Hiking is great family fun. Some of the following information
may help you enjoy the footpaths
winding through scenic Brown County State Park
and surrounding areas of Indiana.
Detailed maps of Indiana's long distance footpaths are available from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. General information about the Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties is provided in the Department's annual Recreation Guide.
Information about federal recreation lands in the state, including Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Lincoln Boyhood and George Rogers Clark national memorials, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, and Hoosier NationalForest can be obtained directly from the appropriate management office.
Trail 8 at Brown County State Park is through the remote ravines of the park. It is the longest marked trail in the park at 3.5 miles.
A review on www.trails.com website described trail 8:
Trail 8 has a lot of character. When starting at Ogle Lake, hiking the trail in a clockwise direction, you begin with a steady uphill section for about half a mile. At the top of the first climb there is a trail junction with the Tulip Tree Shelter connector trail. This connector trail cuts about a mile off of the hike. Continuing on Trail 8 you descend into a very scenic valley that is frequented by deer. Climbing out of the valley is another steady uphill trek for about a half mile until you reach the top of a ridge. Along the top of the ridge the trail parallels one of the park roads for about a mile and a quarter with many short ups and downs. About half way along this section you pass the upper end of the connector trail mentioned earlier. When you reach Hesitation Point, a very popular vista, you will have hiked more than two thirds of the trail and will begin a short downhill trek. After a couple hundred yards of easy descent, you will come to a very long set of steps. This bears repeating. You come to a very long set of steps. This is why I hike this trail in the clockwise direction, to avoid climbing these steps. From the bottom of the steps you finish your hike with a very easy and pleasant walk along side a stream. The hike ends back at Ogle Lake.
You might want to extend your hike by walking counter-clockwise half way around the lake on Trail 7. Take Trail 4 up to the Rally Campgrounds, cross the parking lot and take Trail 5 down to Ogle Hollow. In the hollow connect back up to the lower section of Trail 4 and then around the north side of the lake on Trail 7 and back to the Ogle Lake parking lot. A very nice hike adding two and one half miles to your walk.
Read our Indiana HIKING TIPS Below
STAY ON PUBLIC PROPERTYStay on designated footpaths whenever possible, and do not trespass on private property. You are responsible for helping maintain good relations between hikers and private property owners.
PLAN YOUR TRIPSBefore starting out, study maps of the area and learn the terrain. Be sure you are familiar with all the options of time, alternate routes, and weather. Do not forget the shorter daylight hours during late fall andwinter. Be sure to travel with a first aid kit, map and compass, and know how to use them. Remember to register at the nearest property office or gatehouse; for your safety, someone needs to know where you are.
WEAR BRIGHT COLORS ONLY WHEN YOU NEED TO BE SEENWearing bright colors during hunting season, particularly deer season, is a good idea. In fact, it may prevent injury or death. However, during other times of the year, bright reds, oranges and yellows may actually"shrink" the outdoors by visually intruding into the wide spaces and solitude which are part of the outdoor experience. When drab colors (browns, blues, and greens) are used for clothing and tents, more people can use the same general area without knowing of each other's presence.
PROTECT THE WATER SUPPLYAlways wash your dishes a few feet away from the edge of a lake or stream. This way the soil acts as a filter, preventing soap suds and scraps of food from polluting the water. After washing your dishes, rinse them a safe distance from the bank. A few feet can make a big difference. Sources of water in many areas are often limited and can fail during dry periods-plan ahead! Remember to treat your drinking and cooking water by boiling for several minutes or with a commercial water filter.
PROPERLY DISPOSE OF LITTERBurying trash and garbage was once the ethical way to dispose of litter outdoors. However, animals and frost action usually undo these efforts. Today, the problem is compounded by the high number of people using the same areas. The best policy is to carryout what you carry in (or at least, whatever you cannot burn if fires are allowed). You might consider going one step further and carry out anything others may have left behind.
KEEP PETS OFF THE TRAILSMost of us love "man's best friend," but even on a leash a pet's presence may disturb the outdoor experience. Native wildlife often shies away from areas which dogs use, thus preventing the close observation many hikers desire. Barking also often disturbs other hikers, and sanitation within camping zones can become a problem.
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRETo reduce the possibility of a forest fire, we suggest that you use a portable backpacking stove rather than a campfire for cooking. A portable stove cooks your meal long before a fire is ready. Another advantage is that it helps prevent fire-blackened rocks in areas where people camp. If you want a campfire, make sure it is permitted. Different properties may have different rules regarding campfires. Even those that generally allow campfires may ban them on a temporary basis because of dry conditions, fire danger, etc. Remember the old rule when building a campfire-use only dead and down wood where permitted. Do not break or cut tree limbs or trees, even dead ones; dead trees provide habitat for many birds and animals. One more tip on firewood-do not stockpile wood. While this was once considered a friendly gesture in remote areas, today it is one more thing which reduces the spirit of solitude and independence which people seek. Any campfire in a backcountry area should be in a pit 12 inches or less in diameter, and a three-foot diameter area should be cleared to mineralsoil around the fire. Prior to leaving an area where a campfire was built, mix ashes with the soil, fill the pit, and cover the cleared area with the humus layer which was originally removed.
BE CONSCIENTIOUS WITH HUMAN WASTEIn areas where restrooms are not provided, use areas at least 200 feet from any water supply and camping zone to eliminate waste. To promote decomposition and sanitary conditions, dig a small hole approximately eight inches deep, which can then be covered with loose soil and leaf litter.
HIKING OPPORTUNITIES IN DNR PROPERTIESDepartment of Natural Resources' Properties are managed by one of the landholding divisions: Fish and Wildlife, Forestry, Museum and Historic Sites, State Parks and Reservoirs, and Nature Preserves. Each division has its own role to play in the conservation of Indiana's natural resources, and the management practices followed by each division on their properties differ. To some extent, hiking opportunities are provided at most department properties.
State Fish and Wildlife Areas are managed for maximum fish and wildlife populations. Hunting, fishing, and access to public waters are provided. Hiking (no marked trails) and camping are sometimes available.
Division of Fish and Wildlife
State Forests are managed for timber
production, watershed protection, wildlife habitat,
and outdoor recreation. Three State Recreation Areas
(similar to State Parks), three Backcountry Areas
(providing for primitive & backpack camping),
and several campgrounds have been established within the forests.
Many trails have also been developed in the forests,
Division of Forestry
State Historic Sites are sites with historical significance managed to preserve and reflect the state's heritage. A few short footpaths have been developed at some historic sites. Camping and fires are not permitted.
Division of State Museum and Historic Sites
State Parks are areas preserving unique natural or cultural resources and providing outdoor recreation opportunities. Many footpaths have been developed in the parks; in addition campgrounds, cabins, and inns are available. Primitive backpack campsites have been established in Shades State Park.
Reservoir Properties are made up of State Recreation Areas (similar to State Parks), wildlife management areas, and water areas. These areas provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. All reservoir properties, except one, are centered around U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control reservoirs; Hardy Lake is state-owned. Several trails have been developed on reservoir properties. Several campgrounds are also available, and a backpackcamping area has been established in the Patoka Reservoir property.
Division of State Parks and Reservoirs
Nature Preserves are areas with natural character and unusual flora, fauna, or biotic, geologic, scenic, or paleontologic features of scientific value. Many preserves have been dedicated within other department properties and are managed by the division which manages the larger property. Footpaths have been developed in some of the preserves. Camping, fires, and pets are not permitted.
Division of Nature Preserves
HIKING OPPORTUNITIES IN OTHER AREAS of IndianaPark and recreation agencies throughout the state are developing trails within their communities. The two major federal resource properties in the state (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Hoosier National Forest) also provide hiking opportunities. Descriptions of some of the longer hiking opportunities follow.
The Rivergreenway in Fort Wayne currently includes a 12-mile trail. Contact:
Fort Wayne Parks and
The City of Anderson's White River Corridor project includes a 6-mileloop riverwalk. Contact:
Anderson Parks and Recreation
The Wabash Heritage Trail in Tippecanoe County is currently a 7.5-mile trail along the Wabash River. Contact:
Tippecanoe County Parks and Recreation
Indianapolis offers 3 miles of hiking along its Fall Creek Parkway.Contact:
Indianapolis Dept. of Parks and Recreation
The White River Gorge Trail is a 3.5-mile trail in Richmond. Contact:
Richmond Parks and Recreation
The two major federal resource properties in the state, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Hoosier National Forest, provide hiking opportunities. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore contains approximately 11,900 acres in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. Topography and habitat in the lakeshore include sand dunes, various types of woodlands, wetlands, and bogs. Footpaths have been developed in most of these areas. Campgrounds are available. Information can be obtained from:
Superintendent, Indiana Dunes
The Mississinewa Riverway currently includes a 3-mile walkway in Marion.Contact:
Marion Parks and Recreation
The Hoosier National Forest encompasses almost 200,000 acres in southern Indiana and offers a variety of recreation opportunities. The Forest has 21 trail systems totaling approximately 200 miles, and hikers are also free to explore off-trail in most areas. Camping opportunities range from developed campgrounds to backpack camping. Most of the trail systems on the Hoosier National Forest are open to use by hikers, mountain bikers,and horse riders. Information is available from:
Recreation Program Manager
INDIANA'S LONG DISTANCE HIKING TRAILSIndiana has many excellent footpaths for a short walk or a day hike in the fresh air. The following long distance footpaths are recommended as the ones in the best condition for the more adventurous who want an enjoyable, overnight trail experience. These foot paths can be quite challenging, depending upon the weather and other conditions. Some segments of these footpaths can also be conveniently used for day hikes.
KNOBSTONE TRAILThe Knobstone Trail is Indiana's longest footpath-a 58-mile trail following the Knobstone escarpment, the state's most prominent geologic feature, through Clark State Forest, Elk Creek Public Fishing Area, and Jackson-Washington State Forest. These state resource properties contain nearly 40,000 acres of rugged, forested knobs in Clark, Scott, and Washington counties. The trail presently extends northward from near the Deam Lake State Recreation Area, just north of S.R. 60 in Clark County, to Washington County's DelaneyPark, just east of S.R. 135 in northern Washington County. Two loop trails,one six miles and the other eight miles, have been developed at the northern end of the Knobstone Trail. Potential extension of the Knobstone Trail northward through the Hoosier National Forest, and the Department of Natural Resources' properties in Brown, Monroe, and Morgan counties could create over 100 miles of footpath. Backpack camping is permitted in the two Backcountry Areas the trail crosses, as well as along the rest of the trail within certain guidelines. Campgrounds are available near each end of the trail. A detailed Knobstone Trail Map is available from IDNR Map Sales. The map may also be available at the property offices of Clark and Jackson-Washington state forests.
ADVENTURE HIKING TRAIL
The 25-mile Adventure Hiking Trail is a loop trail located in the Harrison-Crawford State Forest/Wyandotte Woods State Recreation Area Complex. Much of the trail follows the natural escarpments overlooking the Ohio and Blue rivers and Indian Creek. Backpack camping is permitted in designated areas along the trail, and overnight shelters are available. For more information on the Adventure Hiking Trail,
SALAMONIE TRAILThe Salamonie Trail is a 22-mile loop connecting the Lost Bridge and Mount Etna state recreation areas along the south side of Salamonie Reservoir (in Wabash and Huntington counties). The trail is open for hiking April through November. The trail is also open for horseback riding west of Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area. When snow conditions are adequate December through March, the trail is open only for snowmobiling. Camping is available at campgrounds in the recreation areas. Maps are available from the Salamonie Reservoir property office.
HOOSIER NATIONAL FOREST LONG DISTANCE TRAILSTwo trail systems in the Hoosier National Forest offer the opportunity for hikes in excess of 20 miles. These trails are composed of loop systems so a hiker may choose from a range of distances. The Hickory Ridge Trail system offers approximately 43 miles of trail through scenic hardwoods and remote areas of the Forest. The German Ridge Trail is a 23-mile system featuring the chance to view sandstone outcroppings. More information on these trails is available from the Hoosier National Forest (812-275-5987).
OTHER TRAILSOther long trails which can be completed in a day, may also provide an enjoyable overnight experience. The Ten O'Clock Line Trail (about one-fourth on roadways) connects Brown County State Park and Yellowwood State Forest. The 10-mile Three Lakes Trail and the 10-mile Low Gap Trail (passing through a backcountry area) loop through Morgan-Monroe State Forest. The 6-mile Main Trail loops through the Patoka Reservoir property's roadless area; a spur trail leads to the primitive, backpack camping area. Contact the appropriate property office for up-to-date information on trail conditions and camping.