Bedford, IN 47249
- 8.6 miles
- 3 - 4 hours
Scenic Views from ridgetop trail
Parking is available at the north trailhead between Elkinsville and Story. Do not camp at the trailhead, however camping is permitted in back-country areas. Parking for trailers is extremely limited and may not be available if others are using the parking lot.
This is the only area of the Hoosier NF where visitors regularly see rattlesnakes. The timber rattler is endangered in Indiana due to the destruction of habitat and the historic persecution of rattlesnakes by humans. As a result, populations of timber rattlesnakes are limited to areas fairly isolated from human development. Nebo Ridge is such an area.
Please use caution and be alert for these animals. They are a larger snake, averaging 48 to 72 inches in length with a rattle on the end of their tail. They have thick-bodies with a wide head distinct from the neck. The color pattern of the timber rattler is variable, ranging from sulfur yellow and buff brown, to dark gray. Regardless of the pattern, a series of wide black cross-bands line the back along the length of the body.
You are most likely to see a rattlesnake in late August and early September when the snakes are mating and traveling to their hibernating locations. In southern Indiana, snakes begin hibernating in early October and emerge typically in early May.
The timber rattlesnake hibernates inside the cracks and crevices of rocky hillsides. During the warmer months they remain motionless and wait for their prey to move within striking distance. There are several things you can do while hiking at Nebo Ridge that will help protect you from snakes:
Wear high-topped, leather hiking boots.
Do not reach under rocks or logs, and do not step over logs. Step on them, then over.
Be alert and search the area ahead of you.
Be wary of areas containing logs or rocks. Remember that many venomous snakes blend in with their surroundings and may be difficult to see.
Rattlesnakes are not generally aggressive. They may rattle but then try to move away from the disturbance. They also may coil and threaten repeatedly before striking. Upon hearing a rattle, move away. Do not try to capture or kill the snake, they are protected by state law and may not be hunted, collected, or harmed.
Biologists on the Hoosier are interested in being informed of any sighting of rattlesnakes.
In the event of a venomous snakebite, seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY. While it is helpful to identify the snake, do not waste time or risk being bitten again by capturing or killing the snake. The most important things to do if bitten are to stay calm and avoid excessive activity, and seek medical care as soon as possible.