Mehl's Bluff

Nature Preserve Area: 
Location and Access: 
From Hwy. 9 at east edge of Mackinaw, take Hwy. 9 east 2.9 miles, turn and go north 1 mile, turn and go east 0.1 mile, turn and go north 0.5 mile, then turn east and park at site office of Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area. The nature preserve is a 1 mile walk northwest of the office.

Special Note: This preserve is privately owned. It is surrounded by Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area, owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Visitation is generally allowed.

Mehl's Bluff occurs on a deeply dissected bluff bordering the Mackinaw River in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This diverse site contains upland forest, floodplain forest, seep and creek communities. High southwest facing bluff exposures support plant species typical of savanna and hill prairie remnants. Seep springs occur in a steep ravine that bisects the preserve. The preserve provides habitat for a great diversity of native plants, including the heart-leaved plantain. As part of a much larger forest complex, Mehl's Bluff provides habitat for numerous area-sensitive, forest interior birds, including the Acadian flycatcher, woodthrush, scarlet tanager, red-eyed vireo and veery. Unusual patterned ground features occur in the floodplain near the mouth of a creek that drains into the Mackinaw River. These ground features are polygonal patterns that formed during mechanical weathering processes in very old soil.

Harry Lyle Mehl and Jean L. Mehl
September 1988
24.6 acres nature preserve, 2.0 acres buffer
Topographic Quad: 
Topo Map: 
For further information: 
Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, 524 S. 2nd St., Springfield, IL 62706 (217/785-8686)