Clover Valley Fen features a series of peat mounds with characteristic fen flora just northwest of the Whitewater Lake Campground in the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit. To reach it is not the easiest endeavor. Park either on Hi-Lo Road near the campground entrance or you could risk parking in a campsite to shave a few tenths of a mile off of your walk. From there, head northwest throug the forest. Depending on where exactly you approach the site, you may or may not find yourself crawling on hands and knees to escape the thorny shrubbery, a thick layer of which separates the forest from the fen in certain spots.
I visited this site early on in my adventures and frankly did not see much to get excited about. The terrain here is very soggy and extremely uneven. It is basically a dense minefield of tussocks that make progress slow. Returning this past summer and fall, the fen really came alive. Swamp milkweed puncuated the bright yellow aura of the goldenrods. Grass of Parnassus and bottle and lesser fringed gentians added color the the peat mounds. Asters, black-eyed susan, purple false foxglove, Kalm’s lobelia, and spotted Joe-pye weed lent additional color and character to the surroundings. Most of my explorations so far have centered around the mounds in the southeast corner. In future visits, I plan to investigate the central and southwestern mounds. Take care though, for poison sumac lurks and won’t hesitate to leave you with an itchy gift. All in all, I would say this site is difficult to reach, somewhat risky to explore, but worth the effort for me.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Clover Valley Fen can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Fen|
|Easy to Find||No|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Located Within||Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit|
|Dates Visited||5.31.10 / 7.19.15 / 9.13.15|