Mettler Woods Nature Preserve

Step into a shaded piece of Illinois’ past. Located just west of Clinton, in DeWitt County, this 87.14-acre upland forest remnant was dedicated as a Nature Preserve in 2004 and donated to the Land Conservation Foundation by The Nature Conservancy in 2005.

Mettler Woods plants

Hiking trail: Level 0.6-mile loop
Open sunrise to sunset, year-round

A 0.6-mile-long trail takes you into an oasis of native life, from woodpeckers darting through tall white oaks to hummingbirds feasting in a thigh-high patch of jewelweed. See more photos of Mettler’s plants, animals, and insects in our Facebook photo album.

Rustic benches along the trail were constructed from downed timber. The path crosses a narrow, shallow creek. Water from Mettler Woods flows south into Ten Mile Creek, feeding the Salt Creek Natural Area, which is recognized for its rich diversity of freshwater mussels.

Map of Mettler Woods

DIRECTIONS: Please read our safety information before visiting. From Clinton, Illinois, take IL-10 west. Go 3.4 miles from the US-51 junction and turn left (south) on N 5000 E Rd (also called N 500 E or Green Valley Rd). In approximately 1/4 mile, Mettler Woods will be on your right (west side of road). Off-road parking was developed and donated by Champaign Asphalt.

Click for a print-friendly trail map and directions.

History & Management of Mettler Woods

Mettler Woods was included on the original Illinois Natural Areas Inventory in 1976, consisting then of a 44-acre grade B dry-mesic forest and 21 acres of mature second-growth timber. Seventy-one acres were designated an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark in 1999.

A tornado in the spring of 2003 damaged many of the site’s most desirable trees, especially in the southwest quadrant. That part of the site is now more open and savanna-like. The trail is in the area least affected by this natural disturbance.

LCF plans to preserve this pocket of woodland forever and restore farmed portions to forest. Maintainance will include removing invasive species and monitoring conditions sitewide. Prescribed fire would normally be part of maintaining the health of a forest like this, imitating the once-common prairie fires. However, the fallen trees in the tornado-impacted part of the site could make the fire too intense. That area will be left to natural processes for now.