Brown County State Park is the largest Indiana State Park. This nationally known 15,696 acre facility first opened to the public in 1929.On June 1, 1934, the Veteran's Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1557 began its work. The planting of black locust, black walnut, various pines and spruces gave nature a helping hand in healing extreme erosion. The CCC workers also built many of the existing buildings, shelters, picnic tables, ovens, roads, trails and the two log lookout towers. They cleared most of the vistas along the park's roadway and built Ogle Lake in 1934-35. Strahl Lake was built earlier, around 1929.
For those who would rather see the park on foot or horseback, many miles of well-marked trails are available. About 70 miles of bridle trails and over 12 miles of hiking trails lead through the steep, forested hills. The roadless southwestern and eastern parts of the park can be visited only by foot or horseback. The Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve, within the park, contains an attractive self-guiding nature trail, which describes natural aspects of the park.
The varied facilities of Brown County State Park make possible enjoyable outdoor experiences for people with a wide range of tastes and preferences. Brown County State Park has not only attracted millions of individual tourists and families over the years, but has hosted many special evnts as well. Camping groups, horsemen's oganizations and archery tournaments are some of the past attractions. In 1987, Brown County served as the location of the Cycling Road Race for the 10th Pan American Games.
Some trails in the park are quite steep and involve stairs, others are handicap accessible.
DESCRIPTION OF HIKING TRAILS
1. (.9 mile/ easy) Joins with Trail 2 for a short distance to return to near Lodge. Leads through wooded land where oak, hickory, sassafras, beech and maple may be observed.
2. (2 miles/ moderate) Leads past North Overlook and passes several large trees in the park. Circles to join with Trails 1 and 3 to return to Lodge. The native white-tailed deer can occasionally be seen on this trail.
3. (1.25 miles/ moderate) An interesting trail to observe a variety of topography. Passes saddle barn and amphitheatre to return to the lodge. Varieties of ferns can be seen in the ravines and on the slopes.
4. (1.25 miles/ moderate) Start near the end of Ogle Ridge campground and leads through upland terrain to a deep ravine at the headwaters of Ogle Lake. Connects trails5 and 7.
5. (.75 mile/ rugged) A self-guided nature trail through Ogle Hollow Nature Preserve. This trail starts near paved park road north of rally campground and continues down a wooded slope, where yellowwood trees exist. Returns near the rally campground. Connects with Trail 4. The pileated woodpecker has been observed in the area through which this passes.
6. (1.75 miles/ moderate) Encircles Jimmie Strahl Lake where the hiker may enjoy an easy walk around the lake and return to the point of origin near the dam. Connecting spur to Nature Center.
7. (1.5 miles/ moderate) This trail enables the hiker to explore the shores of Ogle Lake while in a hilly, wooded habitat. Here also, pileated woodpeckers have been known to nest.
8. (3.5 miles/ moderate) Extends eastward from West Lookout, continues to near Hesitation Point, and then southwest to parking area at Ogle Lake and Trail 7.
STAY ON MARKED TRAILS!
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES
CAMPING - Campground equipped with modern facilities. Occupancy limited to two (2) weeks. Some sites will accommodate trailer and electricity available. A separate horsemen's campground is available. Rally campground available. Campsites available for reservation.
FISHING - Bass, bluegill, etc. State license required and available at park office. Rowboats permitted on Ogle Lake only. Ogle Lake-17 acres; Strahl Lake-7 acres.
HIKING - More than 12 miles of easy-to-rugged trails.
INN - Lodge and cabin guest rooms. Single meals, Sunday dinners, banquets. All on the European Plan. Make all reservations with the inn manager. Lodge rooms and dining room open year-round. Make all reservations with the lodge.
INTERPRETIVE SERVICE - Free. Inquire at nature center, park office, or lodge.
SELF-GUIDING AUTO & WALKING TOURS - 1. Auto tour with cassette tape-inquire at Nature Center, summer months. 2. Walking history tour with cassette tape-inquire at Abe Martin Lodge front desk, year-round.
PICNIC AREAS - Tables, grills, toilet facilities, playground equipment and playfields. Wood available from concessionaire during summer months.
RECREATION BUILDING - Nominal charge. Inquire at park office.
SHELTERS - Reservations for shelters; inquire at park office.
SADDLE HORSES - Bridle trails, pony rides, hayrides. Inquire at saddle barn.
SWIMMING - Excellent pool, open Saturday before Memorial Day and no later than Labor Day. Swimming prohibited in Ogle Lake and Strahl Lake.
TRAIL RIDES - Facilities for those who wish to bring their own horses. Inquire at park office.
MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS - Trails and Loops for those who wish to bring their own bikes. Inquire at park office.
FAMILY HOUSEKEEPING CABINS - Two bedrooms, living rooms; complete kitchen; bathroom; will sleep eight; linens; dishware and cooking utensils provided; easy walking distance to the Lodge; open year-round. Make all reservations with the lodge.
SUMMARY OF RULES AND REGULATIONS
1. Do not injure or damage any structure, rock, tree, flower, bird or wild animal within the Park (See No. 2). Do NOT gather limbs, brush or trees (either dead or alive) for firewood! It MUST be allowed to remain to rebuild the natural humus.
2. Any firearm, BB gun, air gun, CO2 gun, bow and arrow, or spear gun in possession in a state park must be unloaded or un-nocked and stored in a case or locked within a vehicle except when participating in an activity authorized by written permit.
3. Dogs and cats must be kept on leash no longer than six feet while in the park.
4. There shall be no vending or advertising without permission of the Department of Natural Resources.
5. Camping is permitted only in the campground. Youth groups must be under adult supervision.
6. Fires shall be built only in places provided.
7. Motorists will observe speed limits as posted, and park in designated areas. 30 m.p.h. maximum.
8. Swimming is limited to the pool only.
9. Drinking water should be taken only from pumps, hydrants or fountains provided for that purpose. This water is tested regularly for purity.
10. Report lost or found articles to the park office.
11. Pull off roads while observing wildlife. Feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
12. Use of metal detectors is prohibited.