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Old 11-09-2014, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
19,694 posts, read 14,140,570 times
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So I've been here almost eight months now and have been hiking at Summit Lake, Brown County, Shades, and Turkey Run. Turkey Run has been my favorite so far. What's your favorite state park and why?
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Old 11-09-2014, 09:59 PM
 
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Indiana Dunes State Park (and national lakeshore) is/are one of my favorites. It's very diverse both biologically and geographically with the bogs, lake shore, various stages of the dunes, etc. It's very much not what you would expect for Indiana and that makes it a little special for me. Definitely worth a trip.

Spring Mill is also great. The pioneer village is unique and the hilly, wooded terrain makes it very pretty.

For something a little more rugged and "off the beaten trail" O'Bannon Woods State Park is nice. There's a fire tower right at the entrance. These are a couple shots I've taken from there (https://www.flickr.com/photos/328388...57641491553725) and (https://www.flickr.com/photos/328388...57641491553725). The 30 mile Adventure Hiking Trail is rough though, shared with horses and not always kept up the greatest. It does offer a great view of the river though (https://www.flickr.com/photos/328388...57641437524944).

Another one of my favorites is Falls of the Ohio. Where else can you walk on the bed of the Ohio River and see fossils that are millions of years old? While it is smaller, it's connected to a decent portion of the Ohio River Greenway so you can ride your bike a ways down to where Lewis and Clark started off on their exploration of the Louisiana purchase and American west with Sacajawea. I recommend bringing a bike because if you tire of the visitor center you can also connect pretty easily to the Big Four bridge across the river and into Waterfront Park in Louisville which is itself pretty large, but is also part of the Louisville Loop bike trail. You can ride very easily on a designated, non-car bike path from there all the way through downtown and the west end to the locks where barges pass through the falls. Good bird watching too in the actual park. It was visited quite a bit by John James Audubon.

Brown County probably rounds out my top 5, but Clifty Falls and McCorkmick's Creek should also get a special mention. Very nice parks as well.
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Old 11-09-2014, 10:10 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
1,206 posts, read 1,060,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingIndiana View Post
Indiana Dunes State Park (and national lakeshore) is/are one of my favorites. It's very diverse both biologically and geographically with the bogs, lake shore, various stages of the dunes, etc. It's very much not what you would expect for Indiana and that makes it a little special for me. Definitely worth a trip.

Spring Mill is also great. The pioneer village is unique and the hilly, wooded terrain makes it very pretty.

For something a little more rugged and "off the beaten trail" O'Bannon Woods State Park is nice. There's a fire tower right at the entrance. These are a couple shots I've taken from there (https://www.flickr.com/photos/328388...57641491553725) and (https://www.flickr.com/photos/328388...57641491553725). The 30 mile Adventure Hiking Trail is rough though, shared with horses and not always kept up the greatest. It does offer a great view of the river though (https://www.flickr.com/photos/328388...57641437524944).

Another one of my favorites is Falls of the Ohio. Where else can you walk on the bed of the Ohio River and see fossils that are millions of years old? While it is smaller, it's connected to a decent portion of the Ohio River Greenway so you can ride your bike a ways down to where Lewis and Clark started off on their exploration of the Louisiana purchase and American west with Sacajawea. I recommend bringing a bike because if you tire of the visitor center you can also connect pretty easily to the Big Four bridge across the river and into Waterfront Park in Louisville which is itself pretty large, but is also part of the Louisville Loop bike trail. You can ride very easily on a designated, non-car bike path from there all the way through downtown and the west end to the locks where barges pass through the falls. Good bird watching too in the actual park. It was visited quite a bit by John James Audubon.

Brown County probably rounds out my top 5, but Clifty Falls and McCorkmick's Creek should also get a special mention. Very nice parks as well.
Thanks "MissingIndiana"! I have lived in Indiana half of my life and have never heard of some of these parks.

Anyway, I was going to add my recommendation for Indiana Dunes.
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Old 11-10-2014, 05:22 AM
 
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Brown County and Yellowood state Forest....hands down..
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Englewood, Near Eastside Indy
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My favorite state park to spend a weekend is Brown County. The state park offers a lot, and we enjoy visiting Nashville.

Beyond that, I do also like Spring Mill and Clifty Falls.
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Earth
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I would have to go with Brown County during the fall. During the summer I would pick the Dunes.
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
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I've always liked Potato Creek but that could be because that was the closest state park growing up and I've been there so many times. They have mountain biking trails now, bridle trails, and several miles of hiking trails. Much of it is a former farm and you can still come across some of the old farm relics when hiking like a rusted out tractor or my favorite, an old, low wall along the trail with stairs in the middle that now lead to nowhere. I also love Oubache State Park for it's abundance of hiking trails, buffalo exhibit, paddle boating, public swimming pool, and fire tower. Mounds is always fun to check out the earthworks and try to imagine what they were used for.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,397 posts, read 2,099,871 times
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As others have mentioned, the most popular parks are usually Brown Co., Turkey Run, Clifty Falls, Shades, and McCormick's Creek. I still want to get up to Pokagon some winter and try the bobsled up there. Our most recent trips have just been to Brown County. I've been meaning to get out more and unless we get bitter cold temps from here on out, I hopefully will make it out to Shades and Turkey Run in the next couple of weeks. I recently purchased the Falcon Guide Hiking Indiana book and the author has some decent trails listed. He combines some trails, with maps, to make for some longer hikes. One is down in Clifty which I haven't been to in almost twenty years. Indianapolis Monthly just had a cover story on parks as well, had some hiking and biking places mentioned.

I visited Brookville Lake last year which is home to Mounds State Rec Area, Quakertown SRA, and Whitewater Memorial State Park. I did the Scenic Trail at Mounds and didn't realize it was just a closed road. It is paved and is decent enough, but you will get full sun. There is a parallel trail that is closer to the lake shore that I should've taken. I hope to get back to this area as well, as it is a nice relaxing drive out and likely won't be busy during this time of year. We actually visited just recently to eat at a restaurant on the lake. Beautiful area and great food at Ainsley's (closed for the season now).

Also, check out Google and do some searching for Indiana nature preserves. There are a few groups around the state and they are developing some of their properties to have trails.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:08 PM
 
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Shakamak is my favorite camping spot so far, haven't been to all the parks. It also has some nice trails around the lakes and is a short distance from Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife area which can offer some great bird watching.

I think Chain-O-Lakes is a little gem. Great hiking and also a boat and canoe rental facility.

If you like Turkey Run, you might want to consider a trip to Hocking County State Park in Ohio. Nothing in Indiana compares to those cliffs and canyons.
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis
61 posts, read 92,254 times
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Indiana Dunes is by far the major attraction in the state, as far as I'm concerned. I try to go up there every few months. Even enjoyed it in last winter's blizzard, while there was a stiff wind blowing off Lake Michigan. Everybody I've taken up there is blown away that there's a landscape like the Dunes in Indiana. When the silent film industry was based in Chicago in the 1920s, they used to take crews out there to film movie scenes set in the Sahara Desert. There was a really interesting news article that showed up in the Gary, IN, paper back in the '20s I think. Something like "Mohammedan Caravan Parades Through Gary." It was film actors dressed up as Bedouins who had been shooting a scene out in the Dunes east of town.

The Pine Hills Nature Preserve right next to Shades SP is also a very cool place. There's an unexpected gorge back in there, which you can have pretty much to yourself if you don't go on a weekend during the fall. Cool place called The Devil's Backbone with passenger pigeons carved on it. Agree that Turkey Run is also a hell of a place.

I used to think Southern Indiana had more natural beauty than Northern or Central Indiana, but I've been changing my mind on that. Something more subtle about the flatland beauty up north of Indianapolis.

Disagree with Uplander. Lots of awesome cliffs and canyons around Portland Arch in Fountain County (a Nature Conservancy site), Pine Hills, Shades, Turkey Run, Clifty Falls, McCormick's Creek.... Cataract Falls in Owen County, about 45 minutes west of Indy, is a raging torrent after any big rain or snow melt. Anything but flat around there.

Black Rock Barrens near Attica and Prophetstown State Park right outside Lafayette are also pretty great natural areas.

Mounds State Park in Anderson is an extremely nice park along the White River. I took probably the best hike of the season there a few weeks ago. The Salamonie Reservoir area up by Huntington is also cool.

Check out the Nature Conservancy's preserves. Never crowded, free, and there's a ton of them. They're small properties (except for Kankakee Sands, the biggest prairie restoration in the eastern US), but worth a visit:

Protect Indiana Natural Preservation | The Nature Conservancy

A couple of really amazing state parks over in Illinois, too. Starved Rock and Matthiessen Dells are just incredible.
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