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U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


barrens plant community. A barrens plant community.

yellow swallowtail butterfly upon a blazing star. Yellow swallowtail butterfly upon a blazing star.

Mogan Ridge. Mogan Ridge.

Clover Lick Special Area

Forest: Hoosier National Forest

District: Tell City Ranger District

Description: The Hoosier National Forest is fortunate to contain barrens plant communities, which offer a mid-summer wildflower-viewing site in contrast to the floral bloom of spring ephemerals. This rare natural community offers the forest visitor the opportunity to see a spectacular display of wildflowers and grasses more often seen in a prairie setting. One of the best areas for observing limestone barrens and adjacent dry forest communities is within the Clover Lick Special Area located on the southern portion of the Tell City Ranger District near the Ohio River. The area contains a variety of habitat from mesic forests and ponds to more open communities of dry forest and fields. The most significant and noteworthy feature in the area are the remnant barrens communities. Barrens occur primarily on rocky, steep slopes on southern and western aspects. Stunted trees of post oak and blackjack oak typically dominate barrens with an exceptional diversity of prairie forbs often found in adjacent small openings. Mid-summer to early fall provide the best opportunity to view these showy wildflowers. Due to the diversity of plants a broad variety of grassland insects, including many moths, butterflies, and skippers also inhabit these barrens areas.

Viewing Information: Some of the more abundant barrens plants include blazing stars, rattlesnake master, prairie dock, rosinweeds, stiff goldenrod, obedient plant, foxgloves, and various coneflower species, along with grasses such as little bluestem and Indian grass. Common mammals include white-tailed deer, turkey, and fox squirrels. Birds most often seen are prairie warbler, northern cardinal, Carolina chickadee, blue jay, eastern bluebird, and summer tanager. Butterflies observed in barrens or the surrounding openings include giant, zebra, and tiger swallowtails. Other butterflies commonly seen are question mark, red admiral, and painted lady. Skipper species include sachem, hoary edge, fiery skipper, northern cloudy wing, and several duskywing species.

Safety First: Much of the trail system is relatively flat, but some sections are steep or occur along ridgelines. Beware of slippery rocks when crossing creeks. We recommend that visitors stay on the trails. If proceeding off trail, please use caution on steep slopes and near rocky outcroppings. Always carry a snack, insect repellant, water and a light raincoat, and wear (comfortable) hiking boots when hiking.

Directions: From I-64, take IN 37 exit south toward Tell City (Exit 79). Go south on IN Highway 37 about 18 miles to IN 70. Go east on IN 70 to IN 66 at Derby, IN. Proceed north 1 mile and turn left on a gravel road just before crossing Oil Creek. The Mogan Ridge East trailhead is about mile down the gravel road. Continue west for 0.3 miles until reaching a loop trail covering approximately 5.5 miles where hikers can observe barrens wildflowers at several locations. Another trail leads visitors north of Lick Creek to a large field with an impressive display of blazing stars and other prairies wildflowers.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Hoosier National Forest, Tell City Ranger District. For more information, contact the Tell City Ranger District at (812) 547-7051 or the Forest Headquarters Office at (812) 275-5987.

Closest Town: Derby, Indiana.