“And it came about that this bit of wilderness emerged from out its obscurity, and became a place of recognition over great distances of country.”Selma Steele, from The House of the Singing Winds
Five hiking trails, totaling slightly over 3 miles, are available where visitors can experience the expansive vistas and quiet forests that Steele captured on canvas.
- Trail of Silences (1/2 mile, moderate)
- Wildflower Trail (1/2 mile, moderate)
- Whippoorwill Haunt Trail (3/4 mile, moderate)
- Woodpecker Trail (1/2 mile, difficult)
- Inspiration Ridge Trail (1/4 mile, easy)
Unlimited day access to the historic gardens, grounds, and trails on all 211-acres is included with your site admission, and is always free to members of the Friends of T.C. Steele, and members of Indiana State Museum! The trails are accessible every day, including Mondays1. Four of the five trails were laid out by Selma Steele. The handicapped-accessible Inspiration Ridge Trail loop was added to provide access to the reconstructed Remote Studio. A recently added trail spur on the southeastern side of the property connects the T.C. Steele trail system to neighboring properties and to the Tecumseh Trail.
1 On days the historic site buildings aren’t open to the public, use the upper parking lot if the lower is closed.
the Gardens & Grounds
Selma Steele’s gardens, became the subject of several of Steele’s paintings. The gardens were completely restored to their original state and rededicated in 2017.
The formal gardens are designated as an official “Historic Iris Preservation Society Display Garden” by the Historic Iris Preservation Society. One of only three public gardens in the State of Indiana to hold such status.
Brown County settler Peter Dewar built his cabin around 1875, five miles south of its present site. The cabin faced destruction in the early 1930’s, but realizing that it represented part of Brown County’s heritage, Selma Steele bought the cabin, moved it and filled it with natural history displays on the property.
Selma N. Steele State Nature Preserve
This 92-acre preserve was dedicated in 1990, in keeping with Mrs. Steele’s wish that the property remain “a tribute to natural beauty”. Deep ravines with seasonally flowing steams cut through soft bedrock. Rich undergrowth provides a wealth of wildflowers throughout the spring.
Guidelines for Your Visit
Be kind – leave no trace!
Please protect our site and practice Leave No Trace principles.
- Pack out your trash and pet waste.
- Examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Be courteous. Yield to other visitors on the trail.
Protect our gardens.
When visiting the garden, close deer fences when you leave so they don’t turn a priceless historic garden into a free dinner!