Steuben County High Point Trip Report

three small areas (two in a gravel pit), all in SW 1/4 of section 1-37N-13E (1,200+ ft)

Date: April 29, 2001
Author: Bob Schwab

From the town of Fremont, go southwest on Indiana 827. After you pass under the Indiana Toll Road bridge, proceed 2 miles to an intersection with 300N Road. Turn right (west) and continue 0.9 mile to the gated entrance of an access road to a large gravel pit. This access road is on the east side of the pit and heads north. From this vantage point, you can clearly see what is left of the two areas located in the gravel pit. A quick check with my hand level indicated that these gravel piles were lower than the road on which I was standing. In other words, I think we have lost two of the three natural high points in this county!

When I first scouted this site in early April, I realized that my topo map didn't agree with what I was seeing in the gravel pit, so I checked with David Olson, who claims the first ascent for this site. He recalled visiting all three areas, so I assume that the bulldozers have been busy peeling back and whittling down these spots in the intervening years. I don't recommend that future visitors attempt to enter the gravel operation, just check it out with your hand level and decide for yourself.

The third (and now only) natural high point in the county is located in the woods behind this gravel pit. If you choose to approach from the south, you can park at the entrance to the access road mentioned above and hike 0.3 mile past the gravel pit to the end of the road near several large piles of bitumen-laced gravel. Work your way around, over or through these piles and through the briars and brush beyond. Continue north into the woods and watch for a trail that runs west to east. Follow the trail east until it suddenly turns north. Follow it north up a gentle hill to the high spot which is just east of the trail.

An alternate approach to this site can be made from the north. From the gravel pit, go west on 300N Road to Indiana Route 127. Turn right (north) and go one mile to 400N Road. Turn right (east) and go about 2/3 mile to the entrance of a housing development called Tamarack Trails. Turn right and immediately turn right again. Drive all the way to the end of the road, passing a radio tower on your left. When you are within sight of the last house at the end of the paved road, find the gravel drive that breaks off to the left. Drive up this road and park near a garage that the Steuben County Sheriff's Department owns. Hike around the garage to the left and you will find a sign at the edge of the woods that gives permission to walk in the woods unless target practice is being held. Hike south on the trail and turn right (west) at the first junction. Almost immediately there is a second junction at which you should bear left (south). A short stroll on this trail will bring you to the natural high spot (1200+ ft) on the edge of the trail.

The large man-made toboggan hill adjacent to the Sheriff's Department garage appears to be much higher (maybe 20-30 feet) than the natural high point. I was surprised that the topo maps do not show this feature, yet it is obvious that the hill has been there for a long time. If you want to stand on the highest soil in Steuben County, you'll also make an effort to sprint up this nice man-made feature.