“An easy short trail through the woods that is perfect for young kids.”
— Rafi Wilkinson
Fall Colors · Wildlife
Pets permitted on a leash (6' or shorter. Pay attention to closing time. They will lock your car inside the park for the night. Park opens at 10am and closed based on the season. Check the website. An entrance fee of $5 for out of county vehicles is collected April 1 - October 31 on weekends (Friday - Sunday).
The trail runs from a loop off the Raccoon Run Trail
. The surface is packed dirt with leaf litter. The trail is nice for young kids playing at the Devere Shelter and Ohtahnagon picnic area. Although there are trail markers, this trail is very hard to follow. The trail map is not drawn to scale. The good news is that if you do get lost, you'll find your way in a matter of minutes.
Bendix Woods County Park was once owned by the famed Studebaker Automobile Corporation. 840 acres were purchased in 1926 and became the first automobile proving grounds in America. Various road conditions were simulated to test their cars. Although it was a testing facility, Studebaker maintained the grounds as a natural area. In 1938, they planted 8,000 pine trees that spell the their name "STUDEBAKER" when viewed from the air. You can still see it today on the map above running north-south. The trees were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
The proving grounds were sold to the Bendix corporation in 1963, which in turn donated 195 acres to St. Joseph County to establish the county park. The rest of the acreage is still being used as automotive proving grounds today. Bendix used the grounds until 1996, selling it to Bosch who then sold the land to Navistar in 2015.
For more information about Bendix Woods, visit the following website:sjcparks.org/bendix.html