Elkhart County High Point Trip Report

Buzzard Hill (1,040+ ft)

Date: March 31, 2002
Author: Bob Schwab

This county highpoint is one of the few in northern Indiana which is named and prominent. Unfortunately, it is also very hard to gain access, and I would be happy to advise you on how to avoid getting arrested if you strongly desire to visit this site. Several neighbors have told stories about the "lady who guards the property" which reminds me of the Rhode Island access problems of years past. The hill is a former gravel operation which was converted to a ski area (Mt. Wawasee), and has subsequently fallen into disrepair. The owner is absentee, but a small white bungalow sits north of the hill and is rented by a lady who desires to protect her privacy. On five previous attempts, I have not found anyone at her home except a very lively dog (posted signs say "No Trespassing" and "Beware of Dog"). I've left notes on my business cards for her, but have never received a reply. On my latest attempt, I talked with a sympathetic neighbor who wouldn't give permission, but did say that she would probably be gone for the day.

The approach from the north goes across a wide flat area and then ascends a field that is just starting to become brushy in places. Basically, you aim for the concrete pillar and the highest lift towers at the top of the hill. The top of the hill has been altered and flattened. I'm not sure whether they added something to the original terrain or whether this rise was made by aggressively mining gravel around it, but whatever they did, it happened many years ago because there are large trees growing on the south side of the hill today. The hill drops off steeply in all directions (rare in Indiana), which lends further evidence that the hill has undergone some major rearrangement in the last 40 years. The highest spot (1040+ feet) appears to be near the remnants of an old warming hut on the eastern side of the hill. The view from the top is quite pleasant, but I didn't linger. I did leave another note in her door, hoping that perhaps she will contact me so I can learn more about the history of this hill.

If you'd like to try your luck on this one, drive east on US 6 from the intersection of Indiana Route 15 and US 6 for about 0.15 mile and turn left on County 23. Drive north on County 23 for 1.25 miles to County 50 and turn right (east). In just over 1.1 miles, you will see the white bungalow on your right, complete with posted gate, unfriendly dog, and a weird mailbox. Buzzard Hill and the ski area are in plain sight to the south.