Hiking at Brown County State Park

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Brown County State Park holds the title as the most-visited state park in Indiana. Every year about 1.3 million people stop in for a visit. Located south of Indianapolis in Nashville, Indiana, this state park has plenty of activities for everyone. After exploring this beautiful park I can see why it’s so popular.

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You can enter through two park entrances, the West Gate or the North Gate. I entered through the North Gate, which led us through a covered bridge! There is a $7 entrance fee into the park, which will allow to to spend an entire day hiking, biking and camping. The park is open all year from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.

The main reason that Brown County State Park is so popular is because it offers so much. There are the classic camp grounds and over 12 miles of hiking trails. Even for those who aren’t keen on long hikes, there are plenty of shorter loops as well as lookout towers and pull-offs just driving through the park. Hesitant Point was my favorite view!

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Southern Indiana has stunning rolling hills, and from the top of the trail you can see far over the tree line. October is the best month to catch a glimpse of this view because all the trees will change color, but even in the spring and summer there is plenty to take your breath away.

This state park also offers 28 miles of mountain bike trails, tennis courts, a swimming pool and snack bar, and even horse trails. You can rent horses at the state park and go on guided trail rides through the park. There are also pony rides and hayrides for young children.

If you’re looking for a nice hike, you have a few options. Here is my recommendation:

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Begin at Ogle Lake. There is a parking lot and picnic tables, near the West Entrance to the park. Trail 7 begins here, and is a great 1.5 mile loop around the pond. It’s relatively easy because it’s short and flat. If you’d like to extend your hike, take the 3.5 mile loop by adding trails 4 and 5. Trail 4 is moderate, with more hills, and Trail 5 is considered rugged because there are steep steps you have to climb.

This is a great trail because you have scenic views of the lake, but you also get to explore a nature preserve and dried up river bed in the forest. It’s lightly trafficked and manageable in an hour and a half. I even saw a turtle sunbathing by the water!

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Another option that I didn’t explore is a 3.6 mile loop, starting at Ogle Lake and making its way to the West Lookout Tower and Hesitation Point. You can either hike between them or drive to the lookouts and picnic.

No matter what you decide to you are bound to enjoy your time spent at this park. It was a great way to kick off the first weekend of fall!

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