Bayless Dune Nature Preserve
John Merle Coulter

This state-dedicated nature preserve features a complex of sand prairie, oak savanna, and wetlands. More than 400 species of plants have been identified, many of them state-listed. Prickly pear cactus produces its showy yellow blossoms in early summer. An outstanding display of prairie wildflowers attracts a variety of butterflies in late summer. Coulter is a good place to find blue racers, hognose snakes, and six-lined racerunner lizards.

The Yellow Birch Fen section of Coulter Preserve comes alive in the early spring. Skunk cabbage emerges from the mud to unfurl its large glossy leaves and showy ferns develop from delicate fiddleheads. Marsh marigold, Canada Mayflower, May apple, wild columbine, wild geranium, starflower, and many other lovely wildflowers follow in short order.

Preserve Size

Preserve Size 94 Acres

Preserve Open to the Public

Open to the Public

Trail Length

Trail Length 0.80 Miles

Preserve Terrain

Terrain Flat, Wet, Dunes


Activities Wildflowers


Activities Birding


Activities Butterflies

Visit the Preserve

John Merle Coulter Nature Preserve is located on the northwest side of Portage, between US 12 and US 20 on County Line Road.

A gravel parking lot is located on the east side of County Line Road, just south of the Monosol plant. A loop trail traverses the property.

John Merle Coulter Nature Preserve

With Thanks

to Our Generous Acquisition and Restoration Partners

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National Park Service
Great Lakes Restoration
Indiana Heritage Trust
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Nature Preserves
State of Indiana
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The Nature Conservancy
Sustain Our Great Lakes
Save the Dunes
Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
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