Brown County State Park
Brown County State Park is famous for fall foliage. If you are there on the right autumn day, your route will take you through leafy tunnels festooned with gaudy reds, yellows, and orange, and past vistas that stretch for miles over the hills of southern Indiana.
Brown County State Park Vista
However, you won’t be alone. Ponderous motor homes and other vehicles will clog the narrow roads that wind along ridge tops, and the ravines that drop dramatically on either side will reverberate with the deliberately amplified roar of motorcycle engines.
If your tolerance for crowds and noise is low, visit at some other time. But you really should visit.
At more than 15,000 acres, Brown County is by far the largest park in the state.
As of 2008, a dozen hiking trails altogether total more than 18 miles. Few will disappoint.
If you have the time, I recommend a route that incorporates three of those paths. Trail 5 begins at a small parking lot near the Rally Campground entrance, then quickly descends a short flight of stairs into the Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve
Its forty-one acres protect a stand of state-endangered yellowwood trees. Look for smooth-barked trunks, often forked near the ground, and smooth-edged compound leaves. You may also notice some extremely tall pawpaw trees. The trail descends steeply before reaching bottom and looping back into the upper reaches of the ravine.
Trail 5 connects to Trail 4 in the ravine bottom; follow it east, watching carefully for squaw root in late spring. You’ll soon reach Trail 7, which loops Ogle Lake (left), a 17 acre impoundment that nestles jewel-like among the wooded hillsides.
There are ruts in the path from heavy use, but the attractive setting explains why. Complete the loop and return via Trail 4 and the Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve.
North Gate: 1.7 miles east of the IN 46 X IN 135 intersection.
North 39 11.831 West 86 12.982
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West Gate: 2.3 miles west of the IN 46 X IN 135 intersection.
North 39 10.604 West 86 16.226
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Inn, food, campgrounds with showers and toilets, nature center.
Nearby Natural Areas
Bloom: Hiking Indiana; Page 150
Goll: Indiana State Parks; Page 42
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 112
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 329
McPherson: Nature Walks in Southern Indiana; Page 184