Brown County State Park

Updated on May 3, 2019
RuthCoffee profile image

I am an avid hiker and I like sharing some of the places I've hiked (or biked) with others. I also offer tips for beginners.

A Visit to Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park lies south of Indianapolis, Indiana. It provides a pretty, rolling landscape covered with yellowwood, maple, oak, hickory, beech, sassafras, sycamore, birch, and other trees. It's a great place to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and other activities as well as just a leisurely picnic.

Enjoy a photo journey through the area and learn more about Brown County State Park on this page.

A Bit of Background

Brown County State Park includes 15,776 acres which are just off of highway 46 west of Bloomington and south of Nashville, Indiana. It's the largest, and one of the most popular state parks in Indiana. Autumn is when it experiences the heaviest traffic, pulling in those who want to see the turning leaves.

It offers several campgrounds, including a separate horsemen's campground, a modern but rustic Inn, and cabins as well. You can see more and make reservations here.

There are 70 miles of bridle trails, 20 miles of hiking trails and 20 miles of mounting biking/hiking trails. There is an indoor waterpark, an outdoor swimming pool, and two lakes for fishing. Ogle Lake is the largest lake at 17 acres and Strahl Lake at 7 acres is the smallest. State licenses for fishing are available at the park.

Hiking around Lake Strahl
Hiking around Lake Strahl

The area surrounding the park provides a lovely drive as well, rolling and wooded with a number of other recreational facilities nearby.

  • The Hoosier National Forest, Charles C. Deem Wilderness Area, and the Paynetown/Fairfax State Recreation Areas lie just south and west of the park.
  • Just to the north is Yellowood State Forest and Monroe Reservoir.
  • Nashville lies to the northeast. Nashville hosts many craft and artisan shops as well as small eateries. Overall, it's a rustic area where goats, horses, donkeys, burros, deer and other animals are common sights and maple syrup is made.

Although fall may be the height of the tourist season, if you're looking for seclusion, visiting during the week is recommended. The photos on this page were taken on a Monday when park traffic was fairly light. It was probably at least a week before the fall "peak" when colors are at their most glorious.

About the Trails

There are 8 mountain biking trails at Brown County. Two are easy, the Pine Loop trail (1.2 miles) and the Limekiln trail (2.4 miles). The most difficult ones are Schooner Trace (4.1 miles) and the Walnut trail (2.1 miles). They are all included on the map referenced above.

There several hiking trails and one paved/accessible path. Trails 1 (.9 mile), 2 (2 miles), and 3 (1.25 miles) are all near the Abe Martin Inn. They involve hiking through the woods surrounding the Inn and cabins through some ridges and ravines. There are only very small streams in this area and the footing is always good. There are some stone and wooden steps but most of the climbs are via the path winding up the hillsides. These hikes are moderately rugged.

Trails 4 (1.25 miles) and 5 (.75 miles) connect near the Rally Campground. These trails are easy to moderate as they offer mostly level terrain but should be considered more rugged as they make significant (and somewhat extended) climbs near the ends.

Trail 6 (1.25 miles) is one of my favorite hikes around the park in the fall. It encircles Strahl Lake and provides some pretty views of the opposing shores and their bright foliage. There's a small waterfall near the trailhead, where you climb a few stairs, but after that, it's a level stroll and one that anyone should be able to handle if they choose to continue around the lake versus taking the spur trail up the stairs to the Nature Center. The first three photos on this page are from Trail 6 around Strahl Lake.

Trail 7 (1.5 miles) takes hikers around Ogle Lake and is another pretty hike that isn't too challenging but provides some nice views of the water and the foliage. Hikers can choose to take off on Trail 4 halfway through the hike if they would prefer, rather than completing the walk around Ogle Lake or take a 2.75-mile extension over to trail 9 (a 3-mile hike) that would lead over to Taylor Ridge Campground. Trail 9 is moderately rugged and follows a small stream.

Trail 8 (3.5 miles) can be picked up near the West lookout tower (pictured above) near the West Gatehouse or near Ogle Lake. It's another of my favorite hikes in the park with some nice view of the surrounding woods and the lake.

Trail 10 (2.2 miles) is a bit rugged due to climbs as it crosses ravines and hilltops. It can be picked up near the Park Office and the location of an old fire tower, which you can still climb for a view of the surrounding countryside; I have a picture near the top of the tower in the slide show below.

The paved Friends Trail lies on the opposite side of the park office.

The Discovery Trail (.5 mile) is a self-guided tour near the nature center that can acquaint you with the trees in the area.

A Look Around Brown County State Park - Click on Thumbnails to View Larger Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The road to Abe Martin LodgeHiking along Trail 2Hiking along Trail 7 and Ogle LakeOgle LakeAtop the Fire Tower at the Park Office, near Trail 10A maple tree In OctoberThe small waterfall on Trail 6 around Strahl LakeStrahl Lake, trail 6Looking out from the West Lookout Tower
The road to Abe Martin Lodge
The road to Abe Martin Lodge
Hiking along Trail 2
Hiking along Trail 2
Hiking along Trail 7 and Ogle Lake
Hiking along Trail 7 and Ogle Lake
Ogle Lake
Ogle Lake
Atop the Fire Tower at the Park Office, near Trail 10
Atop the Fire Tower at the Park Office, near Trail 10
A maple tree In October
A maple tree In October
The small waterfall on Trail 6 around Strahl Lake
The small waterfall on Trail 6 around Strahl Lake
Strahl Lake, trail 6
Strahl Lake, trail 6
Looking out from the West Lookout Tower
Looking out from the West Lookout Tower
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking out from the North Lookout TowerOgle LakeOgle LakeMy husband at Ogle LakeAlong Trail 7 at Ogle LakeAn old CC picnic shelter near Ogle Lake
Looking out from the North Lookout Tower
Looking out from the North Lookout Tower
Ogle Lake
Ogle Lake
Ogle Lake
Ogle Lake
My husband at Ogle Lake
My husband at Ogle Lake
Along Trail 7 at Ogle Lake
Along Trail 7 at Ogle Lake
An old CC picnic shelter near Ogle Lake
An old CC picnic shelter near Ogle Lake

A Glimpse of Nashville, Indiana

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Another Look at Brown County

Brown County State Park:
Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East, Nashville, IN 47448, USA

get directions

© 2009 Ruth Coffee

Let Us Know You Stopped By!

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    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      10 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Another gorgeous park contribution from you enticing me off into dreamland. I didn't know the beautiful Brown County State Park before I dropped in to bless this lens

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      10 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      This is great! And seeing all of those state park lenses, I've been inspired to make some myself. Our country has SO many wonderful Parks--national, state, and local. We're so lucky for that.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great photos Mulberry, and very informative. Thank you once again.

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 

      10 years ago from Lancaster PA

      A beautiful lens!!


    • mariaamoroso profile image


      10 years ago from Sweden

      Amazing park. The nature is sooo much like Sweden too. We have a wonderful home - planet earth

    • RuthCoffee profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      [in reply to pickerd] Yes, I suppose it is much more south than west. It's mostly just west of Interstate 65 for those of us who use that coming south from Indy.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      FYI, Brown County State Park is south (not southwest) of Indianapolis


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