Merry Lea has eight miles of hiking trails that are open every day of the year from dawn to dusk at no charge. The trails pass through a variety of ecosystems and provide opportunities to explore the ecological features of the land.
Merry Lea has two trailheads located at the Farmstead and the Learning Center where you can begin your hike. Click the button for driving directions.
The trailheads are marked with a star inside an orange circle on the trail map. Trail maps are also available at trailhead boxes.
Trail Hours and Facilities
Hours: Open every day dawn to dusk
Regulations: Please review our trail guidelines below
Restrooms are available in the Learning Center during work hours (see below). After hours, from April through October, porta potties are located at the Learning Center and Farmstead trailheads for visitors to use.
Explore Merry Lea’s ecosystems throughout all four seasons and discover new things along familiar trails:
Exhibits and Bookstore in the Learning Center
The Learning Center contains hands-on displays of animal skeletons, furs, birds, rocks and other natural items. In the summer, you may see butterflies and the occasional hummingbird outside the east windows. In the winter, many songbirds come to this same area to eat from the various bird feeders. Binoculars are available for indoor viewing.
Located inside the Learning Center, the Merry Lea Bookstore has a variety of materials to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of the natural world. Items include field guides, nature photography note cards, animal finger puppets, children’s storybooks and illustrated bookmarks.
Learning Center Location
2388 S 500 W
Albion, IN 46701
Learning Center Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Call (260) 799-5869 to confirm hours
Help us fulfill our mission
Please observe the following guidelines when visiting/hiking at Merry Lea.
Stay on the designated trails.
Leave all plants, mushrooms, and animals undisturbed.
Trails are maintained for foot traffic only. Biking, horseback riding, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles are not permitted.
Cross-country skiing is allowed on the trails when weather conditions allow. Trails are not groomed for skiing.
No public hunting, trapping, or discharge of firearms will be permitted within the borders of Merry Lea.
Waterfowl hunting on the lakes bounded by Merry Lea property is to occur from public waters and not from within Merry Lea boundaries.
Merry Lea property may not be used as a general access for ice fishing. Crossing through Luckey’s Landing on foot to reach High Lake is permitted.
Parking is permitted only in designated areas. Driveways, roadways, and gated field entrances are not appropriate parking spaces.
Unauthorized fires are not permitted.
Dumping or littering is not permitted.
Visitors are strongly discouraged from bringing family pets because their presence is disruptive to the native animals and plants. In addition, most hikers at Merry Lea come expecting to experience a natural setting. Any dogs and cats must be leashed and under direct control at all times.
Use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs while at Merry Lea is not allowed.
Our Sites and Facilities
Merry Lea offers a variety of locations to help facilitate environmental learning.
Click the button for directions to Merry Lea’s facilities:
The Learning Center
This building contains Merry Lea’s main office as well as many staff offices. It also houses the graduate student classroom and offices. The Learning Center is a major programming site for area field trips. Hikers will find parking, a trailhead and a port-a-potty for use when the building is closed.
Rieth Village and Merry Lea Sustainable Farm
Merry Lea’s ecological field station for undergraduate programs includes two cottages for student housing and one building containing offices, kitchens, a library, and laboratory space. The entire site is an example of best practices in sustainable design. A wealth of information about this green facility is available here:
A major programming site for school programs and public programs, the farmstead has a series of rustic buildings that house historic farm tools and equipment. The main barn has been converted to a large gathering room and retreat room. A trailhead is located here, near the pavilion.
This lakeside facility was a popular site for recreational activity in the 1940’s. This location now serves as a program center for studies using High Lake. Luckey’s Landing is also the site of our oak savanna restoration.