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Portland Arch Nature Preserve

Portland Arch is a 436-acre nature preserve in Fountain County.  The preserve protects the rocky cliffs and ravines formed by Bear Creek, a tributary of Wabash River.  A small tributary of Bear Creek eroded a hole in the sandstone cliffs, forming an arch.  Portland Arch is one of the only natural arches in the state of Indiana.  The land was once a Boy Scout Camp and then purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1966.  It was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1972.  An additional tract was added - the Miller-Campbell Memorial Tract - dedicated to Samuel Miller and Ronald Campbell who were dedicated to the protection of Portland Arch.  Two trails wind through the preserve, passing the arch and following Bear Creek through the canyon.  There are two parking areas along Scout Camp Road to access the preserve.

Directions:

From Attica, head south on US-41 for about 5 miles and turn right on County Road 650 N, which is gravel.  Go 4.8 miles to the town of Fountain and turn left on Walnut Street then left on Clay Street.  This becomes Scout Camp Road; the north trailhead is just over a quarter-mile from the last turn on the right.  To reach the south trailhead, continue on Scout Camp Road to a sharp left turn.  The south trailhead is on the right shortly after the turn.

Map:

Trails:

North Trail:

North Trail is a 1-mile loop accessed from the north trailhead.  The trail leads under Portland Arch and along the sandstone cliffs on Bear Creek.

South Trail:

South Trail is a 1-mile loop accessed from the south trailhead.  South Trail follows Bear Creek to the confluence with Rattlesnake Creek then loops back to the parking.

Points of Interest:

Dam Ruins:

The ruins of an old dam are near Portland Arch.  The dam was built on Bear Creek and powered lights when it was a scout camp.  All that's left is the concrete structure next to the cliffs.

Portland Arch:

Portland Arch is one of the only natural arches in Indiana.  Water eroded the sandstone cliffs to form this arch.  It's located along the North Trail.

Wildlife:

Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)


Some kind of ragwort that was flowering around the south trailhead parking.

Blog Entries:

24-May-2019: Indiana Waterfalls

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