Tippecanoe River State Park
A seven-mile stretch of the Tippecanoe River (top left) forms the eastern boundary of this large, low-lying park.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources bestowed an “outstanding” designation on the Tippecanoe River, and the Nature Conservancy lists it as among the “top ten rivers in America to preserve".
Between them, the park and river are home to the rare Massasauga rattlesnake, several endangered species, and nearly fifty species of freshwater mussel. The park also served as a site for the reintroduction of river otters to our state.
There are numerous trails, though most allow horseback riding, and many are prone to flooding, especially in areas close to the Tippecanoe River. Of those restricted to hikers, I recommend trail 8 and parts of trails 4 and 5.
Trail 8, the Bluestem Trail, is a loop through the Sand Hill Nature Preserve, near the northern end of the park. From the small parking area across from Tepicon Hall, the trail traverses pineries, oak savannas, and forest glades on a wide well-defined path of pine needles, sand, or temporary pools. Traffic noise may intrude on stretches where the trail approaches US 35.
Trails 4 and 5 both pass through parts of the Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve, which lies along the river's edge. This is prime habitat for the Massasauga rattlesnake, and though you’re unlikely to see a Massasauga, something else of interest will probably turn up.
Unfortunately, views of the Tippecanoe are marred by a ramshackle campground that perches on the far side of the river. Take trail 4 north from the Nature Center parking lot, then turn right at the junction with trail 5, following it as it shadows the inside of a bend in the river.
After completing the loop, I generally return whence I came, as trails 3 and 4 pass too close to the state park’s campground for my taste.
Trail 11, a short loop originating at the Nature Center, is hit-or-miss; it is often flooded.
Pulaski County. From the intersection of US 35 and IN 14 in Winamac, go north on US 35 approximately 4 miles to a marked entrance on the east.
North 41 07.047 West 86 36.156
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Campground, toilets, water, Nature Center.
Nearby Natural Areas
Goll: Indiana State Parks; Page 218
Habeck: Wild Indiana; Page 25
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
McPherson: Indiana Best Hikes; Page 98