks County is filled with great parks. There are small parks that offer new playgrounds and pickle ball courts like Stevens Park in Brownsburg and large parks that offer a variety of activities and facilities like Washington Township Park in Avon.
There are also a handful of nature preserves where visitors can explore and nature can have a space to call home. On the south side of the county, Sodalis Nature Park offers just that -- trails, fishing, picnic area and nature conservation.
Let's go on a quick tour of this wonderful park that some of our locals may not even know about.
The Indiana Bat
It's located just south in Plainfield and offers a quiet escape from the city. Hendricks County Parks developed the nature park in 2010 as a way to help build habitats for the Indiana bat which is on both the state and federal endangered species list.
The town of Plainfield acquired the park in 2019 and now manages it and plans to continue the work that had been started as well as to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to continue to conserve the land to help with the wildlife population.
Sodalis Nature Park has a 5.5-acre pond. The pond is a catch and release pond and offers an ADA accessible fishing pier.
When I visited this summer, I had our 1-year-old in the stroller while our 3-year-old explored along side of us, and we were able to navigate the pier with ease.
There is a nature lookout stand along the shore not far from the pier that is only accessible by stairs. We were able to see a few fish in the pond and a blue heron.
I think I was more excited about the wildlife than our kids but they were surprised by the sound that the blue heron made as it flew back to the trees.
Picnic Area & Amenities
Sodalis Nature Park offers a large parking lot. There are a few portable restrooms near the parking lot and main entrance to the park.
The path to and around the picnic area is paved and wheelchair accessible. There are multiple picnic table areas with small park grills. There is also one pavilion that can be reserved.
The paved loop that goes around the picnic area is surrounded by woods on one side and the pond on the other side. This was a great place for us to start because it allowed our 3-year-old to use the map she picked up at the entrance. It gave us an opportunity to see some wildlife too.
We did see a few visitors with their dogs as well as a few runners utilizing the space, too. Sodalis Nature Park was also a part of the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County Summer Fun Run 2022.
While the fishing pier and picnic area are ADA accessible, the nature trails do not offer the same easy access. There were three small steps down after a small bridge to get to the main trail path. From there, multiple trails extend and take you around and through the nearby wooded area.
The trails were well maintained, well marked and cleared, but with any trails be aware of bugs and ticks.
There are a variety of trail lengths, and there is a trail map provided at the park entrance. The trail offers nature educational signs along the way which offer a great opportunity to learn about the conservation work.
We stuck with the Beaver Ridge Trail, which is actually one of the Top 10 Most Popular Trails in Hendricks County. It was relatively short and lopped around so you could see the pond peeking out from the trees, and it was a hike our stroller and 3-year-old could complete with confidence!
She enjoyed the short hike but was disappointed that we didn't see any beavers along the "Beaver Ridge" trail. Maybe we'll see one next time!