Ours to enjoy
Preserves, parks and trails to make you happy, healthy
Fort Wayne’s rivers, parks, trails and nature preserves make it a very outdoorsy city. We hike, we canoe, we bike, we camp and we participate in bird, butterfly and amphibian counts. We maintain life lists of birds and wildflowers, and we know a little jaunt along the nearest section of the Rivergreenway is great after-work relaxation. The outdoors is ours to enjoy in and around Fort Wayne. Here are some possibilities for you to explore.
Some city and county parks have dedicated nature preserves within them. ACRES Land Trust Inc., which has been protecting natural areas for more than 50 years and protects more than 5,000 acres of natural areas, offers public access to several of its Allen County nature preserves. Call ACRES at (260) 637-2273 for a preserve guide or go online to www.acreslandtrust.org to get the guide’s information and maps and learn about ACRES’ membership-supported preserves and activities all across Northeast Indiana. Additional preserves, including the largest one in the county, are managed by the Little River Wetlands Project. Learn more about Little River memberships, preserves and programs at (260)
478-2515 or online at www.lrwp.org.
Arrowhead Preserves: Across from each other on Aboite Road. Arrowhead Marsh is 97 acres, while Arrowhead Prairie is 158 acres.
Bicentennial Woods Nature Preserve: South side of Shoaff Road, west of Coldwater Road. 80 acres.
Dustin Preserve: South side of Chapman Road. Site of ACRES Land Trust office. 71.8 acres.
Eagle Marsh: South side of Engle Road east of Jefferson Boulevard. Features: Largest preserve in Allen County and the third-largest wetland restoration in Indiana. Eagle Marsh creates habitat for birds and other wildlife, including many that are endangered, threatened or of special concern in Indiana. 716 acres.
Fogwell Forest Nature Preserve: End of Whippoorwill Drive. 61.3 acres.
Foxfire Woods Nature Preserve: East side of Hull Road, north of Hollopeter Road. 7.9 acres.
Herman F. Hammer Wald Nature Preserve:
West side of Rupert Road, north of Hurshtown Road. 70 acres.
Little Cedar Creek Wildlife Sanctuary/Nature Preserve: End of Sunlight Lane south of Fitch Road. 19 acres.
Little Wabash River Nature Preserve: North side of Ernst Road east of Aboite Road. Closed each winter from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31 due to permitted hunting. 24.3 acres.
Maumee River Overlook: North side of U.S. 24 about seven miles east of Sampson Road. 0.9 acres.
McNabb-Walter Nature Preserve: South side of Davis Road east of Cuba Road. 192.2 acres.
Mengerson Nature Preserve: North side of Stellhorn Road, just west of Northwood Plaza. 36.2 acres.
Vandolah Nature Preserve: West side of Tother Road, south of Vandolah Road. 47 acres.
Both Fort Wayne and Allen County have impressive park systems offering many programs and activities to residents. Visit the city parks website at www.fortwayneparks.org. Visit the county parks website at allencountyparks.org.
Bob Arnold Northside Park: East State Boulevard at Parnell Avenue. 37.5 acres with ball diamonds, basketball, football/rugby, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball.
Buckner Park: 6114 Bass Road. 197.8 acres including
a trail, playgrounds, sprayground, restrooms and a modern shelter.
Foster Park: 3900 Old Mill Road. 254.9 acres along the St. Marys River with ball diamonds, fishing, fitness trail, floral displays, golf course, hiking trails, natural open space, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, Rivergreenway, tennis courts, volleyball, Foster Gardens, Bridal Glen, Lincoln log cabin replica. In Foster West on Winchester Road, just south of Bluffton Road, are ball diamonds, Pawster Park off-leash dog park, restrooms, Rivergreenway, soccer.
Fox Island Park: 7324 Yohne Road. 605 acres with the largest contiguous forest in Allen County, 270 acres protected as part of Indiana State Nature Preserve System, Nature Center, bird watching, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, picnicking, swimming, wildflower hikes. (260) 449-3180. www.foxislandalliance.org.
Franke Park: 3411 Sherman Blvd. 316.4 acres along Spy Run Creek with fishing, natural open space, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, trails/paths, sledding. Home of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Shoaff Lake, Franke Park Day Camp and Foellinger Outdoor Theater.
Freimann Square: 200 E. Main St. 4.6 acres downtown with benches, green space, floral display, fountain. Ongoing refreshment of the park continues this year. Look for Mad Anthony’s statue.
Guildin Park: Van Buren Street at Michaels Ave. 8.2 acres with a public boat ramp on the St. Marys River just six city blocks from the confluence.
Hamilton Park: Spring Street at Cherokee Road. 16.5 acres with ball diamonds, basketball, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, tennis courts, walking path.
Headwaters Park: Clinton Street south of St. Marys River. 30 acres with pavilion, fountains, ice rink, walking paths and a festival nearly every weekend all summer. Managed by Headwaters Park Alliance.
Hurshtown Reservoir: 16000 Roth Road, Grabill. 360 acres with boating/sailing, fishing, picnicking. Owned by City Board of Public Works for storage of drinking water. Program operated by parks department.
Indian Trails Park: 10313 Aboite Center Road at Homestead Road. A former 80-acre farm now bustles with people enjoying youth sports, trails, a summer concert series and a great playground.
Johnny Appleseed Park: Parnell Avenue behind Memorial Coliseum. 31 acres with ball diamonds, basketball, boating/sailing, camping, fishing, picnicking, playground, restrooms, Rivergreenway, volleyball, boat ramp, campground, Vietnam War Memorial. Location of Johnny Appleseed’s grave as recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Home of the Johnny Appleseed Festival.
Kreager Park: North River Road, east of Maysville Road and west of Landin Road. 172.6 acres with
lighted ball diamonds, accessible playground, soccer fields, tennis courts, natural open spaces and Rivergreenway loop and access.
Lakeside Park: 1401 Lake Ave. 23.8 acres with basketball, fishing, floral display, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, Rivergreenway, tennis courts, rose gardens, lakes.
Lawton Park: 1900 N. Clinton St. 39.3 acres
with ball diamonds, fishing, floral display, football/
rugby, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, Rivergreenway, skateboard park and Kids Crossing playground.
Lindenwood Nature Preserve: 600 Lindenwood Ave. 110 acres of environmental study area, nature trails.
McMillen Park: 3900 Hessen Cassel Road. 168.2 acres with Lifetime Sports Academy, ball diamonds, basketball, football/rugby, golf course with driving range, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, soccer, swimming pool, tennis courts, plus the McMillen Community Center with indoor playground and multi-purpose center.
Memorial Park: 2301 Maumee Ave. 42 acres with ball diamonds, basketball, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, swimming pool, spray park.
Metea Park: 12621 Leo Road. 250 acres with full-service Nature Center, pavilion and open areas for activities, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, picnicking, restrooms, sledding, swimming. Borders on Cedar Creek, a state-designated scenic river. Hillside prairie area is a state-designated nature preserve.
Salomon Farm: 817 W. Dupont Road. 170 acres
with fishing, natural open space, trails/paths, seasonal farmer’s market.
Shoaff Park: 6401 St. Joe Rd. 184.5 acres along the St. Joseph River with ball diamonds, basketball, boating/sailing, fishing, golf course, pavilion/shelter, picnicking, playground, restrooms, soccer, tennis courts, trails/paths, boat ramp, disc golf course.
Swinney Park West: 1600 W. Jefferson Blvd. 48.2 acres along the St. Marys River with gazebo, ball diamonds, disc golf course, fishing, floral display, natural open space, picnicking, playground, restrooms, Rivergreenway, swimming pool, Jaenicke Gardens, Bicentennial Oak.
Tillman Park: 600 Tillman Road. 70 acres with ball diamonds, natural open space, picnicking, playground, restrooms, Rivergreenway, soccer, tennis courts, trails/paths and the Stewart McMillen Tennis Center.
Fort Wayne Trails is the community non-profit that spearheads trail development here. We’re at 81 miles of trails and still growing! Learn more at fwtrails.org, where the vision is explained and maps are available. Fort Wayne’s original trail, the beloved Rivergreenway, is a 24-mile-long “linear park” along the city’s three rivers, linking park to park and outlying areas to downtown. It is paved and accommodates walkers, runners, cyclists and rollerskaters. All the rest of the trails build on it and elaborate on that original great idea. The trails website also explains how you can volunteer, participate in trails events and otherwise support the cause. Our trails are a public-private partnership at its best!