Planning a visit in the future? Click to download the Hilltop Farm Nature Preserve Guide
Explore Hilltop’s Nature Trails
The 119-acre Hilltop Farm Nature Preserve has two trails and is open dawn to dusk daily. The preserve is located at 28797 Stout Road, West Harrison IN 47060. Limited parking is available in the small gravel parking lot adjacent to the trailhead.
Upper Loop – This trail meanders through a beautiful woodland featuring native trees such as spicebush, shagbark hickory, white oak and black walnut. Round trip from parking area: 1.3 miles.
Lower Loop – This trail encircles a large meadow. Summer wildflowers offer an important food source and cover for songbirds, and pollinators including hummingbirds, butterflies, and other native insects. Round trip from parking area: 1.6 miles.
A History of Loving the Land
William J. Doud Jr (Uncle Bill) and Mary T. Doud (Tee Tee) purchased Hilltop Farm on April 1, 1946. From that time forward, an endless stream of family visitors were welcomed, to the point that Tee Tee called their home “The Grand Hotel.”
Imagine the excitement of children who lived in small towns or suburbs as their family vehicle cautiously climbed the hill to the sound of gravel being displaced by the tires and the shadows of trees dancing on the lane. Finally, there was the thrill of turning the corner and the house coming into view. Tee Tee and Uncle Bill, who were like grandparents to so many of their nieces and nephews, were there to welcome all with open arms.
Uncle Bill and Tee Tee reveled in their independence. They grew vegetables for their own use, much of which they canned. The corn that was grown for cattle was also served to the family. There were fruit trees, including peach and Kiefer pear. They raised chickens, hogs and cattle, which they butchered as needed. A Jersey cow provided milk and cream for house use and making homemade ice cream. Tee Tee and Uncle Bill each had their horses, which the family enjoyed riding. The Doud parlor was resplendent with trophies attesting to the quality of the AKC collies they raised.
Hilltop Farm Nature Preserve holds so many wonderful memories because Uncle Bill and Tee Tee were the heart of the family. As much as they loved their family, they also loved the creatures (however small) that lived there. They cherished the land. It is little wonder then that Tee Tee sought to find a way to ensure that her beloved farm would not become a subdivision as is happening to surrounding areas, but would remain a memorial to the family and to the animals – both tame and wild – that were so much a part of its history.
— Excerpts from Diane Hartmann’s article on Hilltop Farm from the 2004 Oak Heritage Conservancy newsletter